Thursday, December 30, 2010

Cultural Damage?

On Monday morning we left to Rovaniemi to spend a night there. It was on a whim that we decided to spend a night there, so there weren't many options left to find a hotel room within our budget. We stayed a night at Lapland Sky Hotel Ounasvaara (you can google it to find out where it is). It's a simple hotel with no frills, but we got a room with a sauna and the price we paid (142 Euros for the both of us) included breakfast. The other hostels in the city were fully booked and the other hotels in the city were so expensive, so we chose this one.

I feel that I've been "culturally damaged" by having lived in this small village called Sodankylä. What are the damages involved?

1. Now I'm really noise sensitive when it comes to bedtime. In Indo we lived in a small alley where there were always plenty of noise around us and then I could sleep so well even with all the noise. Now after having lived here for 4 years, I find that it's getting harder and harder to sleep when it's noisy outside (except perhaps when I'm DEAD tired).

You see, when we were about to sleep in the hotel at around midnight, some guests just started coming back and the hallway was really noisy. Our next door neighbour just came back with the whole family and they were so loud. It was hard for us to sleep and I got frustrated 'coz in the past when I still lived in Indo I could go to bed so easily even with all the noise around me.

2. Here in Sodankylä I find that my personal space is SO WIDE due to the small number of inhabitants. Wherever I go, I've never found too many people around me so I can move freely everywhere. When we went to Rovaniemi the other day, there were so many people in the mall due to tourist season and the fact that they're having big post-Christmas discounts everywhere. I've found myself feeling like wanting to shout, "Stay away from me! You're in my personal space!!!"

This is not the first time I felt something like this. I also felt it when I went to Singapore and Indonesia two years ago and last year. Too many people disturb me so easily now that I've lived here in Sodankylä. I think the longer I stay here, the harder it is for me to feel at home anywhere else - of course if I HAVE to stay somewhere else where there are many people and where it's noisy, I can always adjust to it again, but all I'm saying is that it's hard to get used to all those things after you've enjoyed the beauty of plenty of space and lack of noise around you. For me it's MUCH easier to get used to plenty of space and lack of noise after you've been surrounded by lack of space and too much noise around you.

OK, enough rambling...even though we had to pay for the hotel, I felt that it was worth it 'coz we got lovely pictures from around the hotel area. Let me share some here first and I'll continue sharing more pictures in a later post...

1st pic: Taken at around 4 pm right after we checked into the hotel. We went up the roof/deck of the hotel (there were frozen benches and tables up there - I guess they used it to eat during summer to enjoy the view). It was on a 3-storey floor. Behind me down there there was a ski lift (maybe it's not clear but you can see it in another pic which I'll post in another post).

2nd pic: Yep, the sky was really dark orange. I was amazed when I looked at the sky when we arrived at the hotel (the hotel is located a little bit up on a hill) and yes, they put some green lamps around the area and I found it weird to look at green trees he he...

3rd pic: Another shot of the sunset.

4th pic: I took this pic after we had our breakfast, at around 10.00 am. The sun was just about rise. I went up to the deck again and I was amazed when I looked around me. I'll upload some videos later on, as well.

5th pic: Another shot from up the deck. You can see the ski lift operating room down there.

6th pic: I went down again and found a path leading away from the hotel and I took pictures from there.

7th pic: The actual sky didn't have purplish hue, but I LOVE this pic anyway. It was more blue and white, though the orangey/pinkish hue in the previous photo was real. I feel like the trees are "sighing due to the weight of the snow" he he he...

OK, I have to go to work soon, so to be continued. Not sure when I'll post again 'coz I have an evening shift today and tomorrow a morning shift and I may go straight to my MIL's place to celebrate New Year there together, but I'll be back (if God still gives me breath HA HA HA HA HA...). Take care, people, and have a BLESSED New Year!!! Hopefully next year is better than this year! :-D

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

3BT: Random Days

1. My boss has read the note I made and said that in the new worklist, I'll get less hours. YEEESSS!!! That starts in a few weeks, so until then I'll still be a bit busier he he...but I'm glad I did decide to give the note.

2. The kind old guy who once gave me flowers gave me another pot the other day. I almost couldn't contain my happy tears from flowing (PMS mode) and believe me, it was SO hard to control myself when I still had other customers to serve. Some of them probably saw my wet eyes and wondered what went wrong HA HA HA...I don't know why the old guy is so nice to me, but I THANK GOD for having customers like him.

Before he came, it had been hectic hours at work and I was feeling tired, but after he gave me the pot of flowers, nothing else mattered and I felt SO refreshed. ;-D It felt like drinking fresh water in the middle of a very hot day in the desert.

3. A little girl who's been very friendly to me has been asking about me whenever she and her parents go out to buy groceries. I'm SO touched that another person's child remembers me, even though I don't really know her, but she's SO cute!!!

4. A male customer asked me the usual stuff (where I come from, etc.) and after that he said, "You're brave for moving here." I thanked him, though I don't really feel brave, but I TRULY appreciate people who give others encouragement. They're angels on earth.

5. Christmas holiday is coming soon. Dinner with family, playing cards and drinking some cider and eating chocolate...just the thought of that brings warmth to the soul, 'coz we'll never know how much time left we have with one another.

6. We're going on a short trip to Rovaniemi sometime. YAHOOOOOOOO!!! It wasn't exactly planned - sort of just on a whim and I'm glad I found a hotel with a good price (and the room price includes breakfast). I'll write about this later on when we get back. YEEESSS!!!!

7. Taking these pictures make me happy:

Decoration behind a bed and breakfast in Sodankylä:

Saw pink sky again the other day, so I had to grab my camera to take some pics...

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

On Being Flexible

How flexible you should be when it comes to work? I'm still trying to figure out the balance here. I've stated to my superiors that I feel like I've done too much work and they say that they're going to reduce my hours ('coz I've done MANY more hours than what is stated in my contract) when the new workers they hire start working next month.

I don't know if I'm lazy or not, but I feel that I don't want to work too much 'coz I want to live a balanced life. First of all, even though I DO appreciate being able to get the extra money by doing overtime, but I appreciate MORE having spare time to do other things I want to do 'coz we've got more than enough anyway even when I only do a certain amount of hours per week.

Secondly, if I can help it, not being burnt out is better 'coz then I can do my best when it's time for me to work (remember that I have to communicate in Finnish and that takes mental effort to do, esp. 'coz I have to count money when I'm at the cashier). After all, when I signed up for the job, it was for a part-time job only, not a full-time job. The other week was really rough and I felt like my brain wasn't working well anymore and I wouldn't be able to give the best when I'm like that.

Anyhow, enough contemplation. Now on to some more wintery pics...

First pic: Another attempt at taking panoramic pics. Click to view a bigger size. I cropped out a bit of the right side of the pic he he...

2nd pic: As we were about to leave the place, the reindeer came to the field to find some food. The leader of the pack is busy digging for food in the pic below...

The two other reindeer in the herd:

Trick of the eye pic that I took of the cabin window that reflects the lights from the oil lamp and the candle inside the cabin he he...

I'll go blog-hopping now while I have a free day he he...

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Chasing the Reindeer

Because I have this weekend free, I told R2 that I wanted to go to the cabin on Fri after my evening shift ended. We almost cancelled it 'coz the weather prediction said it'd be -22'C and I only finished my shift that day at around 9.20 pm, but finally we had a solution: R2 went there straight after work to warm it up and then he'd go back home and pick me up. I'm SO grateful for R2 'coz he had to do the tough work of driving back and forth and warming up the cabin and the sauna when it was that cold outside (FYI, he had to get the water for the sauna by making a hole in the ice in the frozen lake).

Turned out it was -28'C that night and it even went down to -30'C when we both arrived there at around 10 pm. The stars were shining on a cloudless night and we both had sauna first before we had supper (hamburgers and sausages) while listening to the radio.

We were already so dead tired after that, so we just lay down in each other's arms while listening to the radio for a while and then we brushed our teeth and slept. Due to the cold weather outside, R2 had to wake up twice during the night to burn more firewood to keep the inside of the cabin warm enough.

In the morning at around 10 am, I woke up to pee in the outside toilet (turned out during the day the temp. went up to -16'C only) and I realized that the sun was just about to rise, so I went back inside to get my cameras - yeah, I brought both the Panasonic and Sony to compare and contrast the pics taken with both cameras ha ha ha...While taking some pics, I heard some kling-klong-kling-klong (bell sound) so I knew some reindeer must be nearby 'coz sometimes they put a bell on the neck of a reindeer. I waited but couldn't see any...After taking some pics, I got hungry and I realized that R2 had woken up and he had started warming up some hamburgers HE HE HE...He knew I'd be hungry again. ;-D

After that, I went back outside to take more pics and I saw a reindeer standing alone on the frozen lake. It must've been a young one 'coz it had no horns yet. It stood still as I took pics of it and after a while the parents came to the spot and the dad took the lead to guide the way towards the forest. 'Coz I didn't have time to take good pics of the parents, I went to chase them. Thankfully they walked slowly, so I managed to catch up with them, but when they realized I was chasing them (we were only about a few metres apart - they were on the forest, I was on the path leading to my in-laws' place), the dad decided to turn back towards the lake...

I followed them again and then they turned back again towards the forest HI HI HI...I followed them again, but this time I stopped near a clearing 'coz I knew if they passed by the clearing, I would be able to take some pics of them there. The dad hesitated before he crossed over the clearing 'coz he was probably afraid I'd do something bad, but at last he led the way and I took some pics. After that I left them alone he he he...I had bothered them enough that day HA HA HA...

So here are the pics...

1st pic: the kiddy.

2nd pic: Staring at me while I took pics, not knowing what to do.

3rd pic (taken by Sony, thus difference in hue): Daddy led the way to the forest...

4th pic: This was taken after I followed them toward the forest and then they turned back towards the frozen lake. Daddy was wary of me hi hi...

5th pic: The clearing I mentioned in the post. Even though it can be REALLY cold here up north, but usually it means I've got more chance to see beautiful pink skies like in this pic. It's just breathtaking...

Below are two group photos...

And last pics of the day: the gorgeous sky and frozen lake at around 10.30 am. If it hadn't been cloudy, the pink area would've been even wider he he...

OK, now I have to cook and dunno if I have time to blog-hop today or not. We'll see. Take care, everybody!!! Hope you've had a blessed weekend! I know I have he he...

Monday, December 06, 2010

Have You Ever?

About a month ago or so I was feeling sick and tired. Of what? I guess the correct answer would be "the fallenness of mankind". I wasn't sick and tired of mankind per se, but just that part of mankind, including that part in myself (or maybe especially 'coz I know that part exists in myself).

I guess the trigger was when I read this online forum that talked about two different people from two different cultures and the heated debate went on and on and on. There were at least 100 "commentators", but I only found about 1/10th who were the voice of reason. Some of the commentators made me feel sick and disgusted.

It's so easy when I look at that fallen part in myself that for example if I'm struck by someone, my instinct would be to strike back. If I'm hurt, my instinct would be to fight back or to have my revenge. Maybe for different people, the "fallen" parts are different than mine. But still the fallenness exists.

I don't mean to say that I'm giving up on mankind, but I'm just saying that there are times when I just want to get away from humans 'coz the fallenness of mankind makes me sick.

I talked about this topic today with a friend and she said she thought she was the only one going mad ha ha ha...she also experienced this and she said that she also wanted to get away from people in order to "reduce" the amount of possible "negative thoughts/feelings/reactions" that come from dealing with other human beings.

However, at the other end of the spectrum, after feeling so disgusted and sick like this, I wonder why God still loves us just the way we are, despite ourselves. I mean logically thinking I know that God is love, but my human brain is wondering that after all the wickedness and ugliness that humans can do, isn't it beyond AMAZING that He still loves us? That He's sent Jesus to die for our sins? I still can't comprehend the depth of His love for's WAY beyond what my human brain can understand. Having billions and billions of "children on earth" behaving the way we are many days a year...I'm THANKFUL that God is God.

Friday, December 03, 2010

Christmas Cheer

Just some pictures that I've taken these past few days...bought a set of sticker to cheer up our kitchen window yesterday. Some of the pics were taken with my mobile phone 'coz I didn't have my camera with me.

First pic: somebody else's Christmas light. Taken by mobile phone.

Again taken by mobile phone at around 12.30 pm yesterday. The temp. was only around -5'C.

Taken yesterday by my new Sony camera at around 2.30 pm. For some reason the camera took it with Twilight mode and it made it purplish. The actual colours should be white (for the foreground) and dark blue for the sky (except the pink part).

The stickers I bought for the kitchen window...

The details:

Okay, now it's time for me to blog-hop a little and then exercise. I haven't had time nor energy to exercise due to the busy days at work. I bet I'm still going to be super busy until New Year at least.

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Bittersweet Birthday

Had a lovely birthday even though I had work that day. What made it sad was 'coz on Sunday my MIL went to visit FIL at the hospital and he didn't remember her anymore. He did, though, say that her voice was familiar. Other than that, FIL became upset at everything easily - probably 'coz he can't remember anything much, so he's probably so scared and confused. Ugh...So prayers please...

It's hard to see your loved one like that and it makes me think of serious stuff on my birthday, such as how fleeting life is and if I ever live long enough to experience mind degeneration, I hope that everything I've done beforehand could "make up for it". It seems that the doctor has told MIL that she doesn't have to burn herself out and that he can stay in the hospital, but she wants to be with him as long as possible. So hopefully FIL's mood gets better so that MIL doesn't have an even harder task to take care of him.

Anyway, on a positive note, I got the birthday present that I wanted - 'coz I kept on insisting that R2 bought it for me HA HA HA HA...I mean, rather than "expecting" him to buy it for me, it'd just nicer to tell him straight away what I want so that in the end, we're both happy.

What did I want? A new wedding ring that fits my left ring finger perfectly. The one I have is now on a necklace 'coz it's a bit loose (even though I've gained 6 kgs ever since I moved to Finland, but my finger size stays the same). Wanna see the ring? Here goes...

We asked the jeweller's to engrave Arttu's name and our wedding date, but she said that for a wedding ring, we should put both our names, whereas for an engagement ring, you'd just put your future spouse's name and the engagement date. Interesting!!! We didn't even know it!

Anyway, I think the most important lesson of all that I've been getting over and over again so far is letting go and letting God (and finding out when to let go and to let God instead of keep forging the battle on my own). However, lately I feel that I should learn to say "no", to stand up for myself, and also to set boundaries for myself. I was actually thinking of writing a serious birthday post, but things have been hectic at work and it's going to get even more hectic 'coz Christmas and New Year are coming soon, so I may not get much free time until after New Year. So maybe the serious post can wait until then he he...

I haven't had time to blog-hop, either, but I have a free day tomorrow (AT LAST!!!), so we'll see. Take care, everybody!!!