Friday, 27 February 2009


Meet the new head of the library, Taina! This is still so hard to believe...

Thursday, 26 February 2009

How wonderful it is

Yesterday we took the bus to the centre and it was so sunny! Our dear friends are leaving back to Japan and we wanted to buy some small gifts for them. The place to visit was Taitokortteli, where you can find local handicrafts as well as tourist souvenirs. I love the atmosphere in the old wooden building and small shop rooms :) And as I expected, we found everything we needed from there.

I also went to aerobic and how my muscles are hurting now! 3 weeks without any exercise really makes you weak. Next week I'm going to get myself in shape again :)

When I was in Kuopio, I decided to cut my hair (with tiny help from my mom and Yuki!) and now it's oh, so short! But spring means change and I'm not afraid of changes. I also got a job offer, but let's see what happens.

"How wonderful it is that two minds can meet". I got that card from Ursula K. Le Guin, one of my favourite authors. It's so true, meeting even for once can change lives and basically everything. Lifelong friendship is a beautiful thing, but short encounters shouldn't be underestimated.

Monday, 23 February 2009

People around me.

I spent 2 days in Kuopio, visited my relatives quickly. I met my uncle, 2 cousins, grandparents, mom, brother and brother's children. In the photo above is Nea, 4 years old, and that photo makes me laugh every time I see it!

Also my friend Yuki visited Kuopio, she had never been there before. Yesterday was laskiaissunnuntai, so of course we had to go sliding (I have big bruises on my legs now...) in the evening. Today, just before I ran out of battery, I took a photo of Yuki standing in front of Kuopio Cathedral.

Now I'm tired after walking around in Kuopio for 6 hours! Next time Kuopio is calling for me when it's time for Puijo skijumping world cup in 2 weeks. I can't wait!!!

Friday, 20 February 2009

Yarn problems and green stuff

If you want to practice your patience, I suggest you try making a skein into a ball of yarn. Yesterday I had my last day at work, so I wanted to make myself happy and bought a new, colourful yarn. I started to unravel the skein in the evening and found nice knots very soon. I continued this morning and finished my job 5 minutes ago. Maybe I just have the wrong tactics? :D But on the other hand, I find it very good to try my patience every once in a while :)

Today I'm going to the quiz with my exchange student friends. Let's see what happens, because 1) all the questions are in Finnish and 2) my walking dictionary travelled to Jyväskylä in the morning. Anyway, the main thing is to have fun, not to know the answers!

Oh, yesterday I had the greatest experience at the library. There's TV in the reading room and usually no-one uses it. Yesterday one boy came and wanted to watch skiing world championships and we gave him the remote controls and headphones. Suddenly there were many people who wanted to watch the same competition and the boy took those headphones off and just put the TV louder. People took chairs near the TV and listened very closely and celebrated when a Finn won :) And the TV is really in the centre of the reading room, where should usually be very quiet. I loved the feeling of people, who have never met before, coming together and also celebrating and smiling a lot.

And then, something to read about. Recipes, buying guides, blogs, facts. The Green Guide. Or do you want to support local farmers? Buy food and other products from organic food circles! Circles are working all around Finland and using them you make sure the money goes to the right place :) Some links -> Jyväskylä, Joensuu, Tampere. Usually organic food circles are part of university organisations, but they're not meant only for students. I've been ordering food from local organic food circle for 1 ½ years now and I've been very satisfied. Last time I ordered the things shown in the photo below, potatoes, carrots, sour cabbage, flour and honey. The prices are a bit higher than non-organic products in the shops, but you can just taste the difference!

Tuesday, 17 February 2009

Beloved Comrade

Sun has been shining. The best winter days are in January and February, the whiteness blinds eyes.

I've been working at the library for 2 days now. I'm a professional librarian, but due to the small amount of work places I haven't found a permanent job. So I'm working at the library as a substitute if someone gets sick or something. At the same time I'm thinking of studying something else though...I should only decide what I want to do!

It's impossible to work at the library without glancing at the removed books. Yesterday I made the perfect discovery -> The book is called "Korean review" and it looks very innocent (see the photo above, the book looks alluring together with a big pack of candies!). When you open the pages you find out something is a bit twisted in here.

One text example explains it all : "The capital of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea is Pyongyang. Here in this city, more than 1500 years old, is located Mangyongdae, the historic place where the great leader Comrade Kim Il Sung was born and spent his childhood. Pyongyang is the heart of revolution and the glorious capital of socialist Korea. In Pyongyang resides the respected and beloved Comrade Kim Il Sung, the revolutionary genius, ever-victorious iron-willed brilliant commander and tender-hearted father of the people".

The book also has interesting headlines like "South Korea under the occupation of US imperialism" and "The great fatherland liberation war". Text tells about the great success of beloved Comrade Kim Il Sung's Juche idea, how it affects North Korea and how South Korea "is internationally known as a kingdom of tuberculosis and a kingdom of disease". I haven't read the whole book, but that's my plan for this week! This kind of propaganda can teach me a lot about history of dictatures and also about North Korea's present.

And I'm very lucky to find this kind of comical book from the library for free ;) But I have to wonder who took this book to the library collection in the first place and why it has been removed not until now!

I've been very lazy and I haven't cleaned in a long time. When I get home from work after 8.30pm, I'm too tired to do anything. I'm waiting for free and sunny days, when I can just hang out in my nightgown for the whole day!

Mind empty, me bed wake up morning tired.

Sunday, 15 February 2009

Valentine's day party

Yesterday was time for some serious student partying after (too) long time. I've hoped to meet new exchange students and I certainly got what I wanted :) I took 2 reinforcements with me, Merja and Juha. In the photo above they're afraid in the bus because of a crazy busdriver, who 1) shouted in Finnish to one foreign girl who wanted to buy a ticket and didn't speak Finnish and 2) drove so fast that the bus was sliding in all the curves.

Minhye came to the bus stop to take us to the party place and it was so crowded already! One room was full of Spanish people talking only Spanish (that's so common!) and we decided to stick with Shahram, Minhye, Maho and Mitsuyoshi. Shahram told me many interesting things about Iran, because I didn't know almost anything about that country before. Just Persepolis, Teheran, Persian carpets and mosques :)

During the evening we changed flats couple of times, because the meaning of the party was to visit and meet lots of new people. Also policemen were interested in our party and stopped by, but they left soon :( I also talked with Dan from the States, who could pronounce Finnish language perfectly, because he's singing in the university choir. His English sounded so beautiful too, I have some kind of weak spot for people who are native English speakers :D

I also met other great people, Anton (old friend!), Sejin, Roy, Liang, Alberto and all those others, whose names I can't remember. Memory overload! I really hope I can meet everyone again :)

After the party I wanted to go to a bar to dance, but the tickets were 7 euros :O So we skipped that part and came home after sitting a while inside. Now sun is shining, I'm hungry and I'm thinking of warming the sauna today! I love to take photos without the flashlight, because the sunlight makes it's own shades and shadows like in the photo below :)

Friday, 13 February 2009


It's been cloudy and gloomy outside, so I've been mostly taking photos at home. I wrote before I love to photograph shadows and lights, but now I've found a new object -> food! Apples look so good in their basket and grated swedes have just the perfect colour. I still feel uncomfortable if I have to take photos of people...I guess I need to practice tomorrow, when I'm going to a big party for exchange students (and a couple of natives!)

About music. I've always been in love with music. When I was a child, I used to made up my own songs and there are cassettes full of my singing somewhere. In elementary school my days were full of music, because I was in a music class. That meant that I played flute in 2 orchestras and of course took music lessons, too. As I got older, I gave in flute playing, because it was so boring and I didn't take it seriously enough :) I only continued it until the end of high school because our orchestra travelled abroad and I wanted to see foreign countries.

My music taste has changed radically throughout the years. In elementary and middle school I loved Roxette and Taikapeili as well as all the mainstream pop on the radio. In high school I found CMX and Kent. I still love Kent for its melancholy music and the lyrics, that got me almost perfect 97/99 points in Swedish essay on matriculation examination.

During those years my brother introduced Prodigy, Chicane and other dance music to me and I totally fell in love with Chicane's Far from the Maddening Crowds. First my brother's friend burned that cd for me and kept the original, but I liked the cd so much that I bought that original cd from him :D I'm still on that road I guess...I've been mostly listening to trance although I do have other favourites, too (Olavi Uusivirta, Ror-Shak, Sade, Rubik, Mew, Snoop Dogg, Imogen Heap, Dire Straits, Laika, Moloko to mention some).

My favourite label nowadays is Anjunabeats. You can find more information about the label from here. I came across Anjunabeats through my brother (Thank you Tommi!), who gave me the Anjunabeats Volume 2 compilation cd. I started to look around for other songs from the label and found Oceanlab's Satellite & Sky Falls Down and Smith & Pledger's Forever (A & B remix). Those are still my favourite songs, especially to sing along :D

Now I've bought all their compilation cd's and the music simply goes straight into my heart (and legs). I can't think of anything better than dark living room with this music playing loud. I remember those evenings and nights in my previous flat, when me and my flatmates used to switch off all the lights, put Anjunabeats Volume 5 on and just danced around the flat, stared out from the windows or just sat down and concentrated on the music. It's just hard to explain verbally all the emotions that arise when I listen to this music :) I even started to cry when I listened to the newest volume 6 for the first time, because it was just so extremely touching somehow!

Other favourites are for example these:
Boom Jinx feat. Thomas J Bergersen - Remember September
Paul Keeley - Paper Jet
Luminary - Amsterdam (Smith & Pledger remix)

These songs have the ability of taking me away from this moment and suddenly I feel like I can float, dance, sing, feel free :) The photo above somehow reflects that kind of feeling.

Wednesday, 11 February 2009

Just light.

Tuesday, 10 February 2009

One kind of a perfect day

I get the urge to go to the centre and buy stuff when I'm out of money. Today I borrowed 5 euros and decided that is my budget for today. I'm very lucky to own a bus card, so I can take the bus any time I want :) So I phoned Merja and we decided to have a cup of tea in a local cafe. Merja had promised before to buy tea and laskiaispulla (sweet bun filled with whipped cream and strawberry jam) for me! And of course everything was as good as I expected :)

5 euros is not a big money but it can make you extremely happy and fulfill your need of buying. First I wanted to refresh my childhood memories and I went to R-Kioski to buy Oukki-Doukki! I used to go and buy them with couple of markkas when I was a child and I really felt the same now, because the price of Oukki-Doukki was only 10 cents and I could use all my spare coins :) After Oukki-Doukki incident I had 4 euros left.

Then we visited a local flea market and I met the nicest pair of children sized jeans. They were mine with the mere prize of 3 euros :) I felt so lucky, because normally it's almost impossible to find fitting jeans.

Now in the evening I've just been knitting, eating karjalanpiirakka with egg butter (how can they be so good???), drinking tea and watching tv. One discovery I want to share though -> The easiest replacement for margarine! Any beans, little bit of soy sauce, sunflower seeds and tiny amount of lemon juice. Then just mix with blender and that's it :) I just used a bit too much of soy sauce so my paste is quite salty, but next time it will be better.

And I've been listening to the new song from Rubik. Artturi's singing sounds still so special that it's hard not to love it :)

Monday, 9 February 2009

Japan and Finland, unite!

Ultimate food experience day included Carelian pies, sultsinas and Japanese udon noodles and rice cakes. For me making these old-fashioned pies was kind of trip to my Ilomantsi time -> I used to work in Ilomantsi for 5 summers as a journalist. That village is everything there's left from the old Carelia in my opinion and old traditions like making sultsina and vatruska are still strong. I didn't even know what sultsina was before I went there :) My own family roots come from Savo and Carelia, so after living almost my whole life in Kuopio, I felt like I got to know my "Carelian side" in Ilomantsi. I hope that in the future I know all the recipes of different Carelian pies by heart and I can keep that old tradition alive even a little bit.

I learned to make Carelian pies (karjalanpiirakka in Finnish) also in Ilomantsi. I wrote a story to the newspaper about "my first try ever to make real karjalanpiirakka" and I interviewed an olderly woman for that. She taught me how to make the dough, how to shape the pies and finally how to dip pies into melted butter after baking. This was my first try to make karjalanpiirakka after that and it succeeded better than I thought. New attempt coming soon! I also prepared some egg butter to eat with the pies and the taste was...awesome. I used riihiruisjauho (kind of smoked ryeflour) in the pies and I'm sure the taste was so special because of them.

And here comes a short picture story about sultsina making! Sultsina dough is made from ryeflour, water and salt and it's baked over the stove, greased with melted butter and when you start eating, you put rice (or potato) porridge on top of it and wrap it correctly :)

I'm sad that nowadays people don't make karjalanpiirakka or sultsina anymore at home. I thought it would be a lot of work, but in fact it was very easy!

Besides Finnish pies, we prepared Japanese food. We ate noodles with seaweed and the dessert was always so delicious - rice cakes. I just love rice cakes, because they're sticky and the feel great in your mouth :D They're also easy to make, just mix glutinous rice flour with water, that's it :)

After boiling the rice cakes in the water, we made sweet and salty dressings for the rice cakes; soyflour with sugar and salt and soy sauce with sugar in it. This was unquestionably the easiest dessert ever to make, just a bit mixing and boiling :) I'm going to make these next time when I feel like eating something sweet but healthy!

In the end I ate so much that I'm still feeling a bit bad. But it was worth it! Thank you for food and company Yuki and Merja :) I'll spend the rest of the evening watching Weeds and reading the biography of Dalai-Lama.

"If a pot is cooking, the friendship will stay warm"
Arab proverb