A bit of Home

Some people feel more or less homesick when abroad, I only mostly miss my family and friends and Vitamix. Okay, forest berries too and way more affordable fish than here, but I’ll survive without. When I left Finland, my intention was to stay away from Finnish people (besides the friends who I met in Bali), and hang out with local and/or international people as much as possible. I don’t really understand going to the other side of the word to only speak your own language, like so many backpackers do. Until now I had only spoken Finnish to my cousin in May, and a few awkward words in a coffee event here in Melbourne where Finnish coffee and pastries were sold. But social media brought me and Anna together.

 

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Anna found me on Instagram, sent me a message and we hang out a good while yesterday: long enough to walk from the city to Prahran and back to have tea. After first awkward Finnish words I found out we have a lot in common: more than with anyone I think. This is a good thing, and very refreshing, to have someone who understandands exactly what you’re going through and how you feel. Anna was brave enough to do her farm work like a good girl, so she can stay for another year whereas I am still trying to get my shit together and avoid the 3 months in the bush. Plans B, C and D are brewing, we’ll see what happens. In the meanwhile…

 

Ridin' the waves.
Ridin’ the waves.

 

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South Yarra life

Goddamn time goes by fast. It is now officially autumn and the much dreaded winter is just around the corner! Hello march. When I go shopping, I am on the lookout for long pants, jumpers and even jackets! Yesterday I bought a huge wool scarf which already proved itself very useful. I keep telling myself I will survive this, I come from way harsher conditions, after all!

Even the bins are classy.
Even the bins are classy.

Life in South Yarra has settled into its everyday routines, or at least something like that. I have been working in (the kitchen! of) an organic cafe/restaurant, approx. 5-6 days a week. I wake up after 6 and walk my way to work, seeing the dawn light up the sky. After work I have been going to yoga in Richmond if I have the time, and I have truly enjoyed the different classes and teachers on offer at Rise Yoga. 2 weeks unlimited yoga for 25 dollars, not bad! I’ll just go through all different yoga school trial offers, and be all set for a good while.

I am lucky to live with 4 lovely people who are fun to hang around with, and I hope that I will live here for some time and get to know people and places better. Hopefully things in the work-field will work out smooth(ie)ly and I’ll get forward with my master plans. No crazy adventures to tell you about now, I’ve only been keeping busy with coming up with a smoothie and juice menu (try blending 2 espresso shots with banana, almond milk, cashews and dates) and having a Twilight marathon. Cause sometimes life is just about going to work, to the same shops and sitting on the couch playing with your roommate’s Tinder.

Balance.
Balance.

Adventures await

Friends – I am still alive! Almost a year without writing here, since I have been (pretty inactively) writing elsewhere. But now it’s time to rise from my ashes and face new adventures! I have booked flights to my next destination, so I feel like I have something to share again. Not that life in Helsinki has been boring, no way! So much has happened during the previous 10 months, I am actually leaving this city with warm thoughts and feeling at home. Though I don’t have a home. So my home IS where my heart is, ha!

 

 

I'm trying my best.
I’m trying my best.

 

I have gotten rid of most of my material possessions; all I have left now is a lamp, Vitamix, coffee grinder and aeropress. Minimalism rules! I moved to my last temporary apartment last weekend, and I did it with a bike. 5 rounds back and forth, that’s all.

 

Taking my space. Kallio Block party.
Taking my space. Kallio Block party.

 

This summer has been weird, awesome, fast and hot, filled with laughter, baking, coffee and friends, just to name a few. I enjoyed a brief holiday at the cottage (!!), eating 15kg of strawberries, and went to Tallinn for lunch.

 

Stylish as ever, fipping the fish with my bff in the background
Stylish as ever, fipping the fish with my bff in the background

 

What else…lots of great things happened, I think I also learnt something, not yet quite sure what. Yesterday I learned that women can’t dunk in basketball. Go figure.

 

5 am in May, Katajannokka.
5 am in May, Katajannokka.

 

Oh, Helsinki. I will miss you (your people, at least!) during my Asian explorations. But no worries, I will come back.

Back home

I came back to Finland on Thursday, and somehow it seems as if I never even left! Some things have changed to the better in Tampere, but mostly everything looks scarily familiar. I have been occupying myself with loads of fun things this weekend – coming back has definitely felt like a good decision! Seeing friends and family after almost a year, going to all my favorite places…so far, so good.

View from the balcony: perfect for the morning/afternoon/evening tea
View from the balcony: perfect for the morning/afternoon/evening tea

Besides enjoying the sun and the fact that it is light even at midnight, I have been pleased with the green nature and fresh smells of blooming flowers. I also realized, how much I’ve missed biking around!

My sweet ride
My sweet ride

This weekend I’ve got the chance suit up: first to a graduation party, then to my mom’s birthday brunch, which was in a fancy old-fashioned hotel, serving local food at its’ best.

Something I learned in Asia, doesn't work here
Something I learned in Asia, doesn’t work here

I’ve been to my favorite organic stores to catch up and see all the new things, I’ve visited the farmers’ market and market hall, eaten fresh strawberries, whirl the blender, seen kids drunk on their school ending day…ahh, Tampere! The only thing I am missing is my dog, who is taken care of by my grandma in Kuopio right now. Next week I’ll luckily get her back (probably fatter than ever). Next week I’ll also start a new job, which I am really excited about. More about that later. For now, it’s all about the sun and 28C, no humidity or mosquitos!

Our private "junk" boat on the lake
Our private “junk” boat on the lake

See, Finland is not all that bad, no matter what I might say…

Paul Yee Mansion

Hong Kong is geographically much smaller than Finland, yet it has more population than all of my beloved motherland doubled. Since there’s a shortage of precious land space, buildings rise high up to the skies. Of course some are more stylish than others, so it is rather interesting to walk in different areas and see the wide variety of architecture.

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I am lucky to live in Wan Chai area, which is also known as the “red light district” of HK. I can walk in peace, but my male roommate sometimes has some eager suggestions when coming home late. Wan Chai is in very central location, and I am within few minutes walk from pretty much everything. Causeway Bay with it’s restaurants and massive shopping is just along the street, and Victoria Park is a nice destination for some nature.

Rather creative infrastructure
Rather creative infrastructure

I share my apartment with my co-trainees. We live in the penthouse of a mansion! My room is not the one called “Harbor view”, but at least I pay the least for rent. I tell you, living in Hong Kong ain’t cheap.

Welcome to the penthouse
Welcome to the penthouse

After arriving to the 14th floor and our house, there is the living room.

Living room, picture taken from the kitchen. Front door next to couch
Living room, picture taken from the kitchen. Front door next to couch

It is definitely interesting to share this apartment with 2 people, since our schedule is pretty much the same and the space and equipment are limited.

Top chef kitchen with washing machine
Top chef kitchen with washing machine

We don’t have a microwave, and the fridge has two shelfs (no freezer). So far it’s been going pretty well! Even though my laundry was in the broken machine for 2 weeks, and we broke our only knife that works. It’s a big difference to the life in APU, here I can (and do) go shopping every day, and the amount of fruits I eat has gone berserk. What I really do miss from AP House is the ofuro.

Our bathroom. Shower is conveniently located on top of the toilet
Our bathroom. Shower is conveniently located on top of the toilet

This apartment is pretty decent in HK standards, from what I’ve heard. At least we have a hot plate and a sink – that’s more than most apartments, apparently.

And what about my room? Well, let’s just say it was too small for the picture. When you stand on the door (which you can’t fully open because of the sofa in the 1st picture), you pretty much hit the bed already. No, it’s not a queen size bed. And that’s pretty much it.