Heinola, Finland

I started to do some countryside sightseeing in Finland past weekend. I went to Heinola where I haven’t been in years, this is the town I grew up and soon as I got off from bus I was; ‘literally everything is still the same’. My childhood friend who is having holiday here in Finland before her return to Australia, came to pick me up (I could have get lost…or not). It was not as sunny on Saturday than past weeks has been but still fairly pleasing weather.

Heinola is like so many of those little cities in Finland it blooms up in summer and goes back to sleep by the winter as bears do back here up north. Everything around me was miniature compared to my memory of the place, like I would have caught the biggest mushroom in Super Mario Bros. 3 and everything around me would turn small and tiny. If I would have solely rely on my memory of the city, I would have picture it with a way bigger distances and all the buildings bigger than they actually were. So, how did Heinola look like? Here some bits and pieces from my Saturday visit in my hometown.

 

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Plot Twist

Just put a little twist on it! Earlier today I was sitting in a café enjoying that biggest latte they have in house and trying to concentrate on thesis writing after work. I have to admit that I got distracted more than once, mostly due to headache I was going through but also that fact of the weather! It is not even June yet and we are enjoying +20 already! I can’t complain, I just had to dig out my comfy jumpsuit from closet and deal with the fact that I can use this piece way earlier than I thought. Really, my glass was half empty and I thought there would not be time for me to even wear it here in Finland. Someone has proved me wrong again.

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But about the twist, well this weather could be called ‘plot twist’ because I think no one except Finns believes that it is actually happening but smile on my face wasn’t due to this ‘plot twist’ I’m getting quite used to it already (sun makes me smile though…always). Extra smiles for today comes from a) there happened to be two teenagers next to me in café, who would remind me of those ‘golden times’. Yes, I do remember when I had discussions about my average or someone else’s, there is a boy who plays football? There are…many, or how about just that heart-warming conversation about friendship and how whether they were from different school (nowadays it is usually country) they were still friends.

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On that instant I had to send a message to my partner in crime in China (and yes, I have had to answer questions about my ‘twin’, if she hasn’t been with me in certain areas in Shenzhen). She also recommended me a book called Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead by Nell Scovell and Sheryl Sandberg (and yes, it was a good read…), there is a lot that name can do, for example change people’s reaction on his/her personality. I have my rant post coming about women and working life, but let’s leave it now. Okay, I will add still… please women do not put the break on your career because you might be starting a family in few years. I’ve never thought about the issue from this perspective, before Lean in but I’m convinced that there is too many people driving side roads too afraid to take the motorway.

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As a b) when I got home today, I had a letter waiting for me. I usually don’t get letters and my aunt had asked my new address past week and when I got home I had something waiting for me;

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It is those little big things that can make your day shine a bit brighter than earlier. Then there is that c) and I think I could put it in a nutshell as a happiness. My friend happened to have a birthday yesterday and we had a really nice picnic in Hakaniemi including cake, champagne and friends (I think I should have not burst on to that monologue about Jon Ronson’s the Psychopath test… but I happened to finish it on Monday). There is something about this spring, I haven’t got a bright clue yet what but making Helsinki home has most to do with all those people who have taken me back into their everyday life after my time being in China. I’m so happy that I have those people in my life, making this transformation a bit easier. I’m not finished yet but maybe there is butterflies coming later this year…

Pics are from this land far far away, where sun is shining and people can wear jumpsuits in May!

Gulf of Finland

When you want to publish a post but you have no idea what to write about. My brain is working 24/7 first work, then thesis and after that everything else, I just can’t find that writing flow. Every post I’ve tried to write has been somewhat cryptic and as far as I’m concerned not on a list of ‘you really should publish this’. I just wanted to come and show some pics from last Friday when we had a get together with my colleagues. We went to a small cruise in Gulf of Finland and those views! Pretty, or more likely beautiful I would say! How all of you are feeling about it?

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Gulf of Finland from miladyopri on Vimeo.

Self-confidence for sale?

It is marketed to us from every single channel, how by using this, this and that we will be something we are not, but perfect that you can be. I really do like my make-ups and cosmetic stuff in general, but confidence for one self can’t be found in there. Sometimes these products can vanish those insecurities we have, but by time we take the mask off, those things are still in us. There is no cure that would come outside of us, that can make us feel more comfortable in our skin. It is coming from somewhere else, and I would argue that it has little or nothing to do with our looks.

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Something that has made me wonder the issue more has been the difference between China and Europe. When I go to drugstore in China, in every shelter I can find products that makes you whiter (I have tested couple of them in my hand, I would get an authentic Michael Jackson look with them). That is quite opposite for what we have in Europe, where we go to solarium to be darker, we buy products that makes us looked tanned. Why we have a need to see that there is something wrong with ourselves?  Hate ourselves for something we naturally are, and then try to fix or hide it with something? Would it be easier just embrace our natural characteristics rather than try to hide them? As a thought this sounds as simple as world peace, but in practice…

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I started to write this post already in July, but somehow I just could not go further. Felt like this topic just ends there (of course it does not). It is the whole world that has gone twisted, you can’t hide anywhere. I’ve had tried to fix something since I was 8 or 9, just because I was told that I’m ugly. Fix the ‘fact’ that I was not appealing to couple human beings, who thought it was fine to make this kind of statement. It is not surprising that there were humans acting this way, what I find alarming is the fact that person who is 8 year old somehow thought this argument was valid.

‘Baby, it’s never an insult to be called what somebody thinks is a bad name. It just shows you how poor that person is, it doesn’t hurt you. So, don’t let Mrs Dubose get you down. She had enough troubles of her own.’

To Kill a Mockingbird

For a really long time I thought I would not deserve anything I got, just because of my looks, it felt like a sin. Later on of course this turned other way around; I got this only because of my looks. There is this huge pressure, I don’t know where it is coming from and why we are not capable to do anything to it, but the pressure puts us into not so welcomed position. It is kind of place where you have to prove yourself all the time, first to yourself and then to others.

It is part of our time, to be this almighty person. One who is able to run a house, look good; go to gym, post a picture of a high protein food like cottage cheese, and act like eating it would make you the happiest person in the world, go to surgeries after pregnancy because ‘my partner might look at his assistant, it will be beneficial for the whole family’, do make-up every morning and make sure your clothes are on point.  Have a career (and make some extra hours too every now and then, of course the normal work week is already 50h), keep up with friendships and after that have the relationship (where you of course are perfect partner, providing everything your ‘other half needs’ and in case of children… well I’m not going even there). When did everything turn into achievement? When we turned the world into place where everything is about the ‘happiness’ 100% of time, and when was the moment somebody told us the biggest fattest lie of our time; Perfection is happiness.

Perfection is something we can try to achieve, happiness is not. Happiness is not about achievement, not about looks, not about perfection. I’m positive, because I’ve tried all 3 of them and happiness was nowhere to be seen. I can still add that I have no clue what and where happiness is, and at this moment I was going to write and ‘how to achieve it’. It is already built in us, we think that we have to achieve, deserve happiness. No, happiness is something that comes to us naturally if we want to, often we don’t. It would be the greatest thing in the world if we would be able to let happiness into our lives, and it would be as easy as to bake cookies, but it is not. The words are there, but to actually understand it, that is the tricky part.