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27 November 2015

The Phantom of the Opera

If you are a Finn, you probably know that The Phantom of the Opera is on in the Finnish National Opera this year. The media has been buzzing about ot for a while and all of the performances are fully booked at the moment.
 
I managed to get tickets almost a year ago now when the hype was not as huge as it is now.  They were a Christmas present for my mum (hi mum, if you're reading this!) and for myself, too. As my grandmother says, it's nice to have things to look forward to. :) We were both really excited about the performance, and even more so when my dad happened to get a ticket to the same performance as well!
 
The Phantom of the Opera was totally worth the hype, in my opinion. The orchestra was amazing and the set design incredible. It waas great that they hadn't dropped the electric guitars, because they really do belong to the theme song. I was captivated from the first bars, and the set took my breath away. The huge, breathtaking chandelier suspended above the audience and the Opera basement (and the whole scene where the Phantom and Christine descend to it) were both awesome.
 
But most of all, the Opera Ghost himself was as disturbing and vulnerable and sarcastic as he ought to have been. Ville Rusanen played the part impeccably, in my opinion, and his voice had just enough rock 'n' roll for my taste. I've never really understood the whole romantic side of the Phantom; he is a violent creep. A bully that has been bullied all his life and should therefore be pitied, maybe, but the way he demonstrates his "love" for Christine is just wrong.

Speaking of Christine, she was a heroine, not just a maiden in distress. I think it was great that the director (Tiina Puumalainen) emphasized that side of her and made her into an active character instead of a passive object of admiration the Phantom and Raoul fight over. She even gets frustrated at Raoul when he starts making plans to catch the Phantom. Sofie Asplund was strong and sweet in her role, and I think she had a nice, gentle voice.
 
Oh, and if you're hesitant about the fact that there are a lot of non-native speakers singing in English, don't be! Nobody's pronunciation bothered me one bit, and I'm a total grammar nazi. ;)
 
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25 November 2015

Christmas Carol Choir Camp

I've had Christmas carols going around in my head for a good few weeks now and I'm not complaining! :) The weeks leading up to December are always really busy in our choir, because we are rehearsing for our Christmas concerts. This year we have two, one on the 10th and the other on the 11th - that's in two weeks, you guys! It's crazy how quickly this fall has flown by!

Last weekend was a choir camp weekend, which basically means singing for about 6 hours a day. It's a good thing we (all 50-60 of us) get along really well. During camp, we go through the whole set in detail and sing our parts again and again and again and... It's exhausting but effective! The songs really start to come together a lot more during practice weekends.

knitting_while_sining
Combine singing with knitting and the day couldn't get much better. ;)

Besides, there is nothing like 12 hours of Christmas carols to get you in a festive mood, let me tell ya! I'm beginning to feel really festive, even though the first snow we got last week is pretty much gone now... Fingers crossed for a white Christmas!


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20 November 2015

Party Hopping

A little disclaimer: Please know that even though I write about my fun weekend in this post, I'm in no way trying to dismiss what has happened. Last weekend was a horrible weekend all around the world, mainly Beirut and Paris. I'm very sorry about what happened and pray for world peace and all the victims and their families. Still, I want to keep this blog a relatively happy place, if possible. Now you may carry on reading, if you wish.

We took a train to Helsinki on Friday evening, and I thoroughly enjoyed every second of the journey. I recently bought Robert Galbraith's third novel, Career of Evil. Finally, I had time to just sit down and read! I'm enjoying the book so far, like I did the previous ones. Highly recommend them.

On Friday we had a small family celebration because I just got my Bachelor's certificate. My family had bought me the cutest charm for my Thomas Sabo bracelet that I wear all the time! On top of that, my lovely little sister made us incredibly yummy turkey burgers and she had even baked carrot cake! I felt so lucky and spoiled. :) I know that becoming a Bachelor of Arts is not a huge achievement, but it's an important milestone for me. Especially because my papers were pretty good, even though I say so myself!

Mum said she wanted to get me something "cute with a cat". I think she did good!

Saturday dawned in a very different type of atmosphere, of course. We had been invited to my cousin's 25th birthday brunch. Even though I felt really sad, scared and anxious, there was nowhere I'd rather been than among family members. We had a really great time just chatting away with my cousin, my sister, and my grandmother, all of whom we don't spend as much time with as we would like. My cousin and I pretty much grew up together, since were born only about 8 months apart. She has been a friend for life and as kids we were inseparable. 

Unfrtunately we had to leave her birthday party before six (a long brunch, I'd say, especially because we were among the first to leave) to go to my friends house for an early Christmas party. I had been looking forward to seeing them, because we haven't seen each other since August. I was pretty exhausted and wasn't able to be the life of the party, to be honest. I just enjoyed listening to them talk about everything and anything. Even so, I was really happy to go back home and get to bed. Well, the mattress on my parents' floor.

On Sunday the BF wanted to go window shopping, and there was no way my sister and I could say no to that! ;) All we bought was some knitting yarn and an Arsène Lupin novel collection. We also went to Starbucks! It was my first Starbucks experience and it was really weird but fun, although I think I prefer smaller coffee houses with less crowds.



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18 November 2015

Skavabölen pojat: A Tale of Two Brothers

Another rambly post about a play. Brace yourselves! :)
 
A while back we headed to the theater - yet again. We had been talking about maybe going to see Skavabölen pojat for some time, so one weekend I decided there is no time like the present, walked into town and bought tickets for us.

Skavabölen pojat (lit. The Boys of Skavaböle) is a drama that tells the story of two brothers, Rupet and Evert. The storyline focuses on their childhood in the towns of Kauniainen and Hyrylä (Skavaböle in Swedish) in the 1970s.
 
The story begins when the boys and their parents move to a new apartment in Kauniainen. The future seems bright: Mum is an artist, Dad has a great job that pays well. The boys play cowboys and indians and have playground romances with the girls next door. Everything is perfectly normal and blissful - at least on the outside.
 
Then Evert finds a letter and everything starts falling apart. Dad is having an affair,and during Christmas Mum gets mad at him and is taken away to "rest" for a while. The parents file for divorce and Dad moves out. Things are messy and ugly to say the least, as they too often are when parents decide to separate. And they keep getting uglier as the play goes on.

Having said that, I also want to highlight how funny the play is, as difficult as it may be to believe me. I actually laughed out loud at the boys antics. The boys were extremely relatable. I mean, who hasn't run around playing with the neighbourhood kids? Who hasn't stolen their sisters candies and gotten into trouble because of it? I liked how the whole play is depicted from the kids point of view. Thanks to it, the play wasn't gloomy and dark all the way through, but whimsical and boyish.
 
The actors were all amazing, but I was especially impressed by Heikki Hela, who plays the Dad, and Jaakko Ohtonen and Eemu Korpela, who play the boys. As most Finns, I knew Hela from the comedy crew Kummeli and had never seen him in a more serious role. All of the actors parts were both physically and psychologically demanding. I imagine it to be quite draining to act in such a tough drama.
 
I laughed, I cried, I was scared and distressed. And when we left the theater, I felt emotionally drained and deflated. It was rough and moving in so many ways. A true katharsis, you could say. I really recommend it. It might not be the best play for a first-date, but it is deeply moving, if you're in the mood for that.
 
You can check the Tampere Theatre website for more information: http://www.tampereenteatteri.fi/
 
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1 November 2015

The Monster Inside

I've turned into a right old monster for Halloween, it seems. Thank you very much, hormones. I'm sure some of you can relate to this horror story: PMS. My feelings are all over the place: half the time I'm totally annoyed at everything, mostly about the fact that I'm annoyed when there's nothing to be annoyed about. The other half of the time I spend crying about insignificant things. The Boyfriend is a real hero for putting up with me. Today was particularly difficult: I was a total mess, to be honest. Thank goodness we decided to head to the gym this afternoon!

I know it's annoying when people tell you exercise helps. All you want to do at that moment is bite their head off and tell them how it's damn near impossible to walk with all the cramping. But please, for your sake (and for those around you), try. Go for a walk, do yoga, go to the gym. Take some you-time in whatever way feels best. Once your muscles are warm and the endorphins start to kick in, you'll feel so much better. That's what happened to me today.

I put on some punk rock, lifted weights and embraced my inner Hulk. And within the hour I managed to get some of the negative feelings out and calm down. I usually do yoga to calm myself down, but today I was too mad to focus like that. It was nice to let it all out in a slightly heavier way. I feel like I'm more prepared for next week now. The pumpkin cake and tea I just had while watching every single youtuber's october favorites might also have something to do with it... ;)

My kinda night. Bliss.

Speaking of next week, it's going to be a loooooong one, I have loads of assignments and lectures and meetings, and on top of all that, work. I hope I've Hulked out enough, because being a total monster wouldn't be easy right now... I think I'm going to call it a day, put on my pj's, watch a film and go to bed. Maybe tomorrow will be easier.
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