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Senja, 20 years old, Helsinki/Finland
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Friday, August 30, 2013

Glimpses of Helsinki

cafe succes helsinki korvapuusti cinnamon roll Senja Y

park helsinki ritaripuisto summer Senja Y

ritarihuone helsinki Senja Y

ritaripuisto helsinki park Senja Y

mariankatu helsinki Senja Y

I love Helsinki. It's my adopted hometown, since I don't really have one. My love for Helsinki goes as far as to say that I will never ever move to another city or town here in Finland (I know, never say never... if I ever wind up having six children and a hoard of dogs and cats, I might want to live elsewhere) as long as I live and breathe.

On Wednesday I went wandering about the downtown with Maria. We browsed through some interesting little shops and sat down for korvapuusti (or cinnamon roll, if you prefer that) and hot chocolate at one of my favourite cafes in Helsinki, Café Succès. I first went there with my dad when we were going to the Open Night at my future high school. He had been somewhat of a regular customer back when he went to the same school and the warm ambience on a somewhat cold and slushy February evening stayed with me and during my years in high school, I would frequently skip the lunch break and get myself a huge croissant and a cinnamon roll with a cup of hot chocolate to go. Sadly the service and the product quality are not quite up to the same level as before but there is always something very nostalgic about Café Succès.

After the short pause we continued walking. We walked through Ullanlinna, all the way across the Market Square and Senate Square, looking for a nice place to take my outfit pictures. Maria suggested the small park in front of Ritarihuone, the House of Nobility, but as beautiful as the flower arrangements and the fountain were, we deemed (or I did) it unfit for my outfit. I did however snap these pictures because the milieu was stunning to say the very least.

The last picture is from Mariankatu, right next to the House of Nobility. Throughout the day Maria and I had been admiring the old buildings and wailing every time a horrendous monster like the one in the picture scarred the otherwise picture-perfect scenery. I honestly don't know what they were thinking back in the day... ripping down beautiful historical buildings and replacing them with something "hip and contemporary." When traveling in Europe I always admire the way most cities have a very ubiquitous feel and look to them. Helsinki, however, has many beautiful streets and neighbourhoods that reflect the different eras and styles, but it also has these buildings that look simply out of place. I actually feel a little sorry for the misfit buildings. In some other company they might be even somewhat attractive but next to the neoclassical beauties they just appear even more plain and awkward. Sort of like when a tall person stands next to a short person. Then again, this is one of the features that makes Helsinki so unique and interesting. You can never know what you're going to find.

You may wonder where the outfit pictures are, but I thought I'd let them have their own post, or actually, I thought that these pictures deserved their own post without my face gawking at you a million times. Thus the outfit post will follow later...

Hard to believe it's already Friday but here we go again. I'm going to work today and tomorrow so no weekend for me just yet. We'll be celebrating Erica's real birthday tomorrow by going out so that ought to be fun. Other than that I'll be cleaning and organising my closet so I can finally take those pictures of my little apartment. I've lived here for almost 5 months and I still haven't shown you any pictures. Shame on me... I promise to get to it asap!

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Just a little catch-up

Senja Y selfie

One sign of a great party might be the lack of photographic evidence. You don't want to get your huge camera and start snapping pictures of others having a blast when you're having fun yourself, too. Last Saturday, however, at my friend Erica's birthday party, I did want to take a few pictures of our "amazing" '80s-themed outfits, but alas, my camera decided to stop co-operating. Since Trang hasn't sent me the pictures she took with her camera (and I doubt many of those pictures are worth showing to the world) this grainy and silly selfie (including a trout pout) I sent to D after Trang and I were finished with getting ready happens to be the only picture I can show to you.

Nevertheless, despite of my camera behaving like a proper diva and refusing to perform, we had a lovely time. '80s music, pizza, cheesecake and enough blue drinks, wonderful company and coming home at 4 am. No need to elaborate further, it was a very successful evening despite of the less fabulous state I was in the next morning. Luckily Erica and Maria came over to eat pizza and watch movies so I didn't have to spend the entire Sunday suffering alone. (even if I was the only one suffering)

On Monday I was supposed to clean but I ended up catching up with all the TV programs I had recorded on my Finnish version of TiVo. On Tuesday I was working and today I woke up early because of a doctor's appointment and afterwards headed to town with Maria. We walked around Helsinki pretty much the entire afternoon and visited interesting shops and sat down at one of my favourite cafes. This time my camera was working so I'll have pictures for you tomorrow!

How has your week been so far?

Friday, August 23, 2013

Words that are spinning in my head

Puukengät Senja Lapland marshland Finland summer

It is starting to become very clear to me that I simply can't blog when I'm in the middle of some inner turmoil. Usually it's because I'm not sure how I should address those deep, unfinished thoughts here on my blog, but as I can't ignore them either and blog about the superficial things in my life, I am left with no other choice than to neglect my blog. Or at least that's how it feels, and of course, it's not entirely true. I could just blog about how I feel. Some of you might wonder why I am going to blog about all of this. Wouldn't it be much easier to blog about how I had a lovely Sunday making and eating sushi with my friends? For some other people, perhaps, for me, not at all. Yes, it's very personal and some people won't like it but hey, it's my blog and I blog for my own pleasure. Not writing makes the words just spin around in my head and not blogging makes me miss my lovely readers. So, I'm going to make myself a cup of tea and try to blog about everything that's going on with me. (you should probably get yourself a cup of your preferred beverage as well, this might get lengthy)

It's almost September, my blog is almost two years old, and I am once again in a position where I have to figure out my next steps. I did not get into university, which, while not surprising with only 25 getting into the program of my choice, was a big disappointment for me. People around me have all been very supportive but I am disappointed. Disappointed in myself, disappointed in the system and disappointed in the world. Still, I don't feel like I failed, even though I threw away the letter bearing the bad news, and not without tearing it into tiny pieces. I did what I could and it didn't work out. This time, at least.

After all the minor and major setbacks in my life I have learnt to move forward. I have come a long way from last year, as this year I have a place of my own and a job to help me support myself. No more living in other people's homes for me. My job also keeps my mind occupied so that when I'm working, I am not thinking about anything else. I also have my friends and family around me and I get to spend time with them regularly. D still isn't here in Finland with me, and it's tough but I'm doing my best to cope.

Coping, however, seems to be a lot harder this time around. One night I can't sleep and I end up mopping the floors at 2 am, the next I could sleep 24/7. Some days I barely eat and my kitchen fills up with dirty tea cups and empty pineapple juice cartons. Then I try to get a hold of myself and I clean up, bake bread, cook and try to eat. Or I wind up seeking solace from the two men I know I can trust: Ben and Jerry. I watch TV for hours, get tired of it and then I clean up the entire apartment, make a dozen lists of how I'm going to be more active and then I get tired of it too and nothing happens.

I don't want my life to be like this. I want my life to be like my Pinterest boards or like life seems to be for those people who have it all. Yet I know that things will never be perfect. Something will always go wrong and things could always be worse. I have a home, I have a job, I have a wonderful man worth waiting for, I have family and friends to keep me going when things seem to go wrong and I know I am lucky or blessed or both to have the difficulties with trying to decide where I'm going to go with my life. Many people don't have the choice and I do. It's just very difficult to see it.

The other night I was watching a documentary film about Grace Kelly and they were showing footage of her being asked about happiness. She replied that she has had many moments of happiness but she doesn't believe that happiness is a permanent state of mind.

If things worked out the way I want, I would win the lottery tonight. 10 million euros (minus the taxes) would make it possible and easy to help myself, my family, and even people I don't even know but need the help. It would all be so easy and while money doesn't make you happy, it enables you to do things that make you happy in a way that you normally can't. In real world, when you are not a millionaire, you have to make sure there is still money left when the month is over and you have to wait and work for things. Yet somehow I think that having all the money wouldn't make me permanently happy either.

Patience. I want to win the lottery and have things handed to me but learning to be patient would probably be more useful. Taking each day as it comes and working towards achieving the things you want. I thought I was getting better at it but it's a struggle not to lose hope. Even though I'd like to keep the three unfit topics (as taught by a certain study counsellor years ago) of sex, politics and religion, out of my blog, I have to say that sometimes I wish I had more faith in God, or the church, or any higher power that might be out there caring for us. As Marx put it, religion is the opium of the people, and while people often view it as a negative thing, there is a lot of comfort in religion and faith. Especially in times like this when the future seems so unsettlingly insecure. (and there I venture into politics... must get a hold of myself!)

I don't know what I want to become when I grow up. I'm going to try and hope that I will get accepted into an university of applied sciences here in Helsinki so that I can start studying journalism this coming January. I do know that I want to be happy. I would like to find out if there is a way to be permanently happy, and if there is no way, I will try to bring more happy moments into my life. Having D around every day would help but I am going to seize this opportunity to find seeds of happiness (as we say in Finland) in other places too. That way I won't have to rely on one person to make me happy. I also won't have to wait for anything to be happy. I can be happy today, if I try. I believe that happiness stems from your own attitude rather than from certain events and things. The challenge lies in being able to stop for a moment and breath in those small things like slow mornings, a nice cup of tea and a rapid flow of words streaming through my fingers. Life can be so hectic and often I forget to stop and remind myself of the little things that are going perfectly well.

To wrap up this rambling post (yay if you made it here!) I'm going to wish you all a very nice Friday. I hope that everything is going well with you all, and now I am going to head to town for a lunch date with Trang. Then I'll be off to work and tomorrow it's time for Erica's '80s themed birthday party. Lots of fun times ahead for me and I'm going to do my very best to let them sink in and work their magic.

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