March 30, 2006

Speck of Dust in my Eye


The time to leave this place is coming closer. Somewhere deep deep deep in my heart I regret having to leave. Admit it or not (that's more directed to Kaj:), we learned a lot. I'd say that I'm much more aware about things: culturally, socially, work-wise... Its not very self evident, but I notice some sort of wisdom, calmness and confidence in me that I don't remember having before. For Kaj, I think its mostly learning to appreciate what he has or had. And, of course, we both successfully got rid of "exotica" mindset, which is really good. Coming from a place where 2 generations back people didn't travel further than 100km from their village in their lifetime, I can proudly say that "I made it" :)

I'll be also very sad to be leaving my friends and colleagues. Giulianos and Yong (why didn't we start hanging out much earlier!), Jeffrey, Alan, Tommy, Gail and Salim. And, of course, Fity and Angelene (why we spent so little time together?!?)... Well, well, I still have 12 more days to be sad, say good bye and stuff.. :)


Ok ok ok. No more tears, better some fun! Last weekend was my first night out clubbing in Leijonakaupunki!!! Can you believe that?!? Bars - yes, been there many times, but not clubs!!! Went out with the students first, FQ had his birthday, everybody was so fuuuuny, we got really cool kids here! And then I joined Fity and Angelene for some club crawling. Surely enough, on my first night out in a random club that opened 2 weeks ago, I meet.. who... Finns!... well, not exactly, only one Finn, another Swiss! Yes! Yes! Petri Saariko and Sasha Huber! They were on some meeting related to Leijonakaupunki bienalle and just happened to be there and then! They didn't know that I'm living in Leijonakaupunki for almost 2 years, I didn't know that they're here, we just bumped into each other! Before I came back to my senses and realised that I should take a picture, they have evaporated... So I got no proof..

Otherwise clubbing in Leijonakaupunki is a bit better than I imagined. Some SPGs (Sarong Party Girls - these are the beautiful young ladies that jump on any ang moh they see (remember, the "Red Haired Devil"?)), but not as much as I feared there would be!


And I met even more Finns (one British) today! Philip and his wife are in a conference in our school, so we had a nice tea break walk and talk. I'll be seeing them again tomorrow at the Diploma Show Opening!

Posted by gkligyte at 08:21 PM | Comments (1)

March 25, 2006

U-turn or not?


I saw Kaj going off to Hanoi in Vietnam last Thursday. From what I hear it seems to be a very interesting place: its quite chilly in there (+20C) at night (Kaj says that it feels COLD! I wonder how Europe feels then.. :) and the old quarters seem to be very beautiful. I couldn't go, unfortunately... We went to Margaritas, the coolest Mexican restaurant in Leijonakaupunki, with all 3 Giulianos before Kaj left. Their Kitchen Sink (I hope that's metaphorical, not literal name of the dish..:) didn't fail us this time again...

Otherwise I don't feel like writing right now. In few days I may feel like writing again.To cut a long story short, I had an phone interview for a job in New Zealand a week ago. The outcome is not clear yet. I'm still waiting for the answer, while time is dragging slowly. Based on what I'll hear sometime next week, we may have to make a U-turn and reshuffle all our plans, or then just continue with what we planned. I really hate being in limbo, and we really had a lot of that lately... Please, time, pass faster!


The picture on the left is not doctored in Photoshop, no! No Studying in the Canteen! We sometimes go to the airport staff canteen for lunch and I just had to take a picture of this! Some background explanation: this notice is trying to tackle the problem of students sitting at the canteen tables and preparing for their exams. The problem with study spaces is quite acute in here. The most obvious place for studying would be the Library. But as far as I understand, people loitering in public libraries are undesirable. At least this is what I gathered from the public library design. There's no comfy seats, neither good tables for reading and writing in the libraries that I visited. They're also very overcrowded and noisy: children running around, maids listening to records, teenagers chatting loudly (not even talking about the official noisy events organised in the libraries!). Its more like a place where you drop by, pick up your books quickly and leave as fast as you can. Our school library is, of course, very different. A lot of students study there during the day, but its closed at night. As the exams are drawing near, many students study up to 18 hrs a day. Studying at home is apparently too lonely for many of them and, of course, there's the aircon issue - you'd run a high electricity bill if you'd keep the aircon on throughout the day (otherwise its too hot to concentrate!), plus you may have a construction site next door that makes hell of a noise. All sorts of air conditioned cafeterias, coffeeshops, foodcourts and, of course, of course, McDonnalds is the place of choice for studying for the Leijonakaupunki youngsters. The canteens take different approaches. Obviously, the airport canteen consider their main business to be serving food, while McDonnalds opens their door widely: you may see teenagers deep in their books and study conversations at 11-12pm (luckily McDonnalds is open 24hrs a day!) Maybe at some point McDonnalds is going to get a medal for some kind of altruistic enlightenment activities in Leijonakaupunki (it was also the first to offer wireless Internet in all their Leijonakaupunki outlets for free)?


And here's some more leftover pictures from Bali. I felt like experimenting and got my hair dyed in the same place that dyed it orange last time. Surprise surprise, I encountered a baffled German tourist with orange hair that tried to get her looks back.. :) Life is mere existence without adventures! This time my hair turned out ok! :)


Posted by gkligyte at 09:22 AM | Comments (0)

March 12, 2006

How to be Zen


This is Gunung Agung in Bali as it was, not Photoshoped (!!!) I went to Bali last weekend to visit Kaj.


He is renting a house there for a month, waiting for me to wrap up at work. If you ask me, our Bali experiences have almost always been as close to decadence as I can imagine. This house was truly beautiful, full of balinese crafts, and tidy with a nice kitchen, laundry machine, everything that makes your life comfortable, safe and easy.


A decadent colonial oasis, isn't it? Just a few things that come with it - the old owner of the house, an American, has died 2 months ago. The caretaker Wayang was apparently very attached to the old guy and obviously they had some sort of agreements of how things are done in the house. Kaj still freaks out whenever Wayang marches into his kitchen, snatches a coffee pot (Kaj has not finished with it!!) and walks out. Where does he take the pot? Do they drink our coffee just like that? I freaked out when I saw that Wayang still cooks coffee and puts a piece of bread for the old guy (2 months dead!) every morning. I guess, his spirit still comes for breakfast... :)


Besides slightly weird relationship with Wayang, the major disappointment for Kaj was that they cropped rice everywhere around the house and brought ducks in. I find them quite cute, besides, they're feeding on bugs and snails (and fertilizing the fields:). Good! But at this point of time when the bird flu threat is supposed to be very real, it actually feels a bit uncomfortable to have so many birds (lots of chicken too!) around.


Out of 5 days that I was in Bali, 3 days was pouring rain. When you look outside from the balcony and everything is grey, wet and muddy, you truly get a very rural feeling. I could see some charm in that and I didn't mind to sleep through days, but, I guess, Kaj had difficulties getting the real Zen feeling.. You know, - yoga in the morning at sunrise, tea on the terrace, green fields around, seen by noone. The place that he's staying in is quite far from that. It is actually a village and it comes with neighbours, chicken (plus loud roosters!), people burning ricefields and garbage (sometimes gets a bit difficult to breathe), people washing in the stream, rain pouring just when you want to go motorcycling and you also kind of get a feeling that people are watching you all the time.. :)


Probably it would be fine by me (well, I don't have to stay there for a month :), but Kaj is planning to come to Singapore on 17 March to do visa run and not to go back. I guess, this idea of luxurious month of relaxiation didn't quite work out. For the rest of the time that I'm serving my notice, he's planning to go to Hanoi and up to the highlands in Northern Vietnam. I wish I could go there too...


We managed to walk a bit in the rice padis around Ubud before it started raining again.


Still beautiful, actually completely amazing, I'd say.


But this time I didn't get the feeling that I'm on an exotic holiday at all!


Everything seemed to be so common and familiar.. Beautiful beyond belief, but still so normal! I remember my first trips to South East Asia when each corner was full of promise, each turn of the road was hiding something unexpected, the streets felt full of danger and the food was fascinatingly weird and delicious.


How its going to be in Finland? Right now I can just walk out of the house in the middle of the night in a T-shirt, all year round, I don't need heavy boots and long coat. Green colour in a month of January doesn't cause me heart palpitations anymore, its normal, everything is green all the time! If you eat out, its not going to cost you your arm and your leg and you can even take a cab home without feeling guilty and calculating when your next salary is coming in... We'll see, we'll see...


We've noticed with Kaj though, that we're craving for western delights more and more.. The first times we'd come to Bali we'd look at these western style cafes that charge 5 times more than local eateries with despise - stupid foreigners, they don't know any better, why don't they try the REAL thing at the corner shop?! Nowadays we just indulge in all the pleasures of not being adventurous anymore - we live here! :) So I can have a cake instead of black rice pudding (well thats not true, we actually had black rice pudding in this particular cafe.. :)



Natalia, Borzin and Kian are still in Bali, Kian is happily growing, enjoying overwhelming attention from everyone. Natalia said that they want to record the "Good Morning, Kian" that they hear from Made or the staff at Made's warung, so that they can play it back every morning when they come back to Finland and the person that you see in the elevator every day just look stern and doesn't say a word.


While Kaj is away, I've been practicing Finnish etiquete of not-speaking and my social skills have been significantly improving, as you can see.. :)


On my last day in Bali the weather cleared up and we went up the highlands to the Lake Batur.


The air was fresh and clear, the views - magnificent!



I think I'd still come to Bali again and again, no matter what.. Its such an amazing piece of land, a tiny island that is more special than other places that almost take up whole continents.. :)


Posted by gkligyte at 02:01 PM | Comments (0)