Tuesday, 31 December 2013

2013 - The Year of Many Changes

2013 turned out to be a year of many changes. While I was in the middle of it all, I didn’t realise how many times my life was at a crossroads, but looking at the past year now, when it’s almost over, I can see that it’s been quite the year. I reached several milestones and made important decisions that would have a great impact on how my future will turn out:

In January I handed in my Master’s thesis.
In February I got my Bachelor’s degree.
In April I finished my last courses at university, and I started working full time as a freelance translator.
At the end of May we had a graduation party for my brother and me, and a few days later at the beginning of June I got my Master’s degree.
In June I also left to spend the summer in Scotland – or so I thought… because at the end of June I decided that when I travelled to Finland in August I would only go there for a visit. I would get rid of my flat, sell everything I owned and move to Edinburgh permanently.
In July I met a wonderful Scotsman, and luckily he’s been sticking around ever since.
In August I flew to Finland and began to empty out my flat in Turku. I threw out more stuff than during any previous move, because this time I had to cold-heartedly get rid of anything that wasn't absolutely essential. I also sold all my furniture, kitchen appliances and some smaller stuff, donated the rest to charity or to friends, and packed anything that remained in a few boxes and suitcases.
At the beginning of September I stayed with my parents in Parainen, where I spent my time dividing my stuff into the things I would take with me to Scotland and the things I would leave in storage. After five weeks in Finland, which felt like an eternity, I flew back to my “new” home town, moved into a beautiful flat in a lovely neighbourhood with a really nice flatmate, and I got to be with my boyfriend again.

From September onwards I've tried to settle back into my Scottish life – I've met up with old and new friends, translated, looked for a new job, spent time with my flatmate and my boyfriend, showed my home town to visitors, and generally enjoyed myself. It was wonderful to visit Finland at Christmas and see everybody again, but so far nothing – not my visit to Finland, nor the partial ridiculousness of life in the UK (taps, cold houses, etc. etc.), nor moments of homesickness – has made me regret my decision to move here. My life is here now, as it’s supposed to be.

Last year I wrote here about New Year’s resolutions: “Shouldn't that be the most important resolution for each new year – to make it the best year of your life so far? To be happier, healthier, kinder, whatever, just be more of it than last year. If last year was awful, then it shouldn't take much to make this year better, and if it was great, then find ways to make it even more so.” In many ways, 2013 has been a fantastic year, and the best part is that the good things are the ones that I remember, and any bad parts have been forgotten. I hope I can say the same thing a year from now.

Happy New Year everyone, or as we say in Scotland, Happy Hogmanay!

Images: weheartit

Sunday, 1 September 2013

The longest month in the history of the world

In my last post, I was feeling pretty good about August. Well, that didn't last long...

Turns out, August 2013 felt like the longest month in the history of the world. There were times, actually many times, when I thought September would never come - that I'd been transferred into some alternative universe, where time has slowed down, and September never comes. But it did. Finally.

I'm not saying August has been a bad month, really. I've spent time with my friends, gone for lunch a lot (always to my favourite restaurant, di Trevi), celebrated my grandparents' 50th wedding anniversary with my family, spent a relaxing weekend at the summer house, and, most importantly, sold every single piece of furniture that I own (almost, anyway - I'm never getting rid of my lovely kitchen table), as well as lots of other bits and pieces, thrown out 6 massive bin bags of stuff, and moved my few remaining possessions to my dad and stepmum's house. There has certainly been enough to do to fill the last month of summer, and no reason for it to pass so very, veeery slowly.

Everything I own. Well, almost, anyway...
Well, no reason, except for the obvious. Being away from my boyfriend for 5 weeks was probably the worst idea I've ever had, no matter how much money it saved me to stay in Finland until I could move into my new flat in Edinburgh. We both agreed that I'm never allowed to do stupid things like that again, unless he comes along.

"10 days left", but who's counting...

Monday, 5 August 2013

August nostalgia

August is here, and although the summer isn't over, I'm approaching the end of my Edinburgh summer - which, in a way, is a good thing, as August is the month when the centre of Edinburgh becomes unbearable for someone who can't stand masses of tourists. With the Fringe, the population of Edinburgh doubles, and while I'd like to go and see lots of comedy and other interesting shows, living your life in a city taken over by tourists and other visitors is far from enjoyable. I'm trying not to vent my tourist rage too much now, but what is it with people going on holiday, and immediately forgetting that there may be some people around who aren't on holiday, and who actually need to get to places at set times? No, let's just walk around really slowly, suddenly stopping in the middle of the street to take pictures and read maps, take forever to buy train or bus tickets or get cash out. Because it's not like we, or anyone else in the queue, actually need to be anywhere... Ok, sorry, rant over. Because the point of this post was not, in fact, to rant about tourists (although I'm sure you'll get to read a post like that at some point), but to talk about it being August.

The Royal Mile during the Fringe, a.k.a. My Worst Nightmare.

For the past *quick calculation* 18 years, August has been quite exciting. There was always something about the last days of the holidays, the approaching autumn, going to buy new school bags and pencil cases and notebooks. Later on, in upper secondary school and university, I still enjoyed preparing for the upcoming year, making timetables and planning my studies and the year ahead. I love planning and making lists, and the beginning of a new school year was always a great time for that. The excitement never lasted for more than the first few weeks, of course, but I still enjoyed getting back into a normal routine after the holidays and seeing all my friends again.

After graduating, I thought August and the beginning of September would be a bit sad, as I still missed university and being a student. This summer has helped me get over my graduation angst and accept my new, non-student identity, but I still feel a little nostalgic when I think of all those years of excitedly preparing for a new year at school or uni, and I'm sure this feeling will get stronger the closer we get to September.

I won't be having the uneventful transition from summer to autumn that I'd been expecting, though. I won't be staring a new year at uni or moving over from one school to the next, as in previous years, but instead I'll be spending August preparing for my big move to Scotland - selling all my things, finding out about taxes and national insurance, and meeting up with friends and family. I'm sure there'll be enough planning and list-making needed to keep me happy for quite some time.

Pictures: 1: here and 2: weheartit

Monday, 1 July 2013

"To find where I'm supposed to be"

Now that I'm abroad again, this blog hasn't been getting much lovin - that's usually the way it goes, as my other blog (in Finnish, sorry) is my original travel blog, and this one was created so that I'd have somewhere to write about random stuff when I'm back in Finland.

So, turns out the (relative) silence might go on for a while, as I've recently decided to make my move to Edinburgh more permanent - I won't be staying just for the summer, as originally planned, but indefinitely. Very few people seem to be surprised.

At the beginning of this year, I was watching The Lizzie Bennet Diaries (if you haven't seen it, do it now! It's on YouTube, and it's amazing! Prepare to get addicted, though), where Lizzie says that her New Year's resolution would be "to find where I'm supposed to be". I really liked that idea, and decided to use that as my resolution for this year as well - I even put it up on my desktop as a sort of inspirational quote:

So that's what I'm trying to do. I won't know straight away if I've found it here, but I believe this is a good start.

Wish me luck!

Wednesday, 26 June 2013

Weather report from Edinburgh


Yeah, see, I'm actually quite happy with that. I feel sorry for all you people melting back home.

Thursday, 16 May 2013

Summer plans

Finally the last of my plans for this summer have been confirmed: I'll be spending almost seven weeks in Edinburgh from the 5th June onwards, and then just over two weeks in Stirling.

Stirling, picture from here.

This time my Scottish summer (although I admit that the use of the word summer may be misleading in this context) was almost as randomly planned as last time - it was an idea born from a night of partying and a bit of insomnia, which, let's face it, clearly is a recipe for fantastic ideas.

Basically, for those of you who don't speak Finnish and haven't already read about this here, I realised (in my  alcohol induced state) that as a freelancer, I'm not really tied to anything, other than an internet connection, so why not head somewhere else for a bit and work from there? This simply marvellous idea then led to a few enquiries, and soon I had secured myself a room in the old town of Edinburgh for several weeks, and a cat/house sitting job in Stirling for a couple of weeks as well.

Three weeks to go until I head out there, and I'm so excited! I'll get to meet up with all my friends, enjoy one of the most beautiful cities in the world, go to ceilidhs and horse back riding on Seacliff beach, and all those other lovely things I've been missing! I'll also get a few visits from friends who have never been to Scotland before, so I'm really looking forward to introducing them to my second home.

I don't care if my summer will consist of more rain than sunshine, I'll be happy anyway! And I won't miss out on the Finnish summer either, as I'll be back on the 8th August.

Scottish weather forecast

Friday, 10 May 2013

Working from home

So, apart from a few last loose ends to tie up, I have finished my studies, had a little cry about it, and taken my first steps into the scary adult world. I have taken the step from being a part-time student/part-time translator, into being a full-time translator, working from home.

I've been really lucky so far in the sense that I've had quite enough to do, so no complaints on that account, and let's hope it lasts. What has been the major problem, as I knew it would be, has been getting up in the morning, getting started, and sticking to it. Last summer, when I had a job to go to, I had no trouble getting up early, getting myself ready and heading to work so that I'd arrive at 8am, even though I had a flexible schedule and most other people wouldn't arrive until 9am, or even later. I just enjoyed finishing at 4pm instead of 5, so I came in early, no problem. Now, however, getting out of bed has become a major struggle, and once I get out of bed, instead of having breakfast, getting dressed, putting my face on and starting work, I hang out in my pyjamas, get stuck on Facebook and various blogs, and don't even remember to make breakfast for the first hour or so.

And then there's of course the issue of productivity during the rest of the day, although I have found that if I manage to get started fairly early, I am also better at handling distractions that come up later in the day. I am, however, hoping to get myself into some sort of normal working rhythm, with days from 8-4 or 9-5, and evenings and weekends off. We'll see how that goes.

But now I wanted to share something with you that a friend shared on FB, and which is very accurate indeed. The full comic can be found here.

(Although, on second thought an alarm clock that sounds like that could solve my main issue...)

(In my case the lingerie models wouldn't be too much of a temptation, but you get the idea)

That last one is especially accurate, as I just finished today's work at around midnight. This is what I'm trying to avoid. Better luck tomorrow!

Ps: If anyone has any good ideas on how to increase productivity when working from home, please share!

Tuesday, 23 April 2013

Good times in April

I guess this post might be a bit superfluous, as I already told you what I'd be up to this month, but I still wanted to do a little recap on what I've been up to lately - other than work, lots and lots of work.

11.4 - Eddie Izzard's gig in Helsinki. Above, me and my brother being all excited. It's weird when you see someone live that you've seen hours of DVD and YouTube material of, especially when they're standing on a stage a little further away, and you're watching some of the show off large screens. Somehow, your brain doesn't realise that person is actually there in front of you, a few metres away. Sooo, yeah... Great gig!

13.4 - The annual ball. My personal hairdresser (i.e. my brother) did my hair and I went to have my make up done, which also included a bit of tutoring so that hopefully I'll be able to pull it off on my own in the future. Good party, and it's always fun to dress up like that.

17.4 - My friend Mea and I decided to go out for a little stroll in the sun after having lunch at this new Mexican place, and then we had the first outdoor ice cream of the season. Spring is here, and I'm loving it!

20.4 - I celebrated my birthday a day early with a bunch of lovely ladies. We had a really good time, and I got some lovely gifts, plus one really odd one.

21.4 - On the actual day I had my family over. I baked them some yummy tomato-mozzarella-basil pie, and Mea made the pretties birthday cake I've had since I was about 6 and my dad made a cake like a castle.

So that's what I've been up to the past couple of weeks! The reason I'm recapping April now is, of course, because the rest of the month will definitely deserve a post of its own. London is calling on Thursday!

Sunday, 7 April 2013

Do you know that feeling?

Do you know that feeling?

That feeling of waiting for some potentially life changing news. When you don't want to make plans, but you can't help yourself. When you feel like you may jinx it if you plan too much, but planning is in your nature. When you play out scenarios in your head, but try to focus on the worst case ones, just to reduce the disappointment you fear is inevitable. When you're trying hard not to get carried away, not to let yourself get too excited, and just to keep your feet on the ground - and fail miserably.

I hate that feeling. But oh, how I love it.

Thursday, 4 April 2013


This blog has now been viewed over 10 000 times, amazing! And I'm sure at least some of those views have been by actual people and not just internet robots, so yay!

Anyway, I just wanted to share a picture and a bit of news with whoever reads this:

As a friend was kind enough to point out, my head looks like
it's a really strange shape in this picture, but never mind...

I finally finished my BA degree!

I can see all you non-Finns out there scratching your heads (and maybe some Finns, too) - "didn't you just finish your MA thesis?" Well, I'm not one to follow the common path too strictly, so I ended up finishing my MA thesis before I got my BA degree, and then I'll finish my MA degree in about a month. As you do.
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