Doing in order not to be not doing it. And pictures from Warsaw.

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I think that we all remember our parents asking us with a lot of reproach at some point in our childhood or teenhood that annoying and well-worn question “If (s)he jumped off a bridge would you?” – usually as a reaction to our pitiable excuse for doing that silly something that that friend did too (and before us).

Now, many years later, I noticed a social trend (ha!) that has become even so obvious with the wide-spread use of social media. I called it doing it for not not doing it. It is a bit like doing what our peers are doing. Only his time we are not following a silly friend, but we are doing what others in our physical, social, industry or virtual surrounding – and, importantly, very often those we do not know – are doing not for the thrill, but for the fear of being labeled as “those who are not doing it“. It is rather interesting, nowadays we hear from everywhere that we should be original and not be afraid to step out or think outside the box (anyone else hates these buzzphrases?), yet the fear of not being a member of the herd is real. 

For example several weeks before the Helsinki Pride, random companies, organisations, associations, political parties, restaurants, probably even daycare centres and post offices, well, everybody was turning all rainbow and sexual minorities aware and friendly (errr… I don’t know how a company of tens of thousands employees can “be” anything in the first place, but let’s leave this aside for now), and of course, there is nothing wrong with it when you actually mean it, feel for the rights of minorities and your (organisation’s) values are somehow connected to those of the minorities – but at some points, the number of fans and supporters reached a critical mass and the support became and issue of who is not with us.

And that is wrong.

It forces peoples and organisations to hypocrisy and soulless trend following, and dishonour the original thought or cause.

Surely, trends spread and once they have reached enough people and have lingered about for a while, they are replaced by another one. Yet one thing is the way trends emerge and spread, yet whole another is how we are forced to submit to the trend in order not to be associated with its opposite.

So no, just because I’m not not Charlie or I do not associate myself openly with Helsinki Pride, it does not mean that I do not feel with the editorial staff of Charlie Hedbo or that I’m a homophobe. I just don’t want to be a part of this.

And now time for a batch of completely unrelated pictures: Warsaw. On analog camera. I liked the city and I’m satisfied with the way the pictures turned out.

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… and a picture everyone who has ever been to Warsaw has:

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Looking back: Vappu.

Blogroll, Finland, Helsinki, Lifestyle, Likes, Picture a day

As I said, I did not quite feel myself on May 1st, for obvious reasons I was fearing the day when everyone puts a hat on, meets friends, drinks a plenty, eats picnic and has to be jolly.

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Watching these freaks jump into ice-cold water did cheer me up a bit. But the drunk wife who blocked my views did not.

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The day before the official frolics we went to a contemporary music concert. Yes. That kind of squeaky music when you are waiting for one of the clarinetist to whack their instrument on the head of the pianist who is busy playing the piano using a microwave. I will post a report on this sooner – in Czech, ha, as a part of my blog new section 😉 very shortly: the concert was not all that bad! I actually liked it – am I really THAT old? – despite that literally all the pieces sounded like student film/psycho horror/experimental film soundtrack…

… the concert took place in Suomenlinna again – and I really liked these seagulls.

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Oh and we have had some sun recently. I’ve been exploring Taka-Töölö (Rear-Töölö) and focused on happy colours this time…

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… an on eating ice-cream on the cliff with some new friends. Being depressed does not mean that I don’t experience anything pleasant – but let’s not get into it now, let’s hope for the better and for the best and for… for… for better quality linopaint. I’ve had some big fails recently (today),

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7 minutes.

Architecture, Blogroll, Doors of Helsinki, Finland, Helsinki, Likes, Picture a day

Sometimes I like to play invisible. Unnoticed. One of the crowd.

It only takes to go out of the flat and shop for milk. Return a book to the library and have a smalltalk with the librarian. Or even to put on clothes (the basic bitch kind, nothing showing too much personality) and a kånken and get out of the flat. Just do anything as long as I feel like I’m surrounded by the anonymous crowd – and as long as people might think I’m one of them. Act. Get some life context. Pretend. 

That I have a decent (read: 9-5) job. That I’m healthy. That I’m tired like everyone else and looking forward to go home. Or to meet my imaginary friends. Or to go to a yoga course and then watch tv.

The reason why I’m trying so bad to blend in and be accepted and seen as a part of the grey crowd is the current mental state – I feel like I’m just way too odd, that everybody else is having a balanced, content life and I’m just flying by the seat of one’s pants. Having arty aspiration, working from home or profoundly alone, doing research, meeting people on my own, thinking and analysing on my own, far away from my uni, being a foreigner, currently not feeling well (spring depression anyone?) – you see, for a few minutes I was just the girl in the flower leggings sitting on the tram, stripped of my abilities, worries and fears.

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And two little Töölö details – I swear I did not have to photoshop these, or even use the polarizing filter: the sky really was this blue (but it was pretty chilly otherwise).

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Töölö doors. Töölö gate bars. Töölö atmosphere from when Finland was a newborn…

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(The heading of this post inspired by Michal.)

Outdoors.

Blogroll, Helsinki, Lifestyle, Likes, Picture a day, Traveling, Winter frolics

Living near greenery calms one down – the peace and calming colours bring down the blood pressure, monotonous sounds soothes the busy and stressed mind and the overall abundance of non-man-made stimuli inspire the mind.

Also, I love skiing and running, picking berries, avoiding idiots, grilling marshmallows and taking pictures, so the general proximity of nature works pretty well for me!

As I advertised last time, we spent a week in Lapland. And it was quite nice, although for some reasons hard to comprehend not as nice as I would wish. Now, I actually did not take that many pictures, because I find carrying a DSLR on ski trips awkward. Also… how many pictures of snowy landscapes does one actually fancy looking at in April?

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Not that much of azure-blue skies, more silvery beige tones. Nah, I absolutely adore Lapland, but after a long and particularly gray winter I’m not that thrilled any more.

On a more spring-like note, a few shots from the short walks around parks and nature reserves in Helsinki area. As you can see, I got a bit carried away by moss...

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Do expect more photos tonight or tomorrow. So long, m’friends!

New Year, new year.

Blogroll, Finland, Lifestyle, Likes, Picture a day, SoMe, Traveling

I’ve been postponing writing this post for so long it has become proper awkward – but awkward to whom? To my few loyal readers, or am I just using this as a self-loath tool, to prove what I have not done? Either way, the post is being written now and another item on my to-do list is being checked. Ha!

Last week we got our new supercomfortable futon mattras and a reasonably good-looking bed, got rid of a few bagfulls of stuff that does not bring us happiness no more and while giving the flat a fresh start into 2017 I thought I would be original and come up with some resolutions for the coming 12 months, with a little audit around my birthday (which is conveniently in mid June).

So what kind of year do I wish for myself?

  • an active and efficient one, FFS. I’ll use my potential. I know what I mean, but telling the world makes it a bit more binding. Applies to both work and fun.
  • I’ll take a picture a day and publish it either here or on on Instagram.
  • every day I’ll sketch or be otherwise artistically productive.
  • I will take better care of myself. The body is asking for some particular care so it will get it. Includes some weight or proportion alterations.
  • I won’t buy a single item of clothing from a mainstream brand. Why? Because ethics, ecology and refusing to support fast-fashion. Because I’m sick of poor quality of clothes hidden behind (designer) labels.
  • I’m allowed to cheat a little bit on the previous and buy things such as undies, socks, ball gown should I be invited to the Independence Day Ball and – if I made it to London this year – a piece or two from COS or Jigsaw I know I will wear a lot.
  • I will save toward travelling and house.
  • do something I have not done before every week.
  • be a better person for myself and others.
  • Get that photo project going, dang it.
  • Survive the pipe replacement in the house.
  • And learn basics of a new language – and a foreign alphabet.

So, as a part of my something-new-every-week, today I gave a good beating to the flokati wool rug I’m in a love-hate relationship with. I can still taste the dust and gunk but the relationship has shifted toward the love axe.

And for the visuals amongst you, I have some memories of Prague. Was it indeed a great day ❤ so great that I don’t mind that about a million tourists and locals will have exactly the same pictures. Kitch is good in smaller doses. Who knows where the compressions went wrong and made the pictures into bitmaps…

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I’m particularly fond of the following photo, taken after the sun had disappeared behind the Petrin Hill:

miu_4713-2Nice. Noise. I know. Not completely my fault.

I returned to 894,781 shades of grey in Finland – and to -20°C! I don’t understand why people dislike lower temperatures, I mean -15°C is so much more bearable than -2°C. Or +1°C and a foot of slush and wet snow sliding from the roofs behind your collars.

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And two random thoughts for the end:

  • woolen socks I got from grandma rock. Roses and wool and lanolin cure and the smell of beeswax. 
  • do you know what is the best christening present? A Google account in the baby’s name, or close to it at least. Soon Google will run out of domaines, so be creative when naming your baby. 

And keep well.

Winter frolics. Part 1.

Blogroll, Comments, Creations, Lifestyle, Likes, Winter frolics

I thought I would start a series on winter symbols, signs reminding me of Christmas approaching, wintery ways of obtaining vitamins, happiness and something to look forward to during the cold and slow-paced season…

Well here is the first one:

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Do you wonder what this is? It is quite simple really. If you ever bought a pack of dried dates, chances are that the pack came with a complimentary fork. “Fork”. Plastic, blunt, sticky and unbelievably flimsy, bending in clear arches once it touches the date skin. No living person has ever used it for eating dates (or for anything really?) yet they have been a part of since 1935 (I made that up). I’m sure that the original kind was made out of wood (or similar) and was actually quite nifty, unlike its modern offspring.

I guess this is yet another thing we keep doing “just because”, with no rationing behind…

Day one.

Blogroll, Comments, Finland, Immigrant integration, Likes, Picture a day, Traveling

As a part of my degree I’m participant-observing an integration course in a small town. The course’s length is about 4 weeks and the purpose is, well, to introduce the newcomers to the Finnish society and Finnish and Swedish languages. It is unbelievably rewarding and eye opening – made me realise how hard it is to draw any kinds of conclusions: political decisions, personal opinions,

Two participants caught my eye, and I cannot stop thinking about them, and about how integration policies and other integration efforts on national and local levels leave out these groups of immigrants: the elderly. Typically the parents and grandparents of the ordinary immigrants in productive age, people who have been living all their lives in traditional ways. Now they find themselves in safe environment, for the first time ever maybe, for the first time abroad. Their only living link to the society are the translators who assist them in contact with the authorities and their children and grandchildren.

These two course participants, an Afghani couple in their sixties (?), were not at all opposing the idea of learning a new language and settling down in a new society, quite the opposite, but realistically, how… how can we (yes, we, all of us) do this?

What are their chances of getting “integrated”? If our integration policies are heavily labour market orientated, what does integration of the elderly entail? What can we offer them? How can they feel integrated in our society? And what can they offer to us if not work force?

I’m sure that they would love to continue living as valuable citizens in their new home, give and enjoy life and their families. They are thankful for having found a safe place and people willing to help them, and surely they would like to give back. But how? Has anybody at all thought about these groups who fall between the categories? 

An individual integration plan has been the most efficient solution so far, but of course it had to be adjusted to the ordinary immigrant: a healthy person in productive age, speaking some English, no higher education completed, with prospects to learning Finnish or Swedish to B1 level at most, work prospects typically in transport and housekeeping… every single person who has relocated to Finland knows who am I talking about. They must have been referred to as one of those on numerous occasions – and guess what, the ordinary man may not even exist! But the reality is that the further one is from the definition of the ordinary immigrant, the harder it gets to receive suitable assistance in the process of integration into the host society.

Trust me, I’ve been there.

I hope that we as people lucky enough to have been born into a secure society can make the ‘tweeners fit in in one way or another. Culture bearers and specialists? Reliable and positive people you would enjoy to live next door to and possibly let babysit your children now and again? Sources of  cultural knowledge and an asset for us to learn how to live differently, better, how to assist those who seek security and reasonable life prospects.

*sob*

In order to contemplate a bit more on this topic – and to get over the fact that I received an unjust parking fine!! –  I took a little ride to Kråkö, a lovely little island about 15 km south of Porvoo. Houses, fields, boats, water. A little paradise for those who enjoy living in small, safe communities (still for my liking too far from the city) of Swedish-speaking people;)

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Oh and a little piece of news:

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Ha! Cannot wait to get this beauty serviced and going ❤