Monday, August 22, 2016

Cultural Clashes: Mom's Visit to Finland

My mom spent almost 3 weeks in Finland with us and it was quite a ride. I'm thankful for the opportunity, because she's not getting any younger and coming here is such a loooooong journey. She was amazed at how bright it was during the nights and in Lapland she said that the sky felt so close (close enough to make her feel like she could grab the clouds with her bare hands LOL!). She enjoyed good weather for two full weeks (sunny and warm, about 20'C), but then the temperature took a dive and it was rainy/grey for the last week. The good thing about this was that she got to see some autumn colours (mostly some yellow colours). She also got a few chances to see some reindeer in Lapland, so that was cool, too. 

One thing I realized during her visit was that I had taken so many things for granted. There are so many things that have become my new normal that I hadn't anticipated telling/explaining to her. Case in point: the day before she was supposed to fly back to Indo, she asked me why the toilet sprayer (the small spray for your private parts next to the toilet) didn't work well whenever she used it. I had forgotten that back home at her place, her toilet sprayer wasn't connected to the sink, so it would automatically spray water whenever you press the handle. However, here in Finland all the toilet sprayers are connected to the sink, so you have to open the tap at the sink first before you're able to use the toilet sprayer. What surprised me (and made me slightly amused) was the fact that it took her that long to ask me that.

Other than those pragmatic daily stuff (like how to use the stove, how to use the shower, how to open/close the blinds, etc.), lots of cultural differences also appeared. Here are a list of things I can think of right now:

1. Sauna

During the good weather period, I introduced my mom to MIL's sauna in another village. That sauna uses firewood, so I thought it would be a different experience for her. The first time we were there, the weather was so gorgeous and warm, so I told my mom she could just take a bath there in the sauna if she didn't want to stay there too long. She did take a bath, but she said it was way too hot for her. When the weather became cooler, my mom said it was so cold that she didn't want to shower. So I offered her to warm up the sauna at our place. I told her to go inside before the sauna got too hot, so this time she managed to enjoy the sauna experience better. The next time I was warming up the sauna, she was more than ready to jump inside, especially because the weather was cold. So in the beginning she didn't understand the benefits of the sauna at all (esp. when the weather was gorgeous outside), but once it became colder, she began to enjoy going there. 

2. Crossing the Streets

We spent some time in Helsinki with my mom (we ourselves rarely go to Helsinki because it's a long journey from here and it's not cheap to travel in Finland) and in the beginning the way she was crossing the street was Indonesian style. As long as the streets looked empty, regardless of the light, she would automatically start to move forward LOL! 

3. Clearing Your Own Table At Some Places

We spent a day in Rovaniemi at a hotel that offered free breakfast and in that hotel, guests were asked to clear their own table. There were designated places for utensils, bowls, etc. In some cafes in the airport as well, there are usually carts where people can put away their trays. These things were new for my mom. 

4. Seeing Drunk People

My mom was surprised to see some drunk people in the streets/at some parks. In Indonesia, drinking alcoholic drinks isn't customary and you rarely see drunk people in public places in broad daylight (perhaps only at some bars during the wee hours of the day).

I had something else to add to this list, but it has escaped me at the moment. I'll write it down when I remember it later. Here are some photos of us in a collage. The bottom middle pic is when my mom tasted my homemade reindeer meat. :-D


Monday, July 04, 2016

Bubble Tea

Was just browsing around youtube and I found this react video, which reminded me of our last trip back to my hometown. We went to a mall, thinking that we would go watch a movie or something, but it was such a hot day, so I decided to go buy us something cold to drink. Since bubble tea isn't available here, I went to a bubble tea stand and asked R2 what he wanted. There were also other cold drinks available, so he chose a normal one, whereas I had this kind of bubble tea. Bubble tea became such a hit in my hometown when I was in High School (or early uni days) if I remember correctly. It was invented in the 1980s in Taiwan.

Watch the video first if you have no idea what bubble tea is:



You should've seen the look on R2's face as I was slurping my cold drink and the black balls ha ha ha ha ha ha...He said they looked like shit HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA...

I really LOOOOVVEEEE tapioca balls or chewy stuff (such as octopus/squid), though I'd prefer not to eat sticky toffee because I lost one tooth because of it. So the chewy stuff that I like must be the types that don't stick to the teeth. Otherwise I'd prefer not to eat them anymore. You see, a few years ago I was happily eating some sticky toffee sweets and then one of them got stuck to my tooth filling and when I tried to unstuck the toffee, the filling fell out along with it. I called the dentist's office the next day and got an appointment right away. I was thinking that he'd be able to give me another filling, but no. Turned out it wasn't an option anymore, so I had to have the whole tooth pulled out and since it was my second last upper left molar, it was a bit difficult to pull it out. Afterwards, I was told not to lift heavy stuff that day. It felt very weird in the beginning to have a big gap there, but now I'm used to it. 

Have you ever tried bubble tea? If so, any fave taste? Ever had any incident with sticky stuff that forced you to go to the dentist?

Thursday, June 30, 2016

Childhood Memories: Japanese and Wuxia Series

The other day a FB friend posted a video clip from an old Japanese series that we used to watch when we were kids. Back then computers were still a luxury and there were not many TV programs for kids, so video rental providers were popular (along with handheld game devices). I was saturated mostly with Japanese series (anime and non-anime) and wuxia (martial arts) series ever since I was young and I still have fond memories of these even until now. I still love Japanese anime and wuxia series.

Let me share some of my memories that have recently brought up to the surface by watching that video clip. Here goes:

1. One of my most remarkable memories of a Japanese anime series was when a bad guy in the series died and the girl who loved him the most did something extraordinary. She used a machine to take over his body to get some revenge. This body switch was such an amazing concept for a young person like me and it's left such a profound mark on me. In an anime world, imagination is the key!

Side note: the thing is, I don't remember where I saw this scene, but it's been stuck on my mind for the longest time ever, so I can't find any links to this just yet. 

2. The said video showed a superhero that could produce fire from his hair (and could shoot fire from the hair). How awesome is that? :-D I don't care how the mechanics work, but the sheer possibility of making it happen on screen is super cool. 


3. In one Japanese series, there was a female robot that could shoot boob missiles. The only downside of this was that once both missiles were shot, then she was doomed. I just found some info on this robot. No wonder she wasn't built with lots of weapon. She was built for peace! Here's the link if you want to read about her: Aphrodite A.  

I couldn't find any video clip of her in action in the anime, but here's a video of her action figure (including the boob shots) in case you want to see it: 
 

4. I loved watching wuxia series when I was young because of the many female characters in the movie who could do martial arts. As a tomboy, I loved the idea of strong women he he he he...Funnily enough, though, I never questioned something that I considered an epic love story in one wuxia series until much later. You see, in one story, this "forever young" female loner took in a young boy and trained him in martial arts. As he grew older, they fell in love with each other, but many people thought it was unnatural for them to be together, so they were separated for many, many years. They went through a lot of hardships, but in the end they were reunited (the guy lost one arm at one point in his journey). Here's some info on the female character: Xiaolongnu.  

Move away, Romeo and Juliet! LOL!!! 

Here's a video clip that some scenes from the series. You can see how the guy has progressed from a young adult into a mature man in it. 



Wednesday, June 01, 2016

1996, 2006, 2016

A friend has just summarized big events in her life happening in the years of this post's title. It made me think of my own life events.

1996 coincides with my High School graduation and my entering university. No more uniform! I could start wearing whatever I wanted to my classes. Well, pretty much so until they made a rule that during exams the girls had to wear black skirts and white shirts and black shoes. Bah humbug! I've always been a tomboy and I prefer wearing pants/jeans in a humid environment. The only occasion I liked wearing skirts was for a wedding party where they had air conditioner in the building ha ha ha...Back then I kept on daydreaming of travelling around the world someday, never really knowing how and where. I was also daydreaming of getting a boyfriend, since I had never had one before. Back then I had no idea I'd end up where I am today. 

Here's my High School graduation photo. I was wearing some traditional clothes (rented):


2006 was the year when R2 and I got married. Can't believe it's almost 10 years ago. It doesn't feel that long, you know? Feels like only yesterday that I was still struggling with all the necessary paperwork for us to get married in Indo. Lots of paperwork and stress as even after the wedding, I couldn't come to Finland right away since the Finnish government wouldn't allow me to move to Finland using a tourist visa. We were agonizingly separated for about 3 months after our wedding and honeymoon. I remember that Christmas and New Year 2006 being a dark time. I hated the fact that other people could be with their loved ones, but we were separated by bureaucracy he he he...Needless to say we were so happy to be together again when I could finally move to Finland in March 2007 (bringing with me only 27 kgs of my life LOL!). 

Here's a photo of us in summer 2007 (my first summer in Finland):



2016 marks my (ongoing) struggle with bilateral tennis elbow and a long sick leave. Last Christmas and New Year felt like any ordinary day with some dark clouds looming above me, but the highlight of this summer would be my mom's visit to Finland for the first time ever. She's just submitted her tourist visa application to the Finnish Embassy and they told her it'd be ready within two weeks' time. So it seems that she doesn't even need to go through any interview. Hope she stays healthy for her travels 'coz it's going to be a LOOOONNNGGG way from home. And 2016 will also mark our 10th wedding anniversary in November. 

Here's a photo of us last April in Prague:


Looking back, life has so many surprises (good and bad) and twists and turns. I'm thankful that R2 and I can be together and are still alive and can enjoy our togetherness. I'm also thankful that we're both still working and that despite my health situation, I can still work part-time and my workplace (bosses and colleagues) have been very accommodating to my limitations. I'm also thankful that my mom can finally visit me here this year. Thank you, Lord!

 

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Saying Goodbye

Reaching the end of an engaging story feels like saying goodbye to very dear, beloved friends. This is especially true when it comes to watching or reading a series. You've invested time and energy into the characters and you're dying to know the ending, but at the same time you're also reluctant to say goodbye to your beloved friends. After all, you've cried and laughed with them and they're your own fictional best friends. You've grown to love them over time. You've grown to know them so well and you want the best for them. You may even be able to quote their words or mimic their voices. You may even say this randomly in your daily life, "Ah, so-and-so would have reacted this way to this incident."


I remember several times in life I had to hold back and slow down when I knew I was nearing the end of the story. It was bittersweet. When I finally read the last words, I sighed in agony and either pleasure or sadness (the latter was reserved for sad endings). It wasn't easy to say goodbye to my beloved fictional friends. When it came to stories with sad endings, if I felt like the writer had done some injustice, I'd internally reject the endings. I would then do my best to try to forget the actual endings and make up my own endings. I can, though, accept some sad endings if I feel that it's justifiable enough. 

I don't necessarily like open endings in general, but there are exceptions. I like the fact that open endings allow the readers to continue the story without having to disregard an actual ending. However, sometimes I feel that I am left hanging off a cliff and I can't see anything down below or around me since everywhere is covered by some thick fog. There's this thirst for more resolution that sometimes occurs when I reach an open ending. When it happens, I feel like asking the writer, "Why do you leave me hanging here?"

How about you? What are your experiences on reading/watching engaging stories? Would you share some with me?

Monday, April 25, 2016

3BT: Random Days

1. Yesterday I managed to book plane tickets for my mom. WHOOOOPPPEEE!!! Very impressed with KLM customer service on FB, since they have quick response and they help me out very promptly. I hope my mom stays healthy and everything goes out well. I've ordered wheelchair assistance for her since she's had some knee problem and it's her first time travelling solo. Plus she only speaks basic English. EXCITTTINNNGGG!!! 

Thank you as well to Juliana who's advised me to get this type of wheelchair assistance for my mom to make things more easily for her.

2. We had a lovely winter holiday in Prague. The weather wasn't that hot yet, but it enabled us to walk a lot every day. One day we even covered 18 km.

3. Here are some views of Prague as well as some silly photos of me in Madame Tussaud museum he he he...








Monday, March 28, 2016

One Fine Day

Twelve years ago I came to Finland for the first time and I had my first cabin experience. On R2's birthday this year, we went to the cabin to celebrate it. Thankful that we're still given time together on earth. The temperature was a bit colder than usual, but the sun was shining so brightly. I brought my snow shoes with me so that my legs wouldn't be stuck deep on some parts of the thicker snow while walking towards the cabin he he...The temperature dropped down to around -14'C during the night, but we had a gorgeous sunset and a full moon to enjoy.

I've made a short video clip. I deliberately didn't erase the actual sound of the video despite the fact that I did add the music so that you can all hear the crunch crunch of the snow below my snow shoes he he...We walked across the frozen lake and at the end of the clip, I was trying to make a hole on the frozen lake. Thankfully it wasn't that hard to do since the weather had been kinda warm. I remember one time we went to the cabin and it took R2 at least half an hour to dig into the ice and it was around 15 cm thick. We had to make the hole big enough to get some water for the sauna. 

FYI, at the end of the clip, I threw away my gloves since they got wet when I tried to get rid of some icy bits to make the hole bigger ha ha...


What else has been going on in my life? Well, the recovery process is still continuing. I've been exercising more regularly than normal, doing more stretches as well at work during recess or behind the till. A funny thing happened the other day. I had some brown kinesio tape on my wrists and both arms and a customer said, "Do you have problem with your skin or something? Why do you have so much band-aid?" LOL!!! 

Oh yeah, I've also bought a foam roller since I thought it'd help. The last time I met one physiotherapist, I got to try her foam roller on my back and it felt good. I've been using it a few times now. The only thing that my body doesn't like is the fact that in many poses, I have to hold my body weight using my arms and my wrists don't necessarily like it, but at least now I know how to do a self-massage for my lower arms that are pretty effective. Lesson in healing: better collect as many "weapons" as possible so that you can combine them all as you move forward in your healing process. This also means you've got to learn from different people and do lots of trials and errors since what works for you may not exactly work for someone else. 

Friday, March 11, 2016

What Language Do You Use In Your Head?

I haven't been blogging in a long time, have I? It's always harder to get back on track once you haven't been in the flow of things for a long period of time. It's almost like going back to your exercise regime or starting a new one after a long break. My tennis elbow problem is still under control, though depending on the days and what activities I've done and the kind of exercise I do, there can be more symptoms (pain, tightness, etc.). I know for sure that I still can't handle the normal amount of work, so I've talked to my bosses about it. It's a long road to recovery, but I'm positive about healing. 

A friend of mine had the same problem and it took her two full years to recover, but even then she warned me that it could happen all over again if I were not careful (maintaining the right posture at work, doing enough exercise at home). So I've been doing more exercise and I've walked more (instead of riding my bike) these days. The arms don't like certain kinds of exercise movements, but I'm only able to find out about it afterwards, so it's a bit of a trial and error in terms of trying out different kinds of exercise programs.

A FB friend posted this video in her newsfeed and I tried it right away. My left arm was giving me a full-blown headache when I was doing this (didn't happen with the right arm) and I actually felt a bit nausea as well (just like what she described in the video), but I felt so much lighter afterwards. She's also uploaded lots of other videos (a few others I've also tried).


I've also been massaging my back and shoulders with the massage stick I got as my birthday present last year (as per my request). It's been helping me a bit, too. I've been using at least two rolls of kinesio tape, since for some reason my skin doesn't like it when I use it in the sauna, even though some people can keep them on in the sauna with no problem whatsoever. 

Anyway, a few weeks ago someone asked me what language I used in my head to think. I answered, "English, Finnish, and Indonesian." I use Indonesian the least these days compared to English and Finnish, so my Indonesian is getting rusty. I noticed this during the Skype call I made to my mom about a week ago. I struggled in finding some words and only the English and Finnish words came out (along with the image of the words I wanted to convey to her) LOL!!! 

The weather has been pretty warm these days (nearing or a little above 0'C), though there's still oodles of snow everywhere. Here's a photo I took a while back. I received some long-stemmed roses, but my vases were all too short, so I ended up having to use a Lion King pitcher for them ha ha ha ha ha...

Thursday, February 11, 2016

The Looooooooong Road to Recovery

I spent most of December and all of January on a sick leave. It felt surreal because from the outside, I looked just fine. The tennis elbow problem, which started off with the ganglion cyst on my right wrist, has now been felt on both arms. I've been to two different physiotherapists (PT) and I've gone back and forth to the doctor many times to get a sick leave. Not fun. The worst part of all was probably the thought of losing my job and not being able to recover fully. Yikes! What would I do, then? If I hated my job, the sick leave would probably make me feel relieved, but that is not the case at all since I still enjoy my job. So the stress of being out of work for a long time also weighed on my mind a lot. 

I've discovered kinesio taping and ultrasound massage from two different PTs. Twice the first PT put on some kinesio tape on my arms (each time I asked her to do it on a different arm since I wanted to test the difference between that arm and the arm without any kinesio taping on). I've also received lots of pointers on how to keep a good posture and a neutral position for my wrists whenever I do anything. The second PT even managed to pinpoint what I must've done wrong to make my back (shoulder blades) become so tight. I've also received a series of stretching/strengthening exercises to do

On the worst days, I couldn't even cook anything a bit more complicated without any throbbing pain afterwards. Since it was my first bout of tennis elbow, it took me lots of trials and errors to know what to do and what not to do. The second PT told me that what worked and what didn't work varied greatly from one person to another. No wonder! I felt at such a loss before I had my PT appointments.

Anyway, this week I started going back to work again. I'm thankful that my bosses are understanding and supportive and since I only work part-time, my work schedule is ideal for me. I still feel some pain (it varies depending on the activities I do) and I'm still using the kinesio tape (I've been learning how to put it myself through trial and errors), but I've stopped using the painkiller in the form of gel since it only masks the pain. I've learnt that it's handy to use some painkiller when the pain is too much or it makes me unable to rest well during the nights, but when the pain has subsided, it may be dangerous to keep using it as it only makes me feel that I'm much better already, whereas in actual fact it's not true. 

I don't know how long it'll take until I feel no more pain from doing work/exercise. So far I've only done one shift and I had a little pain afterwards and the next day after I did some zumba (and the strengthening exercise routine), I felt more pain. I don't dare shovel the snow yet, so I feel bad for my husband since it's been snowing a lot again. But anyway, I feel more hopeful about healing after meeting the PTs.

Anyway, here are some photos I took during my walks (okay, the first photo is the exception LOL!). These days I rarely use my bulky camera to take photos as it's easier to take photos with my mobile he he...







 

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Splendid Sodankylä

Was bored since I couldn't do anything much, so went for a walk along the river bank and took some photos and one video. I combined the video with the one from last Christmas and added a song and some quotes.