Tuesday, 14 July 2015

Livin' a dream, everyday

It has probably been close to a year when I had chilli crab last time. Luckily there is plenty of delicious (;-P) foods ready to be microwaved for lunch right here at convenience of my home office.

PS. the title of the blog owes to one specific officer of Bureau of Reclamation over at Hoover Dam on the border of Arizona and Nevada. His day job is to inspect every single passing vehicle for bombs or whatever. This is what he responded when I asked How are you.

Sunday, 15 March 2015

It's all relative

One more blog post even after it has been all over for some time now.

It has been intriguing to realise how quickly one acclimatises back to cold weather. Now that we are finally entering spring, it's nothing short of awesome to bask in the +5 C temperatures with sun caressing the pale skin (still wrapped in layers of clothing) after long, dark winter. It actually feels nice and for a lack of a better description: warm!

It's all relative -part comes from the fact that my colleagues back in Singapore reacted to my spring happiness by notifying that it has been particularly cold week over there this week with only +25 degrees.

Furthermore another absolutely cool (not cool as cold but as truly wonderful) aspect of spring time is the days that start to extend from both ends. Sun rises already at 6.38 AM and sets at 6.21 PM here in Helsinki. We are getting about 5 minutes extension each day now. It's funny how one does not get used to this even after living for decades in Finland. It feels always such a surprise to have more and more hours of sunlight in a day. It's only such a short while ago when I went to work while it was dark and returned home when it was dark again.

First plants surfacing in Kamppi

Thursday, 19 February 2015

Sheep, goat, ram or whatever

Surprise entry to this blog after I have already couple of times indicated that this is the end of all things.

While shopping for pure cultivated coffee beans and some local retro sneakers in order to earn some hipster credibility, I stumbled into the middle of Chinese New Year celebrations in the center of Helsinki yesterday. They actually had fireworks and dragon dances, so it felt pretty authentic. Didn't spot any lions peeling oranges though, but close enough. Thus I would like to wish happy year of the sheep and/or goat and/or ram to all readers still out there. Apparently Year of the is vehemently (yet another word picked up into active vocabulary during the 2 years) refusing to settle into one single straight forward translation, but can actually refer to different animals. Thus, we need google to the rescue!

PS. a restaurant called Singapore was just recently reopened just across the street. Now I know where I can get my black pepper chicken fix, even if this still leaves me craving for chili crab.

Friday, 12 December 2014

Monday, 8 December 2014

Finnish cultural imperialism pt V

I seem to have made a lasting impression on the people of Singapore. They have apparently now named one of the condos after my nationality! (Even if I failed miserably on my epic quest to teach the Singaporeans to stick to either left or right side of the pedestrian paths -- now they just cannot seem to decide which side of the road to walk).

Picture taken and shared with kind permission from either mr. Laurel or Hardy of the 9minnon blog fame.

Friday, 5 December 2014

Final Relocation Summary (part 3 of 3) - What I wont miss

Now that I am firmly back in the place the Sun doesn't shine into -- ie. Finland, it is time to look back one more time. This entry would be the final in the summary series and potentially the very last topic into this blog. It has been one wonderful ride -- not only the excursion itself, but also this reflection bit through the blogging exercise. Check out also the first and the second entry to this series.

What I wont miss

  • Some particularly blur (*) Singaporeans in various service professions. "Can not, lah!" Especially the lady "helping" residents in the management office of our Condominium. Good riddance! (See also this long winding article describing various forms of Singaporean retardation)
  • Getting stuck somewhere because no taxis are available. Why on earth would they change shifts at 5 PM on Friday afternoon?! Also many taxis stop driving when it rains because drivers are worried about ending in an accident and being responsible to cover the expenses. Thus when the demand is the highest, the supply is the lowest
  • Being separated from my dog
  • Obnoxious amounts of bureaucracy and seemingly inherent inability to think outside the process even when it makes perfect sense (need to add that the process typically works if you just bite the bullet and go by the norm)
  • Occasionally the feeling of being suffocated by the crowds of people
  • I will get so crucified over this and I will regret ever uttering the words, but sometimes it can get just a little bit too hot. I received no condolences when making the mistake and saying so in a chat discussion with a friend from Germany.
  • Hordes of animals attacking any little food crumbs left on the table. Within few hours any bread or fruit left on the kitchen counter starts attracting at least ants. Before long also house geckos.
  • Just before I left Singapore it turned out that there was a nest of snakes sharing the condominium yard with me. One had apparently slithered its way into our very doorsteps as well. Apparently not the most venomous type but nevertheless very aggressive.
  • Occasional haze coming from Sumatra when they are burning rain forests. I don't think I could survive living in Beijing if that's what they have to go through every day.
  • This was the day haze started to creep on us back in June 2013.
    Houses both sides on Marine Parade Road got lost in the mist.
  • Being stingy when it comes to providing paper tissues in restaurants. Some of the spicy food still makes my nose run and there is never enough (if any at all) tissues available at many eateries.
  • Freezing myself to death when going to movies and forgetting my winter gear. One weird experience was to go see a movie in an exclusive cinema which provided blankets to tuck into.
  • Having to cope with measly 42 inch tv and mediocre soundbar for sounds. Feels good to be once again listening to music from my substantial speaker setup and watching movies on 106" projection screen.

*) blur = It is most commonly used by Singaporeans as an adjective to describe people who never seem to know what’s going on! An example would be the question: “Eh, why are you so blur?”
1 Ignorant, stupid, slow to catch on.  2 Confused, muddle-headed.
Source: Singlish Dictionary

Thursday, 20 November 2014

Kung Pao Liquorice and Coffee, please

I ventured to have a lunch in a local Chinese restaurant called Guangzhou Garden to keep the reverse home sickness at bay. Pretty authentic tasting dishes I would say, but I just gotta love the way the two food cultures integrate so seamlessly.

First of all there is a salad table (raastepöytä), which you would not expect to find in Asia. Not that I am complaining. I was actually often missing fresh side salads with the never ending supply of oil soaked noodles.

Secondly they naturally offered bread with the dishes. And not just any bread but proper crispbread (näkkileipä). Chinese restaurants in Singapore do obviously have pao on their menu, but that's not really the same thing as bread being an integral part of every single meal in Finland (and in all Nordic countries alike). By the way I could have added Liu Sha Bao to my list of things that I miss. As well as having a pao with Chilli crab.

Thirdly they offered coffee and candy as a desert. Serving coffee in Finland is just given, but once again coffee was not accompanied with just any candy but salty liquorice, which is a very Finnish concept and somewhat of an acquired taste. I am not much of a candyman myself, but I do remember enjoying lätkäliiga when I was a kid. (By the way, I just witnessed a massive injustice where lätkäliiga does not have its own Wikipedia entry! I trust that some proper candy aficionado attends to this immediately and makes the world a little bit of a better place).