ChristMust.

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This has been among the sombrest Christmases I have ever experienced. It was not just Covid and the feeling of reality it brings about, although that definitely was a big part of it. It was not just missing my family, my safe space, although that, too, did contribute a lot. And, in fact, I’m very grateful for many things every day: I’m alive, I feel and understand things, I have a little family, I have a roof above my head and food on my table, I have a job and a lot of freedom – but at risk of sounding ungrateful, these facts just do not click together right now.

This Christmas felt like eating Finnish Christmas Food (to which I have little emotional attachment) on any autumn day (yes, autumn, as there is no snow and temperatures are only around 0¬įC) Sunday at in-laws. No Christmas emotions, anticipation, smells, sounds and emotions once again. I did not know this would set me back so much, but looking back at events of 2020, it is not that unsurprising that Christmas did not turn out as Christmas.

This year I did not really feel the connection to the world around me, instead, I automatically shifted focus on me and at my shortcomings in life (all of my life?) which then blocked off my productivity and creativity. The reason why I’m posting this little is that I have nothing visual to go with my verbalised thoughts, well I would not read a blog without graphic elements, it slows down scrolling so much! Anothe reason for so few pictures is that southern Finland has been now sunk in grayness and dullness (and NO, polar night does not mean grayness and darkness!) and, well, the way life is at the moment there were simply not too many opportunities to take pictures with a film camera.

Another linocut practice piece of 2020.

Why am I writing this?

It is a reminder to myself and those who might ever read this that sometimes life sucks, it can suck and hurt in so many ways, it can feel like a short episode of super intense paralysing pain. It can feel like you are running on about 60% of your capacity, you feel less, you do less, you even think less. It can feel like a rock on your chest that never really goes. It can feel like everything is a struggle and you have to fight for all of this. It can feel like you have lost all your limbs, or that your heart has been pulled out of the chest (or stomach for what it feels). It can feel like a mild headache, kind of in the background all the time and you only realise it when you want to change your position and then *ouch*.

I see a lot of emotion in this.

And that is fine. At least I hope it is fine, because I frankly see no other consolation in this. I have now seen how so many different things can go tits up in so many ways and within such a short time.

At the same time this year has seen unusually many of friends dear to me becoming parents (some even of the second child), some friends published books, some re-thought their business and adapted to the situation and I doing so great, some people developed so much – some people actually had a good year. And for the first time ever I’m not jealous of other’s achievements. I learnt to embrace it and feel happy for them, I learn to fail and embrace it, and for these, dear 2020, for these I’m thankful to you. And bless you, my dears.

Poinsettia.

Over and out, friends, this is this year’s Christmas card – note that of course I did not have the right paint/roller, because the only shop in Finland stocking these has been in total chaos the past weeks/months. So now I ended up with a stash of stencils I need to print, stash of films I wanted to shoot and a big jug of humbleness. And also a bowl of pizza dough I need to put into oven so I’m going to end this right now.

Butter, vanilla and ginger, love you guys.

Nature vs. Nurture.

Blogroll, Helsinki, Lifestyle, Winter frolics

… or how was it? I never noticed this tree in Kamppi, a place which I pass many times every week. Looks quite nice in contrast to the sunshine (for real)-illuminated sky. I mean, the tree is located at one of the busiest spots in Helsinki, thousands of people and hundreds of buses pass by every day, and it just stands there peacefully and bears whatever we pass onto it.

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… just like the people closest to us, right?

As you can see, the snow is gone, long live the snowy frosty weather. Together with the snow, my better half departed for an adventure and he took some of my worries with him. There is much to do still, apply for grants, meet VIPs, ingratiate myself with gatekeepers, visit more Swedish speaking areas, take pictures of whatever I have made lately…

… sorry but due to certain circumstances, or certain people using this blog as their stalking platform, I cannot share more at this point. But I shall, I’ve used this platform for 10 years and no lack of respect shall change this ūüėČ

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^ our beloved apartment building. For another several months at least. The picture is taken yesterday, note the winter sky contrasting those miniature apples (I always wondered whether they are edible…).

An hour and about 1000 steps later:

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This is the official Christmas street of Finland, and an unofficial and accidental tram no. 4 – and the legendary Stockmann department store clock. I mean yeah, it is Christmasy, yet nothing I’d blog about… oh oops!

Another part of the Christmas street is the shop window scene at Stockmann. I have no idea what was in the window this year, all I could see was… blue and black silhouettes.

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Oh and may your Advent Sunday¬†be blessed! Cannot wait to be with the loved ones, nothing can beat a family get-together, watch the little and elder ones alike… And for those curious about our humble season decorations, do not despair, they will be documented once there is daylight.

Cheers to good life!

(not with this glass though, found downtown, abandoned yet still shining)

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…

Sun-mary.

Blogroll, Finland, Helsinki, Lifestyle, Picture a day

I understand that a picture per day is pretty hard when it’s cloudy outside – or when you are stuck inside day in day out, or when you’re depressed and cannot really see the point.

But here we go. Things happen nevertheless. I went for a cheer-up ride to Espoo (the horror), more precisely to the gateway to Suvisaaristo, and even more precisely to Matasaari. There is nothing particularly exciting about the space, maybe the chapel (the red house pictured below), the sheer number of couples getting married in here and the fact that there was no-one to be seen. With an exception of an elderly couple fishing.

 

And a bit of summer reminiscence. A dried-out waterfall (algae really) and the last purple of the year:

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Oh and today we visited a place many Finland/Helsinki-located folks must have passed: it’s just off the main railroad between Helsinki and, well, anywhere really, just off Pasila stop. The place is not unlike Villa Mehu¬†we visited¬†a few weeks ago, except for that it is less artsy, less over the top and reachable by public transport, and it is known to the locals as Kivilinna. A complex of one-woman-made simple building and walls made out of stones found around Pasila, an attempt to live on one’s own and build an alternative world, disturbed maybe by the passing-by trains. A popular place to visit by old and young alike. It has made it to the news a few times¬†recently, mostly because it has been fenced and people have been showing they disagreement. Now. Why. Unless you are blind, drunk or totally irresponsible, the place is no more dangerous than any other foresty OR urban jungly spot in Pasila… thankfully the locals took matters in their own hands and the fence has been quasi-professionally opened for anyone curious enough… a big thank you to you!

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Oh and I need a dog. Or a baby. And I need either of those even more after visiting the Rescue dog event in Suvilahti on Saturday. Those soft paws, kind eyes, thankful hearts and therapeutic souls, how can you… how can you enter and not fall in love with one, regardless of their “family” or placement status.

 

(… and a little urban landscape shot from¬†Suvilahtiūüôā

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How is Finland otherwise? Ah well, getting cold, dark and more and more Christmasy. The first Christmas decorations were spotted in mid September, there are more of those to be seen. The one major wintery thing missing is sweets: I can’t wait for Lidl and their German Christmas/Winter goodies! Nomnomnom, marzipan and ginger-bread (and random liquor in combination with chocolate)!

I’m afraid I have quite a week ahead of me and it makes me feel partly excited and partly paralysed with fear. Avail or not. Disappointed or what. Hopeful either way, as this too shall pass and the things will start looking better soon? Right?

It is way too warm outside

Blogroll, Creations, Helsinki

for December, yet sunshine is scarce. Here are some of those precious moments:

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I mean what does one do photography-wise when the weather is like THIS?

Ha, I know! Takes pictures of one’s Christmas preparations. Just to show off. And feel included in the blogging world. And boast with my family bliss, which I’m in fact enjoying to the full at this very moment (yes, it is 1am on a Saturday and I just finished baking Linz biscuits and I smell like hundred bucks (worth of butter and lemon grind).

I went for Finnish winter/Christmas colours: all shades of grey thinkable with silver and gold glimpse glitter…