Housewifing

What does one do in the sticks, when the temperature is soaring 30+ degrees? I am not in charge of gardening, and there is no one to cook for (after making a banana blueberry bred and eating it pretty much alone I decided to stay away from baking). Every single morning of this past week I have slept in, and by that I mean indulged in more bed time that I could have imagined possible – I can’t remember the last time I could have slept until 9am, let alone 10.30 or 11!

The friendliest dude
The friendliest dude

Here I have granted myself the permission to sleep as late as I desire, and as it has become my afternoon routine to grab my Kindle and read Michael Pollan on the patio, I have dozed off until the sun starts to set, the weather cools down and I get a tad chilly. To those interested in food, sociology and cooking, I can highly recommend Michael Pollan’s Cooked. The Netflix documentary of Cooked, albeit stylish like Chef’s Table, has nothing compared to this work of wisdom. I am glad I have finally started to take advantage of this little machine I bought waaaaay back in Hong Kong, and haven’t really used since. After this book I need to come up with something else to read! In a weird way, reading something informative as opposed to Fifty Shades Of Grey makes me feel like I am doing something constructive with my time.

The bread that somehow lasted 2 whole days
The bread that somehow lasted 2 whole days

Besides Cooked and cooking (I also made a frittata, and today kale pesto, but that’s about it), I have immersed myself with studying online and wrecking my brain with design and ideas almost good enough to be gone through. Maybe soon I will actually grasp something, instead of thinking.

All this passiveness in addition to few sneaky episodes of The Vikings would have driven me completely nuts, had I not had the help of Fitnessblender Youtube account to help me move like I mean it. The first Tabata session of the week resulted in horrible pain in my calves that just won’t disappear, so the rest of the week has been a bit more moderate. Who needs pilates studios, when you can do it at home (on a towel if you happened to leave your yoga mat in the last place you lived)?

Pretty flowers on the patio
Pretty flowers on the patio

Funny thing I have experienced for the first time ever this week: the housewife-feeling of waiting the hubby to return home from work. I do things every day that I feel like doing, and time goes by quite pleasantly (did I mention I sleep in and sometimes take a nap too?), but as the hours tick by, I look at the clock more often in anticipation of the human contact that will come as the sun has set and the work for the day has finished.

If I had mouths to feed I reckon I’d do this housewife thing pretty well.

A Week in Melbourne

This week is not by any means like every other week, but it definitely has many similarities to others. It seems like the less I plan things, the more fun I end up having!

Friday
It is a public holiday, since it’s the Grand Final of Aussie rules football (AFL) the following day. Wait, what? So no work on Friday, and everything has weird opening hours. I am lucky enough to have a friend lend me his bike since he bought a new one, so I need to learn how to a) ride a road racer and b) learn how to obey the rules. Luckily enough there are heaps of bike lanes in the city.

I go to South Melbourne market, have a bike ride, and spend the evening with a friend in a huge artists’ market browsing through all the wonderful things that would be cool to have but I cannot afford. It’s about 30 degrees warm during the day, so I can easily walk home at night with just one shirt.

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Saturday
The Big Game Day, and I have no clue what to do. A nice bike ride in the morning sun, Southbank-Albert Park-Saint Kilda-Prahran-South Melbourne-Southbank. I do stop at Prahran market as well as stock up on Questbars in the awesome hidden gem, Prahran convenience. Afterwards I decide to join a friend to a pub in Richmond to “watch the game”, more like observe all the interesting Aussie spectacle sports behavior. During the game we come up with plans for the next steps, and decide to head to a random house party in Fitzroy. We take a pitstop in Little Saigon to fill ourselves for the ride and the night. The party turns out to be in a massive dream house that has a sweet sweet pool, and we leave only when we can’t keep our eyes open anymore at 2am. First bikeride in the dark, empty city feels good, probably because it’s again t-shirt weather.

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Sunday
Picnic day. I spend the morning baking stuff (not smart to keep the oven on in the heat), and head to the Carlton Gardens around 2. All other people are pretty much late, so I get pretty frustrated with all the lying down and not doing anything. All in all I end up spending 5 hours at the park, hanging out with friends and meeting new ones. Afterwards we go to St. Kilda to a funky party with singers walking in the crowd while singing. Decent end for the long weekend. And I didn’t even burn in the sun!

Monday
After work I have a dreaded dentists’ appointment, and they suggest they take my wisdom tooth out. Half an hour later I walk out to the heat with one less tooth that they refused to give back me due to Australian law (wtf), and stitches in my swollen mouth. I have banana ice cream for dinner, and wonder if the numbness wears out by the next day.

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Tuesday
After work I go to a bar to work for a few hours, after which I spend the evening with a friend who always makes me want to improve myself in many ways. I miss my wisdom tooth, physically. It hurts.

Wednesday
Free coffee in the park after work, yay! I feel sluggish after not working out for 3 days, so I decide to go to a TRX class. I love the sneaky burn with no jumping and running around.

Thursday
I work 10 hours and find out my F45 class I was looking forward to is cancelled. I get frustrated, go to pilates instead, and don’t feel like I’ve done anything. I take a “little” detour on my way home and decide to bike trough South Yarra and Prahran to Southbank.

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Friday
I have a PT appointment after work and have to ride on some scary roads and a bridge to get there. Worth it, though! I rush to the city to go the Asian food truck festival in Queen Victoria market. What a summery night – warm, good music, loads of people, food!

 

And this was just the beginning of the weekend! (Ok fair enough I worked on Saturday so weekend was just Sunday for me, but I did manage to have a swim, dinner date, and go to a Japanese festival where I wore a kimono and did tea ceremony. Success.)

Looking for Flow

The post title has many meanings. I have spent this week in Helsinki, working as a volunteer for Flow Festival, the biggest(?) urban festival in Finland.

I have visited the festival in 2008, and since I got the opportunity and had nothing better to do, I decided to spend 3 days in the kitchen and catering area for the few hundred workers, preparing around 300 sandwiches for each meal, serving meals, making sure no one is left without coffee and that everyone’s blood sugars don’t drop too much (I wish there was a cool video about that!). As a return for my contribution, I was given a 3 day ticket to the festival and a super cool t-shirt. Today is D-day, when the weekend commences (though the opening gig of The Knife was already on Wednesday).

 

Art getting done
Art getting done

Flow Festival is known as the (worst) Hipster gathering of this country, and I have to admit that I am looking forward to seeing what kind of uber-cool show-offs I can spot. What comes to the line-up…well, I’m not too well educated about the performers. I am looking forward to see Alicia Keys, Of Monsters and Men, Grimes, and Kraftwerk, but that’s about it (other performers include Public Enemy, Kendrick Lamar and Cat Power). Luckily there is more than music; art, design and most importantly, not your typical festival grub but delicious food from quality restaurants! The hardest part is to choose from all the different options. We’ll see what the weekend brings (hopefully not rain)!

 

Suvilahti getting constructed, not your typical festival environment
Suvilahti getting constructed, not your typical festival environment

 

Besides being indoors making coffee and slapping ham on bread, I’ve gone for a walk with my cousin and saw his new puppy, met with a friend and sampled some raw treats in a random hair event, got my wisdom tooth pulled out (I do have a picture of that, but I’ll spare you), and walked around town. Who knows, maybe this will be my city some day sooner or later.

In Helsinki, you can't get more touristic than this
In Helsinki, you can’t get more touristic than this
Meet Sylvi. Smile guaranteed.
Meet Sylvi. Smile guaranteed

Go with the Flow!

Weekly activities

I definitely prefer action-filled weeks to those when I have nothing to do but to look at the falling rain (after a month, the rain gets rather boring) – and if it isn’t raining, I definitely want to be on the go. Luckily, last week was full of reasons for me to defy the weather and leave my bed (and by bed I mean my room, which is pretty much the same thing).

MONDAY
Indian “private restaurant” dinner – or how would you call a windowless room where you are the only people dining? Followed by pudding dessert (like being a kid again with the chocolate pudding!) close-by.

Spot the restaurant. Hint: it's not the one with the "cafe"
Spot the restaurant. Hint: it’s not the allay cafe

 

TUESDAY
Vintage furniture store opening, and organic cocktails (4 different kinds, tried them all and then some) and “fancy” canapés in Pure Bar&Restaurant.

Mojito, strawberry orange vodka, cucumber martini, grapefruit gin - mojito and martini were the stars
Mojito, strawberry orange vodka, cucumber martini, grapefruit gin – mojito and martini were the stars

 

WEDNESDAY
Zumba and yoga in my safe haven in Causeway Bay, mYoga.

 

THURSDAY
Karen Millen cocktail event in Central with a “healthy” theme (funny that they hire male candy to serve stuff which they have no clue -nor intrest on- what it is)

Cleanse shots - served as "spinach" or "celery" or "cinnamon". Yum!
Cleanse shots – served as “spinach” or “celery” or “cinnamon”. Yum!

 

FRIDAY
French Look My Baboush shoe launch in Common Ground, followed by dessert in Tin Hau (had 3 different kinds, I’m eating my way through China!)

Kinda like Tom's but "completely different!"
Kinda like Tom’s but “completely different!”
Shoe customization by le French "la mangue"
Shoe customization by le French “la mangue”

 

SATURDAY
Met my lovely friend Nick, who came to visit from Tokyo. We had a fantastic day in Lamma island, and it was raining only for about 15 minutes!

Without the junk boats Nick would'v gone skinny dipping
Without the junk boats Nick would’v gone skinny dipping

 

SUNDAY
Quick visit to the Hong Kong Cheese Festival (small, smelly and, well, cheesy – all in all a bit of a disappointment), followed by East Island Market and a stroll trough different neighborhoods with Nick.

First bite of street food (better response than with durian ice cream)!
First bite of street food (better response than with durian ice cream)!

Nick went back to Japan, and I started to prepare myself for yet another week of rain…maybe the junk boat summer sunny season will start soon and hopefully the rest of my weeks here would be at least almost as active as this one”

Last days in Tampere

I don’t know if this week has gone by too fast, or too slow. However, today is the Big Day: after breakfast, it’s time to cry and hug my mom and brother goodbye (the dog is in Helsinki, I am extremely sad that I did not get to say goodbye to her!), and go sit on the bus to Helsinki. At 6 pm I will take off to Beijing, and continue to Fukuoka from there tomorrow morning.

But, about this week. On Monday I did somersaults for the first time in years, in Aikido class! I wanted to try the sport, since it might be something I want to practice in Japan. Maybe taekwondo or karate, instead.

Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday were not eventful, therefore my anxiety to leave grew a bit. On Friday, I went to the Pyynikki swimming hall for the first time since elementary school, when we used to swim there in PE (hello, trauma!). The place has been renovated for several years, and now it looks almost brand new. I blame my company for swimming only 15 minutes and then heading off to the sauna, but I have to admit that I was pretty bored with the monotony and the chilly water, too.
Later on Friday, movies with a friend (Magic Mike, rather entertaining!), and the rainy day finished off with a fancy-ish self made dinner, mussels in white wine sauce.

On Saturday, I went to do all my last minute shopping, even to Ideapark in Lempäälä. I had a schedule to say goodbye to my best friends, and I managed to go try CrossFit, too! Whoa, that’s a good reality check for those, who want to realize how bad shape they’re in. The CrossFit intro was just 30 minutes, and I did not push myself enough to vomit, but my neck is very sore today.
In the evening, we went to the fastest dinner ever (2 course meal plus ice cream afterwards in 1 hour!), and at home I finished packing while watching a movie so bad and embarrassing I won’t even tell which one it was. I also had my last sauna before bed.

So, here I am now, with all the Japanese Yen I could exchange from Tampere (someone else had ordered Yen, so they did not have as much as I wanted), eating my stomach full of rye bread. 3 hours, and then I am off. Surreal.

This is what I am leaving from.

Finnish style, August 2012

My brother took me to the Pyynikki tower to have the last glance of my home town.

View from Pyynikki tower