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Archive for June, 2007

Conversation card

My dear friend Anna-Karin has started doing something called Conversation cards. She has apparently bought a pack of cards with questions on them and, lacking a conversation partner, she now puts the questions on her blog so that everyone out here can/should/have to answer them.

The second question goes something like this: What could be the most common reasons for a relationship to come to an end?

I am happy to say that I have the answer to this question. As we were listening to YleX at work a couple of days ago I found out that there had been an excellent survey on the subject done in England. The conclusion: x percent of the couples broke up if the partner was a lousy kisser. I can’t remember the exact percentage but it was the most common reason for a break-up. Hmmm, did I mention that this questionnaire was made for a popular women’s magazine… Very reliable! 

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Lovely

I can’t say my candy consumption went down after they stopped selling Tupla-black but it felt like there was a big empty hole in the candy-shelf every Friday when I went to buy my “fredagsgodis” (Friday-candy). When I didn’t have my wonderful chocolate-liquorice alternative it took ages for me to decide what to buy. But now, finally, the Finnish candy producers have come to there senses and I’m proud to present:

                                                    choklad.jpg                                   

 This is a chocolate bar with liquorice filling. Can candy be any better! Try it!

I’m feeling kind of bad for encouraging consumerism after having read Veronika’s blog. Even though her topic of this week has got nothing to do with consumerism I’m sure she would have some opinion about it. My question to you out there: Should a blog always try to say something to its readers? Should a blog go deeper than everyday life and strive to envisage opinions about world-powers, whether they be God or human beings, countries? Maybe I’ll come back to this subject some other time, but now, you who are lucky enough to live in Finland, grab your wallets, go to the closest store (hopefully they are open at 17.30 on a Sunday evening) and get yourself a chocolate bar! 

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I’ve always believed the public transportation of Helsinki to be safe. Sure we have drivers who consider driving 80 km/h on a 50 road to be standard praxis. And sure there are those who seem to think traffic lights are there to give some excitement to the workday. And yes, they did stop a driver recently for drunk-driving and a subway train almost left the rails as the driver failed to slow down at a site where they were doing some repairs. And I admit that there have been some accidents where a tramcar has hit people while they were crossing the street. But come on! These are things you have to expect to see! Is there a workplace where all the employees are sober ALL the time. It just doesn’t exist in Finland. In the course of one year you will have seen at least one colleague that has taken a bit too much in the evening and comes to work a bit tipsy the following morning. And what about those stupid people walking in front of a tram! What happened to looking both ways before crossing the street?

The thing that rocked my view on public transport was a small, but non the less significant, mishap that took place 8.50 am on bus nr. 70V on rout towards Skomakarböle. I was getting off the bus at a bus-stop close to my school. I stood there with my umbrella ready to get off the vehicle but the doors seemed to be stuck. As I’m quite used to this I just waited a while and sure enough the bus-driver finally managed to open the doors. I was stepping out, umbrella first, ready for the light summer rain outside when the doors suddenly started to close. As it was morning, and as it was a new experience for me (even though I’m quite aware of how tricky bus-doors can be) my reaction was kind of slow. I got my leg into the bus but the already spread umbrella was caught outside.

Have you heard the story about how to catch a monkey? It goes like this: You place an orange inside a barred cage. The monkey reaches for the orange but realizes that the space between the bars isn’t big enough for the orange to pass through. He could easily move his hand in and out of the cage and simply choose not to take the orange. But stubborn, or stupid, as the monkey is he won’t let go of the orange. So when the hunter comes out of his hiding he can simply grab the poor monkey that still has his hand in the cage.

This is how I felt in the bus. Unwilling to let go of my beautiful umbrella I got caught with my hand between the doors. And it hurt!! The shock came when I realized that the doors wouldn’t open until the driver told them to. In my mind I had always imagined that bus-doors could feel if there was something stuck between them and then automatically and immediately open. Now all my illusions where broken and I had to admit that if I would have had time to almost step out of the bus and only then got caught with my leg, the driver could easily have failed to notice this and driven of – with me hanging as an ornament at the side of the bus. 

What has this country come to when a law abiding citizen can’t feel safe even in her most daily routines?! What will it take before some politician or other steps up and demands safe doors on all busses? Well I guess there are two ways: Either a very young child gets killed or someone donates 1 million euros especially for this purpose. Right now the politicians are arguing whether there is any use having busses that run on methane. And seriously, what would you choose: a better environment or to save some measly human lives? 

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Eating out

I’ve had a long week. This could mean one of three things: a heavy workload, lots of socializing or both. They all have the same effect on me mentally (pure exhaustion that is) but physically they differ quite a lot (if you don’t consider exhaustion to be a physical as well as mental thing). In this case physical refers to my waistline. Social events always include food/eating. And as we are poor students the gatherings turn into pot luck events where everyone brings their own dish. This so that the host/hostess wouldn’t be burdened by the economical loss of buying food for everyone. Unfortunately there is probably enough food after the first two guests have arrived to feed the rest of the twelve people that are coming. After everyone has taken their seats at the table/floor/lawn we suddenly realize that we could feed a total amount of three football teams of hungry 18 year old guys with the food we have in front of us. But in a weird way we don’t let this info sink in but rather look at it as a challenge. That’s why I could still feel the taste of strawberry-cheesecake in my mouth when I woke up this morning, after spending yesterday evening at one of my class-mate’s birthday party. I had a food-hangover!

A food hangover can happen suddenly – like after eating five sausages in a row at a BBQ party – or more like a buildup during a period of days. The latter is what I’ve experienced this week. After spending two days at a symposium, eating for free (or rather EATING for FREE!!!) I had my Bible-group over on Wednesday. This was kind of a lucky break for me as I had accidentally bought 60 spring rolls some weeks before, some of which I were now able to get rid of! But then came the weekend and with a temperature of 27 Finnish people go completely mad. You would think that the heat would take away some of our appetite, no no. Warm weather translates into Ice-cream, BBQ and beer (although the last one doesn’t apply to me). So on Friday we had a Summer festival at work, you already heard about the Saturday and finally today, after waking up with my hangover, I had to go to a BBQ in honor of our guest lecturer that had flown in from Hungary to visit us for a couple of days. Ouch, and did I mention I baked a chocolate cake, I mean the intelligence I’m showing… no wonder my waistline is happily expanding.

Now to some good news (although I do consider it good that I still have a piece of chocolate cake left in the refrigerator…): I’ve started working on my master thesis and on my tan. Luckily for me the two tasks seem to be possible to combine. Lying on the beach reading articles is now my summer mission. 

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I only wear my graduation cap for ten minutes every year. More exactly on the 1st of May when I get into town and realize that every one else but me are wearing the ugly things. After ten minutes, however, I come to my senses and take it off. Why fall for group pressure when it only makes you look like a misplaced chef or some ridiculously old-fashioned captain. I can honestly say that I hate my cap!

Some of you might have heard me complaining of the injustice of giving us from Österbotten a much higher hat than other Finns. It’s like a hidden agenda the government has to make us stand out more. Yes, somewhat an act of racism. But I’m ashamed to say that I was misinformed! There’s evidently two sizes to choose from and I was just stupid enough to pick the wrong one. Now I’m stuck with my much uglier version and can for some reason not muster up the will to go and buy a new one. Your gradiuation cap is supposed to be something of an eternal memory of happier youthful days. And you’re NOT supposed to toss it away just because you happened to spill something on it or just because you happen to have a weird shaped head so that the cap doesn’t seem to fit however you try to place it.

It’s funny, everyone else seem to look completely normal in their hats. But I still say that I am the exception to this rule. I just can’t look anything but stupid wearing it…

Here are some good examples of how good the hat fits some people. I was home in Kvevlax this weekend when my cousins Jakob and Linnéa graduated. This is what they look like:

                    jappe.jpg                    linnea.jpg

Other wonderful things that happened during the two and a half days that I was at home were:

  1. got sun-burned for the first time this summer
  2. got bitten by a strange bug so that I now have a big oozing red circle on my leg
  3. drove my parents car into a ditch, or rather reversed it into a ditch. Utterly humiliating!

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