Archive for August, 2010

31.08.10 – Ok, I should have posted this awhile ago because I picked up an iPad back when I was visiting my sisters in Paris. I was saving these pictures for sometime when I was lacking material for a blog post. I haven’t been lacking material, I’ve even been thinking I might even have to post two times a day, but I wanted to post something about my iPad now because I’m a geek and I’ve been using it more and more. I’ll have another post explaining why I had to have an iPad. Hold your breath ;)

Read Full Post »

30.08.10 – Well our belongings have cleared customs and at least one of us has found an apartment. I helped Jaana get her stuff into her new place. We had to sort thru everything so my boxes could go back into storage. I did get my bike!!! Hopefully I’ll have my cycling shoes in a couple of days too so I can start hitting the road. Just in time because the weather is starting to take a turn for the worst.

Read Full Post »

29.08.10 – Jaana, Max and Emma are settling into their new place. They did most of the work but I helped out a bit painting the high spots, the ceiling is really high, 10′ at least. Both kids painted only one wall in each room, Max chose green and Emma chose blue. The pictures here aren’t exactly accurate for color. Their stuff arrives tomorrow, so we had to get things painted today.

Read Full Post »

28.08.10 – Max’s teacher handed me some tickets when I picked him up Friday. She told me, “this is a big Finland vs. Sweden athletic event… there will definitely be some fighting!” I wasn’t sure if the hockey season started this early or it was a football/soccer match. Turns out it was something even more sinister… Track and Field.

Max was wiped so I headed over by myself because the stadium is right around the corner. There weren’t any fights, at least to my knowledge, but Finland gave Sweden a whooping! The Swedes boarded their buses with their tails between their legs and made a bee line to the Viking Line ferry. No doubt the karaoke on board was weak that night!

Read Full Post »

28.08.10 – Ok, it’s no Cedar Point, but Helsinki has an amusement park and Max was dieing to take me. We had a few hours to kill on Saturday so we jumped on the 8 tram and headed to Linnanmäki amusement park. The place isn’t that big, with only a couple of coasters and a handful of rides, about 40, but the lines weren’t long which made it more fun then other amusement parks I’ve been to. One of the best rides is the Wooden Roller Coaster or Vuoristorata in Finnish which has been a part of the park since 1951. Each train has a brakeman” riding on the back and although the ride is quick, it’s exciting to ride and has some beautiful views of the city, however brief. There’s also a ferris wheel and a Panorama ride which offer better views ;)

Read Full Post »

27.08.10 – Helsinki was alive last night, celebrating Night of the Arts, the final act of a week-long celebration called Happy Helsinki. There were activities going on all over the city. I spent most of my time with Max in Töölönlahti where we watched some creative little performances. There was something for everyone.

Read Full Post »

26.08.10 – One of the hippest little cafes I’ve found is Cafe Regatta, Merikannontie 10, a little red cottage with a funky, cozy inside and an outside terrace by the sea. It’s the perfect place to relax and stare out on the water while you enjoy one of their freshly baked pulla (sweet buns). The coffee is excellent and they pay you 5 cents for refills. Yeah, they pay you! One other thing, they don’t have internet, which can be good for someone like me ;) If you’re finding it difficult to sit after the caffeine fix and/or the water looks to inviting, fear not, you can rent a canoe from the cafe too.

Read Full Post »

25.08.10 – The weather is changing, drastically. It was just a couple of days ago, the temperatures were in the high 80’s, I was making the most of another beautiful afternoon. The skies became overcast and a local told me, “yep, the summer’s over!” and off they went to know doubt dig out their parka from the closet. Me, being a fledgling Helsinki asukas (resident) and eternal optimist, donned my H&M pullover and went about my way.

Yesterday it poured like cats and dogs in the morning and the temperatures were in the low 60’s. Luckily, I didn’t have to take Max to school so I hung out in my apartment making the most of some downtime. I knew I wasn’t missing anything by being indoors and I spent some time reading and recharging. Soon enough I would have to head out to meet Max after school with my new umbrella and a couple of layers of clothes ;)

The weather gods must have been keeping an eye on my schedule because by the time I had to leave the sun peeked from beneath the clouds and the temperatures climbed to an acceptable mid 70’s.

The sky turned dramatic as the sun became a thermal factory. Huge cumulus clouds climbed the blue sky like fists punching there ways to the heavens.

Needless to say, I like clouds, so they were my subject of the day.

Read Full Post »

24.08.10 – I found a perfect little pocket of grocery markets on a street called Hämeentie in the Helsinki neighborhood of Kallio. Kallio, on the Eastern side of Helsinki, is divided by a strip of water called the Siltasaarensalmi strait which is often referred to as Helsinki’s symbolic divide between the rich and the working class. It’s a bit “rough” by Finnish standards with one joke being that it has its own language which is the “Ööäghnhgääghaaahnghöngh” like speak of the drunk. Kallio is also the most ethnically diverse area in Helsinki which makes it the best place to look for cheap ethnic groceries.

At the intersection of Hämeentie and Toinen linja is the heart of my current grocery fixation because you can find the best of both worlds for all of your cooking needs. Walking Northeast on Hämeentie takes you to a cluster of ethnic groceries and restaurants, my current favorite being Vii Voan Market where you can find everything from 15 kilo bags of rice to sriracha chili sauce. Once you score the staples, make a 180° turn and head to Hakaniemen Kauppahalli, a beautiful building built in 1914, before Finland was a country, and one of the best places to find fresh fish, meat, cheese and even some nice little restaurants and coffee shops. Once you’ve scored a nice chunk of Lohi (Salmon!) head outside to the outdoor market where you’ll find all of the fresh vegetables you’ll need; beans, mushrooms, eggplant, tomatoes…

Within an hour, I always find myself weighed down, so luckily the tram stop is located right next to the outdoor market and makes for a perfect getaway ;)

Read Full Post »

17.08.10 – Well, it’s not all fun and games here in Finland. Between Jaana and I, we’ve moved 5 times already and we have another two to go before we land in apartments which would be considered permanent. Luckily we haven’t received our belongings yet, which are currently somewhere on the high seas but due in around the end of this month. Jaana doesn’t move to her place in Katajanokka until the first of next month and I’m currently looking for a place in the Ressu neighborhood to be close to the school Max and Emma will be attending.

We’ve also been securing local phone service, Nordea Bank for new accounts, registering at the Maistraatti, the Finnish tax office for the kids and at the Poliisi for me. Every step is a challenge which usually starts off with a “Sorry, I’m afraid you can’t do that.” I had problems switching my iPhone over to the local DNA service. It required 4 trips to the DNA shop in the city center and a number of software updates to “jailbreak” my phone. Even the bank didn’t want to give me an account because I didn’t have a job. The banks in Finland are more worried about money laundering then just plain old money.

One thing I’ve learned is you can get mad but don’t waste your time getting discouraged ;)

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 62 other followers

%d bloggers like this: