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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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.

 

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.)

Block print rediscovered.

Art, Blogroll, Comments, Creations, Finland, Helsinki, Picture a day

This will be a quick one.

In a desperate attempt to break through as a visual artist I’ve been getting my hands dirty lately – washing printing paint off various surfaces.

These are some of the first results: Helsinki illustrated. There are more to come, these were in my eyes the most obvious things to start with for the moment: one of my favourite streets, Villagatan/Villankatu, and the messenger of spring, the elegant crane. Things get done faster when there are deadlines…

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Planned projects for the near future include coffee packaging, a card game and handprinted postcards. That’s the plan for the moment at least, while I’m still interviewing people and trying to make progress in my research.

How to find the perfect flat?

Blogroll, Finland, Helsinki, Lifestyle

Location, location and location. The only three valid criteria for looking for the place to live – everything else can be fixed. This is valid probably to all countries except for Finland where land ownership and pretty hefty costs of repairs – not to mention the dreaded and expensive putkiremontti, aka go and eff yourselves for 3 months while we replace the water pipes in your building for no obvious reason – mean that you might, actually, give in after a while. But if you are looking for the gorgeous city apartment, try applying the following for narrowing down your search criteria:

check locations along the tram line – the trams typically serve the once residential quarters which in today’s speak mean liveable places close to the centre and with decent traffic connections.

– check locations on the train line(s) – and by that I don’t mean the underground, look for the real, hardcore suburban train. You might find really interesting spots minutes from the city centre. The bus is for plebs and the underground smells of fat and pee.

check locations close to the water – river, sea, fake lake. Just do, even when you don’t think you care that much. The current urban development trend is to build on anything solid, but you can still count on the fact that building on water surface remains technically… difficult.

don’t look at the number of rooms, that is totally misleading. You can always divide or unite the space – and actually, even the number of square metres is for orientation purposes only. Look at the dispositions, the number and location of doors, etc.

– when you considering buying a place, enjoy a short meal or a coffee there. Ignore the looks of the estate agent or the owner, just, well, see how it feels to be there when you are relaxed and occupy your mind with something else than thoughts about the technical and financial questions. This might sound superstrange, and it kind of is unusual, I admit. Women take hours shopping for their wedding dress, so why should your rush buying a flat? Word of warning: when you chuckle at the tasteless colour scheme the previous tenant left the flat in, try not to be that loud.

don’t lose hope. You can always rent – and wait. There are housing bubbles in many of European capitals. They will burst one day.

 

February. Already?!

Blogroll, Helsinki, Picture a day

In case you were wondering why I have not posted anything for way too long (sorry), THIS is why:

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Seriously, one gets so little inspiration from the absolute lack of light. Somehow I have been fighting the past weeks on autopilot, and as of February I feel I might… might finally be ready for bigger transformation. Another kick: as a matter of fact, today I received a new batch of business cards arrived today, with the new kitty/geometric logo.

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I’m pleased with the result.

So. The idleness and lameness aside, I’ve been putting on weight, doing some artwork and writing up PhD related stuff. Finally I have some sense of direction I believe. Maybe my research is relevant after all…

I cannot even go for walks to get inspiration, and I’m not the kind of studio photographer (babies, budoir, nudes, meh, I’m not into staged photography. I hate when I can totally tell how unnatural the pose or the situation is), or the stalking kind taking pictures of people sipping their coffees or performing their acts. I need more spontaneity, more light (duh) and more life. I was thinking I might like to sneak into a closed world in its own terms, like, a factory or another kind of institution, seemingly independent on whatever is going on outside. The truth is, nobody likes photographers spying on them, or observing their work or casual movements, and the last thing I want to cause as a photographer is to upset people.

I cannot say my recent attempts to be photographically productive have been successful. Today, for example, I took a walk around the Töölönlahti bay to Kaisaniemi park. People were – with the exception of drunkards – rushing from building to building/vehicle, striving to spend as little time in transit or outside as possible. But then I saw the beautifully lit greenhouse of the botanical garden in Kaisaniemi:

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Nowhere near as interesting as an average botanical garden around Helsinki, but in the overall dimmed grayness the old greenhouses were shining far around. Next time I’m in Österbotten, and that shall be quite soon, I will take pictures of mink or fox farms and those huuuuge greenhouses shining like lighthouses. They contrast amazingly with the snow… should there be snow.

In order to compensate (at least on the paper) for my photo- and bloglaziness I already planned two and three halves of travels for this year. Some in Europe, some possibly beyond, depends on circumstances. No matter how much I disappoint my mummy, I think I will be going to Romania, to Transylvania and Danube delta to be precise. I have been wanting to go for ages, and I feel this could be the sort of a cultural holiday I need. And yes. Transfăgărășan road, aka another Ceaușescu’s mad projects, is indeed on the list.

What else is left to say? Keep calm and… huh huh… hope for the sun! Meanwhile, spend times with those who have you dear.

(frozen, drity ground compilation)

 

Winter.

Creations, Helsinki, nature, Picture a day, Winter frolics

We had exactly 3 days of winter last week. Winter meaning minus degrees, snow and sun; after that it quickly turned back to good old liminal grey nonsense.

On one of these days I took a feel-good walk to the cemetery and paid tribute to the frozen cherubs.

On another day I had some business in Malmi. I wish there was something more exciting to take pictures of. Maybe some other time?

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However, during the weekend we were meeting some friends on Suomenlinna. And that’s why this post will probably take you like 2 hours to load – I cannot resist taking AND uploading all the pictures. According to hardcore Suomenlinna locals such days are scarce and should be enjoyed fully. So we did that.

I don’t think these photographs need any comments: we took the ferry to the island and walked around and drank coffee and bubbly. The light was soft and warm and everything was so fluffy from frost.

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I’m particularly fond of the following picture. Eeeeeeeeghh!!

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Everything was fluffy and beautiful. Bikes, trees, trash along the paths, fences, rails. Everything.

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The best thing is that apart from minor exposure etc. corrections no photohandling was needed.

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Some views across the half-frozen sea…

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Those pastel colours!!

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Obviously we tried to avoid the crowds.

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A little peninsula.

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Isn’t that wonderful? It was. A few days later the temperatures climbed above zero and all the beauty was gone. So I resorted to books, emails, articles and sketchbook.

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Have a lovely weekend everyone!