June 25, 2005

Display of power


No.. No.. Malaysians haven't invaded Leijonakaupunki. Neither Japanese, nor Indonesians.. We're fine and preparing for the glorious day of the 40th anniversary of Independence. Today I got stuck in traffic for about an hour, because the bus routes were changed and some roads were closed, so that army could rehearse the parade. Maybe I'm traumatised by the soviet childhood, but I freak out whenever I see weapons and this kind of display of power.


As we went cycling in the afternoon, there were helicopters and planes plying the sky, making lots of noise. I don't quite get the whole idea of the military parade. Invest as much of your budget into military, make the country as secure as you want, but why anyone would want to show off these things? Or I'd rather say - why would anyone want to see these things? Its ugly, scary and makes lots of noise!

condo_sky.jpg Our apartment is in the top floorin the picture, see our bedroom windows? Today our landlady, the agent and contractor came to check out the construction noise in our apartment. We've been complaining for several months now and were really angry with the situation, so we expected some "heavy duty" conversation - them claiming that the noise is "very bearable" or that "you're hardly in the apartment anyway", us waving fists, etc. Suprisingly, they didn't have any doubts that situation is pretty untolerable, just had a look and said that they'll try to get us "double-glazing" windows in every room! So, please, keep the fingers crossed for our noise-reducing windows to come soon... :) In here you often hear about difficult landlords that want to control your life, keep track of what's going on and never pay for any repairs. So I think that we're quite lucky with our agent and the landlord (well, lets see if we get the windows first, of course), as they somehow think about our well-being too. Basically in this country people who HAVE (or OWN), also HAVE all the rights. In reality they wouldn't need to be nice to us at all. Amazing that they were...


On our cycling trip we found a huge piece of land with only green grass in it. And a non-see-through fence around it. Why do they put the fence around this piece of land? You don't often get to rest your eye on an open view in here.. Or do people get too many ideas once they see an open view? For example, run naked under the stars.. :)? Dangerous, lah..

More guidance about how to write you blog and not get in trouble from our favorite paper: If you say that a person is a "bitch" or "idiot", it is not considered "defamatory"; if you call someone "bastard" or "slut", that could be defamatory depending on the context; if you call someone "incompetent", it is a true case of defamation.. Help! I'm totally lost in this legal language.. How? "Idiot" is ok, "incompetent" causes "loss of face"? I don't understand!!!


I guess this is how my blog reaches you guys, through space - these are the main local telecom's satelite dishes. Impressive! In two weeks Leijonakapunki will be in the media spotlight around the globe. The meeting for the Olympic commitee to decide where the next games will be located is held here. Lots of superstars and big names come here to lobby the decision. The message for the Leijonakapunki citizens - "the organizers hope that the people will get excited that the meeting is held here and behave well (be friendly and helpful) to create memorable experiences for our guests".. :D No kidding, this is not an exact quote, but very close to what was said in THE paper...


And we, I guess, will be cycling again... :)

Posted by gkligyte at 11:47 AM | Comments (2)

June 19, 2005

Is EU falling apart?


Today we were terrified by "top news" in THE newspaper. Europe is falling apart!!! Europe is in the profound crisis!!! Seems like last Friday they had quite rough and bitter meeting in Brussels.The commenters here are quick to quote sources that predict Europe falling apart completely or at least a high possibility for the monetary union to become defunct (e.g. some Italian politicians calling to go back to lira). Breathless I rush to my computer and what I find in Helsingin Sanomat, Delfi news and The Guardian is smth less dramatic. Yes, the meeting was a disappointment, yes, people didn't spare harsh words, but nothing is falling apart yet. Or is it, people? Let us know.. I got scared that there wouldn't be a place for us to come back after EU breaks down... :) Otherwise, it seems that creating more doubts about European future is on somebody's agenda here. The only news that we get to read about Europe here is about deep economical crisis, sky-high unemployment, plus some funny details (e.g. how French idea to shorten work hours to create more workplaces was a complete failure, or how 40% of the European budget goes to subsidise French farmers (that make up some 5% of population) and how poorer agricultural countries suffer because of that). The sentiment here is very much with the British, as they're the only ones that are more pro-business and demanding reforms. Yeah, the phrase "welfare state" you hear only in the context of aging population and how ridiculous the whole idea is... So please, I need some reassurance that Europe is still there and that there is hope. Is there?


My blog entries this month seem to appear only on Sundays. We are desperately trying to find some things to do on Saturdays, as the construction noise is driving us mad. It is so annoying to consciously try to stay away from the apartment during the day, as if our rental contract would be only for 7pm-7am. For example, yesterday we went to Sungei Buloh wetland reserve (check - one more "place of interest"). It is basically a swamp with lots and lots of birds in there. You can sit in this kind of hides and hope for a bird to fly by. And they actually do! We regretted a little bit not having a binocular, although none of us is particularly fond of birds (neither we can recognise them). I reasoned that bird-watching must be a mixture of scuba-diving and picking mushrooms pleasures - you have to go out there and be very patient. Species matter. If you see something rare, there is a feeling of great pride and joy. If it would be mushroom, you can pick it up. If its a fish, you just swim away and try to look for smth even more exciting. If its a bird? I don't know...


kaj_dragons.gif Kaj was very upset not to spot any crocodiles there. To his opinion, if a board says "watch it!", they have to make sure that there's a crocodile there. In fact, crocodiles in Leijonakaupunki is more of an urban legend. What Kaj was watching down there was a huge (1.5m) monitor lizard, but those you can see everywhere in here. Maybe some people with wild imagination (or bad eye-sight) spotted crocodiles, fair enough, but if you see one, there's a phone number you should call. The same goes for snakes - they send some "pest control" people there... Animals that run free are under strict control in Leijonakaupunki. Few days ago, I think I got one stray dog in trouble - I gave it out to police, because it looked well kept and very lost. I thought that they'd put it into a homeless pet shelter. What I heard from my colleagues next morning was that the big dogs they "put to sleep" right away and then they feed them to lions in the zoo.. Got blood on my hands.. :(

Posted by gkligyte at 05:39 PM | Comments (5)

June 12, 2005

Everything also can


After running in "everything also can" mode these last 3 weeks, I learned to discipline myself. No more helping out colleagues, no more long lunch and coffee breaks, no more emails longer than 3 sentences. The work is not piling up anymore (although I'm leaving work at 8-9pm almost every day (getting there at 8.30am...). My interactions and connections with people (also Kaj) deteriorate fast. As I get home, I'm dreaming only about hitting the pillow as fast as possible. Sundays is a bliss - peaceful and quiet. Saturdays are the worst - the bl**dy construction starts at 8:30am. Lets see how long my "can do" attitude lasts.


Penktadieni antras pagal svarba bosas issiveze mus su Yong pietauti ir paskelbe, kad pirmas pagal svarbuma bosas yra labai patenkintas mudvieju darbu... Kai grizom atgal, suzinojau, kad viena is seniausiu destytoju ismesta is darbo semestro vidury. Visi pasimete, nezinia ka daryt, jos destymo valandas dabar kazkaip reikia perskirstyt... Niekas nezino, kodel ji buvo ismesta ir bosai neaiskina jokiu priezasciu... As nelabai gaudausi ofiso politikoje, bet regis, kazkas vyksta ir kazkas planuoja musu visu ateiti.. Idomu, kad pati savo ateities nelabai gali itakoti ar planuoti... :)

Perjantaina toiseksi tarkein pomo vei meidat Yongin kanssa lounaalle ja sanoi etta kaikkein tarkein pomo on sita mielta etta me kaksi teemme tyomme tosi hyvin (ma en oikeasti ymmartanyt miksi se vei meidat lounaalle). Sitten sain tietaa etta yksi meidan vanhemmista lehtoreista oli siiretty jonnekin muualle (samaa kuin saanut potkut) kenenkaan tietamatta kesken lukukautta. Kaikki oli ihan paniikissa etta mitas tehdaan, kun nyt tarvitsee siirtaa tuon lehtorin tyotunnit meille kaikille. Pomot ei anna mitaan syita miksi se tapahtui.. Ma en ymmarra paljon toimiston politiikasta, mutta nahtavasti joku suunnittelee meidan tulevaisuutta.. Kiinostavaa etta ei itse saa vaikuttaa tai suunnitella omaa tulevaisuuttaan... ei edes ymmarta mitas oikeasti on tapahtumassa...


Kaitsu on tosi onneton hanen tyopaikassa (nykyaina paljon enemman) ja ma pelkan etta se ei kesta marraskuun asti. Marraskuussa me paastamme irti meidan asunnosta. Kaikki hitaasti pahenee.. Emme edes viihdytaan ruoasta, eika shoppailusta... Kaitsulla on aika paha kulttuurin shokki, se ei kesta enaa kun ihmiset kavele sen paalle ja se ei tykka kiinalaistien kultuurista yhtaan enaa.. (toisaalta mulla on asiat parempi.. :) Kuvitellaan ja unelmoidaan lankarien kulttuurista usein. Esimerkiksi: alternative klubeista, alternative ajatelusta, keraysta (recycling), pieneista leipomoista, uimisesta jarvessa, avoimesta nakymasta, luonnon ruohosta ja puista, metsasta, sesonkeista, oikeista omenoista puusta (vain mina). Kaitsu suunitele menoa saunaan kun se paase Suomeen elokuussa. Olen katelinen!!!...

Kaitsu ir toliau labai nepatenkintas savo darbe (dabar zymiai labiau, nei pradzioj), bijau, kad jis neistvers iki lapkricio. Lapkriti galu gale galim issikelti is dabartinio buto. Viskas po truputi blogeja, beveik niekas cia mums nebepatinka, nei maistas, nei apsipirkinejimas... Kaitsu jau visai nebetveria, kai zmones lipa mums per galvas gatveje, o ir siaip nepakencia kinieciu kulturos. As kol kas vis dar laikausi, nors jau labai daznai svajoju apie vakarietiskas salis ir dalykus, pvz: alternatyvias idejas ir dalykus, siuksliu perdirbima (hmm. kaip tai vadinasi lietuviskai, kai makulatura ir buteliai renkami..?), mazas kepykleles, plaukyma ezere, atvira vaizda, naturalia zole ir medzius, miska, metu laikus, tikrus obuolius nuo medzio (cia tik as svajoju). Kaitsu planuoja eiti i sauna, kai jis bus Suomijoj rugpjuti.. Pavydziu!!!


Since I came here, several new English words entered my vocabulary and I'm using them almost daily. Such as "scolding", "delinquent", "penalize", etc.. Put this in educational context and see whether it makes you laugh or not.. :) This is, of course, besides my beautiful intonations in Leijonakaupunki language. Kaj shudders each time he hears me saying "expensiivee lah.." (I wish I could demonstrate this to you :) and he likes to add: "my hair is so oilyyy".. :) Thats definitely something that we're bringing with us from this culture!!! We're also making some major improvements in our English grammar. For example, instead of the phrase "An early bird gets a worm"we'd rather say "you come, you got". Some improvements in our expectations for retail service, e.g. asking about different sizes you may receive smth like "see there, got got, no see, no got". Shiok! (means "very good!")

Apart from all that, my blog is flooded with spam these days. In some 3 days, I had to remove over 100 spam comments. Its becoming quite annoying. I know that some things could be done by removing/altering things in the MT (the software that runs this blog) code itself, but I'd have to ask Pekka to do that back in Finland and I'm sure he's busy with hundreds of other things... So, don't wonder, if you see some funny comments on the site or if your comments are removed by accident... I'm doing my best.. :)

Posted by gkligyte at 03:51 PM | Comments (32)

June 05, 2005

Don't panic - barbeque instead!


The only person that I can imagine could enjoy living in our place right now could be Martynas, my sister's kid. He is (at least used to be) very much into big machines, preferably the ones that make a lot of noise and can lift very heavy things. I'm sure my sister didn't have any kind of gender educational program for him, but before he could speak, his eyes would light up when he'd spot a TRACTOR or a CRANE.. Here's an engineer growing for you.. The face and the future of our civilization.. Baaah... I wish people would still build brick buildings, carry cement upstairs in their buckets and save the trees and the greenery as much as possible.. dirty_kaj.jpg The construction outside our bedroom doesn't seem to be moving on, although they work some 10 hours every day.. Besides that, there's ocassional canal digging, pipe fixing and cable work in our street. Whenever I complain to my colleagues, they say that "oh, but its everywhere like that", very subdued... Yesterday (it was a Saturday), we woke up at 8:30am, no, not to birds singing, but to drilling and piling. The noise is pretty unbearable, so we can't stay at home during the day. Kaj seeks refuge in Bukit Timah nature reserve (bicycling, of course, see how dirty he gets?!?). I'm trying out retail therapy (it works, it works!!!). We have the Great Leijonakaupunki Sales right now.. And the Arts festival at the same time, so there's a good mix of both.. Ahh.. What could be better than hearing the cashier ringing.. Its music to my ears.. Relieves my soul, man...


Otherwise this week was rich in barbeques for me. First with the students at school, then at Joni's (Kaj's colleague's place). My students are very cool this time, I really enjoy working with them. There's nothing worse than "I can't be bothered" attitude - why you're in the design school in the first place?!? We know what is good for you!! :) I'm still super busy at work, somehow I have to learn to manage my time better.. I don't get the "butterfly feeling" in my stomach anymore when I walk into the classroom and at times I'm loosing my voice when I'm trying to speak louder than the hummm of air-conditioners.. All my new colleagues say that teaching drains them physically and mentally, but just look at the old staff - everyone is happily coping somehow.. So, I guess I'll be fine too.. The weekends like this also help to recharge:


If you thought that barbeque is about grilling food outdoors, think again.. With these people its about wrestling, holding hands, juggling hamburgers in the air, giving strange looks, sqeezing each others shoulders and stuff.


Oh yeah, we also saw the Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy movie yesterday and it was brilliant. Very inspirational. All we need to do is not to panic and have our towels with us at all times. Even with all these people demolishing houses around us. We should be ok in Leijoanakaupunki or any other place in this Galaxy...

Posted by gkligyte at 08:11 PM | Comments (0)