Wednesday, 7 December 2011

Just a little note from today

On my way home from work

Guy at the till: So, have you had a busy day today, or just a relaxed one?
Me: Work. I just finished.
Guy: And you decided to come here and boast about it?

I love banter with shop personnel!


Thursday, 1 December 2011

December's here, then...

Everybody seems to post about Christmas today (and probably for many days to come), and I wasn't going to do the same - until I saw this fantastic video on Anna's blog. Loved it!

I had just got used to the fact that the second Halloween was out, Christmas was in. This year, though, Christmas almost seemed to beat Halloween! A lot of places seemed ready for Santa's arrival by mid-October, and I actually saw the first TV ad for a Christmas catalogue in August! I usually spend November (and I guess October in this case) moping about the Christmas decorations being up too early, but his year I decided that if you can't beat them, join them. This decision has lessened my stress quite a bit, I have to say!

Anyway, now that it's December, and also because I'm leaving Edinburgh on 17.12. for my holidays, I'm all in for starting the Christmas season! We actually had a first Christmas party last Saturday, when the Finns from work met up in North Berwick for dinner, drinks, a few presents and lots of talk. Good times :) The next one is coming up this Saturday, with a Christmas dinner for about 50 people from work. Should be fun :)

Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Retracing my steps

After reading this blogpost I started thinking about what has brought me to where I am at the moment, as well as some of the places I’ve been before.

First, there was France. Ever since I was a kid, I’d been planning to go on exchange when I was old enough. I don’t remember where I first found out about exchange programs, but I know my mum had told me she’d been planning to go to the US for a year when she met my dad, so she changed her plans. I suppose I talked about going on exchange for years, so I never really had to have the talk with my parents, trying to convince them to let me do it – I always assumed I would be going on exchange when the time came. For a long time I wanted to go to New Zealand, but towards the end of high school, when the time was getting closer for me to apply, my parents told me I should go to a non-English speaking country, and since I was studying French, that was the obvious choice.

A year after I got back from my exchange in France, I went back there for a couple of months to work in Disneyland. Once again, it was something I’d been thinking about for a long time. My aunt’s sister in law has been working at Disneyland Paris for years, and ever since I found out about the possibility to go and work there for a summer (which, again, was many years ago) I’d been planning to do it when I was old enough. So I did.

Then there was London, twice. The first time was sort of a coincidence. I was supposed to spend the summer in a small Welsh village, but circumstances changed and I suddenly found myself in South London. Not a bad deal, really. The “second time” was right after, with just a short break in between. This one had a lot more thought put into it. Once again, it was an exchange, Erasmus this time, which was something else I’d intended to do pretty much since I found out about it, whenever that was. The past few years I had considered different options, but Brussels had been the main one since I started studying. At some point London pushed itself into my head, and in the end I applied to go to London and Chester. I got the place in London, and voilà – there I was.

This time around is a completely random one. A strange train of thought is what brought me here, for the simple reason “Why not?”. It started from finding out that my favourite band was performing at the Fringe this August, to the idea that there would be lots of jobs during the festival, so maybe I should apply, to going to Edinburgh in June to spend the summer there, to deciding to stay for an undetermined period of time. And here we are.

Saturday, 10 September 2011

The life of a translator

A while back I found this blog which contains comic strips about the everyday life of a translator. I'd like to share some of the funniest ones with you. They're all funny because they're true! Enjoy.

Sunday, 14 August 2011


Comment to this post, and I will list five things I associate with you. They might make sense or they might be totally random. Then post that list, with your commentary, to your blog (or just add a reply back at me). Other people can get lists from you, and the meme merrily perpetuates itself.

These are the words I got from Anna:

1. Baking
I’ve always liked baking. We’ve got lots of pictures of me as a little kid ”helping” my mum bake rolls and buns. At high school I took all the cooking classes I could, and always volunteered to be the baker of the group. These days I don’t bake as much as I’d like to, mainly because of all the dishes I have to do when I’m done, but I still like baking every now and then. Most of my friends have had the pleasure of trying my family’s famous mud cake, which takes you to Nirvana at the first taste.

2. Finlandssvensk (Swedish-speaking Finn)
Being part of a linguistic minority was never anything I thought about until I went to a Finnish uni. First there was some hassle with points before I even got in, and when I did, I realised that I’d been taking my language for granted until then. I also noticed that to people at my uni, I was very finlandssvensk, while my friends from school had probably always looked at me as being slightly more Finnish than them. But I also feel more finlandssvensk when I’m surrounded by Finnish speakers, and I have recently taken to play the finlandssvensk card to get out of things, for example, which I had never done before.

3. Shoes
The first thing you see when you enter my flat (in Turku) is a bookshelf full of shoes. Enough said.


4. Turun yliopisto / University of Turku
I started at the Uni of Turku in September 2008. It is the only university in Finland where you can major in French translation and interpreting, the only uni in Turku where you can study translation (properly, anyway), and it’s in the city where I wanted to live, so it was the only uni I considered going to. I really like my uni, especially our little corner of it, and after having spent a term in another university I realised just how well everything works at the University of Turku.

5. Exchanges
It used to be “When I was on exchange...”, but since last fall, that doesn’t really work anymore. My first exchange was a Rotary Youth Exchange year in France, and my second one was a term on an Erasmus exchange in London. Both were great, but very, very different. At the moment I still have about three years of studying to go, so there’s definitely a possibility of me going on exchange again. We’ll see...

Saturday, 6 August 2011

Monday, 1 August 2011


Today I realised how much I'm giving up to do what I'm doing.

Being away a lot, I have always missed out on things, like friends' birthdays, family events and such, but now for the first time I feel like I'm missing out on something big.

One of my best friends is having a baby next month, and even though I'll hopefully get to see him when I go home and visit, I won't get to see most of his first year, and share that with my friend.
She's also getting married soon, and I can't be there to help plan the wedding, and join in on all the fun stuff that goes along with a wedding.
Another close friend is going through some pretty rough medical stuff at the moment, and I'd like to be there for her, but it's not something that's easy to talk about when you only have a few minutes on Facebook or Skype.
Some friends will be away as well, and we'd be catching up online anyway, and the entire friendship I have with one friend seems to be based on an internet connection since we never seem to be in the same country, but then there's someone who's been away for the most part of a year, and I really want to catch up with her properly, face to face.
Finally there's my family, all the things going on with them.
And all the other things that are happening to the people in my life, all the things that are important to them.

I said before that "I can't be there". Sure, I could. But not really. No matter how much I'd like to be there to share all of this, I can't live my life according to what's going on in other people's lives. I'm sad to miss out, but no one ever said that you can have it all, and although I do regret missing some things, I know that for the most part I would not be happier at home than I am here. And I'll try very hard to be there for the really important stuff.

So to my friends, and to my family:

I love you. I miss you. I'm thinking of you.
I worry about you when things are hard for you.
I'm happy for you when things go well.
And I'm sorry I can't always be there for you.

And I know it sounds lame, but I'm always just a phone/Skype call away!

(Sorry if this sounds very cheesy, but I just had one of those moments, and I thought I might as well share)

Friday, 29 July 2011

Friday, 22 July 2011


Often when you fill in any kind of form in the UK there's this bit at the end where you're supposed to say if you have any kind of disability, and what you consider to be your ethnicity - this, they say, to monitor equality or something. Recently I applied for a library card on the site of the council of Edinburgh, and I found another question added to the two I just mentioned:

I think this is just fantastic!It seems like the council of Edinburgh is moving on from the view that gender is simply a biological thing.

Wednesday, 22 June 2011

Linguistic weirdness

My brain is taking me to completely new linguistic levels. Gone are the days when I spoke one, or two, or however many languages. I already had a little taste of this new weirdness when I first arrived in France five years ago. After having spent only a couple of days there, I remember reading a book in Swedish, and hearing the words in my head in Swedish, but with a French accent. Slightly worrying.

Last week when I got here, I quickly noticed I was thinking in English (which sometimes happens at home, too) but with a Scottish accent. The thing is, I couldn't speak with a Scottish accent to save my life. In my head, however, there seems to be no problem at all. Weird.

Also, having spent quite a lot of time with French people this past week, I noticed yesterday that my brain's gone into Frech mode. I was surprised when I suddenly heard someone speak English, and when some idiot almost hit me with his car, my first reaction wasn't to swear at him in Swedish or Finnish, as you'd expect, or even in English, but instead the first thing that came out of my mouth was "Oh, putain!". Very interesting...

Let's see what happens when I start work, and I'll be speaking Finnish, Swedish, English and French (probably) every day. I'm used to it, sure, but seeing as my brain's been having these weird reactions to things lately, I'm not sure what to expect...

Funny/cute thing of today

Place: Starbucks, Princes Street, Edinburgh
Thing: There seems to be a computer class for grannies here, because there's a table with four grannies on laptops over in the corner, and two guys who seem to be telling them what to do. Aaaaw! :D


I might just have to buy this...

Don't really love the colour, but what choice do I have? ;)

Monday, 20 June 2011

50 things about me and travelling

I’ve seen a couple people do this, including Anna so I thought now would be the time to do it myself. Sorry that most of them are a bit long, but it’s a good way to kill time, at least! ;)

1.      So far I have been to 19 foreign countries (and at the airport of one more, but that doesn’t count) on 3 different continents.

2.      Actually, I guess Wales and Scotland would really count as separate countries as well, but let’s just count them as one.

3.      The first time I went abroad (other than to Sweden, which doesn’t really feel like “abroad”) was when I was 13, and three other students and I + two teachers visited a school in Narva, Estonia.

4.      The first time I was on a plane was when I was about 14, and I spent a week in Crete with my mum, my grandmother and my brothers.

5.      I have only been on a package holiday twice; the trip to Crete mentioned above, and a few years later a similar one to Alanya, Turkey. I don’t mind spending a week relaxing on a beach, but otherwise I really dislike those places that are only there for tourists, where even the locals speak some Finnish. Also, the other Finns you see in those places often give you reason to be ashamed of your country.

6.      I once won a three week long language course in Malta for two people. When they called me to tell me about it, I couldn’t even remember having entered any such competition, and I still don’t. Malta was nice, but the course was crap. In three weeks I learned three words; kerb, bleat and itinerary. We didn’t get any kind of cultural experience from staying with a host family either; they clearly took students in just to make money. Still, it’s not a bad place, and I’m sure I’ll enjoy it if I ever go back.

7.      Except for Finland, I have lived in France and the UK. I spent a year on exchange in the French Alps when I was 18, and I went back a year later to work in Disneyland Paris for the summer. I then lived in London twice, basically, in 2010: au pairing from June till September, and then on my Erasmus exchange from September till January. Now I’ve just arrived in Edinburgh, and I’m planning to stay here at least till the end of the summer, but after that we’ll see; I make no promises.

Disney "hotties" à la Discoveryland
8.      After my exchange year (2006-07) I spent a year in Finland, but after that I haven’t been in Finland for more than four months at a time, sometimes a lot less.

9.      I’ve clearly made a reputation for myself as a traveller; people are surprised when they see me in Finland, and my parents get asked where in the world I am at the moment – the expectation obviously being that I’m not in Finland.

10.  I’ve always loved London and everything to do with it, even before I ever visited it.

11.  The first time I went to London was in April 2009. Then October ’09, February ’10, June - September ’10, September - December ’10, December ’10 - January ’11, March ’11 and June ’11.

12.  Both previous times that I got back from London this year it took me no more than a week till I’d got myself tickets to go back.

13.  During some of 2009 and most of 2010 I constantly had three trips coming up; after every trip I somehow managed to plan in a new one almost immediately.

14.  I’ve toured Europe three times; twice on bus on Rotary Youth Exchange’s Eurotour (once as an exchange student and once as a tutor) and once by car with my parents after they came down to France to take me home after my exchange.

15.  The longest trip I’ve been on (not counting the times I’ve lived abroad) was on the Christmas holidays of 2009 when I spent five weeks touring Australia and New Zealand.

16.  When I was in New Zealand I wanted to go bungee jumping, but I didn’t have the time. I did go skydiving and caving though.

17.  One of the best things I experienced in Australia was when I was in Canberra, and the people I stayed with took me outside the city where I got to see wild kangaroos pretty close up.

18.  Before I went to Australia, the longest time I’d spent on a plane was about four hours. Suddenly I did 2+12+10. Ouch. I was a bit excited to finally get on a plane with my own TV screen though, but by the time I arrived in Sydney I was over it.

19.  I don’t think I’ve ever loved flying, but there used to be a certain excitement in the whole process of going to the airport, checking in, going through security, boarding, etc. etc., but after I had 13 separate flights in 4½ weeks (on my trip to Oz) I’ve started to consider it as nothing more than a necessary evil.

20.  The longest I’ve ever spent on an airport was six hours in Frankfurt. My connecting flight to Helsinki had been cancelled, so I had to wait for the next one. I’d been travelling for about 24 hours, I was dead tired, it was really early in the morning so nothing was open, I was terribly bored, and I just wanted to get home. So close (compared to Sydney, where I’d started from) but still so very far…

21.  I haven’t been to the US yet, but it’s definitely next on my list. Especially New York. I’d love to spend some time in the US and travel around, seeing places and visiting friends (most of whom I haven’t seen for years).

The New York hotel, Disneyland Paris
22.  One of the main reasons why I haven’t been able to go to the US yet, and probably won’t be anytime soon, is because I keep spending my money on trips to London.

23.  I don’t mind travelling on my own. Sometimes it’s even better than to travel with someone; I can do exactly what I like, without having to make compromises. But to be honest, I’ve never done a whole trip by myself; I’ve gone to London and Australia on my own, but I always met up with people I knew for some hours, or even days.

24.  One of the random things I love about travelling is going out for breakfast or brunch! There’s no brunch culture in Finland, and I think there should be! Actually, I might take a break from writing this now and go across the street to the Treehouse Café for some brunch… 

Brekkie in Sydney

25.  I used to love Paris. Then, after I’d been there eight times in two years (one of those times actually lasting for two months, with visits into town about twice a week) I got a bit tired of it; it felt a bit ‘been there, done that’. It’s a shame, really, because Paris is lovely. But I’m sure I’ll like it whenever I end up going back – maybe we just needed a break from each other... ;)

26.  For me, learning a language is pretty closely related to living abroad. I studied French for four years before going there on exchange, but I didn’t speak it well at all back then – I only learned it well because I was living there. I studied German for about 2½ years, and then I stopped because it got too difficult. I think the only way that I’d learn it properly, or at least better, would be to live in a German-speaking country. I’m not too keen on Germany though, at the moment anyway, but maybe Austria could be an option. One day, perhaps...

27.  I think travelling might be in my genes. My grandparents are always travelling all over the world; I’m never sure if I can call them, because I never know if they’re actually in Finland. It has to be said, though, that I seem to be “worse” than them; they didn’t really start it until they were in their forties (I think?), so I’ll probably catch up with them soon enough.

28.  I love the Tube. Well, not when it’s busy, but in general, I love it. Having spent a few months in London, I saw the map for the Paris metro (after not having seen it for ages), and it just looked so complicated, none of the lines seem to connect! I don’t remember feeling like this when I was there, but now that I compare it to the Tube map, it looks like you’d have to take huge de-tours to get anywhere. Mind the gap!

29.  I joined Couch Surfing in 2009, and since then I’ve hosted people from Germany, the US, Japan, Australia and France. I’ve surfed people’s couches in Melbourne, Edinburgh and Cardiff, I had someone from CS show me around in Bath and Edinburgh, and I’ve been to the weekly meetings in London and Edinburgh. It’s a great way to get to know a place and a culture, and of course to meet people. I haven’t stayed in touch with everyone I’ve met through CS, but I’ve made several good friends who I’ve seen since, and who I’ll hopefully see again. I definitely recommend it!

30.  The scariest experience I’ve had abroad was New Year’s Eve in the French Alps; I went to a party on a skiing station, and the guy who was driving was probably the most drunk of us all. Apparently, because of some crazy French laws on insurance, no one else could drive his car, so he was the one driving a car with seven people crammed into it down these steep, narrow, slippery mountain roads. I was sure I’d die. It’s easy to say that you shouldn’t get into a car when the driver’s drunk, but what do you do when you’re in some small village in the mountains, you don’t really know anyone, and you barely speak the language?

31.  While living in London, I visited Bath, Edinburgh, Salisbury & Stonehenge, Brighton, Cardiff and Cambridge. I was planning to go to Canterbury, but in the end I couldn’t go. I also went to Richmond a few times, and to Kingston, but they sort of count as London, I think.

32.  I don’t like taking the bus in most places, not even at home. It gets me all nervous. The problem with the bus is that you need to know where you’re going before you’ve ever been there! It’s not enough to say “Get off the bus when you see a church,” because there’s the pressing of the button that needs to take place before getting off, i.e. before you see the church. Stressful! Some places, like London, Chessy (where Disneyland Paris is) and this little place I went to in Germany, have this great system where they tell you which stop is coming up, so that you don’t have to stress. Much better, I think!

33.  I don’t like looking like a tourist, even when I am one. I always want to look like I know exactly what I’m doing and where I’m going. It’s great when I do so well with this that people come and ask me directions in places I’ve never been before. Like the time I was completely lost in Richmond Park, and I just tried to find a way, any way, out of there, and this guy I’d walked by a few times already came up to me and said: “You seem to know this park very well, do you know where X is?”.

34.  I love making scrapbooks about my trips and stays abroad; so far I’ve got a huge one from my year in France, another one from my summer in Disneyland, and one with my trip Down Under and a few of the ones to London. I’ve been planning to make one about my seven months in London ever since I got back, but I haven’t had the cash, or the time, yet.

35.  Out of the times I’ve been to London, three have been with my mother. When we go, we usually follow quite a specific programme; one show, one museum, one market, and one full day of shopping. The rest depends on our mood, but usually we sneak in some shopping the other days, too. Afternoon tea is also a classic.

36.  As a traveller I’ve been very lucky in the sense that my luggage has never been lost or delayed (touch wood).

37.  I did once have to spend a night at an airport, though. I got locked out of the house when I was going to get my stuff and go to the airport (let it be known that I was innocent in this!), so I arrived at Luton 5 minutes after my flight had left. I decided to get the next flight to Edinburgh (of course the new ticket was almost double the price that I had paid for my original return ticket), which was 9 hours later, and as it would have taken 3 hours each way if I’d decided to go home, I stayed at Luton. The longest, most boring, and actually even, I’d say, worst night of my life.

38.  Another thing I’ve been lucky in is that I’ve never been sick abroad (again, touch wood), so I’ve never had any encounters with the health care system of another country. Don’t really wish to, either.

39.  Speaking of being sick, when my family went to Turkey on holiday for a week, everybody got sick at some point – everybody except me! They were all throwing up and such, and we don’t know what it was, exactly, but somehow I resisted.

40.  And sort of in the same category; the only time I’ve been far enough to risk jet lag was Australia, but I was fine both ways. I arrived in Sydney at 9pm, we went out for a drink, I was in bed at 11, and then I slept like a baby till about 10 in the morning; better than I usually sleep, even. Not sure if this jet laglessness is connected to my occasional insomnia; maybe one takes out the other?

41.  I’ve got a bit better at packing for trips, i.e. not over-packing, at least not that much, but on the other hand I do over-pack on a day-to-day basis. Every time I went into town for the day last summer in London, I’d lug heaps of stuff around with me: sunglasses + case, possibly sun cream, water bottle, umbrella if there was the slightest chance of rain, a book for reading on the tube, my London Lonely Planet for maps (at least I only took the pocket sized one), wallet, calendar (I know, right?!), iPod, a light jumper... And that was for a place with fairly consistent weather! Imagine what it’ll be like here (in Edinburgh), where you can get every type of weather known to man in a single day? I’ll have to bring a suitcase whenever I want to go out...

42.  The smallest country I’ve been to is Monaco, and I’ve been there three times. Once is more than enough, believe me. Bloody expensive, too, and I say that as a Finn!

43.  Someday I want to rent a car and do a road trip in Scotland, and maybe the rest of the UK too while I’m at it. I’ll just need to find someone who’s willing to drive here to join me first.

44.  Pretty much the only reason I went on a weekend trip to Cardiff last year was because I’d had too much “Cardiff exposure”, i.e. I’d been watching quite a lot of Torchwood. I told myself that wasn’t why, but it sort of was.

45.  I haven’t really been to places where being blonde has been that special, but once, on Eurotour, I did have four Taiwanese girls suddenly gathering around me to play with my hair.

46.  Unlike most people I’ve spoken to, I didn’t like Berlin one bit. I think it’s probably because it was part of Eurotour, I didn’t do or see very much, and most of our time there was spent on a very boring guided bus tour. I should probably give it another chance, and Couch Surf there this time. But they did have great kebab, and that’s high praise coming from someone who never eats kebab at home.

47.  When abroad, I always tell people off when they talk in their own language and expect people around them not to understand – I always say that one day, the person whose hair you’re criticising in Finnish or Swedish or whatever will reply to you. Of course then I went and did that myself! Good thing I was admiring the jewellery that girl was selling, it would have been very awkward otherwise, but I did learn my lesson.

48.  Once on the Tube I ran into someone I had met in Sydney earlier that year. I wasn’t even supposed to go into town that day, but I’d had to change my plans last minute. She was in London for a few hours only, she’d only flown there from Australia and was taking the Eurostar to Brussels that afternoon. We ended up on the same train, in the same carriage, at the same time. Totally crazy! I’ve had something similar happen to me twice more after that, both times in London actually, but that one was by far the weirdest coincidence I have ever experienced.

49.  I used to think Finland was crap, and that I’d never stay there for longer than I had to. Spending a year in France taught me that maybe Finland isn’t that bad after all, and after I moved back from London (even though it’s a place I love more than anything) I was thinking that maybe I’ll live in Finland and just travel a lot. Time will tell, but it’s definitely not ruled out. As it turns out, Finland is a pretty great place to live!

50.  I do travel a lot, and I do have all kinds of plans, but what I’ve just done is pretty extreme, even for me. A few weeks ago I was all set to spend the summer in Finland, hopefully getting at least a bit of work, and then suddenly, overnight, almost, I decided to go to Edinburgh for a couple of months. And two weeks later I did just that. Sometimes I surprise even myself.

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