Speed hike. Speed dive.

Blogroll, Finland, Lifestyle, Picture a day, Sunsets

What does a non-diving diver’s wife do while her better half is testing some new gear in a place like this?

MIU_5935(I actually love – or hate love – how disturbing the above picture is! I hate the composition, it stresses me every time I look at it. It feels as… as if the forest would not fit in the picture, as if it was pressing down on the lake. Interesting how bad composition can affect (some)one’s emotions.)

She walks. It was a race and I won, I managed to hike around the Iso-Melkutin lake. It was nothing extraordinary, the scenery was pretty much like this all the time:

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And it was super peaceful of course, after all it’s Finland and Sunday late afternoon. I was at least hoping to spot a lynx, but was out of luck this time.

There must have been a wind storm in the area not a long time ago, there were plenties of logs and branches in the water (and along the path). More than usual. In combination with the lake’s clear water it was a nice scenery.

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And some sun-kissed reeds from the walk – needless to say I proper wet my shoes while taking picture of these fluffy ones.

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And these nameless ones.

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And the picture of the day for the most faithful of my readers: sun, water, wet shoes and the good old nameless flower.

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Don’t get me wrong, it does get a bit boring at times when you are with the divers but you “actually… don’t dive”, and the thought  You never know in advance how long they’re going to take, there are no amenities around, in case of bad weather there is nowhere to hide and it gets a bit boring, and you feel like a short-order cook when you  start lighting up the fire and grill the sausages. But actually at that point it is mostly for you, ’cause you are starving and tired of waiting.

After that your better half smells of mud and rubber and… you are glad that he is fine.

 

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 ❤

Disclaimer for my previous post.

Blogroll, Finland, Helsinki

Don’t expect any major confession in here, I just wanted to put you in the big picture.

So I was feeling a bit sad. It does happen sometimes, doesn’t it, and thought I’d just take a walk in the nature, get rid of the headache and the thick black spleen. I went to Nuuksio and had a blast. And on the way back I stopped at Koivusaari, one of these exceptionally interesting spots along the Länsiväylä (a very busy road for Espoo-Helsinki commuters).

Koivusaari is conveniently located only a few hundred meters from a metro-station-to-be-very-soon, and despite the vicinity of Länsiväylä it is quite calm. I’m sure somebody else noticed how conveniently located this island is, so unless the boat owners have some kind of a union, we might soon see the end of Koivusaari as we know it and get ready for yet another developers’ experiment.

I had no particular reason to visit the place, just because I wanted to see what is there…

.. well, boats apparently, and boat owners getting their vehicles ready for the season. I did not really fit in; my response to this identity misplacement was that I accidentally hit my head on that fin-like thing (you know, right, that thingy which goes under the water) of one of the pretty vessels. I hope nobody saw that.

In joyful moods (as joyful as my head bump was) I continued walking around the island – it is tiny and used solely by boat owners, occasional picture hunters and – quite surprisingly – boulderers (there are no cliffs, don’t get excited, just a somehow biggish piece of rock overlooking the sea).

I’m sure  you remember what the island looks like from my previous post: boats and innocent sea views.

Wait. Did you see that?!

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Look closer. Closer. Even closer. No, I’m not enlarging the picture for you.

Above that big rock is a pier and an army of naked Finns taking a dip after having obviously been to the sauna. One by one, in an orderly and natural manner. This sight made me giggle for a few long minutes…

And what else did I do today? Collected birch sap. It went surprisingly smoothly, and the result tastes very refreshing. We should have waited a few days or week though, the sugar content is still pretty low.

The plastic bags with our ca 1hour yield of sap from 3 different locations (hence the numbers). Looks plastic, tastes fantastic. And being

Ah, and a few snippets from a short with a tussilago picking mission in Nuuksio (especially love the blue flowers screaming here we are, at last!). The older I am the more and more I appreciate living in the countryside, alongside the nature. I live in the middle of the city and I love it here – and I absolutely adore the flat we are lucky to live in, I should show you why at some point, especially as we are due to move out soon. And I hate the suburbs and even so more those unlucky and antisocial satellite “housing projects” (collections of wanna-be-upper-class horrendous houses located some kilometres beyond the city border, either in the middle of nowhere or as a part of small villages or settlements which had respected traditional urban growth patterns).

It is incredible how the proximity of real nature has helped me to get over some rough times, it is not just the scene and the smells, it is the whole system, the immense power of the nature to revive itself over and over again.

Sob. Living in greenery. I’m getting old and I’m loving it.