Friday, December 31, 2010

We Chose One With Lots of Pretty Buttons and Dials

Christmas was hectic, but lovely. M's family got to enjoy our company until Christmas Day, when we got in the car and drove down to visit my family. I received the most Christmas presents of anyone, but still felt I needed one more.

M and I bought a camera, not more sheet music. Although, sheet music would be great too.

Yep, I took a picture of a flashlight. That's how excited I was about the new camera.

This huge crane lives right next door to us. Whoever works up there has a very pretty Christmas tree.

Turku by night.

View from our window.

This old brick building also lives next door to us. They have ice.

Conversation held over this very dessert:
Z: I think I might have a brain tumor. I constantly use the wrong words when I mean something completely different. I even do it when I think.
M: You're probably just stupid.

Remember how I let my sister borrow my car? Remember what happened to it? This is probably the stupid in me at work, but I also let her borrow my bicycle. Want to take a guess as to which one is mine?

Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas!

Today we celebrate Christmas in Finland. I have a huge pile of Christmas presents waiting for me that my mom sent with me to Kristinestad, and in just a few more hours I'll get to open them all and marvel at how incredibly nice I've been this year.

I wish you all a very merry whatever-it-is-you-celebrate and hope that your day is filled with love and above all, presents. But before I leave you to go celebrate with M's family, a word of warning. Please take a moment to remember the people who train Father Christmases, and the important work they do, and please, remember these safety instructions when dealing with your Father Christmas.


Thursday, December 23, 2010

Chinese Water Torture Could Definitely Benefit From This Mattress

Yesterday was the shortest day of the year on the northern hemisphere. I happen to live in the northern hemisphere and that means that yesterday we had 5 hours of sunlight. Today it’ll start to get lighter again, and I have to say, I really enjoyed the 5 hours and 1 minute of sunlight we got today.

We decorated the Christmas tree today. While it was still light outside.

I’m still at M’s parents’ place. When we’re here, M and I sleep in a bed that’s more suitable as a torture device than as a place made for resting. Whenever I’ve spent a night or two in this bed I come home with a herniated disc and a headache. The mattress is so soft that you’ll discover muscles you didn’t think you had just trying to get out of it. When one person moves, the movement reverberates through the mattress and will cause the other person to jump three feet into the air and upon landing find themselves deep in the belly of the mattress. Last night I lay awake for hours and hours, feeling my discs slipping from the complete lack of support. Through the mattress I could feel each tiny, and probably painful, movement M made in his sleep. The only thing that was missing was water slowly dripping on my forehead.

But apparently I did fall asleep at some point, because we woke up to another cold and beautiful day. It was even colder today than it was yesterday, and that made me realize that I desperately need these:

Boots that won’t mind if it’s cold. Or wet. Or cold AND wet.

I haven’t been able to find a single online shop that carries these in the right size and is willing to ship to Finland without adding $150 worth of VAT and shipping fees. So, as desperation sets in, is there anyone in America or Canada who would be willing to buy me these in a size 6 and send them to me? Or better yet, find out what it would cost first. Not that I’m cheap, or anything, I’m just broke. I will repay you, of course. (Make sure you make me send you the money before you send me the boots, though, otherwise you’ll never know if you'll actually get the money or not.) *

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

My Career as a Weather God Was Surprisingly Short

Remember how I told you I would turn winter into summer, much like Jesus turned water into wine, simply by affecting my own body temperature using a sauna? I thought it was a foolproof plan for sure. Apparently it wasn’t.

-17.5 °F

You should probably stop calling me Zeus now.

At the moment M and I have packed all our Christmas presents and made our way to M’s parents’ house in Kristinestad. Unfortunately we had to turn back after an hour of driving when we realized that we probably needed something more than just the Christmas presents with us. Like a change of clothes and some deodorant. Definitely some deodorant.

When we arrived, the entire family was deeply engrossed in the paper. They read it like they’ve never read it before, and so, M and I decided we needed to get out of the house before we’d even spent 24 hours there. So after breakfast this morning, we dragged our asses to the car and went for a little road trip.

The most exciting thing all day turned out to be when M actually got to turn the wheel. This part of the country is famous for its very long stretches of completely straight roads.

6.5 miles of straight road. It was fascinating.

Then we almost ended up in the ditch when the road suddenly made a sharp right hand turn without signaling first.

It was light out when we left, but at 2:30 pm the sun slowly started sinking lower and lower in the sky.

And by 3 pm there was no more light. Actually, this picture was probably taken at 4 pm, but officially the day ended at 3 pm, so that’s the story I’m sticking with.

Now, if you’re reading this, you’ve come to the end of this post. If you’re still reading, that means you’re probably a little bored, because who the hell would continue reading after the end of a post anyway, and if that’s the case, which I assume it is since you’re still reading, you should head over to Mike’s place and be bored there instead. Mike is celebrating his 51st birthday today and is throwing a party. Whatever you do, though, do not forget to bring a gift!


Seriously, go.

There is no more post.

Stop reading! *

Friday, December 17, 2010

Call me Zeus

I can affect the weather. You might think that’s a pretty grand statement, but I’m merely telling you the truth. The weather is clearly just as prone to mood swings as I am. This is what the thermometer in M’s car said last night:

-7 °F

And this is what the thermometer said 18 hours later:

32 °F

Oddly enough, 39 °F is exactly the degree of my own mood swings from day to day. The weather gods must truly love me. I even made these delicious carrot-flecked dinner rolls to celebrate my climatic gift.

Then I arranged them in a big pyramid to emulate the snow lantern I haven’t yet been able to make.

In order to make the weather a little warmer, I decided to change my own body temperature a little, and warmed up the sauna.

160 °F

Winter should be over by tomorrow, just wait. *

Monday, December 6, 2010

Volkswagen Vento or Snowball - You Decide

Today is our independence day. The year was 1917 when Finland, tired of always belonging to other countries, declared its independence from the Russian empire, defeated the Death Star and showed the world who’s their daddy. I’m celebrating by watching The Unknown Soldier, a 7-hour black and white movie about the war. It’s shown every year and it only gets longer. Every Finn is supposed to have seen it, but I don’t know - I think many of us simply fall asleep when we try to watch the whole thing. And after The Unknown Soldier is over, I’ll watch the Presidential Ball, to which I wasn’t invited this year either. One day I’ll be there, dancing with the stars. Or in prison, no one knows.

In other news, I lent my car to Muschu. This is what happened.

She only had it one day! How is this even possible? We didn’t get that much snow that night. We won’t get it out of there without a shovel, and I don’t own a shovel. Our plan B is to wait for spring. It shouldn’t be too many years. *

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Ask Ziva - Language Edition

The temperature has risen. We went from -18.5C at the coldest to -5C now. That’s 23 degrees Fahrenheit for those of you who prefer odd units. And with the balmy weather came the snow. There’s a million snow outside. Any unit. It just keeps coming down. But while I love talking about the weather, we have something more important to tend to. Today is "Ask Ziva"-Day. And the beautiful Rena has posed today’s question:

“Ziva, what are you exactly?”

That’s a very good question, beautiful Rena. Mike seems to think I’m a three-armed Swede living in Finland, eating bark bread and bathing in vodka. Sadly that’s not entirely true. I am Finnish. I was born and raised in Finland and will never ever identify with a Swede, the vegetable OR the nationality. However, I was born into a minority. Much like the French-speaking population of Canada, about 5% of all Finns speak Swedish as their mother tongue. This is probably due to the fact that for 600 years Finland was a part of Sweden and a few Finns inevitably learned Swedish during that period of time. For the rest of the population, 600 years wasn’t enough time to master the difficult language, and that’s why the rest of Finland still speaks Finnish and sound like idiots when they try to speak any other language. The Swedish-speaking part of the population is also prettier.

Finnish-speaking Finns in a sauna.

Swedish-speaking Finns in a sauna.

Now, because there are both Swedish-speaking Finns (like little old me) and Finnish-speaking Finns, there are two official languages in Finland. This means that while I’ve gone to school in my mother tongue, Swedish, I’ve studied Finnish ever since third grade. And since Finns have acknowledged the importance of understanding at least a little English, we learn English is school as well. Then, after 7th grade, we can start learning other languages too. In short this means that I’m bilingual when it comes to Swedish and Finnish, fluent in English in both writing and speech, have studied French for eight years without ever understanding a word, and taken two years of Spanish and one year of German with better results than I got from the eight years of French. Damn those French and their silly little language.

So to answer your question, beautiful Rena, I’m a three-armed Swedish-speaking Finn who eats bark bread and bathes in vodka. Just don’t call me Swedish, that will make me mad. *