torstai 29. joulukuuta 2016

I am home

It is always a treat to come back to Finland. Time makes memories golden and all that. SLAP. SLAP. SLAPPETISLAP. Love my friends and the near and dear that stand close and support. The rest is like someone SLAPPED you with a leather glove in the face. Putting the trouble aside, blaming its normal  in Finland... (us Finns like to put trouble into a box, lock it and pretend it never happened.)

I am moving on to food. A true love hate relationship. Eating has been a full day job. Having Christmas Dinner (or lunch) is like swimming in a pool of food with your mouth open. In my case, the heap of food goes in but not out. I am an authentic Moomin. The best cure is to go out for a run. In the end you run for your dear life to get home on time. I even outran my super tall boyfriend with legs like a gazelle. Sometimes occasion makes you Usain Bolt or anyone else fast... hätä ei lue lakia etc..

The weather has been something between October and February, but certainly not December. On the 25th we decided to have one of our famous food melting (please come out I don't want to be like Moomin forever) jogs. It was 0 degrees, and so the water had frozen. It was like scating on the driveway and all the way to the grawel road ( hiekkatie). I must have looked like Olaf from Frozen...
Putting the swollen me aside. Has any woman (or man) ever had the trouble of butt freezing when running? I must have a good lot of wobbly for my butt to freeze during the jog... and it continued frozen throughout the afternoon and our museum visit with one of these nearest and dearest friends. Darn butt, please do not fall off.

Helsingin Kaupungin Museo ( Helsinki City Museum (I guess)) has got the coolest exhibition, it's about old Helsinki through photos, smell and VR glasses. Too awesome. Not even nerdy. And it is for free, gratis, no pay. Wooppidoo.

The time has come for the last journey of this Finland visit. It's time to visit Tampere and spend New Years at a "friend like a sister's" cottage. Best of all, meet her 6 month old son. This is going to be a "One to remember" New Years.

Ps. Last year we did not see the fireworks, we did not eat the grapes (Spanish style), we did spend it with friends but the afterparty sucked. I wandered in the bushes after rolling in backwards (classy lady) and passed out in the taxi. None of this this year. Promise.

Happy New Year Folks

perjantai 25. marraskuuta 2016

The weather forecast in Lisbon: Ice Age

When you have nothing to say but there is the risk of an awkward silence, we usually speak about the weather. It is THE topic. No matter where you are.
It is sunny, it is cold, it looks like it´s going to rain, uff the cold. As I have had a radio silence the past weeks, I will take up the challenge of “the weather”. But I have a good reason.
In Finland it never occurred to me that I could freeze to death. In Portugal my life is a constant struggle not to turn into a deep frozen fish stick. In the North, the cold gives you a slap in the face. Wearing enough clothes will help you. Meanwhile in Portugal; stockings, jeans, socks, stocking long sleeve shirt, jumper, jacket, hat and gloves. I will survive! And the chill is on your bones. It´s like freezing from inside out, not outside in. The digital pharmacy sign tells you it´s +9! LIES
Yesterday, happily walking home at night dressed as a look-a-like Michelin man it started raining. FOGO (crap or something similar). There I was, soaking wet.
It does not make my dramatic life brighter at all, not having proper isolation or heating system at home. Going to bed is quite ok, it is cold but the battery and fleece pajama warms you up. However, if your blanket falls down and reveals some body part at night, you instantly wake up and cover yourself before you need an amputation. In the morning you prepare to run from the bedroom to the bathroom. Run? It´s so cold you might freeze on the way. Btw, the bathroom seat is no treat either. You butt might deep freeze on the rim.
The cherry topping: People laugh at my fight against the cold. Would you believe it? They mock me for being “over sensitive”. If you read in Iltalehti about a Finn who was found frozen in Lisbon, it was me.

sunnuntai 13. marraskuuta 2016

A São Martinho get together

Last Friday we celebrated São Martinho at work. In general, the Portuguese are very settle celebrators. At least in Lisbon. I have heard that in other parts of Portugal, especially the North, the people go all festive on certain days. But Lisbon, tsirp tsirp (it's a cricket).

When I lived in Spain some years ago, I could not wrap my mind around how many church parties there could be. Honestly, every week there was a parade in some part of the city where people were dressed as in the 1800th Century dragging a huge cross around. And then eventually becoming completely and utterly wasted. First church, then drink.

The Lisbon experience has been different. On Halloween (Dia das Bruxas) people were dragged into the party. The festivity was showed into their partyless lives. But São Martinho is another story.

São Martinho is celebrated 11.11. There is a legend to tell the story, involving a beggar a cloak and good weather. The rest I already forgot... and to be honest, when I asked around nobody knew. People are just interested in castanhas, Jeropiga e Agua-pé. That is; chestnut, alcoholic beverage and other alcoholic beverage. Its the theme of the day. Eat roasted chestnuts and alcohol for the mix of flavors.
To be honest it has got something to do with trying out 'new wine' and summer of São Martinho, which means a come back summer for a couple of days. Which is true, the sun is shining from a clear blue sky currently.

Back to the Friday party. We organized a chestnut-man to come roast chestnuts outside of the office building. The chestnuts were wrapped in company branded paper and the service was paid by the company. It was a nice event. Anybody wanting to have roasted chestnuts could come get some. Nice marketing initiative, I must say...

If you come to Lisbon, there's roasted chestnuts in every corner of the city until March when the strawberry season starts. (Roughly estimated.) Try them, so goooood and full of nutrients.

Have a lovely Sunday ya'll.

torstai 3. marraskuuta 2016

How living abroad made me patriotic

My personal pride of being Finnish (and recognizing other Finns abroad with a “Moi”) has increased from floor level through the roof. It´s hilarious. When we lived in Finland we couldn´t wait to move abroad. Get away from this tiny country, which is not “in” or even considered to be on the world map.

So, (ha-ha) we moved to Portugal. An even tinier country (geographically), which is as unknown as Finland. Portugal is in the shadow of Spain (but working hard to place itself on the mental world map of people) and good old Finland is kind of shadowed by Scandinavia and Russia. Is Finland even part of Scandinavia? I would say yes. But technically it´s not. And ok, Portugal is known as a football country, but theres so much more into it.

So what has happened? Well basically being a Finn in Portugal makes you stand out, a lot. At least if you get incorporated in groups of people who are only Portuguese. Taking an example, every official company event or business trip, I do get recognized for not being Portuguese. I stand out as a parrot among pigeons. All eyes on me. Standing out makes me different, and I like to feed the fact with my personal pride of the country I am from.

But how do you mean patriotic? I have been asked “tell me about Finland, what is your home like”. I usually skip the part of gray, cold, depressing, expensive, no jobs … it´s kind of rude and comparable to shooting yourself in the leg. Why would I dig a hole? So I tell them. It’s the country of a thousand lakes. The summer is warm and the people are nice. The nature is close, its green and you can walk around in it. The forest is a place where you can find peace and breathe fresh air. During winter the snow hangs on tree branches. White reflects light illuminating the air. The air you breathe is cold in the lungs like a menthol gum, your cheeks and nose turn red... Then I get homesick.

Moreover, I was asked to bring “salminakki” to work for Halloween because it´s black. And what was the name of that good Finnish chocolate fizer (fazer)? And you have that really good food, carne de reno (poronpaisti). They know, I am so proud.
I also think the Finnish ruisleipa is the best thing on earth. And Finnish candy is not even comparable to other countries. I always have a stash of remix at home.
Thank God I am going home for Christmas for reality therapy. Then I will happily return to my second home, Lisbon.

sunnuntai 30. lokakuuta 2016

What is your favorite word?

It sounds nerdy, but being a polyglot has thought me that there are some very nice words out there.
Some people like accents, others like words and others like the way someone talks. The way we express our selves verbally is actually pretty interesting. 

I have never been the accent person, I am not fond of accents that sound foreign to my ear. I only think Russian is not pretty and German sounds horrible. However, when you start to learn the language and the meaning of it, a world opens up. Honestly. German eww.. now when I have been exposed to German by Germans on a constant basis, I actually think they have some nice words. The accent is still horrible. 

But what am I to say that some language sounds horrible? People laugh at me when I speak Finnish. Apparently the Finns sound like the Minions from Despicable Me. That is horrible news for the Finns who are very masculine, strong and proud. Sisu perkele. We sound like peeping idiots. Touché. 

I have one favorite word in several languages. Its actually an animal. Libélula (Spanish), Libelinha (Portuguese) Trollslända (Swedish), Dragonfly (English) and Sudenkorento (Finnish). In Finnish its actually not so attractive, though when thinking of it I don't know too many beautiful Finnish words. In Latin its known as Libellula. All so cute. I love the way the word plays in the mouth when it is spoken.

I might sound Cockcoo crazy. Thats what Sunday does to you.

What is your favorite word? 

sunnuntai 23. lokakuuta 2016

Ericeira state of mind

We escaped Lisbon this weekend. Its funny how we have been in Portugal for almost 1,5 years and we have literally been nowhere... There's no time, no resources, too expensive, too lazy etcetera. Its easy to come up with reasons.

However, this particular weekend some Finnish friends were at Ericeira. And we took a crazy leap of faith. Omg the risks associated with a change in normal routine.. going to Ericeira... A true jump in the unknown. Not. Just a bunch of reasons. 

We travelled by bus (and through every single village on the way sighh) to Ericeira. It took us two hours, and the roads were small. I tried to enjoy the scenery, but had this nice cold sweat feeling and felt the blood escape my face.. I haven't been car sick since I was a child. Nevertheless, the air conditioning was state of art. Can you sense the sarcasm? It was raining outside, and the air inside the bus was extremely humid... and the windows were so dim it was impossible to see outside. I felt like a dying fly, or at least could relate to one.

I loved my girlfriend duty this weekend. Be supportive. The guys went surfing, although the weather was not optimal. According to our two pro surfers. (Who had surfed as many times as you can count with two hands) As girlfriends, we had to be close by, so we took chairs to the beach front and sat in the sun. Occasionally you would have to wave from the chair or do a thumbs-up to show that you were watching. Otherwise it was great time spent gossiping and speaking about life and realities. Optimal. Something I have been missing. On surfing round two (guys new attempt to go in the water) we moved up to the beach restaurant. The sun was better there. Wine time.

At night there was laughter, telling of crazy stories and eating good food. And the wine. Wine time.

Ericeira is a good place for surfers, and supportive girlfriends (in case they don't surf). It is small, cozy, friendly, there's nature, good food.. I wish to return. The relaxation was maximum. The feeling of sitting and just being there, having fresh air. It is irreplaceable. Namaste.

Sometimes you can have a full week of holiday in less than 24 hours. Enjoy the Sunday folks!

sunnuntai 16. lokakuuta 2016

I am a Dancer

It surprises me how many dancers travel to Lisbon to 'learn how to dance' or study dancing. Last Summer the parking lot in front of Jazzy Dance Studios (the biggest and most known dance school in Lisbon) was crowded with caravans. The location is absolutely perfect, its physically on the brink of Rio Tejo and therefore the scenery is a-w-e-s-o-m-e. And its most probably pretty cheap... Imagine living in a house wagon. Whaaaaat? Pretty cool.

I am going to briefly explain some topics related to dancing. This is the first time I am stating my opinion. Anybody is free to be of another opinion and also state it. But I ask, please keep it civil. No attacks on me. Obrigada.

1st A dancer is a dancer Anybody who dances can call him/herself a dancer. You dance = You are a dancer. If you run, you are a runner etcetera. Got the picture?
After dancing for some years and various styles, I can honestly say that you do NOT need a seniority, experience, status, accumulated years etcetera to be able to present yourself as a dancer. You dance? You are a dancer! Congratulations.

2nd Dance classes If you choose to attend classes for any reason; to know more about the style, to get exercise, to find peace, its a hobby.. you need to respect co-dancers. Again. Even if you would be the "best" dancer in the school or you have danced X-amount of years or you are in a crew, you cannot take space like you own the place, or walk in front of another dancer. Respect others. Believe in Karma.

3rd Learn the foundations I am the worst in this. When I freestyle, I want to do everything else (or my body wants to). Learning a dance style is like learning a language. You need to master the foundations before building your own style on top of it. It means millions of hours of repeating the same move. This applies to any style. If you skip the foundation the dance style looses its meaning. For example: English, if you do not know the basic grammar and have vocabulary, how can you have your personal way of speaking English? Omg you would sound Mongolian.

4th Enjoy! Have fun! There are people who have the grimmest face when dancing. Its about becoming the best (my personal experience). For years I danced 15-20 hours a week. Because I needed to be able to call myself a dancer. And I needed to become the best. But I had no goal, no one I looked up to, I didn't want to become a professional either...Then I lost motivation.
Have fun!! If you have a goal, try to reach it. But remember what brought you to your very first dance class or what made you groove the way you do. The more you enjoy, the better you get.

5th People are different There are the fanatics. Respect. Then there are all the people who come and go. Feeling based. Time based. Personal reasons etcetera. We co-live the community. Let's build it together. Everybody does not have the energy to put every breathing moment into dancing. But when dancing together, lets build the future of dance. Through foundations, por favor. Lets learn from each other.

6th A freestyle dancer and a dance class dancer are both dancers. Now I stepped on toes. These are two branches of dancing. Respect each other.

7th Anybody can dance or state an opinion. I am sorry to say this, and I am sorry to read people attacking each other for the opinions/styles they have. If I choose to dance Hiphop combined with Irish Dance steps (Mastering foundations), it is my way of expressing myself. Let me be.

Finally, dance is a veeeeeeery big word. Think about dancing as a tree. The tree is called dance. The roots are the foundations, the thing making dance what it is and the one keeping dance alive. The branches are the categories, sub-categories and styles. Finally leaves are the dancers. The tree is always growing, new branches are forming with new sub-branches and leaves. But dance cannot survive without the roots.


torstai 13. lokakuuta 2016

Outono = PSL e Dia das Bruxas

Omg, it arrived. The fall. I was not sure how long I would be able to take the pressing heat. It is actually nice to have some semi fresh air in the lungs. I said semi fresh because it is nothing compared to the Northern fresh air. Fall is my favorite time of the year.

Lunch walk

Vertical Rain. Fall here is not only colorful leaves, but a never frickin´ ending vertical rain. Normal outfit consists of: raincoat, rubber boots, umbrella and a water proof hat. Never forget the outfit! Otherwise you will get soaked, sick and unhappy. Like me for the past week…
Fall equals to October which equals to Halloween which equals to Pumpkin Spiced Latte. PSL FOR LIFE!! I had already two of them. Not going to miss any chance to obtain more. October also means cold, which means that we (I) need an extra fat layer. Hello love handles. (Duly noted, the over consumption of PSL…)

Besides PSL, I love Halloween (Dia das Bruxas). That is why I organized a Halloween party at work. Because I cannot party in my own house (sensitive neighbors who own cats). I decided to benefit of work. HA. I am going to be dressed as Dracula at 8am sharp. (The party starts at 3pm). But a Vampire is always sharp...I can work on the red eyes by intensively staring at the computer screen for eight hours before the party. And then I travel home by buss. If someone stares too long I bite.

On the contrary to love handles (which will appear latest at Christmas), I bought a Jawboneup2, it’s an activity band alright. The smart device tells me when I have been sitting for too long. After 45 min it vibrates. I jump from my chair like a bolt of lightning and take a walk around the office. If someone thought I was weird before, now they certainly do (they don´t know about the band). Power walking back and forth. The up2 also measures my sleep, food consumption (paired with Lifesum) and overall steps during the day. It’s a-o-k. I am walking extra much this week because we are making cinnamon buns (korvapuusteja) on Saturday. I had cardamom from Finland.
On the pictures you see me power walking during lunch break, taking evidence (pictures) of the fall in Lisbon...  

maanantai 3. lokakuuta 2016

Jag tycker että me could jantar fora on miercoles noite?

When I see the word "polyglot" I instantly think of the green monster in Monsters Inc. Sounds like a small monster, a language monster. Maybe I am.

There are several good and several bad things of being a multilingual person. I did not choose to become one, it happened to me and I decided to feed it once I was at it.

You are not born with a knowledge of Swahili, nor do you learn Chinese in a week. To learn languages takes time and effort. You want to learn a new foreign language? Put ur butt into it. A language does not jump into one persons mouth. You will stumble and you will fall, but then you learn. When you think you do not learn anything, that is actually when you learn the most. 

When you get strong on one language (thus, repeated exposure), you will get weaker on another. Ironically, my mother tongue is Swedish. I am honestly the worst Finnish-Swedish person. I still wonder how fox (räv/rev) is written. I am also dyslexic, but ONLY in Swedish. Ironic, huh?
If I speak a lot of Portuguese, I forget Spanish. When I get the Spanish engine on (30 min later) the Portuguese is non-existent. And then I speak every third word in English in-between sentences.

Thinking happens in every language. Sometimes my mind wonders in English, sometimes in Swedish (usually when I argue with one family member). Sometimes I have no control of mind and mouth and say something like; Jag tycker että pode-se fazer un articulo in the intranet? That was five languages compressed in one sentence.

I share some of my embarrassing moments with you accompanied with a silly picture: 
1. Sopa de polla - Penis soup (I thought of ordering female chicken for a change..except that female chickens are a standard and you should not replace o with a).
2. Queijo de cabrón - Asshole cheese.. (Its cabra alright..)
3. Quatro patas - something extremely sexual (I tried to say hands and knees on the floor)
4. Vinho de burbulhas - Pimple wine (All good, but I mixed Portuguese and Spanish)

Jack of all trades? I know many and I know nothing. Meddling and hustling. I am not perfect in any language. However, I do not get embarrassed anymore. Not even of --> picture.

Best way of learning is trying and failing and then trying again. Be in the core of the language. Move to the country or spend time there. Btw the languages; Finnish, Swedish, English, Spanish and Portuguese. I should learn German next to be out of the box..

Nyt on dags mennä to sleep.

Boa noite

keskiviikko 28. syyskuuta 2016

To be a young employee

A pineapple, literally what I feel like atm. I said I will not say anything about work. I lied. I am still in the mode of “smile and wave”, but inside I feel like a palhaço (clown). I am not going to lash out, but just tell you how it is hard to be dancing on roses for anyone who is considered “young” in Portugal.

After many years of taking in all kinds of comments and doings of co-employees, I consider it sufficient. I have reached a limit. And I, on the other hand will never treat anyone badly because they are younger or unexperienced. The thing is, we learn from each other. At work we are in the same boat. And you are only sinking like the Titanic if you treat people badly.
I have worked in Spain, Finland and Portugal, thus I feel entitled to open my mouth.
A light overview of what it is to be like to work in Portugal for a young adult. People who are older (as of age) than you think it is obvious that they are smarter, better and more important. This is a normal assumption, young adults entering work life or having worked only for a handful of years think it is the right of older employees to treat them as if they were somehow non-professional, unexperienced and not able to form a good opinion. Not in my case, Thank God, but for other sisters and brothers in business.
I have a friend working as a consultant, she´s about thirty years old. And guess what, her everyday struggle is to make people believe in her as a professional. She is too young.
I have been told by others that unfortunately in Portugal age is an important thing. And if there is someone younger who wishes to climb up the ladder he/she will be torn down by older employees. But that is just insane!? Will the older employee lose something because another colleague is good at what he/she does?
Also, it is noted that during your first five years of employment you are at work from morning till someone throws you out. It is because you need to be seen as a hard worker. So the amount of hours an employee spends at work is actually considered a measure for success. People say that even though they would not have ANYTHING to do, they sit in front of their computers tapping air like they had something to do? Again, that is insane!? Should we change mentality to; do your work the best you can and go home. A good way to avoid burnout and de-socialization btw.
As of myself, my work fulfills me for the time being. However, in my everyday life I face the reality of a young employee. Sometimes the bad behavior gets to me, sometimes I imagine the people actually missing the point when they are trying to make themselves important. Their loss.
On the brightside, I have the most wonderful colleagues who are super exited about all new and fresh. And they have adopted me. I like them so much I might as well go hug them right now.




lauantai 24. syyskuuta 2016

Kaalilaatikko and other Finnish food

I have been so lucky, lucky,lucky, lucky.. ok this is not a song. I have syrup. From Finland!
That can only mean one thing. Kaalilaatikkooooooooo!!

Ok, so I might be a little over excited. But I have been planning for this moment a week. The moment I am making one of my favorite dishes of all time. Btw, its cabbage casserole.. now that you know what this Finn is babbling about, you really think this girl is out of her frickin' mind.
A. Because its Saturday night and I am not getting my groove on anywhere.
B. Because nobody on planet earth can get too damn excited about cabbage casserole.
C. This girl shot a dramatic picture with the view of Martim Moniz behind the syrup bottle.

Although my IBS stomach (darn you) is always in war against the food I want to eat, I had rye bread this week. It was two slices, one on Wednesday and the other one on Thursday. One cannot get too excited you know. I topped the bread with cream cheese (another frenemy) and salmon. I also made good pancakes with berries. Delicious.

Sometimes my cravings just win the pain I suffer afterwards. So today I had remix candy. Next week I am living like I would be preparing for the Lucia contest. I think pure thoughts and eat nothing more than what my stomach can approve and might on top of this try to make a contribution to the society by leaving clothes at the homeless shelter. I could apply and be the only Lucia in Lisbon this December. I mean, I might be the youngest girl living full time here and we are only twenty anyways..

Talking about Lucia and December, I declared myself a day off for Independence day. I also might have done some video clipping.. I might (I will) publish a Tuntematon Sotilas clip or the National Anthem on our intra at work. Ha-ha, nobody has access to take it down. Its time for the Portuguese to learn about Finnish history. (Or not, but I don't care.)

Soooo, there is one note to make about Portuguese food tradition compared to the Finnish. They have so much of the same at the same time as they are so distinct.
First, the food culture is nothing too fancy, in Finland (imagine kalakukko, yäk) or in Portugal ..bifana.. dry bread and pork beef?.
Secondly, we have a dish in common. It is karjalanpaisti aka. jardineira. In Finland its known from the former Finnish territory, in Portugal its the gardeners food. And it is the same!
Thirdly, both food cultures are created by poor people. In Portugal a plate consists of rice, fries and meat. In Finland potato and meat.
Fourth, we both eat fish. Loads of it. With the slight bacalao difference and fish species.
Fifth, surprisingly we also eat berliininmunkki, here it is bolina de berlim, without the pink topping. Also our cakes are very similar. There are so many more similarities. Gosh. Only funny and surprising thing is that the Portuguese are extremely proud of their traditional foods, which are really no big culinary experience. On the bright side, Portuguese wine is an other story ;)

Im going to roll out now. Since I ate too much. To get my groove on.


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lauantai 17. syyskuuta 2016

Sweet Student Life Lisbon

I got you there, didn't I? Most universities will eat your soul.

I read somewhere (read: Marketeer) and I am not sure if I remember correctly (read: I lost the magazine) that Portugal invites about 10 000 exchange students this fall. Or invited already, since I am late to talk about this subject...

However, I said I do not write about my studies. But I write an informative text about Sweet Student Life Lisbon. I am inspired. Because I am sitting on my numb butt in the study room of my University, on a Saturday. Life is better now, after the first year. Thus, the story comes from what I have learned from co-students in various Universities.

When applying to Lisbon, you are informed about the sunny weather (last year it rained 2/3 of 9 months), the surfing (honestly, if you do not have patience to learn its not for you and you won't have time anyways), the parties (you are studying when you are supposed to be partying), school is nice (hahahhaa) and life is awesome in vintage houses (they are cold, moldy and leak). I have a sarcastic tone of voice. Since Lisbon was our (mine and everybody I knew) prison during the first year of studies.

But then life begun when summer came and Lisbon had an other vibe. It is a beautiful city with 1000000000 +3 things to do. You just need time to discover it yourself. And that happens when your nose is not in the books.

But what happened before? Studying = life. A whole weekend off? Nope. You have Skype meetings with team mates, read at the speed of light material for upcoming exams and write a PPT presentation with your toes. Time table: 8am-2am.
Then there is the vertical rain. But that is ok, because you are inside studying. But your house was constructed in the 1900th Century so your roof is leaking like a shower hose. The landlord(s) does not care as long as you pay your rent, and you have black mold. Which btw, destroys your clothes and causes severe allergic reactions.
Then you want to go out, but you cant. Since you are at school till 2am, because you need to deliver a bunch of papers. School is hard. How unfortunate that a day is only 24 hours long.

From my personal experiences, I was told I am not allowed to work during studies because I will not have time. I am a multitasker and wondered what this lady is babbling about, until school started. Farewell life.

I am giving you a sweet peace of advice. Prepare yourself mentally to study when you are in Lisbon. The study culture might be the complete opposite from what you expected or what you were used to.
Eventually you will come out as a winner: master of stress handling, master of multitasking, master of free-riding school projects, master in having no life, master in drinking coffee machine pingado... MSc in Science is what you have on the final diploma.

Please let my diploma fly (not out from the window) in future job opportunities. I am a soldier.

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torstai 15. syyskuuta 2016

O importante é chegar a horas

Its important to arrive on time
I was taught in school that “the English like to queue”. Man, you should see the Portuguese buss queue. People stand in line like tin soldiers. Each one has got approximately ½ -meter distance and the line is 200 m long! “Hajurako”, you know. We Finns like to keep our distance aka. do not come too close or we´ll dislike you. Much. So I am happy with the bus queue tradition. Especially in the morning.

School started this week. And the Portuguese transportation system has not impressed me.
(Read: I would like to kick the bus, the driver, or someone on the arse) Although, the public transportation has got very impressive advertisements hung around Lisbon with the motto: "O importante é chegar a horas" – It´s important to arrive in time, they fail to keep their promise.

The concern is articulated by a short (almost hobbit) blonde Finnish girl who is very precise with time. And when she has to walk in high heels on cobblestone road 2 km to the second bus stop she is not very happy... Nor are her blistered toes. Poor babies…
Bus number 723 is THE place to be at 7am, according to retired avós of my neighborhood. (Avó - grandma/-pa and its the same word). Every morning, same faces, nobody going to work (except me), socializing about this and that. They are too impatient to sit so they fly around the buss, mingling like crazy. YOLO. If you die, you wont die young.

Every morning for the past two weeks the bus has arrived on different times, leaving some times undone. Once I RAN to the bus stop, with my lunchbox and bag and clothes halfway on… and found the bus driver (who was supposed to leave on the very moment: NOW) sitting casually in the cafeteria close by, sipping an espresso.
I told a colleague that I am going to call the transportation company and complain. She laughed at me like it was the funnies thing I have said. Ever. 

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sunnuntai 11. syyskuuta 2016

Brunch Electronik in the park

Sunday went by trying out a recipe from Fitmencook, writing thesis (not true at all.. the wall becomes extremely interesting when its time for studying) and stomping to really good deep house with some cool peeps..

Sunday was a fun day

Clumsy as I am, I fell in the stairs some days ago and hurt my ankle. It literally looked like I had an egg underneath the skin.. and then I had to be representative at work.. which I did, minus the part that I was wearing a compression sock with a dress. "Finnish fashion" -I told everyone. 

Tomorrow I am going on a contemporary class. I am either going to look like a wounded scarecrow or something similar to a-OK. Time and ankle shows. 

Back to Sunday. (Fun day!) Brunch Electronik is the coolest Sunday event I have experienced so far! It's at the Agricultural University in the middle of nowhere, but in the city centre. The ground at the event had hay for horses and there was powdered sand in the air. The atmosphere was chilled and the music was oh so deeeeeeep, umptsumptsumpts. 

I had a wine, which after I had to pee. Logically. So I skipped happily downhill to the outhouse thingy you have at festivals. All good so far. Fancy lady, as I am, I managed to be clean in a dirty environment until my hand touched wet PEEEEEEEE. Eeeeewwwwww. No disinfecting gel around, nothing!? I walked with my hand stretched out like I had the  plague until I met a kind spirit who understood my concern and gave me some clean wipes. That hand was obviously not going to be anywhere near my face again for the rest of the night. Pee-hand. 

Back to the group of cool UG (under ground) peeps. All of them German, which of half I have not met before. Well, my name is technically German. So everybody naturally thinks I am German. And speak German to me and around me, if in a circle. Because I seem German. Tactic: smile and wave, smile and wave. 

That's it for now. Pee-hand is thoroughly disinfected and belly is full of extremely good chicken-quinoa. 

Obrigada e boa noite! 

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lauantai 10. syyskuuta 2016

Gymtastic Portugal

Sit tight folks, this is funny... for the Finns.

Ok, so it sounds like this is going to revolutionize your world. It's not. Portuguese people go to the gym, like the Finns.

During my last visit to Finland I noticed the "fit" culture. People of all ages are in very good shape. I suppose it is for "the summer". In this case, IF the sun comes out during the two Summer months Finland has got. You can never be too prepared!
Meanwhile in Portugal, where the sun has been intensive for the past four months and you practically live on the beach, people have floppy bellies and eat potato chips, cookies and other such things for lunch. A swear word for the Fit-Finland culture. If you eat a potato chip and not a goji berry. YOU TAKE IT TO THE GRAVE.

So back to the gym. Working out is fun, the people around you are fun, the place is fun. But mind me the crazy Brazilian Personal Trainer who sometimes persuades me to train with him, which after I cannot feel my legs, arms..face.. toes..fingers. Once he carried me away from training area because my legs did not respond. This is good, in his opinion... myself have severe pain and the usual, toilet seat sitting-standing issue.

To the shower. Flip-flops is a must. In Finland I have not experienced the mandatory flip-flop issue. In Portugal, you are considered a very filthy person if your bare feet touch the floor. Not even the two second rule applies. So you are very contagious if you touch the floor. Like the hot lava game when we were kids, the floor burns!
However, contrary to good old Finland, it is completely normal to depilate every single hair on your body in the shower. And leave it there. To clog the drainer. Now I see why we need flip-flops...

To the sauna. It's a common workout and stretching area. When the Finn is sitting post-workout in the sauna breathing the hot air in and sweating out the stress of the day, the Portuguese is doing push-ups and abdominals beside you..or yoga.. or drying his sweaty workout clothes. It is also common to throw a liter of water on the stones, and then sit on the lowest bench or on the floor, and casually eat a post-workout meal. Or escape the sauna altogether and leave the Finn inside. SISU.

Otherwise, I love my gym and I am willing to recommend it to anyone visiting Lisbon looking for a good workout. I can even hand you over to the Brazilian Personal Trainer.. he will make you cry for mommy.


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sunnuntai 4. syyskuuta 2016

Life of a sloth

My weekend has passed by in a blink of an eye. I am still as tired as FriYEY when I came home from work.. ahhh had a cold beer on the balcony enjoying the fresh evening air, and well... then I passed out. Of sleep, not alcohol, duh.

I do not want to wake up tomorrow at 6am. Nope, not ready to be an adult again after pretending to be a sloth all weekend. Chillen' around, drinking some Somersby and enjoying explicit company over an organic pizza and miradouro.. A miradouro is a view point. We have several in Lisbon, and they are just lovely.

The blonde is back. This weekend I managed to download 4 apps, all paid. Not learning from my previous mistake, I repeated it (as said before: blonde).. I think it is misleading though that Appstore does not show prices on products when you are using your mobile.. Then I think its free, and oh well.. you know the rest. So I downloaded: 1.Fit Men Cook 2.Deliciously Ella 3.Omvana 4.Moldiv

1. FitMenCook: My nutritionist (yes, I have one) told me its good for nutritious food. My IBS cuts back what I can eat, so I am trying to learn new combos. And also force mister SwagN to try to eat something else than caveman food every day. He is not happy about my attempt. Meat is the salad of the man. 

2.Deliciously Ella: She makes lovely food. Again, the IBS. I can't eat gluten or lactose, nor many other random things. If you want to learn to make carrot soup in a new way, check her out. Myself, cooked Pea, Broccoli and Almond soup. Ok, it looks like a witches poison, but anyway.. u got the idea.

3.omvana: I am a nervous person. That is also related to my IBS condition. Stress makes me overreact... So I downloaded a meditation app. I tried to meditate. But I ended up screaming with laughter when I was thinking of what I look like. Bit hungover, sitting crosslegged on the living room rug, swaying, hair like Einstein and my green soup splashed over my shirt.. trying to fokus.. a sight for sore eyes.

4. Moldiv: !? I wanted to edit a picture and Jesus Christ, I had to pay for it too... -.-

PS. I linked some apps, so that you are not falling for the same blonde trap as I did.

Here's a picture from the weekend though, life of a sloth

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tiistai 30. elokuuta 2016

O melhor café

I know I am stepping on some Portuguese toes by claiming that the best coffee Lisbon has to offer is not a 'bica' nor is it from Delta.

This morning = dooms day. At 10am I had a meeting at ISCTE (Universidad de Lisboa) with my supervisor. I say it once, and I say it now. I will NEVER EVER study again. Its not my thing. I just want the diploma.

Nevertheless, life did not end afterwards, and my writing was so far OK.! OMG. I am surprised.
The rest of my day was free as of: freedom-do what you want-express yourself-YOLO.

So I drew in my coloring book. Had a mental breakdown of colors I mixed and got confused, cried even.. After my breakdown I felt calm. Pffiu.. lost my temper to a coloring book. No wonder people say drawing makes you calm...

Then I figured I need coffee. There is only one place to be when you need THE coffee. That is Fabrica. Foreign owned, I think Russian, serves the BEST coffee in town, and they have nice service. Check out this place, location is Avenida de Liberdade, hidden on a back street. Google this one.

I am sorry, my Portuguese friends, who claim Portuguese coffee to be the 'one and only'. Like the Italians do for espresso, Spanish for cortado etc.. Finnish people drink most coffee in the world. PANNUKAHVI! Thats the lamest thing ever..

Coffee know-how for Portugal

Bica - Bebe isto com acucar. (Sorry, don't have the PT letters.) Its an espresso alright, and the name is an acronym of 'drink this with sugar'. It gives you the instructions and all. Im no espresso person, so I comment no more.
Galao - also known by the outside world as "latte". Not a real latte.. but milk with coffee.. You know, what Finns drink most of the time. Only that its made on an espresso base.

There it was, Portuguese coffee culture. Btw, Delta is a Portuguese coffee brand, and their coffee is good.


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sunnuntai 28. elokuuta 2016


The beach city of the wealthy (and tourists).

This weekend we celebrated my birthday in Cascais. Mister SwagN had booked a hotel night at a four star hotel to celebrate ME! We enjoyed our day at the hotel pool (no sand, thank lord). Would you believe that a Finn is bored of sand and beach and sun? Well not the sun, except the fact that you are sweating like a pig most of the day.

Most weekends this Summer I've been on the beach. Estoril beach to be precise. Its nice, packed. You are lucky if you are not partly under someones shade or touching someones beach towel. And then the sunscreen. Oh lord, all the sand sticks to your body, and you end up feeling like a stranded whale covered in sand and sweating on top of that.. Not this time, nope, not this time.

At night we had dinner at a local (not tourist) petiscos restaurant, Páteo de petiscos. Yummy,yummy in my tummy. Choco frito, carne maturada and atúm (cuttle fish, aged meat and tuna). Later we took a swing at the Cascais city centre, which was packed since the Cascais music festivals grande finale. It was fun, music and hot chocolate (due to cold wind), ahh life. I even managed to show my behind to half of the tourists on Cascais busiest street. And that was due to the wind, of course. My pretty little white dress above my ears and yes, my sun burned butt. Lovely.

Cascais is situated about 20km outside of Lisbon. The coastline to Cascais is full of beaches, which are packed during the Summer months. The fisher town is also known for its wealthy population. Not much to say; visit during the day, eat good fresh fish (not bacalao!! its from Norway.. or Iceland) and enjoy the nightlife which is more quiet then in Lisbon. Good for families and a romantic get away.

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perjantai 26. elokuuta 2016

Um Chapeu

For them who did not know, Lisbon is full of small antique hat shops. 

Ever since last fall I was wondering whether to buy one. So today, in a 35 C heat I decided to buy a hat. YES! For winter. Call me crazy, and I am. I took mister SwagN by the arm and dragged him to Rossio Square to an old vintage hat shop. I tried three hats, mister SwagN tried 20. I bought one, he bought none. Mine is a dark green and thick, which is good for the rainy weather.
I am prepared for you, vertical rain... I am prepared. 

While I was trying to make mister SwagN buy one, the sales person told me that "The hat chooses its owner"... I had an odd feeling I've heard this one before. I KNOW. Harry Potter "The wand chooses its owner mister Potter" -hehe for that. Moreover, I don't wonder J.K. Rowling was so inspired by Portugal. More about that later. 

Some traveling tips for Lisbon: Rossio Square is the old meeting point for Africans, Angolans mostly. Most of the immigrants in Portugal are from Angola due to the old colonies. On this square you can also drink Ginja. Its a cherry liqueur. Some love it, some hate it. Try it! It tastes like christmas. 

The Angolan culture is alive in Lisbon. My favorite underground culture (if I may) is the dance culture of the Angolan youth. My newest invasion is Kuduro. And I love it. Portugal is probably the only place in Europe you can find this marvelous dance. Its so fast your legs get tangled up, its cool, its swag and its young. I recommend. 

Até já (See you later) 


Lisboa, linda Lisboa. During the summer the city is beautiful, hot, but beautiful. I almost forgot the shock I had last Fall, Winter and Spring when it was raining vertically outside 24/7 (no kidding..) and at least once a week inside our old apartment. Then I disliked Lisbon. Much. Then the Summer came and we moved to a new neighborhood. Now I like Lisbon - Much. My previous shock might be due to my expectations of an ever sunny paradise where people are chilled out and theres surfers everywhere. I admit, I had absolutely no idea where I was moving, and this is not a secret island in Asia... But hey, its part of the adventure. Although, as a warning, the Atlantic Ocean does the trick. I think it's rainier than in England.
The Summer has set an ease on the city. People are chilled out, friendly. Unfortunately, my experience of people in Lisbon has been extremely different from most who visited the capital. Let me point out the word: visited. Dude, if you move to Lisbon in the hope to get a wide network of friends, you are mistaken! The people are more introverted than the Finns. Go Finland. It has been extremely difficult to make native friends. I have many good foreign friends, thus, all of them struggling with the same issue in order to integrate into the culture and call this place home. *sob*
However, on the bright side (and there always is), where I just trespassed when I returned this Summer from Finland, when you unlock the language of Portuguese people open up to you. So therefore, I have had some lovely conversations with random people in the cafe, supermarket, gym, basically everywhere I go. Let it flourish! And one more thing. I visited Porto two weeks ago. People were so super nice and open to me that I just wanted to kiss them. (On the cheeks, of course)
Ps. I have some native friends now. One fell from the sky and we were friends in 30 seconds. Others were accumulated over time.
Beijinhos! (Kisses.. in Portuguese)

Quem Sou?

Who am I?
The answer is longer than there are words. And what the heck is Mirtilo Finlandês? Well its a Finnish Blueberry... Howerer, I am a multiple personality-person. My background is colorful, not that I have made the craziest rave in my past. I am pretty normal, weird, almost dull. Like for all of us, the life of my past has made me who I am today. Which is reflected in my writing. 
Me: Heidi, 26 years old, blonde with blonde highlights, sporty (sometimes till obsession), working (loving it), and writing thesis (not so much). Best part. I live in Lisbon, yes, capital of Portugal. More, I speak five languages. Here goes the jargon: I was born bilingual (Finnish and Swedish). I learned English from an American kid when I was a teen. In my early twenties I moved to Spain for erasmus. Surprise! I caught on Spanish. Last fall (2015) I moved to Lisbon. I have been struggling to learn Portuguese for the past 12 months. Yes, STRUGGLING. My year of Portuguese language integration has not been like waltzing on roses. Despite my blonde hair and extremely northern character I am usually mistaken Spanish. Then, the conversation I started in Portuguese goes into Spanish and then I explain I'm from Finland and man... THEN it gets confusing. I reveal now, eu falo Portugues, sufficiently to have almost any kind of conversation..
Let's keep it short. I want to tell you about my life, then, now and future. Promise: I will try to keep it short folks! ...if anyone is reading. I am. own blog :D
Diverta-se! (have fun ... in Portuguese)

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