Sunday, November 30, 2014

36th Birthday Cabin Trip

Yesterday was my birthday and on Friday hubby took a day off so that we could go to the cabin before it got dark. He was afraid that if he worked that day, he may have had to stay longer at work. After all, we only get about 3 hours of daylight now as we move rapidly towards Winter Solstice where the sun doesn't even rise at all. Since there isn't that much snow yet, we could still make it to the cabin by car. It was more convenient this way because then he could bring a lot of firewood.

It has been a cloudy weekend, so we didn't really see any gorgeous sky or starry sky, though I saw some flashes of pink sky during sunset. Usually hubby is the one who ends up doing most of the stuff, but this time I wanted to try making a hole in the ice by myself (we need the water from the lake for sauna, you see). When I stepped on the frozen lake, I was a bit afraid if it would break, but when I started using the ice pick to make the hole, I realized just how thick it was. I stopped lots of time in between picking the ice with the ice pick to take photos of the sky. It was rather fascinating to see just how fast the sky changed in just 10 minutes or so.

The ice was at least 13 cm thick, so it took a lot of time before I could finally get some water. YYYEEEEEEEEESSS!!!! It felt good to be able to do the task HE HE HE HE HE...Hubby had to get more firewood and chop them off into smaller pieces (that also took a while). After that the party began ha ha ha kind of party. Just listening to music on the radio, going to sauna together, cooking the food in the fireplace, chilling out just the two of us. Bliss! What do I feel about turning 36? Thankful that I'm still given time to be alive. :-)

The temperature was about -1'C, though it probably dropped down a bit to -5'C during the night. It was a bit foggy when we arrived there, but for some reason it made me feel even more secluded from the rest of the world, because I could barely see the row of trees across the lake.

Anyway, here are some pics that I took:

The cabin from the back side:

Lots and lots of candles!

The sky when we first arrived:

The ice pick photo with the same background (about 43 minutes later, when the sky started to open up a little):

More photos of pinkish sky:

Okay, I need to go to bed earlier now (or at least try to). I have an early shift tomorrow. Hope you're all doing fine, people!

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Busy Introvert = Exhausted Introvert

Haven't been blogging or blog-hopping. Been busy at work and other stuff going on in my life, including catching a cold. Making Christmas cards on my own also takes a lot of time (duh, of course!) and other than that I also need a lot of quiet time in between. One thing I've realized even more than before lately is why I married another introvert and I cherish him more than ever. 

Anyhow, one good thing is that I managed to find some Christmas gifts for hubby and I've even wrapped them up in one box and displayed it next to his computer table HE HE HE HE HE HE HEHHHHH...I was hoping that he'd be curious enough, though it's a tough wish on my part because he's such a chilled out person. I even jokingly asked him, "Can you guess what's inside? Can youuuuu?"

He calmly replied, "Why would I want to guess?"


I actually can't wait for him to open it because one of the gifts is something I think he'd enjoy for many hours he he he he...

Actually I think he feels a bit under pressure because he has two gifts for me to think about. First of all my birthday is coming soon and then there's Christmas. I know it's easier for me to find gift ideas for him because his birthday is far away from Christmas he he...but I can't exactly choose when I was supposed to come out of my mom's womb, can I? Poor hubby, though, having to think of two gifts in a short amount of time ha ha ha...

Anyway, this upcoming holiday season may not be easy for some people due to many different reasons. Mel from Stirrup Queens has written a blog post on how to survive this end of the year holiday stuff and she includes lots of other people's tips and tricks, too. 

Here's the link to the article: How to Get From Thanksgiving to New Years When You're Not in the Mood

I'll blog-hop later. My head still feels a bit weird. Take care, people!

Sunday, November 16, 2014

3BT: Random Days

1. A mistake in reading turned into a funny episode at work. 

What was supposed to be "täytetty pasta" (stuffed pasta), I accidentally read "täytetty paska" (stuffed shit). I was reading it way too quickly, but it made me (and other people) laugh he he...

2. Playing Town of Salem in FB, invited by hubby and laughing out loud when playing it together. One time he managed to kill me and trick me. GRRRRRRRRRRRRR!!!!

3. Waiting for another book to come (another one from my wishlist), courtesy of Bookdepository again, because they offered me another great deal, so naturally I couldn't resist he he he he...What I love about the site is that I don't have to pay for postage and they always deliver pretty fast. Plus they give me (free) cute bookmarks. :-D

4. I believe I've married a genius. He has made me laugh many times over even when he's not trying. And he always has the ability to calm me down in ways that I had never seen anyone do. If I thought I picked the right guy to marry over 8 years ago, I had no idea just how right my choice was! Oh, and it was a privilege to be able to tell him all this face-to-face. :-D

5. Being alive still and being able to spend time with hubby.

6. Buying Father's Day's cake on a discount because I went to the store an hour before it was closed down the day before Father's Day and claiming the cake to be our anniversary cake (our anniversary was 6 days before Father's Day in Finland and because the both of us have no fathers left, I changed the cake's title HA HA HA HA HA HA...).

7. Ordering a bike bag online and then realizing that one zipper was broken and that it was much too small for my taste, so I reported it and got my refund pretty quickly. It was nice doing business with that site.

8. Ordering another bike bag from another site and it finally came right before the old bag broke down. It's a little bit smaller than the old one, but much better than the small one with the broken zipper.

9. Deciding to make my own Christmas cards this year (something out of character for me because I'm not a handicraft lover) and finding some great deals on craft packages to make them. Oh, and it's finally Winter Wonderland here! The temperature went up a while back, making all the snow melt away and now we have fresh snow all over. YEAAAAAHHHHHHH! :-D

Sunday, November 09, 2014

Introvert Galore: Becoming More Finnish?

I think I've once written how I feel more at home in Finland compared to Indonesia in terms of my being an introvert. What's fascinating is that another expat from the USA, who's also an introvert, has felt the same way. She also feels that in her home country, society expects people to be more of an extrovert than an introvert. I think the longer I stay here, the more I feel like I become Finnish in this aspect. You see, a new expat friend of mine has noticed something funny about the Finns. She said that when she meets up with the locals that she's met many times before, sometimes when they aren't in the mood, you can literally feel a distance between the two of you. My friend's husband had even warned her beforehand about this typical shift in attitude when it came to the locals, so my friend was well prepared, even though it still baffled her a bit.

When I heard this, I started thinking of myself and how true it was. Or is it more correct to say that I'm becoming more like me because at the end of the day, I'm an introvert after all? Whichever is the case, these days there are times when I just don't feel like talking to anyone. Interacting with people can be so exhausting. No wonder I feel so at home with my hubby who can be categorized as a silent type. The longer I stay with him, the longer I stay in Finland, the more I value the sound of silence.

During the time when I was doing translations at home, once an uncle of mine suggested to my mom to try to encourage me to join a club or something like that. He just wanted me to get out of the house and mingle with people. Funny how he didn't say it directly to me, but to my mom, but anyway...I didn't feel like I needed to join any club and I was quite content with my life, but it seemed that he thought I was becoming a hermit or something? I feel that Finns understands the beauty of silence more than Indonesians so to speak, even though on the other hand it's understandable why many people say that (in general) Indonesians are warm people, whereas Finns are rather cold.

I remember trying to find as much information about getting married and getting my paperwork sorted out before moving to Finland from a Finland forum where many expats could share anything, including useful links about how to find a job and how to write an application letter. I think it was someone from USA who wrote that article on how to write an application letter, because the writer strongly suggested that applicants must NOT brag about the things that they had done, which was something that was considered normal or even expected in the writer's home country.

I feel that the Finns love it more when people tone things down. Simplicity is considered more of a virtue here compared to grandiose. Toning down is preferable compared to selling yourself (and I don't mean selling your body, but the ability to convince people to hire you by letting them know passionately about your strengths and your experiences/abilities). I even feel that over here having the necessary papers (certificates/diplomas) is more important than however much hands-on experience and knowledge that you have learnt along the way without any papers to show. I don't know if this happened way back in the old days, but this is what I feel like for today's Finland.

Speaking of selling yourself, I had a very intense job interview once in Indo. There were two interviewers and I still remember clearly two of the questions. The first question was: "Sell yourself to us. What do you have? What are your strong points? Convince us to hire you!"

And when I stated the things that I considered my strength, you know what they said? They said, "Anyone else can say all the things that you've said. What else have you got to sell to us?"

Blimey! I was really cornered and I knew right then and there that I wouldn't get the job because I got stuck and it was like seeing myself stumble on a rock and falling down in slow motion he he he...

Anyway, the second question was: "Imagine yourself 5 years from now. What do you want to do then?"

That was really tough to answer because what I had in mind wasn't exactly the kind of job that I was interviewing for and I felt that they really saw through me. The only thing that made me applied for the job was the thought that I would be challenging myself and I'd be out of my comfort zone and who knows how much I could grow there. Long story short, I didn't get the job, but I appreciated the fact that they sent me an email to thank me for coming and to let me know that they had selected someone else. One expat friend of mine once told me that Finns didn't let applicants know if they don't get a job, which she found strange (probably because it was a custom in her home country).

Have you ever experienced any kind of tough job interview? If so, what happened during the interview? 

I don't remember anymore if I've shared it here or not, but this is a really beautiful talk on The Power of Introverts by Susan Cain. I bet many of you have listened to it or at least heard her name, but I'm going to listen to it again, so I'll just share it here just in case you've missed it:

Tuesday, November 04, 2014

The Fave Child?

Last night I was having a bit trouble to go back to sleep as my mind kept on jumping from one topic to another. One of the things I thought I'd write today was what I had heard during my trip to Indo. I heard one mommy said that no matter how much parents said that they loved their children the same way (or with the same amount of love), there was always a fave child. I suppose this only happens when there's more than one child in a family.

I was rather shocked to hear those words because of the honesty of it. Logically speaking I do understand why there can be a fave child, because a relationship between two people is dynamic and there are some people whom I get along with much better than others. There are some people who keep pushing my button even without their actually attempting to do so. And the dynamics between parents and children may be even more complex than other types of relationship due to obvious reasons. It may be easier to be fond of the child that is easy to deal with than a more challenging child. In other cases, some parents may favor a child of a certain gender because of their own expectations and society's pressure and that child may get special treatments because of that.

I myself have never felt that my parents favors me or my brother more than the other one, although I do know that when I was a baby/toddler I was much more challenging than my brother. I do remember when I was younger that I was jealous of my brother's musical talents, but other than that and one other case of jealousy*, I never really felt like any of us was the fave child. I feel that both of us have different strengths and weaknesses and our parents know them, too. However, I have heard extreme cases where a family favors one child more than the others and that fave child gets all kinds of special treatments. How about you and your family? If you have your own children now, do you love your children the same (you can answer this in your own heart)?

* The other jealousy story: My brother has always been a homebody. Even during the time when he was dating his then-girlfriend (now wife), 99,9% of the time he came back home already at 9 pm. No kidding! Anyway, as someone who likes going out more than he did, sometimes my friends and I would go roam the cafes until rather late (though I'd always let my parents know if I was coming back home late) and because my parents knew all my friends and trusted them, they felt sure I was in good hands. They never got worried whenever I told them I'd go out with X and X and be back home late (I'd be carrying my own key with me).

Anyway, because my brother rarely came back home late, whenever he wasn't home after 9 pm, my parents would be worried about him. It was worse before the time when we had our own mobile phones, because they couldn't contact him whatsoever, but during the time when we had our own mobile phones, they'd call him and ask him where he was. Every now and then I got a bit ticked off whenever they got so worried about him like that, because whenever I came home late, they were never worried and they never called me to ask me where I was. They were just used to it, I guess.

Monday, November 03, 2014

Writing Challenge: The Voice(s) in My Head

(Note: Welcome to my brain HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHHH...)
Bah! The water is so choppy. No more opportunity to take mirror-like surface photos like the other day.

Should I go left or right? Hmmm...Oh, shoot, there was someone coming out from the path on the right. That surprised me!

Heeeeeeeeey, but that means that there must be a path that he had been trailing to get here, so how about going there?

Nah, let's go left first.

Hmmmm...doesn't seem like this path is going anywhere, so let's go to the right instead.

Interesting. This place is much quieter than the other path, but then again the view was better over there. No wonder lots of people went there for a walk or a run. However, this path is perfect if I want to avoid people. Yes, I shall keep that in mind.

Okay, now let's go take some photos while the sun is out. Which angle?

First from the ground up. Use the octopus legs and the timer, I'm going to be the model. Okay, ready, get set, go!

Nope, not good. The sun is shining straight to the camera, making me look dark. Gotta change the direction. Turn the camera the other way around. Okay, here we go, let's pose again!

Looks fine. Hey, there's a tree there where you can put wrap the  octopus legs around and probably get a pretty good angle of the path and some blue sky.

Urrrggghhhh...come on now, octopus legs! Work with me! Urrrggghhhh...I'm glad nobody else is here so I can do this for as long as I need without feeling embarrassed.

Finally! Now first pose. Umm...maybe now I should pretend to walk the other way so that the camera captures my back.

Yeah, and your Vienna bag.

Ha does it look?

Good. Now I want to have a closer-up look, but what pose? A regular stand-up smiling pose is booooooriiiiiing. Okay, how abouuuutttt this? A little peek-a-boo pose? YES, that looks nice enough.

Brrrr...the wind is kinda chilly and my bladder is screaming already. Damn bladder. Why are you so noisy? No sign of toilets nearby. Shite!

Hmmmm...but then again this place is very quiet, so I can probably hide behind some bushes behind the path...let's see if I can find a rather secluded spot.

Hey, I think that spot is pretty hidden. Let's try going there. Ugh. Not that easy, but must go a little bit further. Okay, from this angle I don't think I can be seen that easily, can I?

Okay, I've got the tissue out, so come on, hurry up before anyone passes by!

YAAAAAAAYYYYYYYY!!!! I'm safe! Nobody saw me.

Well, unless someone uses a pair of binoculars and zooms in to this spot, that is!

SHUT UP! Don't even think about something like that, idiot!

Ah, I feel so light now. Let's take a few more photos and then go back home, shall we?