Sunday, November 20, 2011

Santa is coming to town!

Sometimes it's good to live in Helsinki. You can for example see Santa. And the real Santa! From Lapland. It was today afternoon on the main streets of Helsinki. I think Santa brought with him the Northern weather, cause today it was really cold, minus 3 C or so, but also sunny. So there he was, sitting in an old, old automobile, from 30. I guess and the whole parade was kind of old-fashion. All the old cars - fire-trucks and other automobiles, no laud music at all, only his big entourage walking along with children dressed as little Santa and Angels singing Christmas carols and some jingle-bells. We had an impression, that it must have looked like that 40 and 60 and 80 years ago and nothing has changed. Only Santa has grown even longer beard. Very nice event, touching even, when you see this old guy in a red suit and you know, that this is THE ONE and suddenly you feel a bit like a little child again, believing he's real. Wanda was moved too and so excited. She waved to him with her little hand and on a way back home saying about Santa and that winter is coming with Santa.

We forgot to take our camera and so I only managed to take couple of those worse than ever shots:




Saturday, November 19, 2011

Light, light, I need some light!

It's so dark. We wake up about 7.30 and it's still dark outside. At 10 it's suppose to be light, but the sky is so densely overcast, even a single sun ray can not brake this curtain. And we still lack lamps in our apartment. Funny, before I always preferred dimmed illumination in a room to make it cosy. Now I desperately crave for a brightest bulb ever. We have to buy some lamps and maybe also an energy lamp. Something very popular in Finland. I don't know how does it work exactly and when I asked people, they didn't know either, but it is a very white light which maybe substitutes sun light? I don't know for sure.
And it's still a whole month left till the shortest day! Hard to imagine, since for example today there wasn't any minute during the day you could have switch the lights off. Grey outside, grey inside. And sleepy. Goodnight!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Myllypuro, Helsinki



This is where we ended up. A suburban neighborhood as they call it. It's only 15 minutes by subway to get to downtown, so not that suburban to me. But yes, it's not a downtown any more. Our apartment is in a new building and next to it there is an ongoing construction site finishing couple more houses with shops on first floors. I suppose they should be ready by early  2012. But if walking farther from the subway station you have all those old block of flats, city rental apartments, which means - rather cheap opportunity for living for people, who don't have enough money to own something better. And you can tell the difference. It was here on Sunday when I saw the first police car in Helsinki since I've came here. No kidding! Before I only saw some police guys riding their horses. And here they were taking care of a drunkard! Yes, here you can see them quite often. And there are many immigrants too. People from Somalia I guess - since they are black and muslim and I know there is many Somali people living in Finland. They are at least quiet and I never saw any awkward situation. But there is a very nice play park, which Wanda loves already. You can play either outside and there is plenty to do - like those little bikes and inside, where my girl loves to play cars and trains! Here we have some forests, so there is plenty of trails for walking.
You can see it's a poorer neighborhood than Kruununhaka was, but well, the latter is one of the most expensive and upscale parts of the city, so no wonder. I hope we will like this place. I mean, I like my house and so far I think there are very nice people living here. You can easily notice that simply from looking at the windows and balconies - with cute decorations, lightening, flowers.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

darker and darker...

... shorter and shorter are the days. It's harder and harder to wake up in the morning. I'm getting sleepier and sleepier while the day passes and those long dark afternoons are coming along. Well, it's mid November and it's Helsinki.
With those grey days my mood swings too. Was it a good idea to move to Finland? What am I doing here? Why did I do that? And those long five years. Right decision or wrong? What am I suppose to do here? Yes, they are the questions I should have maybe ask before I said "yes" for Finland. But well, better later than never. And maybe they has arisen now, because before it was kind of hard to imagine the situation. Now I'm learning this new country and how to live in another european country with a language no one can understand besides of the five million Finns themselves. And maybe it's funny, but now I think it's harder to become a part of a society in another european country - even such a great place like Finland, where everyone speaks English - than it is in the States, where more or less everyone in an immigrant. Sometimes it is frustrated that I don't have a slightest idea what's written on an add or a sign or in a newspaper or what people say among each other. For this reason I really don't know what's the general attitude towards foreigners. A very unpleasant situation had once a friend of mine, this Mexican girl. There was a lady on a street who suddenly approached her and started to yell at her about what they think about immigrants, that the Finns has built this great, rich society and now the foreigners simply want to use it without paying anything. Well, not particularly nice behavior. Of course I'm sure that was just a remote incident, but still not a welcoming one. On the other hand I already have a very nice friend - a Finnish girl, who is not only a very open person (against all the stereotypes!), but she's very, very friendly and so helpful with getting along with everything Finnish - like where to find second hand shops or Finnish e-bay or other simple and useful stuff. And the funniest thing is she's a journalist too, exactly my age, a little freaked out about living eco-friendly and she even before studying journalism were studying engineering for a while! Not to mention her husband works for a Bank of Finland... Amazing. What a coincidence. Anyway, it is on one hand easier to get along here, because many things work as they used to work in Europe - brands, shops, transportation, how the city looks like, how the houses are built and how they look like - all this is similar in Europe. In the States on the other hand everything is like in movies and it really is like that and at first it's very strange for us - Europeans, but well, we lived there for almost six years and I finally got used to all that. What makes the life here harder than in the US? THE LANGUAGE! And the thing, that I'm so new out here and I have to make everything out of scratch again! Still I think I got along quite well so far, I made some friends - and they all are really great people, I'm driving and I sort of know the city and I made our life here HOME real HOME so Wanda can feel safe and for her it is so natural that we are here and that here is our home.
What a chaotic writing - it's just a stream of so many thoughts I have recently. I think about my new situation and about my life and the nearest future and I want to make it pleasant and happy.
I light the candles... every day from down to dusk. Breakfast with candles, Marta! Yes, this is it :)

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Updates



It’s Friday, November 11. Time’s passing and I’m not writing anything. It’s because we moved to a new apartment and we don’t have internet connection yet. So now we finally have our own place. Unfortunately we had to move from the downtown and we no longer live in Kruununhaka. It was a little bit sad to leave that place, cause I really liked that area - those old part of the city, nice buildings and being close to the sea and living downtown. But well, you cannot have everything. Now we’re living very close to a subway station and it takes about 15 minutes to get to downtown. But it takes about 3 minutes by car to get to the biggest shopping mall in Nordic countries hahaha!!! 
Anyway, the apartment is big and nice with a big open space - kitchen plus livingroom and with it’s own sauna! And it’s empty :) We need to buy some furniture. Wanda got her own room and she seems to feel at home already. 
And I’m tired from all those changes. I’m happy that I can finally settle down and make this place my home. Since the end of May I’m constantly on a go. First in Poland moving back and forth then here in that temporary apartment, which almost became our home. But knowing that we have to find a new place I couldn’t settle down. 
The area is nice although it’s not on a seaside. But there is a little forest and a great play park. Wanda already loves to go there. And she doesn’t cry anymore in a daycare. She likes that place and there is no crying while saying bye-bye! Yuppie! 

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

out of habit

Good to be in Europe. On this small continent where a distance from one country to another is like from one city to another on the same coast in the States. No more those overnight flights! Last weekend we spent in Warsaw. We had a flight Friday afternoon and we were back home Sunday night. So easy! So fast! Amazing. Almost no time difference - just one hour. The flight took less than two hours. Such a funny feeling - you live abroad, but somehow it doesn't make a big difference than living in another city in Poland. At least to me after living for six years on the other side of the pond. But so often I have those moments that I think I'm still there. Like with calling someone from the family. Whenever it's evening in Helsinki I think it's too late for calling Poland! I used so much to making all those skype calls no later than 4 pm it's hard to change those habits. During the Nobel Prize week every day I made that mistake. Right after I was awake I opened my laptop to check who won the prize this year - but of course there were no news yet! They announce them around noon in Stockholm. And another thing is with the American and metric systems. Whenever I talk with someone about temperature or other measurements I want to explain how much it is in Fahrenheit or I'm saying weight in pounds forgetting that here we use kilos! So, my old brain is still in transition...