Friday, March 29, 2013

My Quirks

As an introvert whose battery gets charged when I can have my "me time" (staying away from crowd/people/human interaction), ever since I've gotten to know so many faces in this small village through my job, whenever I get out these days I have to keep my eyes more open 'coz the village's downtown is a small place and I'm bound to meet at least a few of my regular customers. That means I should be ready to smile and say hi and sometimes even chit-chat with them.***

On normal days I enjoy doing that, but on days when I want to recharge, I avoid interacting with other people as much as I can (the only exceptions are hubby, MIL, BIL and SIL). On those "abnormal" days, I prefer staying home or I'd take the shortest route to the supermarket to avoid meeting too many familiar faces. Meeting new people too often has always drained me. I remember that one relative of mine was worried that I'd never get married 'coz I worked from home a lot during the years when I only worked as a book translator LOL!!! He suggested to my parents to encourage me to be active at church (join a church activity group or something), even though I felt perfectly fine with my life and my limited number of friends/human interaction LOL!!!

I'm glad that I enjoy being home and that R2 enjoys being home, as well. In summer it's nice to sit outside in the garden swing, sunbathe while reading a book without having to interact too much with other people on my "abnormal" days. In winter I prefer exercising inside the house. I'm also glad that R2 and I enjoy being together at home and that we get along well. Otherwise where else would my safe haven be on those "abnormal" days? LOL!!!

*** This reminds me of sometime last week when I went to a supermarket and then an old lady chatted me up about my family etc. It was nice 'coz I don't remember having chatted with her at work before, but she did recognize me 'coz of my work. And the perk of having my job is that people who know my job are more willing to talk to me despite my foreign face. :-D

Anyway, I found this AWESOME video clip accidentally last night and I'd love sharing it with you. Here's the description of the video clip: "Fran & Marlo Cowan (married 62 years in 2008 when this was taken) playing impromptu recital together in the atrium of the Mayo Clinic."

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Kampsut (Traditional Blood Cakes)

The other day I tried making "kampsut" or "kampsuja" (traditional blood cakes in Lapland) that my MIL usually made. I wanted to make them using reindeer blood, but alas, when I went to the store, the only thing available was cow blood, but that's OK 'coz the recipe that I followed used cow blood instead of reindeer blood anyway.

Here's the Finnish recipe as well as the photos: Kampsut.

You can use Google Translator to translate the page, though I'm not sure how accurate it is he he...To me making this reminds me of making "baso" or "Indonesian meatballs".

Here are the ingredients:

5 dl reindeer or cow blow (1 dl = 100 ml)
1-3 dl water (I used only 1 dl water)
0.5 tsp salt
0.5 tsp baking soda
9-12 dl rye flour

I think I used close to 12 dl rye flour instead of 9 dl. And the cow blood I bought from the supermarket was conveniently packaged in a 5 dl bottle, so all I had to do was let it melt (it was in the frozen section of the supermarket).

Anyway, you just need to combine all the ingredients and let it be for a night if possible. I actually only let it be for a few hours 'coz I didn't have time, but I put it in the fridge. After a few hours, I took it out and then made them into big balls and then I boiled a lot of water in a HUGE pan (the bigger the better, esp. if the balls you make are big). Make sure to add enough salt in the pan so that the blood cakes will have some taste, though. If you don't want the blood cakes to stick to one another, it's said that you'd better add a new ball after the first one has risen to the surface. And make sure to put the balls in the pan after the water has been boiling. The recipe says that it takes approximately 45 minutes before each ball is cooked (though of course it depends on how big you make them).

To enjoy these blood cakes, it's better to eat them with "voisula". Just slice up lots of onions and cook them with butter until they're soft, then add more butter (as much as you want) and a little bit of milk. And remember to add some cranberry jam if you can find some!

Hubby loves eating them this way: heat up some of the "voisula" in a pan, then slice off some of the blood cakes for one serving and slice off the baked potatoes and just mix them all up. That way you get the onions and butter mixed up with everything and it's just delicious! :-D

The good thing about making these cakes is that I can save half of them in the freezer, so I don't have to start all over again next time he he he...Bon appetit! :-D

Friday, March 22, 2013

The Computer Counted Wrongly!

Last night I was reading a Finnish blog that told stories about troublesome customers and I was reminded of an occasion with an older guy. He's one of our regular customers and he's a very friendly guy, but he's very keen on checking everything up on his receipt. For example, a few times he came by to buy a few of that day's offers, but he took the wrong ones. Right after he packed things up, he always went to the side to check the receipt. A few times he took the wrong products and he opted to return them and then he'd ask the cashier to go get him the right products (that were on offer that day).

One time, though, I was at the cashier and he bought some products and then went to the side, took out his mobile phone and started counting. I was serving other customers, but I could see what he was doing from the corner of my eyes. After a while, he came back towards me and said, "Hey, the computer counted wrongly! Look at the receipt! The machine counted wrongly!"

I was busy serving other customers, so I asked him to wait and I pressed the buzzer to call my coworker to help out. While waiting, he kept on saying, "I recounted each item with my mobile phone and the sum I got wasn't the same." I was a bit annoyed by then because this time it wasn't about getting the wrong products or anything like that. I just couldn't imagine how the computer could have counted wrongly.

Anyway, my coworker came over and I explained the situation in brief to her and she went to the side with him after grabbing a calculator. At lightning speed she inputted each price and she said, "The sum is correct. See?" She shoved the calculator in front of him to show the total sum.

Confused, he still insisted by saying, "But I counted them using my own mobile phone's calculator and I came up with a different sum!"

So my coworker gave him the calculator and told him to input each price all over again while both of them checked/said out loud the price of each item. After checking everything this way in a much slower fashion, he was finally satisfied. He said, "Oh, I guess I must have done something wrong." For all it's worth, though, he did say thank you to the both of us after all the hassle, but still nobody else had done this kind of thing before and after him and I must say that I haven't really met any troublemakers or customers that say harsh words (swear words) to me like what I read in the Finnish blog. 

There was one funny story told in the Finnish blog. There was this old man going to a supermarket and this fellow was working there. The old man asked him if they had a certain brand of toilet paper rolls (actually the old man asked for some ass wipes!).

The fellow told him that they had other brands, but the old man got angry and shouted, "I DO NOT WANT this and that brand for my ass!!!! I want the brand I mentioned 'coz it's very soft! That's THE BEST kind of ass wipe I'd ever use for myself!!!! How dare you tell me that I should use other brands of paper to wipe my ass!!! This store is no good! At least I can get those beloved ass wipes from another store!"

Oh dear goodness!!!!!! 

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Six Years' Recap

I forgot to write a post last Friday, but then again I had work last weekend. Anyway, last Friday marked my 6th year in Finland. A LOT has happened since I first moved here. Can't believe that in summer I'll have worked in my current workplace for 3 years already!!! Of course it doesn't really feel that way 'coz I work part-time, but still time flies so fast!!!

The first time I visited Finland, I chose March due to some reasons. The first one was 'coz I wanted to see snow, but I didn't want to experience the dead of winter 'coz I knew it'd be too rough on my body if I had to go out when it was way too cold. Besides, in March there's already plenty of sunlight to enjoy compared to the dead of winter. Secondly, I wanted to celebrate R2's birthday. 

When I moved to Finland, I wanted to do it as fast as possible after our wedding in November, but had other plans for us. I was told to apply for my residence permit from Indonesia (my tourist visa application was denied), so I couldn't possibly know for sure when I'd be able to move to Finland. I was secretly hoping I could celebrate Arttu's birthday again and it did happen!!! The minute I got news that my residence permit was final already, I went to a travel agency to buy a one-way ticket to Finland. WOOOHHHOOOOOO!!!! :-D

R2 finally got a permanent job again after I moved to Finland, so that was such a HUGE relief at that time. For me personally, the first three years were mostly adjustment, adjustment, adjustment. Learning, learning, learning. Adapting, adapting, adapting, trying to find my place, getting lost and depressed in the process...I can't say I know everything there is to know about Finland (or at least this village) yet, but at least I've gotten used to the customs here. I can't tell you how thankful I am that I'm able to be an active part of society. Never in a million years did it ever cross my mind that I would be able to get a permanent job this fast (and in such a crazy way)!!! Do you know that statistics say that in average expats get proper jobs on their fourth year in Finland?

Over the years I've met SO MANY wonderful people who've helped me along the way...many of them aren't people I know in real life, but blogger friends, so I'm also very grateful for all the encouragement and support. For their open hearts and ears, for the time they spend reading my posts...and at different training places as well as my current workplace, I've also met so many lovely people who've given me verbal support, so for that I can only say THANK YOU ALL and GOD BLESS YOU!!!

On a slightly sad note, though, our baby dream has died, BUT after having decided to surrender to life without kids, I think we've healed leaps and bounds compared to the years when we were still trying to conceive, so I call that a HUGE progress (and our marriage is still intact HALLELUJAH)! :-D Although I'm realistic enough to know that I won't be 100% healed, but being 90-99% healed is MUCH better than being 50% healed he he he...

Anyway, when we first bought this house, we were still thinking about kids, so we have a spare bedroom. One lovely thing about having a spare bedroom is that whenever I have a very early shift after some days off (read: when I'd stay up late!!!), I can sleep in the other bedroom so that Arttu's snores won't bother me. His snores don't bother me on regular days, BUT if I'm so tensed about having to go to bed early (after having stayed up late for a few nights before then), it's harder to sleep without waking up over and over again because I'm afraid of not being able to get up in time for work, so my brain gets kinda worked up over the smallest noises (I set my mobile phone alarm to wake me up).

What else has happened? Well, my Dad has passed away, but I'm glad he didn't have to suffer long at all. Although it was hard on my family esp. that he was gone "too fast", but most people can't/don't exactly choose how they're gonna go anyway. And despite the fact that he's gone, our family has gotten bigger with the birth of my bro's first son (which R2 and I were luckily able to "witness" during our trip to Indo a few years ago) and then his second child is coming sometime this year, so it's exciting news!!! :-D

Anyway, today I just want to give THANKS to God for all the ups and downs I've experienced during the course of 6 years...thankful for this gift of life...This one's for you, My Lord!!! "Hatiku Percaya" or "My Heart Believes".

Thursday, March 14, 2013

A Thankful Heart

Yesterday a contractor came by our house to check out our roof. Last spring we noticed that it was leaking a little in some parts, but the timing just wasn't right. We contacted a contractor online (there's no local one) to visit us to give an estimate on the renovation, but he was in the vicinity during our holiday abroad, so we couldn't meet and he didn't contact us again afterwards. 

After that we tried to use an online calculator to get a rough estimate on how much it would cost and thought that it'd probably be better to start saving for that purpose before contacting another contractor. We figured that by now we should have more or less enough money for the renovation to commence without having to get another loan from the bank ('coz we still have to pay out our house loan each month anyway). 

Anyway, yesterday the guy measured the roof and checked out everything that he needed to check. It was tough to go up to the roof and measure the roof because there's still plenty of snow up there. After that, we discussed the options and he showed us the kinds of things that he'd do and stuff like that. When he was calculating the cost, I was really anxious and worried. I HOPED that it wouldn't be over budget he he he he...and my hope came true!!! I wanted to shout out in JOYYYYYYYYY right then and there, but I kept quiet LOL!!! 

After he left, R2 and I were both smiling happily 'coz we realize we can get a new roof without having to get a loan from the bank. 


It's gonna be interesting to see how the renovation is like (we were shown pics on what would happen) he he he...

Next project is saving money to change some of the old windows. Some of the windows of this house were still based on the original house design back in the 50's, so we want to change them as well because it's much easier to clean the new type of windows compared to the old ones. :-D 

I just want to THANK GOD for everything - for this house, for our jobs, for enabling us to save money...

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

3BT: Random Days

1. A customer gave me two bunches of tulips (pink and purple). They're still blooming nicely in my kitchen. :-D BLESS him!!!

2. Watching this funny video:

3. Enjoying the abundance of spring sunlight. Despite the fact that it can still drop down to -20'C this month (which is not normal), the sun has been smiling at us a lot these days. Ahhhhhh...

4. New challenges at work will appear in a few months' time, so it's gonna be exciting (though in the beginning it might be stressful) LOL!!! But I'm psyched to learn new stuff! :-D

5. Anticipating the two birthday celebrations this month (MIL's and R2's). CAKE CAKE CAKE!!!! :-D *drool*

6. A bigger fridge at work. :-D

Thursday, March 07, 2013

Spring In The Air: Thoughtful Mood

Been feeling tired due to a cold. Arttu had flu last week and now he's having an ear infection, so he's still recuperating at home (they gave him antibiotics). Today the sun is shining so brightly. I read online that this winter (it's not spring yet here) we've had the least sunshine in many years. I remember that last year (Jan + Feb) we did have more sunshine compared to now and I've been in a thoughtful mood these days. Here are some things that have been on my mind lately:

1. Every time March comes along and the day gets longer, whenever the sun shines through the windows, I'm reminded of how the light exposes each speck of dirt. No matter how hard we try to hide the dirty parts, the light will always expose them. I suppose that's why there's "spring cleaning". When the light gets in, it's so easy to see the dirt and dust that has gathered during the dark part of winter and it reminds me to do a spring cleaning of the soul. :-D

2. Recently I've been thinking about the quote "You can't lose what you never had". In the past I sang the lyrics of a song with that quote in the middle of it without thinking too much, but now I realize that it's not true. You CAN experience loss even though you haven't had the thing that you wish for so much. Lost, broken dreams for example.

When you've been preparing lovingly for a dream, getting ready and doing everything in your power to reach the dream (spending time, money, effort), daydreaming about the day when you reach the dream and then one day you realize that the dream is shattered and your life will never be the same again, that the broken dream changes your life completely...that's when you realize that YOU CAN lose what you never had.

3. Sometimes in life we lose our way or we lose ourselves or both at the same time...that's OK as long as we keep striving to find ourselves and our way again. Just as they say: it doesn't matter no matter how many times you fall. What matters most is that you get up again each time you've fallen down.

OK, I'll end these thoughts with a light video of a cat named Boo he he he he...I just LOVE his big paws! :-D And he reminds me of my old cat 'coz he was also a ginger cat. 

Monday, March 04, 2013

Childhood Memory: Pupa

When we were younger, a few times we found a pupa in the garden and we shrieked in delight. Then we picked the leaf carefully and set it inside the living room in a safe place where it wouldn't be crushed by anything. Being kids, at first my brother touched the pupa to see if it would move. It wriggled to the left or to the right whenever it was touched. CUTE, we thought. LOL!!!

I think at least we kept a pupa inside the house on four different occasions. One time for some reason nothing came up and we were so sad. We waited and waited and waited but no butterfly emerged. We don't know what happened and what went wrong in the whole process. We would check on the pupa every morning and every time we got back from school to see if something had happened. Fortunately on the other three occasions it was always a lovely surprise to see a butterfly flying around in the living room for a while before we chased it away gently to make sure it could find its way out into the garden. Fly free, little butterfly! Go out into the world and enjoy the garden of life! 

While trying to find out the kind of butterfly we had seen, I found this brilliant blog with time lapse videos as well as lots of close-up pics of the caterpillar, pupa, and butterflies. I think this is similar to the butterfly we had had in the past: The Tailed Jay.

Have you ever kept a pupa inside the house, too? :-D

Sunday, March 03, 2013

3BT: Random Days

1. Hubby's down with a cold and he's been home. It's nice to have him home on my days off. :-D

2. Heard from MIL that FIL's gonna be transferred back to the original old people's home (which is closer to where she currently lives), so YAAAAAAAAAY for that!!! We're all unhappy with the temporary place where he's been taken to.

3. My yearly work evaluation went well. I'm pleased with the results. :-D

4. I've also caught some of R2's viruses. It's better to be sick now then during our winter holiday later. :-D

5. Taking care of hubby's fever by putting a cold compress on his head made me remember our honeymoon when he got sick two days prior to his departure to Finland. And now I have him all for myself here in our mutual home. What a journey it's been! :-D

6. I LOVE listening to Game of Thrones theme song and its variations (I can listen to them over and over again)...First one: the original one. Second one: a mash-up violin and rock version of the theme song. Third one: a rock version of the song. Each version gives off a slightly different feeling/nuance.