Monday, December 31, 2007

Recuperating from Christmas

This is exactly how these guys employed themselves the entire Christmas holiday. As did some others, now that we come to that. But we humans did have some colds and stomach flus as excuses. The cats were soothing us with their whole ability, though, so no grudge.

After all the lying around I think we've now recovered enough to start another recovery on Tuesday. Happy happy New Year everybody!

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Holiday Haze

Yesterday around midnight we went to meet Tommi's sister at the airport and there was an amazing fog.

Waiting for the bus.

Lights at the airport.

Merry Christmas! Hauskaa Joulua! Gleðileg Jól!

Friday, December 21, 2007


We figured out already a long long time ago with my mum that the meaning of life is "to move stuff from one place to another". I'm happy to announce that I've been fulfilling this maxim diligently lately. It's what they call the Christmas spirit.

There's no snow yet though. I don't think it can be fair that there's been a snow storm in Ann Arbor – or so I hear – and Tommi's sister tells me that there's even snow in Marche in Italy. But absolutely none here. Today there was some frost on the gound and a beautiful golden sunshine. But no snow.

I feel quite like a Christmas elf walking back and forth with bags full of wrapped Christmas presents to be traded to new bags over coffee or glögi or lunch. And the kitchen is warm tonight and smells sweet and my feet hurt from standing so long guarding the pots and kettles.

Here's an empty picture. It's my desk at the department all cleaned up. But if you look closely you can see all my stuff filed on the shelves, they are reflected on the windows.

This, on the other hand, is a full picture. It's the Hakaniemi Market Place packed with Christmas shoppers even on Friday morning. But we managed in and out alive and now our fridge is bursting.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Reykjavík 101

Yes, I'm still in Helsinki. But I am catching up with uploading old pictures. These ones are from Reykjavík. The series is called Reykjavík 101 because for one that's the postal code of our address and the central part of the town and most of the pictures are from around that area and secondly because the pictures present my first impressions of the city thus forming the first course in Saara's lecture series on living in Reykjavík.

But there's still one reason for the name that actually renders the post almost current. I just saw the movie 101 Reykjavík for the first time last week. I might assure you that it's quite a famous movie (and a book before that) even if you've never heard of it before. But you are forgiven because people generally don't know stuff that's world famous in Iceland. However, the movie was great. If you have a chance to see it, I warmly recommend, it's super funny and completely weird.

One of my favourite scenes is when Hlynur, the main guy, a total waste of space, starts putting money in all the emptying parking meters along the street and the meter maid is running after him yelling that one is not allowed to put money for other people's cars. There's a strange type of Icelandic humor, which I hope you may be able to glimpse already from some of my pictures and which is blooming in the movie.

But all in all it's funny that there can be a movie from a city you've lived in only a month and still you are able to recognise almost all the places.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

In Memory of Juha Heinonen

Kuinka monelle piirsit uuden elämän
valkoisella liidulla?
Huoneessa, jonka ikkunoista aukeaa
Ann Arborin aurinko.
Huoneessa, jonka taulun alla
on liidunvalkoista lunta.

Kuinka monena iltana keittiönne
oli täynnä naurua?
Talossa, jonka ulko-ovet olivat
silloin lukitsematta.
Talossa, jossa vain lapsilla
on nukkumaanmenoaika.

Kuinka monta mustaa vaatetta olemme
tänään pukeneet ylle?
Muistossa, jonka vuosien vaihtuessa
itse tarinoit meille.
Muistossa, jota emme vielä
olisi ottaneet vastaan.

Friday, December 7, 2007

Here and There

Naively one could think that if one is away six weeks of a 15 week dance semester one wouldn't have to dance too many dances in all the dance school Christmas shows. But in fact it works quite the opposite. One attends so many make up classes in different groups that one almost learns their dances as well and then one is asked to perform twice as much.

So the reason for sparse posting lately is that I'm currently having a slight time problem with my three dance shools, three dance school performances, six different dances and six different costumes.

Stay tuned for more Iceland and Ann Arbor content though. It is coming, whether you believe it or not.

Monday, December 3, 2007

The Smell of Slush

I've been thinking that I want to make a post called Helsinki, My Beautiful Hometown. I would post a picture taken from the city center. There would be some sidewalk and perhaps whatever you could see in the darkness, some lights from some cars or some adds. The sidewalk would be, as they all are now, covered with thick heaps of dirty snow which would be already halfway turning into slush and between the biggest heaps you could see people's footprints as deep holes in the brown slush. There would be lights shining from the wet black asphalt where there might be some dryer patches and you could see the big wet snowy drops pouring sideways above it all. And there would also be people dressed in dark thick clothes walking fast with their faces turned down and leaning slightly forwards.

There is something very distinct about the wet darkness that governs the worst few weeks of the Fall. No more leaves, no white snow yet. Simply the shining wetness of it all and the total darkness and the smell of the rain. It is not totally unpleasant. In fact, last week when I was walking to my dance class I remember thinking: "What a lovely mellow Icelandic weather we are having, the air is fresh and I feel quite alive" and when I got to the dressing room I was confronted by a crowd of whining Finns who were declaring the weather to be of the most horrible sort imaginable.

However, the point of this post was that there will not be such a post. I've been so busy that I've just been running back and forth in the rain all day long every day not having the time to stop and take pictures. And let's face it, the idea of stopping, opening your bag, ferreting out the camera, adjusting it and having your fingers freeze and your camera get soaked is not the most pleasant of ideas that might occur to me while slushing towards the next place I need to be. In fact the only way to find such a weather tolerable is if you don't have to go very far and you can keep going pretty fast.