Saturday, December 9, 2017

Blogmas day 3: Suomi100

It's December 9th y'all!

But a few days back it was December 6th, which happens to be the day we celebrate independence day here in Finland. This year was special, since it was exactly 100 years ago that we gained our independence from Russia in 1917. 

This year I've really thought a lot about what being independent really means, and how much the generations prior to ours have had to sacrifice in order for us to live in a free country. There is a classic Finnish film based on a novel by Väinö Linna called "Uknown Soldier" that is shown on TV each independence day, which depicts the Continuation War between Finland and the Soviet Union in 1941-1944 from the perspective of Finn soldiers. This year, a remake was made of the film to celebrate Finland's centenary, and I had the opportunity to see a showing of the movie. It was definitely moving and it made me realize just how young the boys and men fighting in that war were, and how the whole society was affected by this war. Most of all, I feel an enormous amount of gratitude towards our veterans who have enabled us to live in a peaceful and free country today.

The Finlandia Hymn was written by Jean Sibelius and is one of the most beautiful songs I know.



My independence day started with listening to my mother's choir performance at the steps of the Cathedral. Afterwards we had dinner at my parent's house. Me and André were in charge of the appetizers, and we ended up making a "suomi sandwhich" which was a potato flatbread with a smetana whitefish filling. My dad made the main course which was absolutely delicious (roasted potatoes and sweetpotatoes, beetroot and a beef roast with red wine sauce), it was actually so delicious I forgot to take a picture of it, and my mom had made us yummy pannacotta as a desert.






I ended the night by watching the independence ball which is a tradition for many Finnish people.


This weekend we have an honorary guest visiting us as Andre's best friend Tony is staying over for a couple of days. I also have a housewarming party to go to, and some lessons to plan for Monday which is my last day at the school in Pargas, so the weekend will probably go by super fast!

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Blogmas day 2: Christmas parties

Happy December 5th!



This post is dedicated to Christmas parties, especially the two that I have attended this past week. The first one was on Saturday with my lovely teammates and we had so much fun! The food was good and the company was even greater! We ended the night in a newly opened nightclub in Naantali and I stayed until they closed up, which I haven't done for ages. I must say that I remembered why the next morning... 

We also dogsat Maya this weekend, so I  thoguht I'd try to take a cute pic with her before leaving to the party. As you can see, she wasn't so in to it 😅





This happened when we tried to get a group photo and somehow ended up taking a sped up video. It might be my favorite gif of all time!
The second party I attended was Britannica's annual Christmas party which was actually held tonight. Although I have been studying for 5 years at Åbo Akademi, I have not once attended a Britannica Christmas party. This is because I've always been abroad during the holidays, but this year I'm staying in Finland so I finally got to go and see what it was all about. And I had a really lovely time! I got to decorate gingerbread cookies, make my own Christmas cards, eat porridge with cinnamon and sugar, and although I had not brought a secret Santa gift, I ended up winning a lottery and receiving a huge tub of Nutella! So I was absolutely over the moon. 

The cards I made...

... and all of out creations together!

Tomorrow is a very special day because Finland is celebrating 100 years of independence, which we will be celebrating together with my family. I thought I would dedicate my blog post tomorrow to this subject, and tell you why Finnish independence is important to me!

Friday, December 1, 2017

Blogmas day 1: Getting in the holiday spirit

Happy December! This is actually a post I wrote yesterday since I knew today, and the whole weekend as a matter of fact, would be super busy. I have work, dog sitting and a Christmas party with my teammates coming up in the next couple of days, so the plan of blogging every day this December is probably not going to happen. But I will try to post a little bit more often, promise!

So since it's December and it's finally acceptable to be festive, I thought I'd share how I get in the holiday spirit!

💗 Drink lots of glögg, obviously

💗 Watch some seriously bad Hallmark Christmas movies. This is something I've only started doing recently, since I discovered there's a whole collection of them on Netflix. My favorites are the one's when someone famous/royalty falls in love with an everyday Jane Doe, like a true Cinderella story (with an excruciatingly bad script).

💗 Put up my Christmas decorations in my apartment. This year we're even thinking of getting a tree, which means I'll have to buy even more Christmas decorations!

💗 Watch Holiday Baking Championship on Food Network. This is a show I discovered last year when we were in Florida. It's like Masterchef but they only make holiday treats.  And I love it. 

💗 Watch my two favorite Christmas movies, The Holiday and The Grinch. This year I have not yet watched either! Maybe Sunday is the day for that....

Friday, November 24, 2017

Thoughts on Black Friday

I mentioned in my earlier post that Black Friday has become a much bigger thing in Finland and when I mean much bigger, I mean that last year I think literally one store had Black Friday offers and this year it feels like every store has Black Friday offers. And it makes me feel a little bit anxious. Both me and André had the same reaction last night when every other commercial on TV was literally an ad about Black Friday offers. We both started looking through websites to see whether they had any good deals, despite not really needing anything. André pointed out that excessive advertising of Black Friday sales almost made you feel like you were foolish for not buying anything. It was a little bit scary to think about, actually. Don't get me wrong, I LOVE a good sale but I also noticed how these marketing schemes are affecting my thought process. 

That being said, I do actually need some new winter boots so maybe I'll try to hunt for some tomorrow (and I'm serious about needing new shows, wet socks are not a good time people!)

Today was supposed to be my last day observing lessons at one of the schools, but due to some miscommunication I had gotten the wrong information about where the class was held and therefore missed the lecture, which means I'll have to go back on Monday. I think it is a good example of how things don't always go to plan, especially in the teacher profession. I have many examples of this from the last two weeks. Most of them were also documented on my snapchat, so here's a recap of the last two weeks in snap format:

A lot of my time last week was spent in the bus. Taking the bus to Pargas wasn't really all too difficult; the bus stop was a 5 minute walk from my apartment and buses went fairly often in the morning and in the afternoon. But as you can see from the last picture, by Friday I was quite tired from the early mornings. On that same day my bus also broke down, which meant we had to wait outside in the rain for another bus. I made it just in time for the lesson though, which was a relief. 


Then there was the whole "computer breaking down" situation, which wasn't ideal considering that I actually had stuff that needed to be done on the computer right at that moment. Waking up at 6 in the morning hasn't always been a blast either. But I have to say that waking up earlier than usual does mean that you get a lot more done in the day, and that's actually felt quite refreshing!


Any downtime I've had has been spent doing as little as possible. Last week there wasn't much of that downtime though, since I had accepted a job offer for Saturday. This week has been a bit less hectic, but I do have two games this weekend (one today and one tomorrow), so wish me and my team good luck in tonight's game :)

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

November update

Hi!

It's been a while and this time I actually have two really good excuses as to why I haven't been posting!

A picture of me in case you forgot what I look like
First of all, I've been doing teacher training at two different schools for the last two weeks, which has been so much fun! There have definitely been a lot of early mornings (especially since one of the schools is located in Pargas which is a 40 minute bus drive away) but I've learnt a lot and I've really enjoyed observing lessons and also teaching myself.

The other thing that happened was that my computer finally gave up and broke down. I got this computer in 2010 (I think?) and it has been functioning very well considering that it's a 7-year-old laptop which weighed 10 kilos (that's what it felt like at least).What actually happened was that the battery of my computer fell on the floor and stopped working while I was in the middle of planning some lessons and I immediately knew I had to work super fast to get the work on a memory stick, since the battery life of my computer was very poor and would shut down within 10 minutes of being plugged out. I would've probably started crying if I lost that work, because I had literally been working for several hours at that point. 

For the next couple of days I alternated between borrowing Andre's computer and one I got to borrow from the school, but since it is Black Friday (which hasn't really been a thing in Finland in the past since we don't celebrate Thanksgiving, but now it's starting to become more and more popular) this week and they have some pretty good sales throughout the weeks, I actually ended up buying a new computer on Monday!

November has definitely gone by really quickly and I'm slowly but surely getting in the holiday spirit. Maybe in December I'll try to do a 'Blogmas' and post something Christmas related every day? I'm not making any promises but I do have some Christmas inspired posts coming up soon!

Yesterday felt like a truly magical winter wonderland - the snowflakes were huge! Most of it has melted away by now though. 

Monday, November 6, 2017

Eating chicken like a fat bastard

MERRY CHRISTMAS! Since Halloween is over, and we don't celebrate Thanksgiving in Finland, the next holiday to look forward to (apart from our 100th year of independence) is Christmas, and I'm definitely starting to get in the Christmas mood. Nothing major, I promise you, but I've definitely had some hot glögg on occasion already. Also, it's getting darker and darker as we speak (I swear it's already dark outside at 5 o'clock), so all you really want to do is curl up under a blanket and never leave the house. 

All in all, last week was pretty relaxing. I didn't really have any work shifts or any classes during the weekdays, which meant I had lots of time to focus on my pro gradu thesis. Currently I'm up to about 12 pages, which is a good start, but I definitely have a long road ahead of me. The good thing is that I'm really interested in my subject, so the writing process has been quite fun (at least so far, I'm sure I have a few meltdowns ahead of me). 

Here are just a few snapshots from last week:

Our Amaryllis is looking crazy. It's really trying to reach out for any sunlight it can possibly get // Peasoup and finnish pancake, one of my favoritedishes as a child// As it's getting colder, I'm finally able to use one of my favorite jackets!


This weekend we slept over at my parents home from Friday to Saturday. On Friday we also had our second home game of the season, which we won by clear numbers, but I have to say that we could've played much much better! This was also the first game that all of our team member could make it to the game, which was exciting!


Let me present to you: All of my lovely Sun City Sisters!

On Saturday me and André utilized the fact that we could borrow my mom's car and went shopping, and also helped my brother take down the trampoline from the backyard (or should I say that he helped us do it). We also had dinner at lone star which is a restaurant which claims to have the best burgers in town. I was actually quite full from eating earlier in the day, so I just ordered some wings and onion rings and cannot therefore comment on whether that claim is true or not. Not usually a fan of finger food like that, but it was definitely good (not as good as in the States though, sorry!).

I thought the quote from Austin Powers would be fitting in this context


On Saturday I also worked a shift from eight in the evening until two in the morning at a restaurant/bar, which was a new experience for me. I was a bit nervous going in because in all honesty, I've tried working behind the bar a couple of times and I don't feel comfortable doing it. I mean I can make basic cocktails like mojitos and gin and tonics, but every time I've worked at the bar somebody has requested some crazy cocktail I've never even heard of. Luckily, I didn't have to stand behind the bar this time, instead I got to help out with carrying the food to the table and picking up glasses and plates from the table. It was definitely a full house at the bar, so there was lots to do and in the end the shift went fine, so I was worrying about nothing!

This week I'm continuing to write on my thesis as much as I possibly can, because starting from next week I'll be doing some teacher training in a school and I'm assuming that most of my time will be dedicated to that. 

Hope you all have a wonderful start to the month! ❤

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Horror film watch list

Since today is officially Halloween I thought I would compile a short list of some of my favorite horror movies and/or films I've seen recently. This is also kind of inspired by a literature course I took last semester called "Horror" (my plan as I might have mentioned before was to watch as many of the movies on the watch list out lecturer gave us but in the end I didn't really end up watching that many.)

Some of these will have made the list because I relate them to some fond memories (if you can even say that about horror movies?). Anyways, enjoy, I guess?

The Exorcist (dir. William Friedkin, 1973) 

This was probably what traumatized Emppu

I have to start with the Exorcist because it's a classic, and I'm pretty sure it might have been the first horror film I ever saw when I was around 12 years old. I also remember forcing my Emppu to watch it again with me a few years later. She had apparently been traumatized by the movie and I was trying to convince her that it wasn't as scary as she remembered it to be. I also forced my friends to watch Silent Hill on my birthday (sorry you guys and thanks for still being friends with me). 

Carrie  (dir. Brian de Palma, 1976)


I have seen both the original and the remake, and like with most remakes, it just doesn't do the original justice. Either way, I love Carrie as a story, and even wrote an essay about menstruation as a symbol in King's book which the movies are based on.

Get Out (dir. Jordan Peele, 2017)


I'm sure a lot of you have seen (or at least know about) Get Out, since it is definitely one of the most talked about films of 2017. It is one of those movies that technically isn't a horror movie, but still creeps the hell out of you. Also the commentary on contemporary issues is brilliant.

The Babadook (dir. Jennifer Kent, 2014)

*goosebumps*

This is the latest horror movie I saw, which is why it makes the list. The best way I can describe the movie is 'creepy', it definitely gave me goosebumps on several occasions. I guess I would say it was just scary in a subtle way, not many jump scares. The Babadook itself though - not something you want to imagine standing in your closet.  

The Witch (dir. Robert Eggers, 2016)


Who doesn't love pagan, satanic rituals and creepy children? Also makes me very grateful that I wasn't born in the 17th century.

The Orphanage (dir. J.A. Bayona, 2007)


This must be the one horror film I have seen the most, and one of my favorites too. This movie came out when I was 13, and at the time there was this Spanish TV show, Los Serranos, which was really popular in Finland (I know, it's quite strange when you think about it). Now the lead actress of that show starred in the Orphanage, so I remember it being advertised in Finland a lot. I recently watched it with André, and although he usually isn't a big fan of horror movies, he actually liked it.  I also remember watching Los Ojos De Julia (dir. Guillem Morales, 2010) which starred the same actress, but it didn't really have the same impact on me as the Orphanage. 

My Bloody Valentine (dir. Patrick Lussier, 2009)

*drool*

This movie wasn't that good, but I remember being so excited about it coming out because it starred Jensen Ackles, who I was absolutely obsessed with. 

Annabelle (dir. John R. Leonetti, 2015)

Whyyyyy would you ever want a doll that looks like this?

This is a movie where I didn't have high expectations going in to the theater, but ended up being absolutely terrified. I remember taking the bus home from the movie theater, and literally running the last 20 meters to my front door, because I was so scared. 

Anyways, those are just some of the horror films that I have seen, and I still have lots to watch (like IT, still haven't seen it, like I said, my bf isn't that into horror movies but he promised we could watch it when it's released on DVD and Blue Ray! Any other movies that you think I should watch?



Monday, October 30, 2017

Halloween twenty seventeen

It's been a while and last week was probably the busiest week I've had this fall, so buckle up because this post will most likely be quite lengthy!

Last Saturday (and by this I mean the weekend before, so over a week ago) I had a shift at a restaurant in Mylly. Since I'm currently working for a staffing service company, I don't just work at one restaurant, instead I pick up shifts here and there where I'm needed. This suits me really well at the moment since I don't have a lot of classes, but I still need to reserve time for writing my pro gradu thesis. Basically they will call me up from the staff service company and offer me a shift, and then I can either accept it or reject it. I've been really enjoying it so far and I feel it's a relief that I'm not obligated to accept any job, which makes things a lot easier for me (I'm usually the type of person who cannot say no, and then I end up working way to much and stressing about combining school work with actual work. This has not happened with this job, at least not yet!)

Anyways, the shift went fine but what was even greater was that my family surprised me by showing up at the restaurant during the last hour of my shift! So once my shift ended I sat down with them for dinner and it was really nice to just hang out with the whole family for a while. Plus they gave me a ride home, which was much more comfortable than taking the bus!. I had also made plans to meet up with Julle and Emppu, so I went to sit with them at Tårget for a while. I had a really nice evening, but was feeling pretty sick so after a couple of drinks I thought it was best to go home and get some rest.



Sunday was very relaxing, we only left the house once and that was to go have lunch at Delhi Darbar - definitely the best Indian food in town!


On Monday I had a super early wake up, and that was because I was going on a picnic cruise with my workmates from the restaurant where I worked this summer. I had not seen them for a while so it was definitely fun to catch up with everybody. A picnic cruise is basically a day cruise where you take the ferry to Åland and back. The day was spent eating both breakfast and late lunch at the ship buffet, playing bingo, singing karaoke, doing some tax free shopping and well, drinking. When we arrived back to the harbor at around 8 o'clock, the plan was to continue the night at a pub. I however was still feeling pretty sick and definitely knew that if I didn't go home now, my cold would only get worse. And quite honestly, I was super tired. I definitely had a really fun day, but going home after the cruise was the right way to go!


On Wednesday I was again working another shift, this time at a hotel where some company was having a Christmas party. My shift didn't end until an hour or so after midnight, so I figured I'd ride my bike to the hotel despite it being cold and rainy outside, since there were no buses going at that time anyways, especially not on a weekday. Well, that rain turned into snow, which resulted in me having to walk my bike home and my shoes getting absolutely soaked. The first snow didn't last for long, but winter is definitely on its way to Finland.

Friday was the day of the week I had been looking forward to the most. This was because of two reasons: 1) I was finally going to the hairdressers, and 2) we were hosting a Halloween party. So for the hairdresser I only knew I wanted some natural looking, lighter highlights. As always, the hairdresser kept commenting on how thick my hair is, and she suggested that we cut it a bit shorter and thinned it down a little so that it wouldn't be too heavy and flat. I thought that sounded like a good idea, and basically gave her free hands to do whatever she liked. I really liked the outcome - I mean, it was definitely way shorter than I had planned to go, it's probably the shortest it's ever been. And the styling she gave me made my hair look like "The Rachel"reeaally 90's. But when I got home I curled it a little bit myself and I instantly fell in love with it!


Now for the party we had done quite a lot of prepping. We decorated the living room with mostly DIY decorations and I had also baked monster cookies and some Halloween cupcakes. I'm really happy with how it all turned out, and I got a lot of compliments on the baked goods, which was great to hear!



This year I dressed up as a scarecrow, and I took inspiration from a picture I saw on pinterest. Definitely an easy costume to pull off (you just need a flannel shirt, a hat and some ripped jeans) but I have to say that I was really pleased with the how my makeup turned out!


I was also really happy with the fact that literally everybody came dressed in a costume! That is pretty rare in Finland, because Halloween has only recently started to become a mainstream holiday here. And all of the costumes were super creative too, but this year Julle won the costume contest with her "Naked Sims" costume (which, I have to take a little bit of credit for because it was something we planned together that Saturday in Tintå). 







Saturday was super chill and I may have spent the whole day in my pyjamas. I also watched The Babadook while I was alone at home. It was a bit creepy, but I figured I had to see at least one horror flick this Halloween!


And now finally to yesterday, which was game day for me and my teammates. We lost by three points, and it sucked. That's pretty much all I have to say about that. Our next game is on Friday, and you best believe we are going in it to win it!