Exploring the World

Countryside living

I came across with the article describing how Europe starts from the other side of Baltic Sea. And how Finland is rather weird, boring and ugly place to live. According to the article, Finns typically do not talk to anyone and are quiet and different places do not look very inviting.

Part of me of course wants to say this isn’t true, and part of me says it is true. Of course you naturally think that this kind of writing is wrong and people who say something like this do not know the truth. But at the same time it is partially true.

Finnish people are rather quiet people and big cities have become less and less Finnish. You see international brands everywhere and cities aren’t any longer what they used to be. They have also become a bit more unsafe, at least feeling like that.

But it isn’t a complete truth. This is now second time I am living in Hämeenkyrö and it is feeling different than during the first time. I just walked out today from the grocery shop and I was thinking that I should write something about this and then I came across with this article describing how Finland isn’t exactly European. When we moved to Hämeenkyrö, I was more like a city person. At least I consider myself like that. I didn’t want to have unnecessary discussions with people and I was feeling hurry all the time. Certainly the office life is now even more busy than it was back then but I have noticed that when I come to Hämeenkyrö, I can tolerate slower life much easier than before. I have noticed that I have time to have long discussions with people in the grocery shop and I have time to wait.

There are lots of small things around me what has made me thinking that certain kind of slow motion living and old fashion living is returning to Finland. The traditional countryside peace of mind where you don’t worry too much about the busy life and you appreciate small things.

Some time ago I needed to renew my passport. I tried to do it in Tampere but the queue was impossible and would have taken over half a day, reserving the time would have pushed me to wait for two weeks. At that moment I remembered that we have a police station in the nearby city. I drove there in the morning and without any kind of queue I submitted my passport application and I was ready. Most of the time actually was spent when I was just chitchatting. And another topic drew my attention, there were some teenagers bicycling across the street and all the cars stopped - this doesn’t happen in big cities but surprisingly in this small city (which doesn’t have any traffic lights), car drivers actually gave way for bicyclers. Nobody seemed to be in hurry. I have been trying to do the same in Tampere and usually it just creates the situation where other car drivers around me try to create dangerous situations where they don’t stop while I have and pedestrians cannot know if they can trust car drivers.

And lately, I have noticed that I am waiting patiently when people are chitchatting in the grocery shop line and when it is my turn, I do the same. A person who moved from big city and never talked, is now chitchatting! I have found myself looking something to buy in the grocery shop and one of the members of the staff has told me that I shouldn’t buy this particular fish because Fangfang already bought that earlier the same day. First of all, they know me, and second, they know Fangfang. And they remember what she bought. I consider it amazing and something I never would experience in the big busy city.

What happened today what made me think to write this article? I picked up some basic groceries and one of the members of the staff in the grocery shop once again asked how is Fangfang and if we have already news about the baby. Apparently the whole shop is waiting for our news about the baby. And they are excited about it.

Some people might say, well, it is a small countryside town and people are bored and of course everyone knows everyone. But that is the point, this kind of friendliness and social life is important and I feel it is coming back to Finland. Maybe only to countryside towns, which are badly suffering from lack of services and people moving away. But maybe some of us are moving back because we want to go back to simpler life and where we don’t have to worry about unsafe big cities or maybe we are tired that the local hypermarket doesn’t have anyone working there who would even remember us.

Friendly Finland exists, it is just hidden.

On the road

Some time ago I spent five weeks travelling. The schedule was pretty much same all the weeks, I always returned back home for the weekends and spent most of the time my workdays somewhere outside of Finland. During the five weeks, I visited Dallas, Rome, Munich, Singapore and Dubai.

I did some statistics about over all of those days, I spent 91 hours 55 minutes in the airplane and 35 hours 18 minutes in the different airports. Totally 127 hours and 13 minutes for travelling from one place to another. Quite many hours in the airplanes and still what is amazing is that I didn’t and still don’t feel bored with the airplanes while I spent so many hours inside them.

During these weeks, I saw couple of new places, Singapore and Dubai, and one new airline for me during these trips was Singapore Airlines. I spent quite many times some time in London Heathrow because many of my flights were connecting there.

Some of the highlights from my trip; it was rather hot in all of the places. It was unusually hot in Rome and Munich and I think it was ordinary temperature in Singapore and Dubai but very hot for me. :-) In Dubai, it was practically impossible to walk from hotel to the office (a short few hundred meters) in the day time because it was so hot. In the evening it was almost possible and we did it couple of times. In Singapore we found really nice Chinese restaurant near our hotel where I was able to try my Mandarin skills once again.

Here are some pictures from different places from my trips.

Chinese dinner in SingaporeEnglish breakfast at Heathrow airportOur hotel from our office window

New look for the site

I got a bit of tired of managing WordPress based blog, I felt like I didn’t have enough time to keep it running well enough. So, I started to look some other possibilities and found out that there are some choices for WordPress. But those didn’t work well enough and didn’t actually have the speed as their design principles. After some discussion, I got my brother Mikko interested about the idea of writing his own blog engine. And this way the Alula was born and now my blog is using this engine.

Currently there are no comments visible but let’s see if they come back in the future. But in my blog, there hasn’t been so many comments anyway. :-) Anyway, this new blog setup should be more easy to read and also faster from everywhere in the world. And it should look very good with mobile devices.

This is also the reason why you haven’t seen many updates lately, the updates have been waiting until I get the new blog ready.

New car

After the BMW got into the age where it gets changed, we decided to go something different. After ordering of the new car, we had a waiting car for few weeks. One step forward to saving the world, Honda Insight is a hybrid car but not as efficient as what we were waiting for.

New car arrived in April and is Toyota Prius. A hybrid car, which is efficient and hopefully will save the world. :-) And it is also big enough still for our growing family.

Honda InsightHonda InsightHonda Insight

Toyota PriusToyota PriusToyota PriusToyota PriusToyota Prius

Coffee Art

Coffee Art

While traveling in London, I came across with nice example of coffee art.

Busy life once again

I recently got a new job, still within the same company I have been working for years but a new position and new responsibilities. Everything started nicely, it is very nice feeling when the announcement goes out and you start receiving “Congratulations” in email instantly after the announcement email - and those kept coming for quite a time and very frequently. I didn’t know that so many people actually knew me. :-)

And then my calendar started to fill … and more emails started to arrive - this time containing more and more work. I am that kind of person who actually likes this kind of life, I don’t complain at all. If it gets too quiet, I get bored. Now my days are full of activities and lots of things to handle. So far so good.

So, this is my excuse that there has been a bit less time for blogging. I will try to fix this and write more often here but past week has been busier for me while I have been handling the new tasks assigned to me. I will be back here soon!

My ride home

My ride back

Plane, which is taking me back to Europe is waiting at the gate.

Going to Chicago

At the gate

I am currently on my way to Chicago, still at the gate but closer and closer to boarding time. This time I am taking direct flight from Helsinki to Chicago with American Airlines so let’s see how good it is.

Weather is another thing which is going to be interesting, according to the forecasts, it is going to be very hot in Chicago. At least for me. Let’s see if I am going to melt there.