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 ❤

Golden hour. Or golden 16 minutes.

Blogroll, Helsinki, Picture a day, Sunsets

A few moments of joy after a day spent fighting migraines and other troubles. The beautiful light was followed by hot juice and bun – I bet that helped too!

I’m kind of thinking already about what to post about tomorrow. It has to be about my new hobby: dumpster diving. As some of you know, our beautiful  and beloved house is soon undergoing repair work, and we will have to leave our den (sob) at least for some time. The janitor was so kind and organised a skip in the inner yard where (rich) flat owners have been disposing of their excess junk. To cut the story short, so far I’ve rescued a glass jar which is now trending massively in Finland as an interior accessory and two shelves for framed pictures. I’ve heard rumours about a certain neighbour whom I truly respect and who might be throwing out a substantial number of books soon… Ah, bring the rubbish on!

I wash my hands and my newly acquired possessions properly by the way.

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Weekend. Week. End.

Blogroll, Helsinki, Lifestyle, Likes

Happy to see this weekend at the end. Why? Because F 33.0, maybe even F33.1. Either way, today we by total chance found this old factory (Labor) in Jorvas, just off Kirkkonummi. Whatever was made in here, I really enjoy this picture. Those angles, those shadows.

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While trying to get rid of the above-mentioned codes on Friday I think I discovered another liveable area in Helsinki – Kallahti. It had it all, vicinity of metro station, sand beach with full-grown conifers, a cosy café, a peninsula covered with forest… and overlyoverlyoverpriced tall apartment houses…

… it was windy and dramatic and there was sea. Kind of what I needed.

(friendly/hungry duck for a companion)

Uhm, what else. We went to our first common house viewing, just in order to get a grasp on what’s going on with prices and areas to live around Helsinki. I know, I know. The age has gotten to us, we are trying to escape to the nature, pick apples and keep bees. Or something. It doesn’t matter how it went as we can currently not afford the house anyways, but it was a positive experience nevertheless!

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Oh yeah, this is what I wanted to show you: another of my calming walks was meant to lead me (and you, m’dear readers) to a garden colony in Käpylä. How traitorous. The whole area was fenced and guarded by harpies and CCTV. I had to walk around the whole area, and I found this bush. Those silver flip-sides of the leaves, they were flickering so happily in the autumn wind. Kind of reminded me of fish scales. Or silver coins. Or chocolate.

 

Lahti.

Blogroll, Finland, Likes, Traveling

Last week I received a free hug from a random guy (offering free hugs on one of the busiest squares in Helsinki). Of course I had to try it out, and, oh my, such a little gesture and it changed the whole day for me. It stopped my ever-stressing train of thought and calmed me down. Random acts of kindness work and are appreciated. If I were see the guy again, he is so much ending on this blog!

So, the weekend: yesterday we did some tree planting. Yes. We were renewing the local forest in rain under the supervision of (again, local branch of) Lions. It might be the age (I know, I’m either babbling about my age or the weather), but I really missed direct contact with earth and plants and such – hah, in no time you will find me digging in the ground all weekends! (Not.)

And Sunday was another museum day for us, this time we chose Orimattila and Lahti; a more thorough report will follow on my Museokortti blog. I never thought that Lahti was a lovely place, and well, it is not. Today is Whitsun, people should be doing something together, visiting weddings, eating out, sitting in the church – well no, Lahti centre was almost deserted and the only people to be seen were teenagers sipping on cheap canned beer and a bunch of lost souls.

Even so more I was surprised to find out that Lahti’s “main” church was designed by Alvar Aalto. It was open and completely empty – well why not, at least nobody was walking into my shots. Clean, simple, white – yet definitely not sterile or cold. I might have uttered something like “what a waste of a church for this place”, but I did not actually mean it. Of course.

In the line with Aalto’s angles and waves we continued to the ski-jump bridge area. The training bridges were somehow cute compared to the 170m tall monsters… Sadly the viewing tower (the actual main ski-jump bridge) only opens in a few weeks, but, errr, I think the view was lovely as it was.

Are ski-jumpers completely mad?

Seems so.

Saturday ping.

Blogroll, Finland, Helsinki

I’ve been feeling pretty emotional lately – too many upsetting things keep happening, some of them over and over again, and virtually all of them are so hard to change. If I could wish one thing for the humanity it would be for everybody to realize that although personal liberty is absolutely essential aspect in one’s life, the choices we make every day should be, well,  informed, or at least conscious. And not just informed in the sense that we’ve read an article on superfoods online, but more like… like that we all have a lot of responsibility to this planet and too the humanity. What we buy, what we say, what and how we dispose of, all this affects so many people.

Will we ever run out of excuses why not to take responsibility for out actions, for casting the blind eye?

*end of the melodrama nobody cares about anyways*

I’m well if you were wondering. Last week the weather was absolutely fantastic… Oh and I do know that I write about the weather in like every single blog post – but the weather affects me so much, and even so more since I’ve moved to Finland, quit all sorts of hormonal products, started listening to my body and appreciating living side-by-side with the nature. Consequently, my mental wellbeing has improved and I’m generally much more content. And don’t mind becoming “old” all that much.

Where were we… ah, the weather, the sun, the light, an absolutely wonderful week. And the two weeks before – since I last time updated my blog SHAMEONME – were not too shabby either, equally sunny yet slightly crispier. Either way: Finland in spring and summer equals paradise.

First, a set of lakeside pictures taken with my new-old camera. And I discovered my first shipwreck!

We, too, celebrated the May Day, and it was really nice. Spontaneous champagne tent invite extended to a circle of friends -> encounters of joy. After the celebrations in the Kaivoupuisto and after having suffered through 20 minutes in the toilet queue we proceeded to the market square (read: we wanted to sober up a bit and I craved some cotton candy). Just like in the previous years we found the guy selling iconic foam lizards, symbols of vappu/May Day for the previous two generations. The guy was still a bit reluctant to agree with an interview: “not quite yet.” – Well we will be back next year. At least I managed to take a sneaky pictures of him!

What else do we have here… ah, some snippets from Helsinki (Pasila concrete moments, Olympics velodrome and an somehow unexpectedly decorated window on the way to the city centre)…

… and from Turku. If you wonder what is so special about it, I’ll tell you: those were the first signs of leaves a couple of weeks ago. And scout lilies 🙂

From Tampere, with love:

 

The following set is from the botanical garden in Kumpula which I visited a tad too early. Most of the flowers are still waiting for the full bloom, but this magnolia seems to have already been through it a while ago. And that just added to its delicateness… those angles, those geometric shapes, those bright whites! I’m so incorporating these in my coming art/craft projects.

And what would a Finnish blog post in May be without a picture of blooming sakura trees of Roihuvuori? An obligatory social media haul, a cheesy background for your phone-portraits and selfies, well, at least I can say I did it the cool way – when *I* visited, around 9:30pm, there was only a handful of people, and a beautiful, warm evening light…

I had this thought

Architecture, Blogroll, Doors of Helsinki, Helsinki, Likes

to share, but it is quite late and I cannot for the love of cats remember a letter of it. I just know it was pretty witty and deep at the same time. It was about recycling and why buying second hand makes sense, and that it is not a money matter but a concrete act of (e)conscience and fight against sweat-shop based economy. I know you are dying to know all about it, so let’s skip to the visual, shall we.

First, a few silent moments from Malminkartanonhuippu:

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And now a leap to Eira. Some details to begin with: “always aiming high, always ready”…

… a few uninteresting details and the mysterious shabby house on Rehbindirentie 13…

… and the last, pretty trivial, set: Doors of Helsinki again – this time from Eira…

Of course this cannot be it. Guess what I found among these lovely houses, one of best Helsinki addresses?

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That’s right. Russian embassy. Growl.

Is it OK if I don’t want to write anything for the moment?

Architecture, Blogroll, Doors of Helsinki, Helsinki

Partly because I don’t know what to say, partly because it’s pretty late, yet I cannot go to bed without posting some pictures which are safe and somehow pleasant to look at. I guarantee that they won’t make you jealous or feel bad about your life, your figure or your purpose in life. Nor will they force my life into your face. Nor will they make you feel sorry for the less fortunate ones. A few days ago I caught a sunny afternoon for once, so I grasp the opportunity and drove to Lammassaari… and walked and listened to birds and cracking ice and the humming of the cars bringing their drivers back home from work.

The second par of this post is way more concrete. Way more tangible. Way more Helsinki. I took a walk around the city centre and took picture of doors and gates. I tried to grasp the art-nouveau feel of Helsinki, the one really hard to explain to visitors acquainted with the French/Central European version of this style. Sometimes (read: often) the art-nouveau mixes with romanticism and revival of Finnish mythology, typical for late 19th century, so please excuse me not being consistent in my focus – but the walk was great. Weather, light and cars parked in front of some of the unique gates not that much.