Näytetään blogitekstit, joiden ajankohta on 2015.

Christmas and After

Some people hate Christmas. Others see it as an execution of some sort. I don't understand either sort. For me Christmas is not a religious celebration but an opportunity to gather with the most important people during the darkest time of the year and enjoy wonderful food. Even though there are all the things that need to be taken care of before Christmas Eve (shopping for food with a million others, finding presents, etc.) it doesn't cause me stress... Unless my brother leaves buying his girlfriend a present to the last day and forces me to go and find something when he needs to work until late. But in any case you know that the entire city is going to be in the same supermarket and there's nothing you can do about it except take a deep breath and dive in there.

In Finland there was no snow this Christmas, which suited me perfectly. We also had two hairballs to take care of. What's more the TV channels had finally understood that during Christmas holidays most people s…

Riding Icelandic Horses

Home sweet home. And what a way to start off the Christmas season! On Friday I went to see a concert from a Finnish Idol-contestant from 10 years ago, Antti Tuisku. A record audience sang along to every song and danced like crazy. We had a blast! And on Saturday we had Little Christmas party with my girls, which was kicked off early in the afternoon with riding Icelandic horses. We had dressed warmly but the weather surprised us in the most positive way. Full-on sunshine and almost 10 degrees warm. It has been an ongoing joke in Facebook how in July it was colder in Finland than it is now in December.   

We got to the stables in Mynämäki (Jaakkolan Islanninhevostalli) a little bit late but it was fine. When we got into the stables everybody sighed with adoration: Icelandic horses are incredibly cute! They are smaller than regular horses but bigger than ponies with very fluffy fur and big eyes. They are very calm and live in herds so, unlike with bigger horses, they move in queues witho…

What am I doing?!

Yesterday after work I was sitting in my favourite café here in Bratislava, Urban House, having a glass of wine and looking out of the window at people coming from and going to the Christmas market. And it hit me like a ton of bricks: what the hell am I doing? Why am I moving away from a place where I have been nothing but happy 100% of the time? Why am I changing a job in a huge, international company to a job in a small, unknown company? 

I had to really pick my brain and list some pros and cons again in my mind and eventually it all comes down to one thing. Family. That's why I'm moving away from here, closer to home. It's my brother's and my best friend's birthdays at the end of January and if I lived in Slovakia I wouldn't be able to attend either. At this moment, when panic is rising in me, the fact that I wouldn't have to fly to get home made it certain to me that this is something I have to do right now. If I didn't go to Tallinn and see what thi…

Budapest Christmas Market

How perfect it is that I still had time to go check out the Budapest Christmas Market before moving away from Slovakia. And to check it out with the company that I had... I am just so fortunate when it comes to friends. When traveling, the company you have is a very important factor in how successful the trip will in the end be. The worst trip I ever had was unfortunately a long weekend in Paris - as gorgeous as the city always is - because schedules do not belong to a holiday. In my opinion the best thing in Paris, or any destination, would be to get a bottle of wine, some brie cheese and relax. This trip to Budapest was exactly that; complete relaxation, no schedules, no plans (except going to the Christmas market) and in the end we did see a lot of Budapest, mostly places I haven't even seen yet, like the Basilica.

I had been quite sick for two days and was really afraid that I wouldn't be well enough to go. But working from home turned out a very good idea and on Saturday m…

Secret Santa

Here in Slovakia I have become familiar with the concept of Secret Santa. It is a popular Christmas time activity at work places and I assume it originates from the States. The main idea is to lift at random a colleague's name from a hat. Your job then is to buy something small to this colleague as a Christmas present. The presents are later dealt out by the Secret Santa and the point is that you don't know from whom your gift is.  Of course if you get your best friend's name from the hat you'd probably buy something personal and maybe attach a card on it to notify them that it's from you.

Our team has a bit of a grumpy reputation; not eager to participate in any stupid team activities. But for this most people were totally in (of course there were the odd two people who tried to squirm out... I didn't give them a choice :D).
I've mentioned before how hard buying Christmas gifts is. Especially because I want the gifts to be useful and something that the recip…

17 Days

It's December so I am "allowed" to spread open my suitcase and start filling it with shoes and clothes for the Christmas holidays in Finland. Three weeks is a relatively long time for having only one suitcase but this time the biggest challenge is that I should fill it with things that I can leave home when I fly back after Christmas. There's no point to drag, for example, summer clothes and shoes from here to Tallinn when I won't be needing them for at least six months.

1st of December is also the holy day when everyone gets to finally open the first doors on their Advent calendars. I remember how difficult it was as a child to wait for December to dawn on when we knew in which closet the calendars were standing and waiting. I also remember one time when the first of December came and it turned out that my brother had already emptied the entire calendar of all chocolates. Why he had then closed the doors again and left the empty calendar in the closet I do not un…

My Slovak Family

Sometimes life throws you against the wall and causes bruises that take years to heal. Some people succumb under the pressure, I decided I've had enough, I'll run away. They say that you can't run away from your troubles, you'll always bump into them on the way but I did exactly that and it was the best decision I ever made. When moving to Slovakia I didn't have any expectations, I didn't know where I was going. And during the one and a half years I have realized what makes me happy: 

I've always enjoyed being in a big group, I love having a lot of people around me. Important people that is. I don't know where this comes from because my family hasn't been exactly keen on having huge gatherings more than what has been an absolute necessity. Here in Slovakia I've met such amazing people who have become veery important to me as friends but also as a sort of family. We are all so different, we all have a "role" in the group, we are all nece…


Loneliness. Doesn't have quite the same ring to it in English as it does in Finnish. In Finland loneliness has been in headlines for a while now because it's becoming a huge social problem: 400 000 lonely people in a country of 5 million. Scientifically explained loneliness is an involuntary experience and emotion. For a lot of people in the world this might sound incomprehensible, but even in a metropolis you can be completely alone. I would know.
As a Finn I enjoy being on my own every now and then. Nothing beats a lazy Sunday alone at home or in a café with a book. During busy weeks or months I see those lonely days as a bit of luxury. But a human being, especially me, has a limit with the voluntary loneliness. For some that limit is just a need to ask an opinion or telling someone what happened to them today. The simplest thing, but it can be devastating if you don't have anyone to ask or to tell. Others, like me, have the limit much lower: just the need to see a famili…

Bratislava Wrapped in Christmas

Reality starting to set in. Last week I handed in my resignation, for the first time with trepidation. I'm utterly aware that most people would never do what I'm about to do: leave a job they like in a company they like and move away from a country that they absolutely love. Yes, I'm completely nuts!
We have this saying in Finland that rolling rocks don't get mossy and I think that's the story of my life in a nutshell. I get bored easily and boredom is my worst nightmare. I need new experiences and excitement in my life all the time and even though I am completely happy here in Bratislava, if I let this opportunity of discovering a new country slip away I would never forgive myself! And as a single, childless, independent person, why wouldn't I go and be nuts :D I'm an experience-addict!

But, I still have a lot of time left here and thankfully it's one of my favourite times of the year: Christmas. The markets are lit up and there's happy people everyw…