Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Swimming in the Baltic Sea

Yesterday I attended the FRISKIS & SVETTIS excercise session, in the Center of Helsinki, Kaivopuisto. One of the reasons for my NOT going there more often has been (aside of lack of time) the stupid name of the organising group. "Friskis & Svettis, like "Healthies & Sweatish". Or "Tertsit ja Hiksit".

Now how does that sound – very stupid and Swedish indeed.

But it was fun, and the best part came afterwords. E.S., M. and I. went to buy some pique nique stuff like olives, bread, cheese and Domino bisquits, the best biscuits in the world (forget them Oreos), AND a bottle of Rose wine. Then we headed for Katajanokka, the South-Eastern part of central Helsinki, and first we swam, then added some gourmet pleasures into our lovely and healthy leasure evening. The photos here are taken from where we swam.

It is terrible to know that the Baltic Sea is in such a bad shape. But we did not swallow the water, of course. (We had the Rose to help with the thirst.)

Soon, probably next, I will be writing about how to make the most of your (mine) time; how to find to for EVERYTHING. I will dedicate that piece of my IStori blog to Mohammed and his friend Jessica. But I still need to give that important issue a lot of thought. There are so many things I don't have time for, BUT ALSO so many things I feel i don't NEED to have time for, like I don't need to cook meals with several difficult courses or do jigsaw puzzles (absolutely hate them) or watch reality Tv series. Except that British one where men swap wives and then everything goes wrong in both of the households. (That is just too hilarious to miss.)

Talk to you soon,

Monday, July 24, 2006

Alavus and Tuuri

Dear friends,

If you are like me, huge shopping centers make you sad. Perhaps you, too, start thinking about all that waste the goods are going to end up, and you think about all the little children in India, Cambodia or China or anywhere who have made the lots with they bloody little fingers. You also remember all the waste of energy, as well as the damage to the environment...

The huge "kyläkauppa", "shop" in Tuuri, Töysä area, would make you... just wordless. I have never seen soch a shopping inferno in my life.

We bought some stuff anyway. Couldn't help it, sad to say. Clothes for my baby, except a "Jussi" style T-shirt for me – the kind the locals wear with pride. Because I am a local, from Alavus. Remember. And Marimekko shirts (YES, REALLY, but they certainly are FINNISH) for some relatives.

Many people say shopping is like a hobby. Nice to do alone, or with the whole family, with friends... And spend the whole day doing it, or even the whole week, during the sales... Shopping? That makes me think some people must live really empty life.

Then we drove to the church of Alavus to look for the grave of my grandmother's mother, Liisa Sutikkala. Did not find it, the graveyard was too big. Before leaving the Alavus area we went to the Edesjärvi village where my grandmother lived before she moved to Helsinki (at the age of 17). Here she helped to take care of her sister's babies.

And soon she met my grandfather, In Abrahaminkatu, Helsinki. After they got married she never wanted to move back, and then they started a family of their own... And the wars came, first the Civil War, then the World War II, and the Soviet threat... But these are other stories. (Thanks, Nöpö, for sharing!)

The little lake on the picture is Edesjärvi, taken very near my grandmother's house.


Ps. About the current war in the Middle East, please see the previous post below.

Israel and Lebanon

How will the conflict between Israel and Lebanon be solved?

a) They are mature and good people. They themselves know how to get out of this dreadful situation that is threatning other countries, too, and causing unbearable suffering to innocent civilians.

b) The UN or the EU or the USA will negotiate and put pressure on the both of them.

c) More violence, war, and terrorism.

d) I wish I knew. (Or they knew, at least.)

A demonstration against the war in the Middle East today on Monday the 24th in Helsinki, marching from Kiasma to the Embassy of Israel (Yrjönkatu). Starting at 5 pm by Kiasma.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Lake Päijänne and learning Estonian

Yesterday I visited my baby girl and took her back home with me. I was missing her so much. The weather in Asikkala, Päijänne, got very windy and our little boat was jumping on the wawes. My mother and her spouse have their summer place in an island. And I really needed to get back to Helsinki, to work work work.

In the car (when driving there and back) I listened to my Estonian language course. Some phrases IN FINNISH were somewhat peculiar, like 21. is "kahdeskymmenesyhdes", ie. "twentyoneth".

But I still think the only good way for me to learn the language is by listening and repeating, and listening the cd's whenever I have time for them. I just can't go to any evening courses right now.

And, I also need to learn long sentences, not just seprate words and endless grammatical details with endless lists of exercises. That may be efficient, but so boring.

Maybe that's why learning Russian and taking part in various language courses, has been so difficult for me. It is so strange that I know a lot of interesting details about Russian grammar, but I can say only few things in that demanding language.

Soon I will go to "Etelä-Pohjanmaa". You Finns know how scary a place that is, but to all of you foreigners I can tell it is thepart of Finland were people are very proud and don't have any sense of humour. Or maybe they do, but we vane, posh and proud Helsinki-born wannabeintellectuals don't understand them. (In real life they are laughing at us.)

So, soon to Alavus, to a real Pohojammaa wedding!

Ps. I have to mention that originally, I am from Alavus, too. My grandmother was from there. So I am one to THEM.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Goodbye, Turku -> Hello, Helsinki!

Great being in Turku, but I hope they are not offended. A journalist of the second biggest Finnish daily, Turun Sanomat asked me what I think about Turku being the Cultural Capital of Europe in 2011, or is it in 2012, and I gave a brilliant (and probably too long an) answer. So, in yesterday's newspaper I was saying "Turku should become a nationally acknowledged city".

As if there were hundreds of thousands of Finns who have never heard of Turku. (But I had not, until I was about 25.)

The Turkuise entrepreneurs have some brilliant ideas. For example, they have nicely decorated and renewed cafes, bars and restaurants in old, restored buildings, and these are named after thay original usage. Like SCHOOL, which used to be a school; BANK, that has been a bank; TOILET or loo (Puutorin Vessa, see pic); WELL (= kaivo); FARMACY and even KINDERGARDEN, where people sit on tiny little chairs. And TRAM, which is now an ice cream stand at the market square (see pic).

We in Helsinki have had only a bar called "BAR" – which was not a bar before.

The BookTori happening was nice, see picture. And see a pic of a man riding a waterbike on the river Aura. How strange.

About the fashion life I have to mention the fact that I have never ever seen so many Marimekko products everywhere around me, all the time. My dear friend E. S. and I had a contest: Marimekko jacket 3 points, shirt 2 pts, bag 1 pt. On Sat we actually were competing aggressively and counting points, but on Sunday there were couples the both of which wore Marimekko shirts and bags and even scarfs etc, so we got overloaded. They love that label, I have to say.

Now back to business, and I have to start planning my next trip to Estonia.

All best,

Friday, July 14, 2006

Missing my baby and going to Turku

Dear Blogspotters

My dear little toddler girl is on holiday. She is with her grandparents by the lake Päijänne, in an island. She loves it there! But I hate the fact that we are not together. Oh, it's hard to be a mum. And to work all the time.

I just started listening to an Estonian language course, on CD. Luckily, most of the words are already familiar, or close to Finnish, so beginning is not so hard. (Yeah, yeah, it will get harder, I know.)

And there are ONLY 14 cases (sijamuotoa). We have 15 in Finnish!

Estonians have a frase "tänan meldiva päeva eest". In Finnish it means "kiitos hyvästä päivästä", ie. "thank you for a good day". But when does one use a frase like that? They say that to the God before falling asleep? In front of a mirror? We Finns are so cynical and seldom spend whole days together, you see.

But I will say that my little girl very often.

Soon I will travel to Turku, as tomorrow I will be selling books at BookTori-happening. More about it here: but I am afraid it is in Finnish only. But the pages of the City of Turku are in English, too, they are here:

Loodan, et kohtume jälle. Önn kaasa! Head aega! (Guess what those phrases mean. The first who has guessed right will get a photo by e-mail as a present.)


Thursday, July 13, 2006

Estonian language is getting interesting

Dear All,

Now it is

time, time, time.

To start thinking about something else but football. Tough. Well, I have been working quite a lot during the games, believe it or not. But now I have to use my extra leasure and pleasure hours somehow... Especially after my little girl is asleep. Until then, finding things to do is no problem whatsoever!

But the new thing I will start writing about into this blog is ESTONIA and ESTONIAN LANGUAGE. Has anybody noticed there is a lot of resemblance between Estonian and the Turku dialect (of Finnish)? Really, like "Tere tulemast Tartusse!" is in Turku: "Tervettulo´ Turkkusse!". Now isn't that just unbelievable. And also, listening to a Turku person speaking his mother tong is a lot like listening to an Estonian.

But seriously, I will start studying Estonian a bit. Today. I have bought some books and cd´s. Next weekend I will visit Turku, and I hope I will have time listen to the cd's.

The pictures here are from Kadriorg park, in Tallinn; panorama, Tartu; and the Old Believers near Tartu. I will tell you much more about the Old Believers later. They look very Russian, don't they? Well, as a matter of fact, the tradition comes from Russia, and they are very Russian still. They don't speak any Estonian. (So I have to brush up my Russian, too.)

In three weeks I will go to Narva, and Lake Peipus, the Old Believers' village, and Tartu. That is something to look forward to! (Check out the Tartu pages:

All the best,


Ps. One last thing about the World Cup: WHAT HAPPENED to Zizou? He got mad, I certainly got that, and Materazzi got exactly what he wanted. But did Materazzi fall because of the hit - or does it even matter?!?!? What do you think?
* Thanks, Mohammed, for sending me a brilliant article called Mother of All Insults (the Guardian yesterday).
* Here is one of the newest stories of the attack, and ZZ not regretting:

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Remembering Germany, but ALLEZ LES BLEUS!

Nice to be back home! It was great to spend almost a week in Frankfurt, especially when Germany and Argentina were playing. (I was wearing the Argentina shirt in the middle of millions of Germans.... and then started the penalties... But I was fine, and so was everybody else, except the Argentinian team.) And on Saturday we had an exciting game there, near the center, at the Frankfurt stadium: when France was playing Brazil the streets were full of people in yellow, or green, shirts.

And most of them, the fans of Brazil, were not Brazilians but Germans, and maybe from some other countries, too. Somebody said, that people who do not know much about football usually support Brazil. How evil thing to say. But true.

But my friends and I, we were wearing blue, white and red, as a minority there. And WE WON!

But I think Germany has won the Wolrd Cup. Already. Doesn't matter how they will play Italy this evening.

Firstly, Germany has organised these games very well. Fans are taken care of in such a funny, friendly and appreciated manner that I almost could not belive I am in Germany. Many people have had ideas of Germany being efficient but boring, clever but with no sense of humour, but NO, no, no: Germany is a lot of fun and beautiful cities and landscapes, warm people and so good food! And everything was surprisingly cheap, too.

Secondly, the German team is now better then ever. Kaiser Beckenbauer and Rudi Völler, and even Klinsi, must be a bit envious when they look how the team is enjoying its task, and of course, playing so well together. Going forward with a lot of pressure, doing fancy stuff and tricks, and winning a match after match. Actually, the only German player I remember fun to watch has been Klinnsman.

I wish you good luck, but anyway, FRANCE will be the winner of the tournament.



Saturday, July 01, 2006

What can I say? It´s a PARTY here!

Now I do think Germany will be the champion.

England will play soon, and I have to get to the river banks, to MainArena. I will watch the game with about 100 000 other fooball fans.

See you!
IStori, Frankfurt am Main