Sunday, May 20, 2018

Royal Wedding & Warriors

It's been a pretty busy weekend so far, with lots of happenings, activities, and even a Royal Wedding!

I kept my promise of studying, and spent the whole afternoon on Thursday at my Uni. When I was finished I noticed that the campus was surrounded by police cars and security men. Later on I found out that the president of Iceland was actually visiting the University, which is pretty cool I guess! Luckily, I had checked the weather forecast and knew we were expecting some heavy rain, thunder and lightning, and made my way home just in time! It was pretty cozy really, sitting by the kitchen window and looking at the sky which turned dark in a matter of minutes!

After it had stopped raining, I was picked up by Emppu and we went hunting for bargains at the flea market! I actually ended up finding three cool pieces: some floral pants (perfect for Italy), a nice top and my favorite find - a hat! At first I was unsure about buying a hat from a flea market, but I've tried to clean it to my best ability!

I realized I had not taken a picture of my hat while writing this, so here is me (in real time) with my hat, hence the messy hair
While Thursday involved a lot of twists and turns with presidential visits and thunderstorms, Friday was much more mellow. Other than spending a good portion of the day planning for our trip next week, I also went out for a run and made some delicious chicken wraps (with the help of my boyfriend) for dinner. 

Saturday on the other hand was packed. We started the day by meeting up with my parents at Paavo Nurmi Stadium, where this year's "Stafettkarnevalen" was held. Stafettkarnevalen is a Finland Swedish relay race for schools and it is one of the biggest events of the year in Swedish speaking Finland. It is usually held in the capital, but since the stadium over there is under construction, it was held in Turku this year. I've also participated in the event, not as a runner, but as a cheerleader! All of the schools have their own cheerleading squads, and I was the head cheerleader together with Ansku when I was in 6th grade. I still remember most of the cheers and how much fun we had planning for the event. Unfortunately I don't have any pictures of our squad, and our homemade pom poms.

However, this year my brother was running for his school, which is why we went to see him. He did a very good job, and we were all cheering and jumping up and down when he ran. Most importantly - he didn't drop the relay stick!

After the race and a quick lunch in the city, I went over to Ansku's to watch the Royal Wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. She had even printed out a Wedding Bingo for us to play, which I ended up winning! Meghan looked beautiful, Harry looked dapper and they seemed very in love.

The wedding coverage was over after a couple of hours, but my day was definitely not. My team was still working at the "Warriors" competition of the Junior Basket Tournament, which was held in Turku this weekend. It was the first time and event like this was organized, so there were definitely a lot of "ifs and buts" when it came to planning and executing. In the end, we pulled it off and the kids seemed to have a great time! Afterwards we were definitely worthy of a drink and planned to go out to celebrate the successful event. However, when we finally got home I think most of felt too tired to get up from the couch, and we decided to postpone our night out to some other time!

Today is the kind of Sunday when I don't really have anything planned, but at the same time I have a long "to do list" written down which includes packing, cleaning, washing clothes, ironing stuff, printing travel documents and buying a few travel essentials. It's the type of list that takes a whole day to finish, so I should probably get started!

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

28 degrees

Before I get into what I've been doing this week, a quick recap of the weekend:

On Saturday it was finally time for the Eurovision finale, and I had convinced my friends to come over to my parents' place for a viewing party. We held our annual competition where everyone guesses the top 5, Finland's ranking and the entry to be last. This year there wasn't really a clear winner, because the results were quite surprising. Well, the winner wasn't but everything else sure was, like Finland coming second to last! Honestly, I was just pleased with us making it through the semi-final!

My mom was so excited for our Eurovision party, she gathered all of the masquerade stuff she could find around the house. I definitely get my silly side from her, which I love!

On Sunday we celebrated mother's day with a delicious BBQ and a lovely strawberry cake that my grandma had made. How is it that grandmothers are so good at baking? I hope I'll be as good of a baker when I'm a grandmother!

The plan for this week was originally to do the last bit of writing before I take a short "summer break" and go to Italy. What happened in reality was that Finland, and more specifically Turku, had the warmest weather in all of Europe this week, which obviously meant that there was no way I would miss this opportunity to go suntanning! I didn't go swimming once last summer because the weather was so crappy, so I'm definitely glad I was able to just be outside these past couple of days. 

Also glad we have an outside pool pretty close - today especially it felt so nice to take a dip in the pool!

Don't get me wrong, I have been studying, but not as much as I had originally planned. Then again, I think I'm worthy of a little time off - for the past 6 months, I've read through at least 20 different books, I've written (and re-written) over 80 pages, I've felt good about my writing one day and awful the next, I've had serious anxiety about getting everything done in time, and I've had days when I couldn't care less. Now I know I will have to wait until after summer to hand my thesis in, so I'm not sweating the small stuff!

I've also been training with my team outside, which has been a lot of fun! We've mostly been running, which is something I've absolutely hated in the past. Running after a basketball? No problem. Running 5 km outside? My worst nightmare. But, I have to say now that we've been jogging for a while that it isn't that bad. I still don't think it's the most fun thing to do, but I do think that my dislike is mainly psychological. When you go out running by yourself, the threshold for quitting is much lower, but when you run in a group, everyone is pushing each other to do better. So who knows, maybe by the end of this summer I'll come to love jogging!

I'll leave you with this picture of me after 3 whole days of sunbathing - and yes, I wore sunscreen!

Sunday, May 13, 2018

Kurjenrahka national park

The weather has been phenomenal here for the past couple of days, and since my mother had some time off from work, and my grandma was visiting us this weekend, we decided to go for a little hike  on Friday to the Kurjenrahka national park, which is not far from Turku.

I had never been before, so I didn't really know what to expect, but it was really beautiful! Basically we went on a hike around the Savojärvi lake, which was about 7 km long. We got to go through the forest and the swamp, and also met frogs, lizards and even a snake along the way.

The weather was perfect, and my favorite part of the day was definitely having lunch by a bench right by the lake. It was so beautiful!

All in all we had a great day, and I definitely loved that I got to spend some quality time with my family out in nature!

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

The coziest of balconies

First of all - FINLAND MADE IT TO THE FINAL IN EUROVISION! It was so nerve-racking watching them announce the finalist, but I'm so happy we'll be performing again on Saturday!

Secondly, you may have noticed that i changed my header for the blog. This was mainly because for some reason, Blogger decided to delete my previous header (which is something that happens every once in a while). I don't feel like I have taken any good pictures of myself recently so I wasn't feeling inspired to create a new, exiting header. For now, I'll stick with this very simple design.

Third thing: Other than meeting my thesis supervisor, I've spent a majority of my day cleaning our balcony windows. Now it's not only super cozy, but you can actually see what's going on!

That's all I had for you today!

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Signs of summer

After wappen I've focused on writing my thesis and getting the majority of the work done before our trip to Italy, which is in two weeks! I am beyond excited and definitely look forward to a little bit of vacation before I start working full-time in the summer!

I've also managed to squeeze in a few shifts at work, and basketball training, into my schedule

Luckily, I've already had the opportunity to enjoy the sunshine, as it's been really warm in my city for the past couple of days. Remember a couple of months ago, when I was complaining about it still being close to -20 degrees outside. Well, now it's the total opposite! Well, they do say that if the winter has been cold, it's bound to be a warm summer!

This week is also an exciting one for me, because its time for EUROVISION! I'm a huge Eurovision fan, and have already heard all of this year's entries multiple times. I really hope Finland will get through to the final, because I definitely think Saara Aalto is a worthy qualifier.  Unfortunately, the competition is very tough in the first semifinal, but we'll just have to hope for the best!

Other plans for this week include going hiking on Friday with André, my mom and my grandma, sunbathing on Saturday with Emppu as well as watching the Eurovision final with friends, and celebrating Mother's day on Sunday!

↓ an assortment of random pictures from last week ↓

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Wapp 2018

Yesterday (and today) we are celebrating Vappen or Vappu in Finland. Cristel and Reko were kind enough to host a BBQ party at their place, so once André got home from work, we got ready and headed over to their place. Waiting for us there was little Hugo whom we were all super excited to meet! He was adorable, and definitely the star of the hour.

At five thirty we made our way to Vårdberget, where Finland Swedes gather annually for some Valborg celebrations. We didn't stay for too long, just long enough to pop the sparkling wine and put on our graduation caps. After we headed back towards Cristel's and Reko's place and finally fired up the grill. I must've been quite hungry, because I didn't really take any pictures of the delicious food and the wonderful desserts that Emppu and Cristel's mom had prepared for us. The rest of the night we pretty much chatted and played a variety of games. A little after midnight we were all pretty tired, so we called it a night and went home to sleep!

Today we're not doing much, on May first people are usually having picnics but it's raining and cold, so that's definitely not an option today. Instead, we are going to test out a sushi place with Cristel and Reko, and probably just chill and take it easy!

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

We're going to...

Italy! Finally, the flights and hotels have been booked and we can start the countdown ー in less than a month we'll be on our way to Naples!

Neither me and André have been to Italy before but have discussed travelling there for quite some time now. We both really wanted to go somewhere along the coast of Italy, but also a place where you could get to rather effortlessly from Rome. In the end we chose Naples, which seems like a really cool and vibrant city where modern meets history. With the ancient city of Pompeii, Mount Vesuvius and the city of Sorrento on the Amalfi coast nearby, I'm sure we'll make some memorable day trips along with exploring the city!

"When in Rome, do as the Romans do". We decided to spend the last days of our trip in the country's capital, which is why we booked a hotel for one night in Rome as well. We'll have about 24 hours to explore the city, which isn't much, but from what I've understood, most of the 'must-see' sights are quite close to each other, so I'm sure we will make the most out of our short time in Rome. Plus, my brother is named after the main character of the movie Gladiator, so I definitely have to visit the Colosseum just because of that, right?

Wonder how many people have recreated this scene at the Colosseum?

Sunday, April 22, 2018

Cake for days & an emotional surprise

Last week practically flew by as I kept myself busy with writing, basketball and birthday celebrations!

As I wrote last time, I celebrated my 24th birthday on Wednesday. I was woken with cake in bed and also received some lemon infused honey, a cute journal and a pen that you can write on blackboard with (we've had one before but it disappeared during our move, I've been meaning to get one ever since but never got to it) from André. Since it was a normal Wednesday I spent the day writing and replying to people who congratulated me, but in the evening we went to have dinner at the restaurant where I work during the summer. The food was good and the sparkling wine was on the house, so I can't be anything but pleased!

On Thursday I met up with Julle for another study session. I have to say I'm impressed with us and the fact that we've actually gotten shit (excuse my french) done while studying together. The weather on Thursday was lovely, so we ended up taking a little break from studying in order to enjoy the sunshine. 

Friday was a bit of an emotional roller-coaster. I had a meeting with my supervisor about my thesis, which actually went well, but other things (which I will not get into her because 1) long story and 2) I'm perhaps over-reacting a bit) left me feeling a little bit down. When I got home I was basically just laying in bed an sulking when somebody knocked on the door - it was my friend Emppu! She had made me a cheesecake for my birthday and came to surprise me with it. I was already feeling emotional so I started crying when I realized what she had done. After that I was feeling totally different and it was a good reminder of what is really important. I don't mean that education isn't important, but ya know - don't stress about the small stuff! How lucky am I to have a friend who makes me feel my best after feeling my worst? 

Even though I loved the cake and it was super delicious, I have to say that with the cake I made for André, the cake he got me for my birthday, and this surprise cake, I've had enough cake this week to last me a year... no more cake for me!

On Saturday me and André had bought tickets to go see the football match between local teams FC Inter and TPS. It was the first derby this city has seen in a while, since TPS hasn't played in the highest league in two or three years. I enjoyed watching the game, even if we were feeling pretty cold after being outside for a couple of hours. After the game we got a lift with my dad and spent the night at my parents' house.

And finally, today we've celebrated my little brother turning 16 (and yes. I obviously played Hilary Duff's "Sweet Sixteen" for him). We started the day with a birthday breakfast which was delicious, and he got some of his gifts - double stuff oreo's, mint oreo's, white chocolate covered oreo's and oreo chocolate. I think we have a pretty good idea of what he likes. Later in the evening my grandparents also came over for dinner, which was also delicious. It was obviously also very nice to see my grandparents, especially since it's been quite a while since I last saw them.

Other than that, I've spent a lot of time listening to Ariana Grande's new single "No Tears Left to Cry" which I am absolutely obsessed with, and Avicii. Most of you will probably have heard about his tragic passing, and even if I wasn't ever a super fan, his songs have definitely been played on replay at countless parties and nights out. I immediately think back to a couple of summers ago, when my cousin Nadya was visiting from the US, and it was her first time going out to a nightclub. We made up a dance to the song "Wake me up" and danced it over and over again. I'll always think of that memory when I hear the song, which just shows what he was able to do with his music!

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Nothing but parties

Last time I wrote, I mentioned that I was going to celebrate the end of the basketball season with my team, and we had a really great time as always. We ate good food, drank lots of sparkling wine, reminisced about the season and discussed next season. I feel really lucky to be playing in such a great team where everybody is supportive and we all get along so well! Although the season is over, we've all agreed we'll keep on training through the summer, so that we're ready for Division 2.

Outfit pic taken on Julle's balcony. I was there doing her and her friends' hair for a party they were attending. Unfortunately forgot to take a picture of the finished hairdo's, but they turned out pretty good I would say!

This week has gone by super quickly, mostly because I worked another week at the kindergarten. This week I also got to spend a few days with the youngest group of kids, the 0-3 year-olds and Oh My Gosh, they were so adorable! Especially after having a nap, when the kids were all warm and cuddly ❤️ Also, kindergarten nap-time has to be the best thing ever. I wish we had those in adulthood as well!

Also, yesterday we celebrated Andre's 25th birthday! We had agreed not to get any big gifts for each other, since we're planning on going on a trip together instead. So in the morning I woke him up with a hug, a kiss, a song and a small present which included a magazine and two different flavors of organic dark chocolate. I also made him breakfast and baked him a cake, which I have to say turned out really well! I was a bit nervous, because the last time I attempted to bake a cake was for my dad's birthday, and it ended up with me having to run to the store after being in the kitchen all day to get a pre-made cake... But this time I decided not to make the batter myself, instead I bought a Betty Crocker cake mix which was honestly super delicious and moist, and then I just made the frosting and decorations myself. 

We took the cake to Cristel's and Reko's place, where we spent the evening watching football and eating homemade burgers. I had a great time, and most importantly, André said he had a fun birthday!

I have to say I slept pretty uneasy last night. I had a nightmare within a nightmare, basically I dreamt that I was having a nightmare about a demon or a ghost, and in the dream I woke up and realized I was having sleep paralysis (when you wake up from a dream and can't more or talk). Then when I woke up in real life, I thought I saw a figure next to our door. It was actually just a pile of clothes, but for a second I was sure someone had broken into out apartment. Then in the morning, I woke up at 8 because somebody rang our doorbell twice. Andre went to look, and it was some random woman. We didn't recognize her, so we didn't open. It was pretty strange, I think she probably just had the wrong door. Or maybe the building complex is haunted, who knows!

Thursday, April 5, 2018

Easter and April

It's been a while, and since I don't feel terribly inspired to blog, I decided to just do a quick recap of how my Easter went, and tell you what I'll be up to in April!

We spent this Easter in Ostrobothia with Andre's family, which was great! I also got to visit some of my relatives who lived close by, whom I haven't seen in ages! I definitely enjoyed spending time with all of my second cousins and meeting the newest member of our family, Leo!

I've spent the last few days at my mom's kindergarten, substituting for one of the teachers who is sick, which has been a lot of fun! I'll also be substituting there next week, and I'm definitely looking forward to getting to know the children in my group more. Plus, it's nice to do something other than just writing for a change.

Some fun things I have planned for April is a party to celebrate the end of the basketball season with my team, which is actually happening this weekend. I'm definitely looking forward to it, since we had such a good time last we went out together! April is obviously also the month both me and André celebrate our birthdays. This year we've decided not to exchange gifts, but instead go on a trip together later in the Spring. The plan is to book the hotels and tickets soon, so we have something to look forward to!

That's it for today! I'll try to check in again in a week, but I won't make any promises!