Saturday, August 30, 2008

Summer Bliss

Ok, so this happened three weeks ago already, but you know how hard it is to get back on track after a long break.

I put this picture as my background pic on my laptop after I lost the previous one of Jymy through reordering of old files. This is from Koivuranta in Vääksy, a village in the southern part of the lake Päijänne. My dad's family is from Kalkkinen which is a bit north from Vääksy, just across Pulkkilanharju.

We visited Koivuranta on August 9th to attend a yearly family gathering always abundant with honest food, happy family talk, games and programme, sauna and swimming and of course a birthday cake for my grandma. Happy birtday Aino!

Check out some more pictures of the Finnish summer by the lake and a couple of rare shots of lakeside species.

Friday, August 8, 2008


Our washing machine – the one I told you our cats like to sit on top of when it's on – broke down last week. Luckily nobody was sitting on top of it when it was on for the last time. Or maybe somebody was but they took off much faster than I was able to run to the bathroom. Well, there was no drama really. It just made a funny noise – it sounded broken actually – and we had to unplug it before it travelled too far.

However, I had ingeniously forseen this and inherited my grandma just a few months ago and so it happened that she did happen to own another old washing machine, actually probably even younger than ours. So all we had to do was to transport it to our place. Well, for minor technical reasons we had to get rid of the old one first. We carried it down to the basement beside the trash cans. And yes, I am aware that this is quite illegal. However, I ment to keep an eye on it and order a pick up for it if it wouldn't disappear. But as I suspected the next day somebody had already moved it to the other side of the room to sit beside an abandoned television and a couple of days after it had already disappeared. This handy recycling system seems to function quite reliably in these big city owned apartment buildings for all manner of stuff.

So now we have a washing machine again. I also managed to buy a new tube and so our washing machine even functions. And to top it all off I managed to retrieve the old manual – how it still exists is quite unfathomable – and now we are even able to understand how it functions. I'm sure only a washing machine engineer could figure out to call the different programs by such descriptive names like 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 or even Z.

The only problem is that this washer has a way smaller tumbler than our old one had. It currently seems like the washing rate that I'm able to achieve would not be able to match the rate of dirty laundry this household is able to produce. We might be facing a bit of a problem soon.

What is the most important thing though? The cats are happy. A front loader beats a top loader any day – way more entertaining!

Friday, August 1, 2008

Cairo, Alexandria And The World Dances With Mahmoud Reda

Long time no see, I know, I know. But there is so much more to write about as well as I promised. Here's the first peace offering. Yes, I was in Cairo.

The good news is that I didn't have time to take as many pictures as I usually do and thus it might be possible for me to go through them all in a sufferable time and you might actually get to see them at some point in the future.

Here's another picture from Cairo. Don't ask me what the sign says. The flower is pretty though.

No pictures from Alexandria at the moment. There was even less time for picture taking there. And now here's the story. Last year just before Christmas I auditioned for the El Hosseny Dance Company (why it still says at the web site that they are just founding the company, I have no idea, I think it has existed for at least two years now). As I was in Iceland last spring I couldn't dance with the group before but when I got back to Finland in the beginning of June I called Tuija and asked if I could still join them for the trip to Alexandria and Tuija said yes. So the next day I went to practice and the day after that as well and the day after that and you know the drill.

Why Alexandria then? Well, there was The World Dances With Mahmoud Reda festival. There is no link here as based on my limited experience there generally are no links about anything that happens in Egypt. Now Mahmoud Reda I can link you to many pages even though it's surprising that there is no Wikipedia page about him and I so can't use my default link and chose this link instead as it contains pictures from last year's festival in Alexandria.

In the festival different dance groups around Europe come togeather to perform Mahmoud Reda's choreographies with Egyptian professional male dancers. This year as last year the groups were representing France, Spain, Italy, Switzerland and Finland. We had five shows at the big stage at the New Library of Alexandria in the beginning of July. Our group danced altogether seven dances, four each night. No dance pics yet though, sorry, as obviously they would not be taken by me. However, here's a picture of our group posing with Mahmoud Reda and Farida Fahmy, a legendary principal dancer of the Reda Troupe who came to see the last two shows. To get a glimpse from the past check out Mahmoud Reda, Farida Fahmy and the Reda Troupe on YouTube. This year I think the Italian group performed this piece, correct me if I'm wrong.

Standing from left to right: Laura, Marcela (our Spanish participant), Ilona, Master Mahmoud Reda, our teacher Tuija Rinne, Madame Farida Fahmy, and our teacher Mohamed El Hosseny

Kneeling from left to right: Elise, Milja, Nastya (our Estonian participant), Aino and me

The picture was taken by a professional photographer at the Library, if anybody knows who to credit here, please let me know and I will do so.