Post Christmas. Post New Year. Post long-overdue. Post honest.

Art, Blogroll, Comments, Helsinki

No matter how important Christmas is for me I actually enjoy those days following the Christmas Eve (aka the Big Day where I’m from) much better than the actual December 24th. The pressure has dropped, I’m not sick with anticipation or the sense of obligation, the stress level has gone back to normal (whatever that might mean), there is no need to pose in the pictures. Yet I’m still surrounded by the loved ones, enjoy heaps of leftover delicious food without the stiffness of the dinner board and – can play with the present in front of TV.

And, then there are the ‘tween days after Christmas yet before the New Year, you know, those 28s and 29s, when many grown ups went to work and your babyless self finally made it outside as well. Some of us went shopping while those like me more likely travelled or skied or at least did something cultural.

Then the somehow awkward celebration of the new year followed – and then the emptiness stroke – is this it? The new start and the end of the Holidays?

I do not dare to open social media these days (well I do that so that I can find out about what is going on around us), because last year was the best year ever and THE year of transformation to pretty much anyone and everyone, as illustrated by holiday feet shots and sunsets and happy families.

I’m not writing this because I would think 2018 was a dull one, in fact, it was pretty eventful for my part – kicked-off start in Costa Brava, signed a new job contract, got overwhelmed by all sorts of pain, made great progress with a personal coach, bought a flat, then, ehm, my dearest daughter was born, moved to the new place and topped it off with a really nice and calm white Christmas.

I just wanted to say that this year was good, my baby and I are well too. I’m more and more happy with who I am, but honestly, there were so many dull, hopeless, painful, sad and confused moments so that I just don’t have the heart to fool the internet and pick the cherries.

In fact, I’m thankful for those difficult moments, days, mundane tasks and failed attempts. Makes me feel special – like I’m the one who is actually living, and not just augmenting and filtering life for the purpose of, uhm, impressing people I know (or not).

So my topic for 2019 is honesty and keeping it real.

It’s like this, I love taking pictures and sharing the happiness with the almost nameless crowd, but I’d like and will be posting about me dealing with the obstacles, with the routine of the everyday, about simple pleasures such as being able to wash the hair without being distracted by crying babies, filing nails on the toilet, post-midnight chocolate eating and hiding the phone/screen when the little one is around. If no-one enjoys that, well, at least I will.

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I really wanted to post some artsy pictures that would sum this up, but this year baby pictures heavily dominate the photo stash. Heavily. Looking for beauty in the mundane, questioning societal choices and scrutinising the individual’s relationship to their habitat have way to anything depicting various parts of The Baby and glowing smiles of her parents. Well. Have some snow before it melts. Have a good one.

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Yesterday´s snow.

Blogroll, Finland, Helsinki, Lifestyle, Picture a day

Not the jolly sunny kind, just wet and a plenty of it. One moment you can barely walk and you have to dig your personal parking space. A few hours later everything is melting and you question the nature’s intensions and the purpose of life while you wade through heaps of wish-wash. And this all, this shall freeze over tonight!

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In the memory of Mauno Koivisto.

Blogroll, Helsinki, nature, Picture a day

Today has been a particularly weird day. Former Finnish president Mauno Koivisto was buried today, the state funeral was aired and everyone has been feeling kinda under the weather. The emotions, once again, just hopped on the others – or maybe it was just me.

A nice BLT sandwich and a few hours outside around Ruukinranta in Espoo (that’s where Galen Kallela museum is!) did it for my part. And close to the port I found these buttercups and they are for Mauno.

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The port, yeah, well there were some boats and buoys, and I guess this diesel pump has had it 😀

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There are some lovely Villas around Ruukinranta, something like old Westend, but much more picturesque. More wood and more soul. And more houses for sale with “minor roof damages” – but with amazing tile stoves or wooden furnitures! Dining table, I’m coming back for you 😉

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The downsides of the area are bad collective traffic connections and the omnipresent humming noise from the nearby highway. I’m sure the locals love the Turku motorway.

A short walk from the port and Villa Åkerblom, a popular event venue dressed up as a humble wooden villa, is the famous Villa Elfvik. It is, in fact, a nature education centre with a cosy café, several children- and wheelchair-friendly nature trails, a bird-watching tower and… nature diversity. It was remarkably awesome! Seriously, a lovely Espoo surprise. We’re coming back on bikes, so expect more pictures within the next weeks!

So, this is the main venue, Villa Elfvik…

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… a garden gazebo… MIU_5907

… and the nature trail!

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There were birds nesting. Apparently.

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And this is Otaniemi and Aalto University.

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We have leaves. Updated.

Blogroll, Finland, Helsinki, Lifestyle, Traveling

On the trees, also a slight sunburn on the shoulder, the 4th place in the ice hockey world cup and I’m terribly sleepy.

I will just leave this summerly pictures hang in here and add some commentary later. I’m sorry, I have an early start tomorrow again 😦

Have a pleasant start into the brand new week!

Update 25.5. – here are the comments 😉 The first couple of pictures are from a walk around the Rajasaari island. It is located in Töölö, so reasonably central and quite fancy, but it is in a shameful state (not reflected in the pictures). Covered in trash, boating stuff rusty snowmobiles and generally neglected. The dog park is awesome though, and so was the warm spring evening.

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The following takes are from Open House Helsinki – my top visits took place in Thursday and Friday and I was unable to attend. But on Saturday we made it to the Villas of the Valtiosaari island. These largeish, in some cases opulent (think luxurious sauna and a tennis court) wooden villas are mostly owned by the city of Helsinki and occasionally rented out to companies or registered organisations. You can imagine what this means: most of the villas stand empty and slowly deteriorate. Well managed! The whole island would make a lovely place to live – should we have a boat – but we were all surprised how messy and neglected the island was.

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A well-painted Finnish lion in one of the villas.

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This is a hydroplane hangar actually.

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Tiled stove detail.

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The summer church/chapel.

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We got a free boat ride to the city centre! That was the best part of the trip, minus the sunburn (I KNOW.), but look what we saw on the way: a sailboat nursery!

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The last picture is from Porkkala, see the tower on the right? That’s a lighthouse I’m so much visiting soon!

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To the sea.

Blogroll, Finland, Helsinki, Picture a day, Traveling

And beyond. In my efforts to escape the temporary (!) inability to interact, work and create I somehow managed to get myself beyond the boundaries of everyday life, flat, worries – it does work. After an active and no-pressure-on-performing weekend life feels much better.

First I got lost on the way to Paavolan Tammi, the Oak of Paavola. This mysterious-looking oak is located close to Lohja, about 1 hour away from Helsinki, and I managed to reach another Paavola – well at least I got to pick some tussilago flowers in the afternoon sun (!).

The tree is pretty cool – apparently 250-300 years old, trunk circumference 4,7m, and it looks very decorative. It is the only broadleaved tree on the spot, it sits on a kind of a hill and for the effect and kicks the surrounding trees have been cut down. Well why the heck not, we all need a mysterious place like this now and again!

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Yep, I know, I did not take the right lens. Also, the place was busy – swarming with people clutching phones in their hands and taking all kinds of instapictures – #paavolantammi anyone?

And… and on Saturday my dream might have almost come true! A private tour around Helsinki archipelago (read: we launched a boat and took it from one port to another, that is). I was not of much practical use – besides, like, holding onto some ropes and attaching them to slings and commenting on the visual aspects of the kitchen and cabin, but then I celebrated my 20 seconds of glory and steered the boat, ha! Also, it was windy and there were no ducklings or swanlings around yet.

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Setting off from Jollas…

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… not fitting under the Hevossaaren bridge, fortunately we only got to wait about 3 minutes for the show…

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… and back in Helsinki centre again!

And then we ate kebab, drank coffee, were happy – and picked up a new friend of mine. A Macbook Air. I promise I will treat it better then her previous owner, and I promise I will still love my big old Macbok Pro as much as I do now, but because the latter has to go to the service I needed a replacement (and a travel buddy). Material delights.

And today France devastated Finland in ice-hockey (and got a pretty swanky new president). God’s ways are mysterious.