Tuesday, 30 June 2009

Head Start

I got a book delivery today. It was The Writer´s Reader: Understanding Journalism and Non-fiction. It´s required reading in the "Advanced print features" course I´m taking at UTS and I decided it would be smart to do some reading before the classes actually start. I´m not the fastest reader in any language and this way I can also brush up on the journalism jargon and terms used in english. I´m so thankful for well-stocked online bookstores!

I´ve only just started reading but I can already say it´s an interesting text. The book presents different non-fiction categories, discusses key elements and makes it all come alive by inlcuding a vast selection of well written, non-fiction articles that have been printed during the years. There´s also interviews with the actual authors of those articles.

So, at least I have something to do while I wait for my departure. Only two weeks left! Fourteen days from now I should already be in the air! Hopefully everything will go as planned.

Friday, 26 June 2009

I´m the Boss!

Fun day! Took my brother and nephew to the burger place that shall not be named and we looked alarmingly much like a young family. I even bought a Happy meal!
It must have seemed a bit suspicious though. Two people as dark as my brother and I could never create something as blonde and blue eyed as my nephew. And I´m very happy being just the brown eyed aunt that gets to spoil her favourite guys now and then. (And afterwards when they get cranky, give them back to the rightful mother and wife-to-be.) ;)

After the vast amount of food, we played in the kiddie area and I just had to try out the throne and pretend to be queen. Queen of Burgerland or Friemania or maybe Fatistan. Now I just need a prince of my own and I´m set. :)

Ps. My nephew has a new favourite sentence: "Shhh, se nukkuu*", he says in a wisper and puts his indeFetxfinger to his lips. It doesn´t matter if something is sleeping or not. :) (*Shh, it´s sleeping.)
Ps.2: I finally got photoshop reinstalled in my computer! Don´t know why I didn´t do it sooner.

Wednesday, 24 June 2009

Light Summer Fashion

Summer has finally arrived in Helsinki! And with that some rather revealing behaviour. As the temperature rises the items of clothing worn become few and far between. Walking around the park in only high heels and a bikini is suddenly perfectly normal (a few months ago someone might have called the police) and draping your glistening, speedo dressed body over a public bench is not considered offensive to the surrounding eyes. The Finnish nation has turned away from the normal uniform of black and grey, covering from head to toe, and has embraced a sun loving, bare all persona. Like it or not.

Personally, I like wearing a decent amount of clothes, but I did also spend the day enjoying the warm weather. After reading on the balcony I took a nice walk down to the seaside park and had an ice cream by the water.

The direct sun light made my eyes look all funny and some of the chocolate ended up on my shirt but it was all good. This ducky wanted to share:

Unlike the rest of Helsinki, I wasn´t ready to take a swim but my feet did get a little taste of summer, not as freezing as one might think. Maybe next time ...

Monday, 22 June 2009


Michael Schumacher can´t be Top Gear´s The Stig! I don´t want him to be! Why did they have to reveal his identity?

The Stig was so likeable in his own way and I´ve never been a big fan of Schumacher. He was the ultimate bad guy when Mika H√§kkinen drove F1, the one to beat if you wanted to win the Grand Prix. Schumacher and his red Ferrari equalled the enemy! And now they say he´s The Stig ...

Have to melt this piece of news for a while. It will not stop me from watching Top Gear in the future, I love the show, but The Stig will probably never be the same. Of course I´ve always wanted to know who he is but this was a shocker. I wonder when they will show the first episode of season 13 here in Finland. I need to see it with my own eyes ...

Maybe it isn´t Schumacher after all. Maybe it´s all a hoax. Maybe they were faking it saying it´s him but it´s not. Why would they tell? The whole point of The Stig is the mystery.

Hmm, time to google for more info. :P

Wednesday, 17 June 2009

Potato update

Look how much they´ve grown! It´s only two weeks since I showed my dads balcony-potatoes for the first time and now they´re already this big. :) I wonder how much longer before we can start eating ...

And here´s me on the same balcony having afternoon tea, dreaming of colorful bikinis that will never be worn this summer unless the weather gets better big time. Thank goodness the balcony is glassed in. That way the northern winds can´t get to you but the sun can, and you can almost pretend you´re outside (and not in a made-for-people greenhouse).

Tuesday, 16 June 2009

Environment and Sports

I thought I´d share what subjects I´m taking in Sydney:
  1. Investigative Journalism (with focus on the environment)
  2. Advanced print features
  3. Sport journalism (specialist reporting)

I have to admit that this set up is scaring me a bit. Heck, I´m always anxious before (and during) journalism classes. They can be pretty daunting and this time there´s also the challenge of working in a semi foreign language and in an entirely new environment. My brain gets into panic mode and starts coming up with crazy ideas for articles like "Maybe I can do all my stories about Koalas?" Or even worse, can´t come up with a single subject that would interest any reader let alone impress the teacher. Aarrgghh.

Still, I know there´s no use panicking before hand. I´ve survived before so why not this time? Yes, the subjects will probably be demanding, and a bit scary, but I will learn alot and might even have some fun doing it. The one thing I really have to learn is to stop putting so much pressure on myself and to stop worrying. There´s no point. Things will sort themselves out one way or another. They have to. So, ignoring that knot in my stomach I have to say: I´M LOOKING FORWARD TO IT!

I´m rather excited about Sport Journalism. It´s something that´s not offered here in Helsinki and I´ve always liked sports. I´m now trying to read up on the different kinds of rugby (yes, there are many!) and will soon take on cricket. Hehe. Don´t think there´s alot of ice hockey or ski jumping going on down there ... :)

Saturday, 13 June 2009

Cherry overload

Hi there! I just wanted to share the very redundant fact that I have eaten way too many cherries today. I began at my grandparents house and then my lovely grandmother told me to take the rest of them home. And I have kept on eating all evening, they are so good!! Why don´t I buy cherries more often myself?
I´m just wondering what will happen if I eat too many. I remember one time as a kid when I ate a huge amount of strawberries ... Hmm, better not elaborate on that. ;)

Friday, 12 June 2009

Movie night

Mascarpone ice cream, popcorn and a good friend, what more do you need for a great movie night? :)

My friend was kind enough to let me pick the movie Australia with Nicole Kidman and Hugh Jackman. I hadn´t heard alot of good things about it, mostly negative actually, but how can I skip a movie with that title at the moment?
Anyway the movie wasn´t horrible, it had its moments, but the balance was a bit off, it began as a sort of akward comedy and then ended as a full blown war movie. It was a bit too long as well. It kind of stoped and then restarted a couple of times. You go that "Oh, that was it then" feeling and waited for the credits to start but then the plot continued in one way or another. I´m also glad we watched it at my friends house and not at a movie theatre, I don´t do 150 minute long films without bathroom breaks. :P

Besides being entertaining the movie also got me thinking about Australias involvement in world war 2, and how little I know. I didn´t know for example that Darwin was so severely attacked by the Japanese. I´ll have to read up on that part of history.

Soon time for bed, I have a nice Saturday planned for myself and need the energy. Hope your weekend turns out great as well!

Wednesday, 10 June 2009

Me minus 8 years

The cab driver today thought I was 17. He had asked my age and was told to guess. Missed by almost 8 eight years, I turn 25 in November.

It´s not the first time I`ve been taken for a teenager. I should probably be flattered but by now I´d like to get into a bar without having to show ID everytime. I didn´t have any make up on today so maybe that somehow influenced his guess. On the other hand, I did wear my glasses which usually gives me a more "serious" look.

Oh well, I know I´m not the only person with this "problem" and it can be rather fun at times. As long as people take you seriously and respect you at for example work. I´m just happy I´m NOT 17 anymore, it wasn´t the easiest time. So, better to be 24 and look 17 than to be 17 and look 24. :)

Tuesday, 9 June 2009

Huge relief!

The paperwork is finally done, including the Visa! Yay!! (I just hope I applied for the right one.)
Now I can let my head relax for a bit and regroup, enjoy summer or whatever you want to call this chilly not so sunny June. I´ve tried to induce a bit of summer into my life by eating an entire water melon and by catching these wonderful flowers with my new camera. Talk about vibrant colors!

Monday, 8 June 2009

I HaTe paperwork!

Well, the title says it all really. I´m totally fed up with it. I´ve spent my day filling in forms for various institutions, basically asking them for money. I haven´t been able to complete the most important form though, the Visa application, since I´m uncertain if my CoE form from UTS is correct. And I haven´t gotten an answer yet.
I really really really need to lodge that application soon or all the other applications will be as good as useless. Without that Visa I´m not going anywhere.

Sigh. I´m getting a bit stressed as you can hear. I´m sure everyone is doing their best but it is so frustrating to just sit and wait and hope that everything will turn out fine when the time is ticking and deadlines need to be met. And I feel like a witch constantly (it seems) writing people reminding them about me and my problems. I´ll be the most unpopular person at uni when I arrive. (If I arrive.) The time difference doesn´t make it any easier.

Okey, enough, I apologize for all the moaning. I just needed to vent. These problems just make it clear to me how much I want to go. I need to get out of Helsinki for a while, see something else. So I really really really hope (once again) that I´ll receive all the needed answers or documents toworrow. Please?

Saturday, 6 June 2009

I´ve got a new camera!

Tadaa! May I present my latest buy, a Canon Powershot SX 200 IS, aka my new camera! I finally decided to stop waiting around and just get out there and buy one. (Okey so I did a bit of research first and looked up a place with reasonable prices.)


It´s got 12.1 mega pixels and 12 x optical zoom. The zoom was one of the main reasons why I wanted it. It´s not very common for a camera this small to have that kind of zoom and a larger camera would have been to impractical. When away I want to be able to carry the camera with me wherever I go.

Many reviewers have been critcal to the pop-up flash, saying it´s in the way. I don´t mind it at all. I guess I hold the camera in an unorthodox way. I had more aesthetic problems with it at first, it looks kind of retro, but it´s growing on me fast. And it doesn´t actually pop up. It´s more of a smooth, silent rise. You hardly notice it.

So, there it is. Hopefully a loyal friend for many years to come. My only anguish is that I might hurt my old cameras feelings. I mean, it still works fine and has taken many lovely pictures. Maybe if I explain to it that it is still in business, just retired part time? On a vacation? My trusted back up when modern technology fails. Yes. It´ll be fine. :) Now time for some more test-shooting.

Friday, 5 June 2009

Tomato face

I recently bought a workout dvd that combines boxing and aerobics. Tried it out today and boy was I red in the face afterwards! It was like I had fallen asleep in the sun or spent the entire day in the sauna. Not very attractive. Especially with the white patches around the mouth ... (Apologies for the gross mental picture.)

Anyway, the workout was good. I was out of breath afterwards but not "OMG I need to puke" out of breath. It was fun. I really liked the boxing element and it will be even more fun when I´ve learned the routine properly. Today it was a bit too much random flapping and twirling and "HUH?" for it to look good. :P So back at it again soon.

Sorry, no pics of a crimson Madicken. It´s in your own best interest.

Wednesday, 3 June 2009

Urban Farming

My dad is growing potatoes on our Helsinki balcony, hihi. And boy are they growing. At this speed we might have our own fresh potatoes on midsummer´s Eve! (Okay, that´s maybe a bit optimistic but who knows ...) I want a balcony too so I can grow my own vegetables. Maybe some lettuce and carrots and all those other things we used to grow when I was a kid (and living in the countryside). Maybe some strawberrys for dessert? :P

Grow baby potatoes, grow!

Tuesday, 2 June 2009

Phone Call Boot Camp

I mentioned earlier my slight fear of small, fancy shops. Today, trying to get my tax percentage changed I was reminded of another fear that used to be very real. My great fear of calling people, especially people I didn´t know, and even more so if I wasn´t alone in the room. I hated it!

Today when I called the tax lady I didn´t think twice about it. I also didn´t mind the people sitting next to me. Afterwards I started analyzing the change. When did it happen? How? My final conclusion was: Journalism School. Studying journalism I just couldn´t avoid it. A journalist calls, often with not so pleasant intent, to all kinds of people. Bookin interviews, asking difficult questions, tracking people down. And you can not sound wimpy doing it.

The first couple of years I was petrified. I always tried to find an empty room where I could phone in peace, where no one would hear me and perhaps laugh at me afterwards. Phoning in Finnish made me even more nervous. But somehow I still made those calls and little by little they became less and less scary. Simply overcoming by doing.

The final step towards a relaxed relationship with the phone came when I worked in PR. Some days I was practically glued to the phone, communicating in every other language I could comprehend. I even got lazy and started phoning people instead of going next door and meeting them in person. The curse was broken! What a relief!

It is only now I´m getting a bit shaky again, knowing that I will soon be in another country with another phone culture. Can you call a politican in Sydney just like that? How do you address people? How do you start and end a conversation? How do you find all the important numbers? Will they understand me when I get a bit nervous and start to fumble?
Oh those familiar nerves ... But I guess there´s only one way to find out. Again, by picking up that receiver and dialing.