Tuesday, 8 January 2013

A Year in Review - 2011, pt. IV

This last part is very short. But there will be a 'What happened in 2012' -post soonish. 

Once the summer was over, we were back in the same town and I extended my contract at for for a few months. The autumn went by getting used to seeing each other a lot more with the boy and trying to decide what to do workwise.

The job was pretty draining but also rewarding and should I decide to stay for longer I’d be made Project Manager and I’d get a lot more responsibilities. In the end I decided to extend my contract for another year.

To be honest, the last part of the 2011 is all a bit blurry to me. The boy went to San Francisco and I missed him. Then he went to Berlin and I missed him and then surprised him being there to meet him at the airport (about 100 miles from where I live) when he got back.

Saturday, 6 October 2012

A Year in Review - 2011, pt. III

The year finally starts to come together. This post takes me to the end of the summer and the last one will sum up the end of the year. Check out pt. I and pt. II too.

The day after the kissing had taken place was all weird. We both acted as if nothing happened yet there would be the odd secret caress under the table. The next night after everyone else was asleep I tried to wake Mr. Prog up, but my efforts were in vain. And then, the next day we went home. As I dropped the boy off he placed a kiss on my forehead that sent tingles down my spine. But still, we would not talk about what had happened.

The following week was all back to normal. We would chat the way we used to and it really was as if nothing was going on between us two but mere platonic friendship. He had a summer job in Helsinki, so we didn't even know when we’d next see each other. Eventually, about a week and a half after Midsummer, I got invited to a restaurant opening in Helsinki and asked if maybe the boy would like to see me after.

We met up and it was slightly awkward. He'd ask when I'd be going back and I was dodging the questions and we'd try to decide what to do but neither of us would have any real suggestions. Eventually I asked him if he'd like to kiss me. And he did. Once we got all the awkwardness out of the way we walked over to his place and instead of the late train home I would get the early train the next day.

Once we got to his place I sat myself on the sofa and he went to put on some music. Now let me once again take you back to the night of Pink Floyd and tears. YES. He put on the same bloody record. Now, obviously I didn't say anything - don’t think it would've been a good conversation starter to go ‘Oh! the last time I listened to this was when I broke up with my previous boyfriend!’ Pretty soon the record started skipping though, and he put on something completely different.

From then on the summer went by in a flash. Although we still managed to spend a lot of awesome days, nights, weekends together. He’d work from home (ie. my place) every now and then, I’d stay with him when I had my luxurious week long holiday and whenever I could come up with a good excuse to go visit him I would.

We spoke a lot and slept little. Often when he was at my end of the world we’d sit in the garden swing until the early hours and talk. A lot of the times we’d talk about my previous relationship. For that, I will forever be grateful to him. Out of everyone I spoke to about the relationship and the end of it he was the most objective about it all. He wouldn't put blame on anyone and he would just let me talk about it all. It was seriously important for me to get it all out. He didn't comment on things much and when he did he was very diplomatic and wouldn't take any sides. He listened and that was the best thing anyone could do. I am rambling but I really do think he was being super awesome.

When we started dating I was very nervous that it was all too soon and he had similar feelings. I can only speak for myself but I feel that the "therapy sessions" we had in that swing laid a superb foundation for our relationship. With all the talking I got everything out of my system and we were able to leave the ghost of the past relationship behind.

Friday, 5 October 2012

A year in Review - 2011, pt. II

This post is stupidly long, but if I don’t get up to Midsummer with this, the following ones will be even longer.

Carrying on from the tears and Pink Floyd, I left London the following afternoon. The boy escorted me to Paddington where I caught my train and despite the goodbyes having always been hard there in the past, this time it felt even worse. Still, there was this feeling of finality and closure that made it more of a bittersweet endeavour. 

Once I got back, my feelings were on a crazy roller coaster ride. I’d cry out loud hopelessly in the evenings, felt betrayed and angry and the next day I was relieved and happy to be free. A lot of the time I found myself feeling guilty of not being sad enough. And then went on to being angry at ‘that guy who just wasted 5 years of my life’. Which is obviously not the case. But you can’t escape the feeling until you feel well enough to carry on and look at things with a bit more objectivity. For the record, I do not think that I wasted 5 years of my life. In fact, I think the relationship taught me a lot of things. In addition it coincided with the years of becoming an adult (whatever that means) and I’m grateful he was there for support and friendship. Had he not been there, I might have made different decisions but I also would have been poorer of countless of experiences. I am happy for the time we had together as a couple and look forward to being friends for many more years to come.

Now, enough with that. 

Back in Finland times were BUSY. Work was crazy with organising things for the summer - I’d come to the office early and leave late. At the same time as I was still recovering from the break up and felt increasingly claustrophobic in my flat. Spending time there alone meant spending time alone with my thoughts - which often weren't the most positive ones. So, as the nights grew longer and warmer, I stayed out more pestering friends to come out for pints. It wasn't all just drinking. I took my bike out for the first time in a couple of years and went cycling quite often and quite far. Sometimes I would just grab a book and sit in the garden swing or on the river bank, bathe in the evening sun and read. Life started feeling awesome again. And there was no one there telling me what to do. In hindsight, the period of May-July 2011 was a time for learning to like myself again and finding my own two feet to stand on. 

As I spent more time out, I also came to spend more time with people I hadn't seen that often before. For obvious reasons the same people would not be able to sit in a bar with me every night, so I had to look for new people to hang out with. Sometimes the evenings would end up in a pretty strange mix of friends of friends. One particular night ended in small flat watching the Colour of Money. Another evening took me from congratulating an ex-boyfriend for becoming a father to a pub quiz where I teamed up with a priest from my old congregation, and took me through various pubs but not that many drinks and via a bench by the river to the sofa of a friend. 

Through various outings I became rather friendly with this boy, who I’d been friends with before but it had been that weird sort of ‘he’s a friend of a friend and sometimes we chat on facebook when no one else is around’ relationship. We started spending more and more time together, even though he moved to another city for the summer. I felt we got closer and I sort of fancied him more and more. The me fancying him had been going on for quite a while really. Let me take you back to the night of Pink Floyd and tears

Once I got my act together, pretty soon after asking about the planned playlist (see pt. I), I had a confession to make. ‘There IS this one guy I’ve sort of fancied lately.’ ‘Oh really? Who’s this?’ he asked. ‘The prog guy - the one who visited that one time when I was here too.’ ‘Oh the Transatlantic dude?!’ 

Yeah, the Transatlantic dude. But even though we grew closer as friends, he kept his distance. And there was this heartbreaking moment when a girl he fancied (or allegedly used to fancy) showed up in a club we were in. I had never seen him get that excited and happy about anything or anyone before. However, I soon forgot the heartbreak as a couple of days later we spent the day together browsing flea markets. I was very happy to have made a new friend.

Next stop: Midsummer. I was pretty excited about going to spend Midsummer at a friend’s cottage by a lake. It was my first long weekend for ages, the weather was going to be nice and there’d be many good friends there. Sadly, despite my best efforts I couldn't manage to convince the above mentioned Transatlantic dude to come along, despite him being a part of that particular group of friends going. However, the day before leaving for the cottage I was driving home from my parents when my phone rang. It was the boy, asking if there was still a spare seat for him in the car. So he came along too, ace! This was going to be the best Midsummer ever!

We celebrated Midsummer the traditional way. Sun, summery dresses, caps, schnapps, other drinks, barbecue, rowing, sauna... the list goes on. Needless to say we were all very much under the influence of alcohol and very merry. Some of us (Mr. Prog) ended up going to bed very early due to the amount of liquid refreshments consumed and some of us (yours truly) stayed up very late playing games and having fun.

At some point, after we’d all gone to bed, we woke up. Apparently I had been annoying and chatted some nonsense, but I only remember us laughing. There were three of us on the floor side by side and two more on a sofa bed right next to us. This chatting didn't go on for long though and soon we all drifted back to sleep. Except for Mr. Prog and I. There was coyness and child-like poking about and it didn't take long for the kissing to start.

Sunday, 18 March 2012

A Year in Review - 2011, pt I

So, a year in review post has been brewing for ages. Ages, I tell you. And it’s getting late to do it, but the year 2011 was so full of things - sad, happy, scary, exciting things - that I feel the need to document it somewhere.

2010 ended on a weird mix of ups and downs. I left London in early December after a night when (I believe the exact phrasing, if memory serves me right) the words ‘I don’t particularly want to break up with you’ were uttered. Still, leaving London was what felt like a very permanent thing to do. I had a job lined up for me in Finland and I had decided to move into my late grandmother’s flat. So, independence and stuff was lurking in the not so distant future.

Enter 2011 with hamburger pizza, a drunken call to a strangely alluring boy who did not pick up his phone, shot glass sized tea cups filled with mint hot chocolate and a pretty horrid hangover. Two weeks in I started my job (basically a moderately well paid internship - moderately well for an internship) which to begin with was a six month contract. It was exciting and challenging and meant I was making a steady wage, which was awesome.

At the same time we (me + my parents and sisters) cleared out the flat of most of grandmother’s belongings that basically hadn’t been touched for ten or so years. I painted the kitchen with help from family and friends and occasionally a touch of liquid refreshments. I had my first nap on the sofa and my first meal there. First night I slept in I had a friend stay over with me and there was wine, Chinese take away and Audrey Hepburn. All good things.

First meal in my new home.

It's blurry, but I painted my kitchen green!

I got used to the job, slept on the living room floor for nearly the first month I lived here and life was pretty stable. I kept talking to friends about the situation with the boy in London and they started disapproving the so-called relationship more and more. I didn’t even really realise how unhappy and anxious I was about the situation myself until I broke down and cried on the living room floor of a friend one night. I’m not one to cry in front of people - even good friends - so it was a bit of an eye opener for me.

At some point during the spring there was a Skype conversation where the break up was about to happen. However, it didn’t feel right, after so many years for it to happen like that. And I was still determined to save the relationship, although I think deep down I had given up on it ages ago myself too. I’m just wee bit scared of change and it was comforting to know that someone was there for me at least in theory.

So come the end of April, I flew over to London. It was a strange visit and the most awkwardly timed visit for its purpose. After all, the wedding of the century happened two days before my flight back to Finland. It kind of felt surreal to be in a city that was all about love and marriage and I was there mainly to find closure for a nearly five year long relationship. I won’t go into details and just so you know, there are no hard feelings. The whole period before and after it feels dreamlike now, it’s all covered in a bit of fuzz save for minor details. Such as tears and Pink Floyd. By the time Comfortably Numb came on I had to ask if he had deliberately planned the playlist. He tells me he hadn’t.

I'm really struggling with pt II of the 'Year in Review' posts but I'll get there eventually. I hope. SOON, I hope.

Thursday, 23 December 2010

The Best Christmas Album EVER

Behold! It’s a festive blogpost.

Yesterday, at a friends flat where we were enjoying some Christmas treats, I took over her Spotify and put on an album exclaiming: 'THIS IS THE BEST CHRISTMAS ALBUM EVER.' To which she said: ‘Oh, I thought you said that other album was the best Christmas album ever.’

I thought about it and today was reminded of yet another good Christmas album, hence I present to you THE TOP 3 OF CHRISTMAS ALBUMS (in no particular order, links to Spotify and a sample youtube video of a song from each album):

New Kids On The Block – Merry, Merry Christmas

This is the childhood favourite. I inherited the album on a cassette from my sisters at some point and as I went through a phase of being totally in love with NKOTB I obviously also listened to the Christmas album. I listened to it a lot. At school, we also did a very nice choreography to Last Night I Saw Santa Claus for a Christmas party complete with a saxophone playing Santa. Seriously, this album is nothing very special but I have fond memories of it so if you wish to borrow some nostalgia this Christmas, borrow it from me and go listen to this album.

The Superions – Destination...Christmas!

I was introduced to this earlier this year by the boy. Fruitcake was playing in his house many times over the course of a couple of days whilst I was staying at his and what a marvellous tune it is. This is the album you want to listen to when the stress gets more and more unbearable and you realise you still need to make gingerbread biscuits and buy your mother’s present and you have about an hour and a half to do all of that and more. Even though it ends in the relatively creepy Santa Je T’aime, this album does a pretty good job in providing you the extra energy boost you need to get things done by Christmas!

Vince Guaraldi Trio – A Charlie Brown Christmas [Expanded]

This too I was introduced to by the boy a few years back now, I think it was when we were living in Peckham. He also reminded me of this earlier today and having just finished listening to the above mentioned The Superions album I queued this next on my Spotify. This is one to please both the mother and the daughter. I can see myself suggesting we listen to this at my parent’s house when my mum wants to listen to something Christmassy and I want to veto the usual carol type things. A bit of Charlie Brown jazz to make your Christmas just a tiny bit more special. And even though I’ve said this about the two other album previously, I think this one just might be THE BEST CHRISTMAS ALBUM EVER!

Sunday, 24 October 2010

Risotto! Ie. There Was a Dinner Party

I threw a dinner party!

Well, it was really just some friends over for dinner but I actually cooked something nice. In fact, something I’d never done before. And it was nice!

Now I’ve got a rubbish selection of photos again, really should learn to use my camera and also, TAKE MORE PICTURES. It’s just, I don’t like using flash which leads unfocused photos. Hmmm.

Anyway, for starters we had a selection of things, antipasti, if you like. There were olives from The Fresh Olive Company (they have a stall at Borough Market, well worth a visit if you’re around there), little coctail stick things I made with baby plum tomatoes, fresh basil and buffalo mozzarella (from Morrisons ‘The Best’ range, and it was really quite decent, I thought), and tomato and olive focaccia I made using the recipe blogged here before, just adding halved baby plum tomatoes on top to compliment the olives. The focaccia needed more salt, I think. Something about it wasn’t quite right, but oh well.

For the main we had a Butternut Squash and Chorizo Risotto using a recipe I found on the Morrisons website. I’m not even quite sure how I ended up looking at recipes on the Morrisons website, but I did and I’m glad I did. I’d never used butternut squash in anything before and that was quite exciting. The one I got wasn’t quite ripe, I think, but since it was roasted anyway it didn’t really matter. I’m not big on following recipes literally and in this case I used chicken stock as opposed to the vegetable stock in the recipe, I also used it almost a litre but I may have used a bit more rice too (I don’t have scales). I also added some salt and black pepper to the butternut squash before roasting.

The thing I’ll do differently next time is the garlic. In the recipe here it tells you to roast garlic with the squash, but I’d recommend throwing it in the pan with the onions and chorizo. Oh that’s another thing, do fry the onions for a bit before adding the chorizo. And use oil a bit more liberally too. Anyway it was lovely. The taste of garlic on the squash was a tad too strong for my liking though. That’s why I wouldn’t roast it again. The good thing about the chorizo is that you really don’t need any extra flavourings in the risotto. The stock, chorizo and a bit of salt and pepper on the squash are just right. Make sure you get a strong parmesan though, I wouldn’t use a bog standard supermarket parmesan since the other flavours are quite strong and I like to taste the cheese in my risotto too.

In other news, I’m still on the look out for a job so you know, if you know of any good opportunities, let me know. Anything office based. In London. Ta.

Friday, 8 October 2010

Arts and Crafts

Over the last year I’ve had this urge to DO stuff. Like arts and crafts, or sewing or something sort of creative. Trouble is I’ve got very low self-esteem and don’t really see myself as a creative person, but perhaps that’s just lack of trying.

There used to be a time when I’d write a lot. You know, in my teens, but perhaps that was just what every teenager does to try to deal with all the angst and horribilities (yes, I know that’s not a word) of life. And writing definitely helped me get over that heartbreaking event of getting dumped out of the blue and out in the open. Over time I just sort of stopped writing, perhaps it was partly due to more school work and writing essays and things that killed any aspirations to write in my spare time. There is a certain lack of imagination as well though, I’d always draw inspiration from my own life or dreams and there are only so many stories about teenage drama one can write. I’ve never been one to keep a diary either. There have been livejournals and different blogs and many actual diaries, but for some reason I’ve never been one to deal with my daily emotions in a way that would’ve kept me writing in diaries.

Around the same time as I wrote a lot, I also very much enjoyed sewing and knitting things. Sewing especially would mostly happen at school where there was proper equipment and good advice on offer. I never got along with my mum’s old Singer (that’s a sewing machine for those of you in the dark) and buying fabric always seemed so expensive that I’d rather spend my money on other things. I’ve knitted quite a few pairs of socks and gloves in my time though. I find knitting to be a nice thing you can do whilst doing other things, mainly watching TV or movies. That’s something I ventured in last year. I decided to knit a scarf for the boy. It turned out alright, but I completely miscalculated how much work it actually was, probably because of the lack of practice. It had easily been five years since I had last held the knitting needles. After finishing it (it didn’t turn out to be as long as I wanted it to but I ran out of time) I was so tired of knitting that I didn’t want to take up another project. And I still haven’t.

Regardless, here’s a photo of the finished scarf modeled by the boy himself.

Also, look at that featured on the Sartorialist blog a few months after I’d done the scarf. Uncanny, isn’t it?
Since this post is going all over the place anyway, here’s a little quote from the boy too, in relation to the above linked Sartorialist post. Just because I find it funny.

‘i have no idea how these people are sartorialist worthy

this is just like


but with a silly knot for the scarf’

During my IB times I sort of re-invented myself and was pretty active in school plays and happenings. I suppose after going through middle school in the shadow of my wildly more popular and beautiful BFF I felt the need to be out there, loud, noticed and liked. I pretty much managed to do that too. Kitchen psychology aside, I managed to channel my need to create into different school projects, some that I enjoyed far more than others. There was also a short lived covers band, that was in all honestly totally rubbish. Still, things were done and creative needs were pretty much satisfied.

Enter university, where everything ends. The start of university was a weird time. I moved away from everyone I knew to another country and had to learn to rely on myself and myself alone in life. Suddenly there was no time for anything other than studying, drinking or msn. Although, the first year or two at university I did write a heck of a lot, but most of it would be on msn and the rest would be split between livejournal and essays. Hardly anything was made up. I watched a lot more films than I’d ever watched before, though. Suddenly I knew people with amazing DVD libraries and interest in film. I’d always been interested in film but with the excuse of lack of money (such as with most things in life) never got into cinema in the way I would’ve liked to. So I caught up on loads of films, went to the cinema nearly weekly and I suppose watching other people’s art sort of made up for not creating anything myself.

I still thought about doing things myself and one Christmas brought back my knitting needles from Finland but it never led to actual knitting. I also bought a badge making machine with a friend but that never led to anything on my part. I did make a couple of cards and presents to people, but nothing much. However, I suppose I sort of channeled that creative energy to cooking. One of the good things that come from living on your own, or even with other people is that you get to choose what you eat. And unless you’re cooking with someone, you don’t need to restrict yourself with other people’s tastes. I was pretty content whilst at uni anyway, perhaps because free time was sort of limited and when there was any spare time, something would always be on.

As a little taster of what I did do whilst at university, here’s a birthday video me and the boy made for our friend John. (I do take about third of the credit for this, even though the boy did all the filming and editing etc.) It’s a million times better with sound, but you know how youtube is with copyrights. It also shows yours truly making a photo album for another friend who actually happens to share a birthday with John. Look at me doing things!

The whole point of this post originally was that I wanted to share with you that I feel the need to create things. I suppose it’s a combination of being unemployed at the moment and also being in England. I’m most comfortable with myself when in England and I suppose that sort of frees up emotional space for wanting to do things. Or something. And now I’ll go off on a tangent.

Once I got over the first shock of moving to another country I’ve pretty much always felt happiest and most happy with myself in England. There was a conversation with some friends once about re-inventing oneself and how that often happens when you go to university and how it’s important that it happens and so on. During that conversation I maintained that because I changed schools between middle school and the IB I didn’t have to re-invent myself anymore when I came to university. But I did, or at least I grew to be me. And still, there’s a difference between me in Finnish and me in English. I tie it to the language I speak, not necessarily to the physical surroundings.

This post feels like one big side-track. ANYWAY, after I made the Lego ring featured in a post some time ago I got very excited and realised I could actually do things. I have also recently started reading Philippa Rice’s magnificient webcomic My Cardboard Life and it’s made me wonder why couldn’t I do something like that. And there is no reason. I won’t do my own comic, but it has made me realise that there are a lot of possibilities in the world of arts and crafts and I really should start doing things. Step one will be getting over that money excuse. Step two will be creating things. I’ll keep updating the blog with things if I do end up making something. Perhaps I’ll need to change the header of the blog to ‘Whining and Dining and Making’. Maybe not just yet though.