Tuesday, May 29, 2012

A day on an island

Last weekend was unbelievably warm. Perfect weather for a whole day picnic. My mum visited us for a weekend, my husband was away on a conference and so I decided to go for a trip. Short trip. And I found a wonderful place, especially magical at this part of a year. Uunisaari and Harakka. Tiny islands just couple hundreds meters from a mainland and the southern marina in the heart of Helsinki. So we packed our picnic, that is some oranges and bananas and water and off we go! The boat goes to Uunisaari (3,50 euro round trip) and you can walk along that island and cross to the other one on a tiny bridge. It's green and rocky and the most amazing thing there were the nesting birds. This is actually why I wanted to go there, cause I've read in SixDegrees that it is a great place for bird watching. And it is indeed. At this part of the year the birds are nesting and they just sit on a grass, I mean they do have sort of nests, but they are set up on the ground and not hidden from humans eyes. They sit literally steps from the path people use for walking. And they look so calm and relaxed. And there weren't that many people, so I guess they can feel safe. So the females were sitting on eggs and around each female there was a male watching around and keeping his eye on any potential danger. There were some sort of geese (I don't know the name) and seagulls mostly but we also saw a swam couple. Beautiful and amazing. Wanda was so happy to see that many birds and also some offspring. She was jumping around on the rocks and splashing water in the tiny ponds. I wasn't in charge of taking pictures, but there is just couple to show you the atmosphere. We had our first summer day in Helsinki.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

wondering about a future job...

Last days there are coming to me thoughts about what kind of job could I make in Finland after my second child will reach the age of a day care. I know, I still have pretty much time, but as we all know time flies like crazy and those two to three years will just go by like an express train. That thought came to me last Friday while I was chatting with a mom in Wanda's day care. She's the bread winner, she's Finn and her husband, a Canadian, is a staying at home dad (for three years now) and he has difficulties to find a job in Finland. I didn't ask what is his profession, but she mentioned that time to time he does some freelance job from home. But in any case I think he's still better of than me, cause he is a native English speaker with some Finnish too. And my English is so-so, I mean on a professional level, that is I don't think it is good enough to write a good article for Helsinki Times and my Finnish is literally zero. And what else than writing can I do? Of course a physical work, but maybe it's not necessarily what I'd love to do... I'm not sure if I want to go back to what I did for all those years in the States, that is writing for Polish newspapers and magazines. And why not? Cause I'd love to go out to work and not being stick at home all day long seeing only my laptop. That was OK years ago, when there were no kids at home and we both were working like crazy 24/7 and home was actually partly an office. But not any more. It's not a working environment (with toys, laundry and dinner around) and I really would like to have a possibility to dress nicely and see other people. And I know that all the mothers know exactly what I mean. But besides that there is also the money aspect. To have a decent salary for Finnish standards and earning that money in Poland as a freelance journalist is almost impossible. I mean I should've been able to write four to five really big and deep articles a month. Regularly, every month and this is for very good paying publishers, for others probably even eight. Being a mother of two at the same time not quite possible I guess. And that would be like killing myself only to make a living. Worth it or not? Now I think I should have taken some writing classes while living in the States. The university was there, I was on campus almost every day. And I didn't make an advantage of it. I know, I was busy working, but that was the right time to learn something new. And instead my English grammar and vocabulary are horrible. It's not a journalistic level. And it probably never will be. But still I hope during the coming years I will come up to some ideas. I'm usually optimistic about my job. I wonder what other people like me managed to do. Didn't make much research on that, but maybe I should. And there is always a possibility to write a book :) Anyway, have a beautiful day.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

enjoy the spring

And so days are longer and longer (it's getting dark around 10pm now), warmer and warmer too (today +16C!). Birds are singing, green grass is growing, new leaves are coming. Only quite late. But it doesn't matter any more, cause I'm so happy for this year spring like for a very precious and long awaiting gift. We spend most days playing outside. Wanda is doing great on her balance bike. She loves to ride it. But I'm surprised that they are not popular in Finland, or at least not in our neighborhood. Here all the small kids are riding those ridiculous 4-wheels bikes usually with a long stick at the back pushing by their parents. Many of the kids don't even bother to pedal! Does it make any sense at all? Anyway, I've met a nice girl who lives in the same building as we. She's German, but lives here for years and is fluent in Finnish, she's actually a Finnish language teacher. And her husband, a Finn - what a rare thing - is a Polish translator. She asked me about a day care, about taking Finnish classes and well, every time I hear those questions I feel being put in an awkward situation. I feel almost guilty for not going Suomi yet. I feel like people expect me to learn Finnish or to put my child in a regular Finnish day care. I guess once or twice I've even heard why didn't I decide for a Finnish day care. And people used to say, but there are so many possibilities to take language classes. I know it. I do know. But still I'm not ready for them. I don't have time - first of all. I even don't have time to take prenatal yoga classes. Second - I'm still quite new here and I don't feel yet that I belong to this place, to this country with its language and culture. Third - as for the day care, we decided not to change anything for Wanda, cause she will have enough changes at home with the new baby. And besides, I really like her to pick up so many English words, phrase, songs.

Taxes

There are some pros and cons about Finnish tax system. Cons are they are pretty high, which means you earn gross a nice sum of money, but a real amount landing to your bank account doesn't make you that happy. Basically they cut out well over 30 percent. But this is at least for a reason and you can see the benefits quite often. For example I had a doctor appointment recently. A control visit. And the thing was that particular doctor doesn't speak English, but she has arranged a translator for me. So here came a lady who was translating simultaneously. And this is for free. And this is, what I've learned, my right to ask for such a person in similar situations, for example if I don't understand teachers from my kids day care or school. Cool. Other pros are of course all those KELA services that is the benefits I get as a stay at home mom or what we will apply for the next year - a private day care allowance. But another maybe small but nice thing is the tax office actually makes all the taxes for you and sends you a ready to sign papers. So your only duty is to check if you agree and put your signature on it and send back. Cool, right!