Today I am spending my Saturday evening in, watching the Eurovision Song Contest on TV. I am kinda loving the Azerbaijani flair! Right now we are on Cyprus. The Russian Babushki have already been on (ok…what were they thinking?!) and the crazy lady from Albania. And the AWFUL UK guy—what kind of name is Engelbert Humperdinck?? Veli-Matti has been feeling sort of sick all day and has...
Holiday in Croatia
Last weekend I had the incredible luck to go on a trip to Croatia with my cousin Holly, who was in Europe for work. She got to go to southern France, Brussels, and London before meeting up with me in sunny Split. When she first suggested we meet somewhere for a holiday weekend trip, it didn’t take long for us to get to Croatia as a possible destination. Both of us had it on our must-see...
First of all
I decided it would be fun to blog about my upcoming wedding and all the planning that goes into it. We are planning on a very long engagement (not like that one) which means more time to think about/write about all kinds of minutiae! Check it out: http://nicoleandveli.tumblr.com/
I think the reason I’m not so good at blogging now is because I’m way better at emailing than I used to be. Heikki came over tonight and he and Mr. Man worked on artistic projects and I painted my nails and watched The Holiday on telly. (No, really.) (And I also gave both my solicited and unsolicited opinions on said projects.) The movie was surprisingly good! Today my American...
Mmm. Such a nice Sunday even though we didn’t do much. I went for a run. Finished one book and started another (Into Thin Air —> first Game of Thrones book). Ate cereal for breakfast and leftover curry for dinner. Watched Anthony Bourdain and Tomin Keittiö on tv. (Tomi made dinner for his fiancée and it was cute.) On Saturday we will go to Rovaniemi to visit Veli-Matti’s...
When my brother and sister were visiting, we decided to go to Tallinn on a day cruise from Helsinki. It meant getting up really early on quite a cold and windy day to catch our boat before the 8 am departure. I expected the boat to be a lot like the ships that go between islands in Greece, but it was a bit more than that. We parked ourselves unfortunately near the stage in one of the bar areas of...
The snow started melting at the beginning of March and now it’s just about gone, except for some still-massive amounts in parks and on the sides of the hills near Linnanmäki and places that don’t get plowed or shoveled ever. I wonder when the last of it disappears—maybe by the end of April? Last night we went to Vesa and Noora’s house for an AMAZING meal. They made...
Let's Get Cultural, Cultural
Today my friend Amy was in town because it’s her Hiihtoloma (Ski Holiday—which reminds me, Veli-Matti told me that in Finland they stagger the winter holiday week by how far north you live. Etelä-Suomi or Southern Finland gets it first, then slightly north the next week, then further north the next week, and so on. This is to keep the ski resorts from being overbooked.) and she was...
Don Draper and Stringer Bell, you are men among men, but if you ended up...– http://www.vulture.com/2012/02/why-it-doesnt-matter-that-the-second-season-of-downton-abbey-was-mediocre.html Thank you Emily, this article was great.
Big news: I found a job!! And it’s PERFECT for me! I am going to work in an awesome American, British and Australian imported food store. I am supposed to get a call this week about setting up my first day/starting training. I am so excited. And I bought new shoes, cute suede ankle boots, because my other boots are getting really worn out and are just not professional enough. The new boots...
Game of Thrones valentine cards
bruut: bishopia: Because I love you all (as friends) and I love Game of Thrones, I combined them both into some sweet valentine’s day cards for you to give to your sweetheart or favorite prostitute. Enjoy! Click for printable version… I’ll send these to myself!
-5 and Snowing All Week
Snow looks really cool from the huge windows of my sixth floor apartment, blowing by in pretty little specks. Snows looks really uncool when it’s spiking directly into my eyeballs no matter how I try to pull the hood of my coat tighter over my face and the wind just keeps coming and coming and coming.
I realized yesterday, my first day back in Stadi, that I had forgotten a lot of things about Finland in winter. I forgot how eerily quiet it is with snow muffling every noise. I forgot how the night sky is kind of orange. I forgot about things that make indoor life here very pleasant, like warm towel racks and a button that warms the floor in the shower. I forgot how I feel embarrassed about...
here we come
After about three weeks of the super-America experience, we are headed back tomorrow for the great white north. It was lovely—from Illinois to California and Texas in between—and we got a little taste of what life will be like six months from now when we make The Big Move. But for now, I’m glad to head back to pulla and snow and trams and family (Vesa + Noora!) and everything...
New Year, New Layout
Okay, not quite the new year yet, but still. I am back in Finland! O happy day! Alright, by the end, Amsterdam had grown on me a lot. I will always treasure the memories of labyrinthine canals, classy Christmas lights, fantastic Bagels & Beans hot chocolate, and cheap beer by the case. And a couple of really wonderful friends will be sorely missed. But on the whole, it feels great to have...
Anonymous asked: Would the Devil's Churn produce beelzebub butter? (That was lame, I'll admit it...) -E
BIG NEWS. We have heat in our apartment! Going strong four days now. Just in time for the 10 degree weather we’ve been having. (That’s low 50s to the Fahrenheit-minded.)
Several times at Max Euweplein I have seen this bizarre duo busking. There is a dude playing keyboard and a woman singing cover songs along the lines of “Hotel California.” She has some kind of dwarfism that is not achondroplasia—she is taller and her limbs are kind of gnarled. (Not a clinically descriptive word, I know, but I can’t think of something better/less...
Some ado about nothing
It is hard to believe that I have been here a month and half already, since it feels like nothing ever really happens to me (hence the scarce updates). Maybe part of that is that “European life” feels routine now. This was my second week of work at Burger Bar. Actually, I only got scheduled for two shifts, and one of them was half-salary “training.” But it’s a start!...
I got a job!
I will be working at a burger place! More later!
Within the first week, Veli-Matti asked me: have you noticed that all the Dutch men have the same haircut? It’s true! One in three Dutch men has this sort-of-long hairdo. AT LEAST three quarters of all men appearing on Dutch television have it. (The picture above is from Spangas, our “favorite” Dutch teen drama.) (A google search for pictures of Dutch hair made me realize...
The (not real) factory
About a month after I arrived in Amsterdam, I decided to take a three-day temporary job working at a major European medical society conference. My first day on the job, I woke up at 6.15 and was out the door by 7.00. I made it to the workers’ meeting place at 7.45 sharp. Immediately the Guy In Charge, Andy, greeted me. We walked into the room, which felt like a dingy warehouse even though there...
Believe it or not, the first word is pronounced more like “hoot” if you had something caught in your throat while saying the h… This morning I finally accomplished a small bit of bureaucratic redtape-cutting: I got a Dutch tax number, which I need to be employed in the Netherlands. Yay! I also found out that I got my British National Health Insurance number, meaning I am now...
of mice and movies
On Friday night we went to a midnight screening (ok, 23.15 for some reason) of The Exorcist. It was this super-long director’s cut of The Exorcist and had so many scenes I had never seen before (or maybe just didn’t remember) that it felt like I was watching it for the first time. The old movie theatre next to us (De Uitkijk) has this midnight movie once a week with absurdly cheap...
from the land of rain
Finally, a post! Veli-Matti and I still don’t have internet at our apartment. Maybe next week if the stars align. In the meantime, my biggest news is I got a bike today! I am, admittedly, not very good at riding a bicycle, and I was nervous about biking in this biker’s city. So I sort of put off buying a bike. I’m glad I waited though, because I love my tiny pink bicycle!...
sunday september 4
The first week in Amsterdam ended up being very focused on home repair. Among other feats, Veli-Matti installed a curtain to cover the patchy blinds on the glass front door, fixed the leaking toilet with some sealant, assembled our new coat rack, set mouse traps for the mice in our apartment (eek! we’ve only seen one in the kitchen, but we’ve heard plenty in the walls), and plugged...
We arrived in Amsterdam Wednesday morning with four suitcases, two backpacks, and zero apartment lined up. By Wednesday night we were moving into our own place. What happened in the interim is something of an Amsterdam miracle. After several weeks of online searching, with dozens and dozens of emails sent with almost no response, we were feeling pretty nervous about finding somewhere. We spent our...
…is my last day in Helsinki! I care not greatly Should the world remember me In some tomorrow. There is a journey, And who is for the long road Loves not to linger. For him the night calls, Out of the dawn and sunset Who has made poems. e. e. cummings
this pie needs its own post
I kept forgetting about this. One day while Veli-Matti and I were in Rovaniemi, we found this delicious fresh-baked pie in the kitchen. Veli’s mom made it from fresh-picked wild blueberries. That’s rock sugar on top. It was amazing—not overly sweet, with a pulla-like crust (i.e. the Finnish cinnamon roll dough).
This week we’ve been going on these really long (multi-hour) walks doing whatever fun thing pops into our heads. And it’s been sort of the perfect good-bye to Helsinki. Yesterday our walk took us to the harbor near the Sibelius monument, to the church carved into the rock (so serene! I’d never been inside before), to a record store where I read a books on tattoos. Today our walk...
monday august 15
Today I made risotto for the first time. I had seen Giada on TV and my Dad in real life making it many times before, but I had never taken control of the risotto-ship’s helm (ok…maybe this analogy doesn’t work). To my delight, it turned out GREAT. Ours had leeks and shitake mushrooms and chorizo. The verdict was that the chorizo was a little too strong, but we haven’t...
from the lapland trip
Santa’s reindeer spend their summers in Saariselkä.
Kanye West was way more of a spectacle than I expected, even for him. There were flames and an insane light show and 20 ballerinas and costumes changes and incredible, mind-boggling egomania. But in the end, Veli and I concluded that we liked the super-simple-chill-groovy-somewhat-sparsely-attended Iron & Wine show just as much, if not better.
Today is Day 2 of the three day Flow Festival Helsinki. I am super-psyched about Iron & Wine and Lykke Li. Of course, since I’ve gone to Austin City Limits (ACL) for four of the last five years, I couldn’t help but to compare the two experiences. - The festival space at Flow is very cool. It’s in some kind of former factory so there are ancient-looking smokestacks and stuff...
One thing that was really fun about visiting Veli-Matti’s parents was getting to cook for them. The last night we were there, Veli-Matti and I made a real Tex Mex dinner: chicken and veggie quesadillas, “Mexican” salad (lettuce, tomato, and olives), guacamole, sour cream, and a pineapple-lime punch. Bringing a tiny bit of Texas to northern Finland!
Inspired by my dear friend Adelina’s awesome and frequently-updated blog about living in Vietnam (http://vietnamsm.blogspot.com/), I am resolved to be better about regular posting! Veli-Matti and I took a road trip to Saariselkä a few days before we left Lapland. Saariselkä is, according to my Lonely Planet guide to Finland, “a major winter destination for Christmassy...
I am in Rovaniemi, the capital of Finnish Lapland! One day and already I have: 1) Seen a sign on the highway advising that this is a region of “reindeer husbandry” 2) Proceeded to see an actual live reindeer 3) Eaten reindeer (see picture above) I have also gone to sauna (no vihta), picked wild blueberries in the woods, and paid my respects at the cemetery for German soldiers who...
tar ice cream
This week I explore uncharted ice cream territory. Tonight Veli-Matti and I walked to a favorite super-charming kioski/café on the east side of Töölö bay. The place is on the top of a hill and all the tables look out over the water. I was deciding which flavor of ice cream to get and I saw one called “Terva-Traditional Tar.” In consternation I asked Veli what exactly traditional tar...
Anonymous asked: Did you toss your weekend pasta out the window right after the picture was taken? -Evil
Over the weekend Veli-Matti and I made penne with spinach, tomatoes, and seared chicken in a pesto rosso sauce. So good!
wednesday july 20
My Finnish classes have made me both extremely busy and, when I have free time, acutely lazy, so this blog has suffered a dearth of updates. I will remedy this now. I have been spending my time most recently getting to know the people in my class, hanging out with Veli’s family, and trying hard to learn a new language! The weekend before last (Was it that long ago? Hard to believe...
just another day in finnish class...
Teacher translates captions under cartoon pictures in the book: “Mies lukee kirjaa. The man reads the book. Tyttö odottaa bussia. The girl waits for the bus. Tuo humalainen mies häiritsee minua. The drunken man disturbs me.” Complete with picture of a bum on the tram hitting someone on the back of the head…
friday july 8
This week I started my Finnish classes at the University of Helsinki. I love them! They go at a really fast pace since they are condensing what is taught over three months in the spring into one month in the summer. I also like how international the class is—there are people from China, Japan, Greece, Italy, Germany, France, Canada, USA, Hungary, Algeria, Switzerland, UK, Brazil, India, Sri...