What I miss from Czechia.

Blogroll, Lifestyle

Pretty much all expats miss (and will definitely tell you about) certain material things from their home countries – this is nothing rational, rather, pure materialised homesickness and nostalgia. Typically, those little things are by no means necessary for survival in the new country and can be enjoyed through all respective senses and are often connected to the taste and smell of home (I’m not too thick on Czech sweets, soda, booze, or cuisine), or, have something to do with the overall comfort of life. In my case, these are things related to accessibility of networks, services, and to arts and crafts.

So what are the things I miss most from Czechia,

my fatherland given up a long time ago?

Family and friends – goes without saying.

Stores. (German-style) drugstores. Affordable organic produce stores. Variety of and in stores. Stationery stores (!). Toy stores. Convenience stores.

Koh-i-noor and Centropen stationery.

Marinated beef sirloin with cream sauce – like once a year.

Proximity of Europe and easy train/car travel to the rest of Europe.

Variety of flours.

Variety of shoe brands available, including Czech brands. I’m tired of those four (sub-par) shoestore chains in Finland.

Herbal and homeopathic remedies widely available.

Ingredients for making own detergents and cleaning products as a part of a non-toxic life style.

This kind of ruler. Sorry, but how on earth do kids learn to draw perpendicular lines in other countries?

And of course the landscape, although I never thought I would admit that.

This too shall pass.

Blogroll, Finland, Pikku

My daughter feeds me, combs my hair, smiles at me and plays by my side. Cuddles, squeaks, babbles, smacks her lips. And I realise with every day to come that one day, one day quite soon, this precious time the two of use have will end. We will get (back to) our commitments, interests and ways of getting through the day. We will be mum&daughter forever, but it will change.

I’m writing this as a reminder to myself that although some days are less bearable than others, that it is not in one’s power to be the perfect entertaining-attending-active mother at all times, that this baby time is so valuable. I *need* more time for myself, I need more company, I need tricks to get my baby to fall asleep faster and to eat better. I need and want to develop myself in other ways than, uhm, being caring, patient and multitasking.

But I will miss being a mum of tiny Lela.

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Autumn happened.

Blogroll, Finland, Lifestyle, Traveling

I’ve been doing some PhD related work recently and further exploring Swedish Finland – this time in Ekenäs. Or was it Raseborg? Either way, it was again really enriching, really different to the rest of Finland.

I was there on a Friday just before the first Pride Parade in Ekenäs. Rainbows, colourful socks and cups, hairdresser putting up rainbow flags – everybody was positive about it, chipping in with their share of atmosphere. Because Pride is a celebration of minorities, and acceptance of minorities and minority cultures in the majority society rather than merely “tolerating them”, it is a big thing in Swedish Finland. Sexual/cultural and national minorities encounter and share their experience.

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Oh and autumn happened. While walking around Vallisaari yesterday I noticed the crunching leaves, autumny sappy mushroomy smell and the low sun. The time of new beginnings is here once again. And once again I was so emotional about being so old experienced. I remember the smell of autumn London 11 years ago when I just had enrolled at the university and took a (teary) walk in Regent’s Park, wondering how I’m going to manage? On my own, without any social networks? Homesick, mildly depressed and with this stupid paralysing panic fear thing?

11 years later, and I’m still here. Doing pretty well and better every day, although looking back in anxiety how on earth could I not see certain things, contemplating my life choices, regretting not having done things – but at the same time somehow balanced and content. Is this what adulthood feels like?