Archive for February, 2008

Lite lovsång…


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For all of you who don’t know it yet, Finland has got a new law/policy on transporting animals into the country. This law pretty much states that all animals are dangerous until prooven safe for Finns, Finnish animals and the Finnish nature. To establish that an animal is healthy a trained veterinarian must check it out and sign some release forms and then you are allowed to pick up your dear pet or whatever from the customs office. The law applies to all vertebrates (those animals who have got a spine) but not to, for example, honey bees. It does however, apply to fruit flies!!

200 strains of fruit flies, brought up in a Japanese laboratory, are currently stuck in Finnish customs. Jaana got the wonderful mission of getting them out of there. The procedure took the whole day and included constant phone contact with a guy from customs who had to explain how to fill out the very detailed form they wanted from us. Among other things it had to include the name and book number of the veterinarian who had checked the flies in Japan!

Now, it’s easy to understand why you need a vet for checking the health of a cat or a dog – or even a frog – but a fly?! Jaana called the veterinarian:

– There are some fruit flies waiting for you in customs

– Fruit flies?? Are those the little ones you can find flying around in the kitchen?

– Yes 😐

– Yack!!

Yes that was the response we got and we are now wondering what she will do to the little creatures. Measure their heart rates?? Check if their digestion functions properly??

Hopefully we’ll get them out tomorrow, but only after paying the disgusted vet 100 euros for the trouble. The choises of payment were 100 euro/package or 70 euro/animal. Well if we have 200 strains and every strain is represented by 10 flies the total amount of money paid would be, drum roll – 140 000 euros. Well there goes all our grant money…

The next shipping of flies is estimated to arrive on Friday…


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This is a wonderful wonderful site that I just have to recommend. You can download any font for free into your own Word program! But beware; it is highly addictive!



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This is an update on my life:

Woke up at 8:30 as the good diabetic I am to take my daily dose of Levemir. After realizing that it was no use to go back to sleep and that the sun was shining (wonder of all wonders) I got up, had breakfast, read the newspaper and went out for a one and a half hours walk.

Pre Master’s I was used to these long walks but now the back of my legs were hurting like they had seen nothing but the seat of a comfortable desk chair for several months (which is pretty much the truth).  Another reason for the agony was the pride I take in walking past all the 40+ couples that are out on their Nordic walks. Unfortunately the poles that they’re using seem to be giving these, otherwise much slower individuals, super powers, and I was almost forced into running mode before I could surpass them. Why oh why do I not own poles as well, I would be unbeatable (everything in life is of course a competition 😉 )

When I came home at 11.15 I thought it fun to wake up all my neighbours by performing a little carpet beating. My house is shaped like a horse shoe which gives an otherwise humble beating a thrilling echo that rings across the yard and is sure to wake up the most hungover of students. I was a bit scared that one of the students would own a bee-bee gun and feel it necessary to put an end to his/her misery by shooting me in the ass, but fortunately nothing of the kind happened.

Now at 3:30 pm I have already; eaten lunch, done some well needed dusting, fixed my yet again broken curtains, watered my plants and baked some bread. I’m a house wife without a husband!

Upcoming events (or why you should not call me next week…):

Sunday: I’m spending the whole day in church, attending the morning service and later the leadership school. In the evening I’ll hopefully find time to watch American Idol while doing some laundry.

Monday: I’ll go to the gym and jump up and down to the sound of some Finnish rock song that has been sped up to the max (almost to the point where the person singing sounds like a Smurf). Later that evening I’ll clean the apartment in preparation for the following events…

Tuesday: Cell-meeting at my place. We’re talking about prayer and fasting – one of the things I’m most afraid of (not praying that is, but living without food). We’re supposed to practise this the upcoming week. Unfortunately my diabetes does not stop me from living one day without proper food as I’ll still be allowed to drink juice. Sigh

Wednesday: I promised my boss that I’d go out and eat with him and another developmental scientist that he has invited as a guest speaker at the course he is giving right now. I would rather shoot myself in the foot before doing this but since I do not own a gun, and I’m too chicken to fake any other kind of illness, I guess I have to go. It will be me, my boss, and a woman from the US + a lot of awkward silence.

Thursday: my parents are coming to visit and will stay until Saturday

– so there was my week – lots to do, lots to experience


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Steam me up!

Since I love siumaaih so much – and since no-one imports the kind that you can just heat in the microwave oven – I have come to the conclusion that I need a steamer.

In my previous attempts to cook the little dim sums I managed to ruin my strainer. I thought it smart to put the strainer on top of a saucepan and then put a lid on top of that so that the steam would stay in the saucepan and the siumaaih in the strainer would get cooked.  Well it worked just fine, the only problem was that the strainer didn’t really enjoy the heat so it became quite crooked. Here is exhibit A:


I therefore bought this beautiful USO (unidentified sitting object).


It’s a steamer that can fit into any pot or pan. As you can see in exhibit B and C:


A brilliant invention for today’s multicultural European (I dear to say that no Chinese in his or her right mind would buy this thing, but for a Finn with Chinese ambitions this is a very functional item indeed). Only 17 euros from Kodin1!!


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Var på söndagsgudstjänst och fick njuta av fastlagslunch efteråt till förmån för församlingens soppstation Fortaleza i Brasilien.

Gösta var där och kom och pratade med oss “ungdomar” efter maten.

– Ja, nu har vi kämpat mot döden.

– ??

– Ja, äta bör man annars dör man.

–  😀 , det där var vitsigt!

– Ja, jag går ju på symöten och där märker de ord…

– ??

Märker ord.

– Ah, 😀

Vardagens små glädjeämnen.


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Basic things

I feel totally blessed for working in a multicultural environment. Well, my colleagues are actually only from Finland, Estonia, Greece, China and Japan, but I still manage to learn a lot about their (and my own) country and culture.

Like yesterday we came to talk about rice.

From living in Hong Kong I already knew that rice and rice are different things. All Mainland Chinese were horrified over the condition of the HK rice. “They must import it from Thailand”, was how they tried to explain the fact that the rice was almost the same as the one you get in Europe – disgusting that is.

Shinya was equally disgusted over the rice you get in China. It could not compare one bit to the one you get in Japan. Although, he did admit that the Japanese rice could cost as much as 4 euro/kg, which is quite outrageous in my opinion since it is the food you eat every day. It’s like if Finns were to eat aubergines or avocado every day. You’d have to be seriously rich…

But Shinya would gladly give more than that if he could have one taste of his beloved rice. Unfortunately for him, Finland seems to be bypassed by all forms of import. The only rice you find on our shelves is from an uncle called Ben or the very price-worthy Pirkka.

This was of no surprise to me, but it was somewhat odd to hear that Evely, the Estonian, was faced with a similar problem. She claimed that Estonian potatoes tastes morethan the Finnish kind. Since I’ve never tasted an Estonian potato I tried to figure out what she was talking about. Were they sweeter? More mealy (mjölig)? But no, she though it was because of the higher starch content in the Estonian vegetable. And she had not been able to find any Estonian potatoes in Finland so she was forced to bring them with her from her visits to her home country.

So she was doing what the Chinese have already been doing for ages – trying to see how much clothes she could spare so that she could fill her bags with the basic food she would be unable to find in the foreign country.

Now it makes so much more sense that Chinese and Japanese rice would be different when you find different tasting crops in countries as related to each other as Finland and Estonia!


Estonian potato vs. Finnish potato (according to Wiki)


(and also according to Wiki: China was the larges producer of potatoes in 2005!!)

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