7 December 2014

First Week of Christmas: Cookies, Cards, and Games

This week has been extremely hectic. I've been to work and/or the uni six days this week, including today. It feels funny that the semester is almost over. I've handed in two huge assignments I've been working on all autumn (until three o'clock in the morning on several nights, mind you). It's totally weird to finally have them off my hands.

I only had one lesson on Monday, which was awsome, because we finally had time to go into the center to buy extension chords for our Christmas lights and supplies for Christmas cards. I also snuck in a sneaky game from Tiger and a jumper for the Boyfriend from H&M. Tiger is the best place to by games, by the way! They have a lot of classic board games for quite cheap. So far I've bought Chinese Checkers and a colourful Jenga, both of them under ten euros.

On Tuesday I ran from uni to work to choir practice.We have a Christmas concert in the Tampere Cathedral next Saturday. Wednesday and Thursday were full of lectures and work yet again. On Wednesday night we had dinner with my aunt at a stake restaurant. A weird experience for a vegetarian, let me tell you. On Thursday I finished a research paper I had been working on for nearly three months now. Sending it in on Friday morning made me really nervous. Letting go of a paper can be hard!

Yesterday was Independence Day (Finland is now 97 years old, in case you were wondering, which you probably weren't). That means it was a national holiday and a free day for me as well. We had a lie in and woke up pretty late, just before ten to be precise. After breakfast we just hung around, watched YouTube, cleaned and did the dishes. the Boyfriend's family has always baked cookies on Independence Day, and my family has always spent the day crafting Christmas cards, so we did both while food was cooking in the oven. After dinner we took a walk, had a sauna, and chilled for the rest of the evening.

It's been a while since we've had a chance to spend a whole day just the two of us together. We do have free days, but lately we've been spending them with our families: last weekend we were in Helsinki with my family, the weekend before that the Boyfriend's sister stayed at our place, the weekend before that his brother came over with his family, and the weekend before that we were at his mother's house. Family is extremely important to us both, as you may be able to tell. ;)

What have you've been up to last week? Are you getting festive already?
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24 November 2014

Feeling Christmassy

I feel christmassy most of the year, to be honest. It's my favorite holiday of the year, as is the case for many of you, I'm sure. I got my weekly dosage of Christmas spirit yesterday, when we ventured to Tallipiha Stable Yards. The Boyfriend's sister was visiting us, and we wanted to take her there to see all the cuteness. In addition to the usual shops and boutiques, the stable yard sported a Christmas market and a carousel for the kids and lots and lots of fairy lights and lanterns. Don't you just love this time of the year?
We didn't end up buying anything this time, but I'm pretty sure I'll go back there before Christmas to look for gifts and cards. All of the products are hand-made, which I value a lot. I was amazed, though, how much a pair of basic knitted socks cost: 25 euros! I knit socks all the time, and have never even dreamt of charging that much for them.

We got a little bit of snow yesterday, as you may be able to tell from the pictures, but it has all melted now. I do wish we would get more soon, though, since it is so dark all the time these days.

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19 November 2014

An Evening with the Creature

Because of my unbelieveably busy schedule, it's been a long time since the Boyfriend and I got to go on a date. I therefore decided to take him out to see a play/movie. And by that I mean NT Live: Frankenstein, directed by Danny Boyle.

It was breathtaking. First of all, it was visually impeccable: throughout the play the lighting directed the mood of the events and gave room for the watchers' imagination. Whether it be lakes, mountains, or plains of ice, the lighting set the scene. The set itself was quite modern and plain, which worked well with the intricate lighting.

And don't even get me started on the actors. We went to see the version where Benedict Cumberbatch played the Creature, and he was magnificent, pure and simple. The role is demanding and extremely physical. I could not find a fault in him, though; he made the Creature seem innocent, vulnerable, scared, and betrayed at the same time. While watching the play, I never once thought the Creature was a monster, a soulless and evil being with no heart. Cumberbatch portrayed him as a misunderstood, tragic figure who tried his hardest to be good but whose looks cursed him and made others detest him. Humans drove him to do evil, and for the Creature, there was no pleasure in doing bad things.

Johnny Lee Miller was not bad as Victor Frankenstein either. He was an excellent cold-hearted, unloving genius. Cumberbatch, however, was the real star of the show. His performance was captivating. I really wish I didn't have to work next monday when they're playing the version where the tables are turned and its Cumberbatch's turn to take on Frankenstein. I'm sure he is brilliant in that part as well.

Mary Shelley's Frankenstein is truly a timeless work of art. It raises questions of morality, identity, love, creation, fatherhood, loneliness, ethics of science, and much more. The book is worth a read, and Danny Boyle's play is definitely worth a watch.

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17 November 2014

Wonderful Weekend

It's been a really great weekend! I've felt more relaxed than I've done in weeks, to be honest.
I'm currently working on a couple of demanding essays at uni. I'm really interested on the topics and all, but it's been quite a stressful process to get their first drafts done. I had conferences about the drafts with my teacher on Friday, and she was thrilled, excited, and impressed with them, which made me feel really good and confident. A nice start to the weekend, for sure. :)
On Friday we had a choir gig at the opening of a local department store. The gig was fun and eventful; the fire alarm went off in the middle of the performance (there was no fire, though).
Yesterday we cleaned the apartment from top to bottom. It feels so good to get everything sorted at home, doesn't it? To me, cleaning is sort of therapeutic.
Today (Sunday) I woke up early. I ate breakfast and baked while the Boyfriend played Skyrim. Such a nerd... ;) We had his brother's family over for lunch, which was awsome. It was nice spending time with them for the first time since midsummer.
We also hung some Christmas lights! Although the Boyfriend wants to call them winterlights, since it's not yet December. Whatever.
What did you do this weekend? I hope you have a lovely week! :)
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12 November 2014

Too much to do, too little time

It's been a month since I last blogged. Insane, I know.

What have I been up to? Work, studies, choir practice. There isn't much time for anything else right now, unfortunately. I miss blogging, though, so I'll try to update here once in a while!

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12 October 2014

Second-hand Reflections

On Friday the Boyfriend and I went around most of the flea markets and second-hand shops in Tampere. To be quite fair, there is always some weird stuff for sale (I mean, opened bottles of Head&Shoulders, really?!), but often you can find real gems in the middle of all that junk! We both love walking around flea markets, looking for old books, and trying on the silliest outfits we can find.

This time we were looking for a grey tweed jacket for the Boyfriend. They are kind of hard to come by here in Finland, and usually cost a fortune. I kept my eyes on home stuff, since we are still in the process of making our apartment a home (and I expect we will be for some time). I've grown just a tad tired of the empty white walls, and was looking for some affordable posters, paintings, window frames, or mirrors we could hang up.

No luck on the jacket front, but we did find this mirror we both liked. It's quite simple, not too big, and exactly the same shade as the doors in our apartment. And not a scratch on it!

Not much of a haul. Except for the Boyfriend, who had to haul the mirror across Tampere...What's the best or weirdest thing you've found at a flea market or second-hand shop?
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8 October 2014

End of Summer Celebration

It really is autumn (or fall) now, isn't it? The leaves have turned red and yellow and started falling down. Summer is truly over.

Last weekend we travelled to my hometown again (see previous trip here).We hung around with my family, ate a lot, went mushrooming, walked the dogs, prepared the garden for winter and next spring, went to the sauna, and had a crayfish party to celebrate the end of summer. (Crayfish party is a party where you basically just eat crayfish. Simple as that.)

We've had quite a lot to do these past few weeks, so it was nice to get away from it all for a couple of days. Even if it means we've got things to catch up on now that we're back in Tampere and our everyday lives. I mean, honestly, don't teachers want us to have any spare time? I should be reading Mallarmé's Crisis of Verse, making a term list for a translation project, writing an interview, two papers and three lecture diaries, and editing a poorly written doctoral thesis (don't even get me started on that), but I just wanted to linger in last weekend for a little bit longer.

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5 October 2014

Boyfriend tag

We did this tag one night when there was nothing on the TV and we were both extremely bored. Sorry if that comes across in the answers! (My comments are in the parentheses.)

1. Where did we meet? -At the choir auditions. (We both sing in the Tampere University Singers.)

2. What was our first date? -We didn't really have dates as such. We just walked and had fun and stuff. The first proper date was probably going to see Star Trek, which was awesome! We had been together nearly two months at that point, though.

3. Where was our first kiss and how was it? -In a pub called Ylä-Ale (one of the sleaziest places ever...) and it was great.

4. Did you know that I was the one? That's not a good question! Noooo... I don't know!

5. First impression of me? -You were nice and said nice things. And I was really out of it, since I was so nervous about the audition. It was always easy to talk you, even when we didn't know each other that well.

6. When did you meet the family? -Too soon, like all of a sudden. Two weeks into it!

7. Do we have any traditions? -Not yet.

8. What was our first road trip? -We haven't had a proper one yet. Just a 13k ride around my hometown.

9. Who said "I love you" first and where were we? You approached the subject first, but you had all kinds of other words in between. So I said it first.

10. What do we argue about the most? -I really don't know. We don't really argue about... Stuff.

11. Who wears the pants in the relationship? -We both have pants. Even though I do like you in a dress.

12. If I'm sitting in front of the TV what am I watching? YouTube, nowadays, and some movies, Grey's Anatomy and Doctor Who.

13. What dressing do I get on my salad? -Olive oil, lemon, balsamic vinegar. No "proper" dressings.

14. Whats the one food I don't like? Mango. And you have a vendetta against bananas. (That's because I'm allergic...)

15. When we go out to eat what do I get to drink? Water or cider or wine. Depends on the occasion and place

16. What size shoe do I wear? 38 (That would be about 4.5-5 in the UK)

17. If I was collecting anything what would it be? -Raccoon plushies and books, especially Agatha Christie -books. (What else? They're everywhere in our kitchen?) I'm drawing a blank here... Oh! Of course! Cookie tins!

18. What is my favorite type of sandwich?-Halloumi, pesto and avocado. That's just amazing and everybody ought to have it on their Best Ever -list

(These questions are really weird. Plus, at this moment the Boyfriend found out he can control the TV with his new phone, so the answers became kind of... odd and short.) 

19. What would I eat everyday if I could? -Chocolate. (No question about it...)

20. What's my favorite cereal? -Crunchy müesli and Weetos (Because of the chocolate, again.)

21. What is my favorite kind of music? Country, classical. I suck at trying to define music.

22. What's my favorite sports team? -Hmm. Probably Gryffindor. (That's how interested I am in sports. Sorry.)

23. What is my eye color? -Greenish with a secret. ;)

24. Who is my best friend -Meee! Of course.

25. What is something that I do that you don't like? -You make me answer stupid questions... I don't know. You snap at me for doing weird stuff with my toes. I don't like it when you snap at me. (And I don't like toes.)

If you'd like to get to know the Boyfriend a little bit better, head over to his blog.

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1 October 2014

Run for it

I love running. Trust me, a couple of years ago I wouldn't have even dreamed of saying anything like that. But I really do love it.

If you are thinking about starting, here's what I have to say to you: Go for it, and take it easy. It's going to take time until your body gets used to it. It's going to take even more time until you start enjoying it. And when you do start to enjoy it, you won't want to stop running. Trust me.

I started by walking. I used to walk for an hour a day or even two on the weekends. Then I moved to Nordic Walking, which is more efficient than normal walking, believe it or not. Then I started jogging a little bit at a time. Now I run 5 kilometers multiple times a week.

For me, running is a way of letting go of everything for a while. Just me, the shoes, and the road. Running is zoning out, relaxing, meditation almost. I concentrate on my breathing and on my shoes pounding on the path. And when I come home from a run, I'm happy and calm, yet full of energy. That feeling is the reason why I run.
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28 September 2014

New Glasses!

I got new glasses and I love them! :)

I went to Nissen (on Tammelan puistokatu here in Tampere) to have my eyes checked a couple of weeks ago, after having noticed I couldn't really see the PowerPoints teachers were showing us during lectures anymore. The optician there was extremely nice and helpful, and she encouraged me to try on glasses that I would never have thought of trying on myself. At first I wasn't sure about these ones, since they are soooo much bigger and so different from my old ones (okay, they're blue like the last ones, but still). As soon as I tried them on, though, I was sold.

It's going to take a little time to adjust to these, because my eyesight has got a lot worse since the last time I went to an optician. The world looks a bit wonky and distorted now, and I feel a bit drunk half the time, to be completely honest. ;)

For anyone that's interested: the glasses are by Gant and cost about 250 euros altogether (can't remember the specific sum), and since I'm a student I got 10% off of my purchase, which was amazing. Any kind of discount is a great thing when living on a student budget!

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24 September 2014

About Bloglovin'

I like Bloglovin'. It's a good way to keep up with my favorite blogs without having to have a gazillion bookmarks on my browser. That being said, there are some things I wasn't aware of until recently (thanks to Lindsay's post on the Newlywed Notebook), things I really think you guys ought to think about when using it.

I like to look at my views from time to time, and I've noticed the Bloglovin' views do not show up in the stats. I know a couple of friends from abroad are reading Noshoes through Boglovin', and noticed a while back that their home countries aren't on the country statistics. That's when I started getting suspicious.

I tested my hypotheses by reading one of my own posts in Bloglovin'. The view count didn't move. I went unnoticed. That means the blog I read doesn't get credit for the post, and the blogger doesn't know I have read and enjoyed their content. 

How do you become visible, then? It's quite simple, actually: don't use the Bloglovin' iframe when reading blogs. It does mean that when you use Bloglovin', it opens each blog post into a new tab on your browser, that is to say it is like opening a link to the post. This way you are looking at the actual blog. If this sounds like something you would like to do, go to your Bloglovin' account settings, and choose NOT to use the frame. The whole procedure looks a little bit like this:

And this is how it looks like on your smart phone (at least on Android):

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21 September 2014

The Hunt for the Dress

If you cannot stand mushiness and sappiness and all that, please do not read this. Consider yourself warned.

My best friend is getting married next summer. I'm extremely exited for her, and her boyfriend, who happens to be one of the nicest guys I know!

My best friend and I met each other at the age of sixteen (seven years, has it really been that long!), when we started high school in Helsinki. We pretty much instantly hit it off, and have been able to talk about everything since. From the very beginning I felt like we had a connection, something that is difficult to explain to "outsiders". She truly is like a sister to me, and it really warms my heart to see her happy. 

On Wednesday I took a (really slow) train to Helsinki to be there to help her choose her wedding dress (!), which is one of the most difficult yet most wonderful things to do when planning a wedding, or so I have been told at least. Truth be told, for me, the whole experience was overwhelming. Too much white, fluff, lace, bling, etc... It really made it clear that even though I am head over heels in love with the Boyfriend, I'm not ready to get married. Thank goodness I'm only the maid of honor!

All joking aside, it was great to be there for her, even if she didn't really need my help or my opinion; she kept pulling the same dress (in different shades of white) off the racks, and that's when I knew it was the "one".  She had actually tried that dress on before. It was just a matter of taking a leap, committing, and making a decision.

She looked amazing and beautiful in it. Am I going to show you the dress? No way, Jose. You'll see it next year. Maybe.

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14 September 2014

Sunday Ramblings

Hi! Sorry it's taken me a while to post anything on here. I've been trying to get back into normal life after six weeks of roaming around and living life like... Like... Well, like someone who has no commitments and is free to do whatever she wants, whenever she wants. My online-life has withered, I haven't even instagrammed in ages. So let's try and get back into the swing of things, shall we?

Last time I wrote I was feeling just a little apprehensive (okay, a lot) about going back to school and starting work again. However, everything seems to be going surprisingly smoothly on that front so far. Lots has changed, and I think I like it.

Things are going pretty good at work. I have to admit it was strange going back there after being gone for two whole months, but also nice: I got a small present for the good work I had done on a project last spring, and that really made my day!!! During the two months I was away a lot has changed at work and there are lots of new developments and practices to learn and remember. Thank goodness I have nice coworkers who tolerate my silly questions!

School is also kind of the same but kind of totally different. It's difficult to explain. Most of my friends are continuing on to their master's just like me (some have taken a gap year or are studying abroad) and most of the teachers are still there, still teaching the same old things, telling the same old jokes we've all heard a thousand times before. I do have one new teacher, though, and she is absolutely brilliant! She actually makes me work really hard, makes me think about things from new perspectives, and encourages me to question the things I see, hear, and read about.

The biggest difference, the biggest change, might actually be in me, now that I come to think of it. I feel happier and more confident, more like I'm actually in charge of my life. I can say 'no' without feeling guilty about it (a big improvement, trust me). I feel enthusiastic about my studies and hopeful about the future. Who knows, maybe I've grown up a bit during the summer!

I didn't have an "appropriate" picture for this post, so here's a picture of Wilma, my cat.
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P.S. If I've said something stupid in this post, please don't hold it against me.

31 August 2014

Back to School Anxiety

I love autumn. The dark nights, falling leaves, sweater weather, new stationery, woolen socks, candles, tea... Oh, how I enjoy it all! I can't wait.

Up until now I have loved school as well, but after last term I'm not looking forward to going back to uni.

Last spring was extremely difficult for me. I'm not going to go too far into it, but let's just say there was pressure, stress, and anxiety all around because of school (think bachelor's thesis), work (taking on way too many shifts), and choir (50th anniversary concert).

It all became way too much, and I even dropped out of a course for the very first time in my life. I know it's not a big deal, but I was devastated and almost fell apart. I felt like I had failed as a human being and was very close to being totally burned out. I didn't even have the energy to stay in contact with my friends (shame on me)!

I'm a bit terrified of going back to school. I'm scared I'll go back to that familiar pattern of not being able to say no to anything, of placing myself and my well-being on last place, of staying up late trying to catch up on the thousand things I have to do and know I don't have time to do.

This term I have taken fewer shifts at work and less lectures per week at the uni. I do want to graduate and I do want to work while studying, but I need to come first. Me and my family and friends. And the blog, of course. Noshoes isn't just going to stop because we're not travelling anymore!

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28 August 2014

In the Meantime

Greenwich, I love you.

That is basically all I have to say today.

The Cutty Sark

Greenwich Market
The food we bought from that vegan stall. The lady was the sweetest person ever!

Just kidding. Like I would ever write a post that short...

We travelled from Blackpool back to London for the last five days of our UK trip. It was even more amazing than in the beginning of our journey. Partly because the weather was more London-y (a bit overcast and unpredictable) and partly because there weren't as many tourists around (yeah, I know, we were tourists as well).

We did a lot of touristy stuff all around London again: Hyde Park, Leicester Square, St. Paul's, Oxford Street... We went to Baker Street to see 221 and to Paddington to see Paddington Bear... You name it, we were there at some point.

I'm a Harry Potter -fan, but this is kinda riddikulus (see what I did there?)

St. Paul's
The British Museum

At this point I need to give a shoutout to a great restaurant: tibits. It's an awesome vegetarian place off Regent Street, a real "hidden gem" (just like the Boyfriend's sister-in-law said)! The food is fresh and delicious, and just thinking about it makes my mouth water.

Excuse my messy plate. I ate some before realizing I should probably take a picture. Bad blogger.
I kind of took the London days off, to be completely honest. They were our very last days in the UK, and our last days before going back to work and uni. Besides, by now you all know how much I love London. You don't need to read about it again.
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