You can't be afraid of heights if you want to save lives, and this job is actually life saving. The past two years someone in Helsinki has died from falling snow and ice. Even though the buildings in Helsinki aren't very high, the snow comes down with such speed and weight, there's very little time to get out of the way. It makes you a tad paranoid walking outside. When it gets bad, half the sidewalks are sealed off because of potential snowslides. You try to keep one eye on the roof above your head, and one eye on the ice underneath your feet.
I did get myself downtown though, and sat in my old uni's new library café and worked on this terms last assignment. I like the open and bright space. Too bad it wasn't finished before I graduated.
I then met up with Hanna and had another cup of tea, and a Christmas star! I usually make these myself during Christmas, but this year around there hasn't been time. They're a nuisance to eat really, they crumble all over and it's easy to burn your tongue on the hot plum jam. But they're good!
Now I'm going to open a box of chocolates. Yes, I am.
Just a little hi from Helsinki. I arrived late last evening, thanks to a delayed flight, and have spent the day settling in. First things first, some Christmas flowers and the traditional lights. I think they're a Nordic thing, haven't seen them in other countries?
I also had a Christmas planning session with my Gran to make sure we're still on the same page on how we're celebrating the holiday. All good!
In a few hours I'm off too watch a friend's ballet performance. She's in a cool dance group that takes amateur ballet for grown ups to a whole new level. If I didn't live in the wrong country, I would definitely try and weasel myself into the group, even though free spots are hard to come by.
What else? Still have an uni assignment I should submit some time before January 2, but I keep telling myself it's currently being shaped in my subconscious and I need to let parts of it "rest" before I give it the final push. Yeah, that's the excuse I'm going for ...
We all have moments when life doesn't feel so great. Some times we battle serious issues, but often it's quite trivial things that have grown out of proportion. We loose sight of how lucky we really are.
Coming home from the cinema, I realised a man was sleeping in the small roof-covered space in front of our main door. He'd made himself a bed of thick cardboard and an old sleeping bag. I got a bit startled, not knowing what to do. He must have noticed me because he slowly sat up and asked politely; "Do you need to get in, Miss? "Yes, sorry, I do." "Sorry, Miss." "Oh. No worries." "Just let me ..." "Thank you."
He backed further away from the door so I could reach the lock, trying not to step on his home. He didn't scare me, and I felt really bad letting myself in and closing the door, knowing he would probably lie back down on the ground, while I went up to our warm and comfortable flat. But again, I didn't know what else to do.
I do know that all the stress I might have felt in the last few days now seems like a luxury, and I couldn't be more grateful for everything I have. I just wish the man downstairs could have it too ...
I just wanted to show you my latest project. I made these for a friend's birthday. I call them crazy socks. Everyone should have a pair when it's cold and dark outside.
It was the first time I made a pair of socks for someone else, so I was a bit nervous about the fit. I measured them on a flatmate with a similar sized foot, and then hoped for the best. I think i worked. At least the birthday girl got them on.
I'm soon off to the Christmas market at Stoke Newington Town Hall. I have a few friends who are selling their products there and I admire these people. I love making things, but I don't think I could do it as a profession.
It's a bright morning here in London, but back home in Finland we are celebrating Saint Lucia's day. A day when Lucia brings light to the winter darkness and takes us one step closer to Christmas. It is mainly a Nordic tradition (starting out in Sweden), but is observed in a few other countries as well. Lucia is celebrated in kindergartens, schools and workplaces and many young girls and maybe some boys as well, dream of being Lucia in a procession one day. You can read more here.
This is what one procession looked and sounded like in Sweden 2010.
There are hundreds of Lucias and processions during the 13th of December, but we also choose a "national" Lucia each year who travels around the country and brings light and music to places like hospitals and old peoples homes. This years Lucia in Finland is Julia Hanhikoski. It's important that Lucia know how to sing, or at least has a good choir with her because a lot of the atmosphere is created by the traditional songs that are sung on this day.
So, have a lovely Lucia's day! I'm celebrating by hopefully baking gingerbread cookies. It all depends on how the homemade dough turned out ...
As some of you know, I love Christmas. And I love Christmas trees. This is the first year I won't have my own tree, but we do have a funky communal one in the living room, keeping watch over a growing mountain of gifts.
One of the upsides of a blog is that you can go back in time and revisit previous years. I went back to Christmas past and had a look at the trees.
2009 - Christmas tree at mum's
I had just come back home from Australia and loved every bit of the icy cold Finnish weather. (Despite the high ceiling, the tree hardly fit.)
2010 - The first tree in my own flat
Having lost the biggest Christmas fan in our family, I was determined to step into her shoes and get my first own tree. A tad smaller than usual, but twinkly in all the right places! (You can see the massive snowfall outside the window.)
2011 - It grew!
Right, so apparently my living room didn't change much in a year, but the size of the tree certainly did. It was so big, the man who sold it to me, had to help me carry it home. A true gentleman!
I'm going to Finland on the 18th to celebrate the Holidays there but will be back in London for New Year's. Then there's hopefully going to be another exciting year!
Living in a multicultural flat is great. There are so many more holidays to celebrate!
Yesterday we had Thanksgiving in Flat B. Yes, a few days after the US, but still with all the trimmings. Our brilliant American chef made a whole turkey, her own cranberry sauce, baked mashed potato with cheese and mashed sweet potato with nuts and marshmallows. (It sounds crazy but is really good.) For dessert, there was apple pie and pilgrim hats.
Well timed bastings and ...
Ta daa! A brilliant turkey. Being a vegetarian I didn't have a taste, but the meat did look very good.
I love broccoli, it's one of my favourite veg.
Even our weirdly green bath ducks were celebrating!
Films for the day were The Patriot and Inglorious Basterds. My flatmates have quickly learned how squeamish I am about blood and guts, especially when there are knives and swords involved, and kindly warned be before anything too graphic. Inglorious Basterds I had already seen, in a cinema in Sydney with four Germans, so I knew when to shut my eyes and put a couple of fingers in my ears.
All in all, a brilliant day in Flat B.