Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Seen, Heard, and Experienced in Finland -not that much!

Life over here is kind of… dull. No offense to Finland or anything, it’s just me who’s gotten used to 24-7 action/odd stuff happening. See how little interesting stuff I’ve blogged about this summer? Being away from China has made me realize that the day I move from Asia is the day I’ll stop blogging. No point forcing something that isn’t there. After all, it’s not me who is interesting in this blog. It’s everything that I see, hear and experience.

During the last week or so, daily dramas have been very few and kind of lame. Just to give you some sort of idea of what sort of things stands out over here:

Shopping "dramas" 

I went jeans shopping the other day, and found myself a paid of black skinny jeans that not only made my legs look long and slim, but also felt like a dream.

-Feel comfortable, in those tight jeans?! Oh no no no! Gushed the sale’s guy. They are not supposed to be comfy! Those jeans are supposed to be uncomfortably super tight you when you buy them, then be awkward for a while, and THEN they will stretch some 2 percent (?) which will turn them into a glove on your body!

-But… these feel so good right now?

-They are not supposed to! Here,
he said, and handed me a smaller size. Put these on and come out and show me.

With a tortured face expression I did like he told me. I barely made it into the jeans and closing that last button required more than a little effort. 

-See! Perfect! You look so slim! It’s great!

-Even though I cannot breathe? I tried. But he didn’t hear me. Or, he pretended that he didn’t. Although when I paid I must have looked a bit doubtful, because he suddenly reminded me:

-Don’t you worry, they will stretch.

And sure. They have. Actually, now I can get into them during the mornings, if I have a small breakfast. It’s around after lunchtime that it gets tricky, and quite often I have to cheat and unbutton that first button sometime around 1pm. No biggy, I’m sitting down most of the time at work. And, since they still are still so tight (like a glove, like he promised…) I don’t drop them when I have to unexpectedly rise from my seat.

Lunch "dramas" 

Although I hate to admit it… and although I am going have to eat this once I am back in China… I am kind of… sick of…. Salad. And. Salmon. There. I said it. Although I’m definitely going to continue having those salmon salads until I leave Finland. I have to. They are so good for me. Full of those good, fatty oils and other vitamins. And soon I am back to the oil, sugar, salt and msg -diet. Then I bet it won’t be long until I’m dreaming of salmon and fresh tomatoes again.

Exercising "dramas"

Seeing that I’ve been a real clutz and sprained my ankle (grrrrrr) I am now off the running and on the power walking. I mean, the foot is good enough to walk on now, so it’s time to step it up. Doesn’t matter that it’s still a bit swollen and that it hurts after my walks, I need to challenge it, right?

Unfortunately, power walking isn’t even half as much fun as it looks like. Well, not in my opinion anyways.

While I am out there, power walking, I feel both odd and uncomfortable. My movements are kind of stiff and I tend to bang my feet on the ground. And my arms… gosh, my arms? I have no idea what to do with them when I am walking! Where do I put them when I am running? Can’t I do the same while power walking? Sure, I could… although doing that makes me feel kind of… ridiculous. And I already feel ridiculous power walking! So arms up are just not going to happen! It’s bad enough that I am walking when I should be running!

Worse than the oddness is the look from the runners. Or, let me re-phrase that: the lack of looks. When I’m running I’m one of them. One of those fit-balls. One of those healthy, perky ones that tend to annoy everybody but other runners. Runners great fellow runners with a smile and sometimes a friendly nod, sort of saying: “Hiya, great work, isn’t this just great! See ya here tomorrow again!” (sometimes it happens that a fellow runner doesn’t look you in the eye but then you know s/he’s just a beginner getting used to the whole thing).
Power walkers get…. Nothing. No smile, no look. No acknowledgement. No respect. No encouragement.

Also, power walking is really slow. No matter how fast you walk even those slow joggers (that you happily pass when you are running) are going to pass you. And, it’s bloody hard to break a sweat when walking, however fast you are making yourself walk.

To top things off I feel slightly ashamed of the fact that I am not running, which makes me (I realized when I accidently saw my reflection in a car window) hunch. Great, huh, isn’t it? A hunching, odd-looking power walker! Now, this ankle better heal itself real soon or I might have a nervous breakdown.

Public transport "dramas"

The buses here follow real strict schedules. So, if you miss your bus there’s no chance of another one turning up, like in China. And while we are at the bus topic, I should also point out that they are really expensive to ride. Like, insanely expensive. I almost feel as if my seat should be golden, or that I should get a complimentary cup of coffee for the price I am paying for a 20 minutes bus rude. I’m sure you would in China. These buses would be considered luxury buses over there. Wouldn’t last a day unless there were perks.

And there seem to be a rule of not speaking while you are on them? At least no one ever says anything. If you happen to get a phone call you almost want to excuse yourself. That’s how quiet it is. Or maybe that’s just Finland?

Yeah, so with those few dramas pointed out I think that you can all agree with me that my temporary every-day Finland life isn’t that exciting. Oh well, got to give me credit for trying!

I’m off to the sauna. Challenging myself how long I can stay inside a tiny little room where there’s 100 degrees (Celsius) has become my new, odd hobby. So far I’ve managed 17 minutes without water. Let’s see how tonight goes.


Anonymous said...

I recommend pool exercise. Not swimming: workout in the water. Very easy on the joints. Excellent for strength & cardio.

Martin said...

WOW...all that drama. Your brain might go into overload when you get back to China.

Chocolatesa said...

I think the heat challenge isn't such a good idea... if you stay too long you could get heat stroke. Be careful!

TG said...

I am a Fin! I am so offended now! I followed your blog so long, now you say Finland is dull and I am shocked. I will de-follow you :P Kidding!!!

I agree with you. Finland may be fun in summer, but the other 9 months? What is there to do? I don't know wheather it is a myth or true, that people are so depressed there.. I don't know. I'd also prefer China over Finland, at least while I was young. But when you're over 60, don't you wanna be somewhere near Tampere beside a lake in a sommarstuga, fishing? Or you wanna be bumped in by Chinese pedestrians in Shanghai? :P

Brad Farless said...

Skinny jeans are in style in Singapore, but ... for guys. I always chuckle a little when I see some guy wearing pants that are skinny and tight. It looks ridiculous to me.

I miss food from the US now, but when I get there, maybe I'll miss food from here in Asia. Then again... in the US I live in New York City, so Chinatown is close. But... who knows...

The last time I injured my ankle, I refused to power walk. I just let myself get out of shape until I felt confident my ankle could handle running. I felt ashamed to be out there walking when I should've been running. Actually, that's a phrase from a US Army running cadence. It just popped into my head. I don't even remember the context anymore.

"...caught you walking when you shoulda been running..."

The buses in Singapore are pretty nice, and sometimes I complain about the fare, but only because I've become accustomed to what the fare is here. Compared to the fare in the US, the fare here is quite reasonable and cheap. They are similar to Finnish buses in that they're typically a bit quiet. I mean, they're not library quiet, but people usually talk quietly amongst themselves when they're on the bus (or train). That all seems to go out the window during rush hour though, or on a Friday or Saturday night.

miss. chief said...

hmm, busses in canada sound an awful lot like the ones in finland

Unknown said...

public transportation isn't cheap where I live, the bay area (San Francisco area). If it's cheaper to drive to the place, why would somebody take the bus?? But then, the real problem is PARKING. Parking rates are outrageous and parking hard to find. So you have two choices, drive and then pay a fortune to park or take public transportation and pay a fortune to ride on a crowded smelly bus. Luckily, the subway, though pricier than I would like, is still somewhat reasonably priced.

Some of the crowding buses here can be compared to buses in China. It is so crammed. People sit and stand on the steps and you are crushed between people. In order to get off the bus, you have to push and shove your way to the exit.

Of course fixing public transportation would take money the government doesn't posses.

Yes, I know my above comment is off topic.

Jonna Wibelius said...

I hope no one seriously took offense... Finland and Sweden are pretty much the same so it's not as if there is something wrong with Finland. Just in terms of blogging there's not so much to write about.

Anonymous -Yeah I did some pool exercises during my broken foot rehab.. it was quite good actually, but it's real expensive over here.

Martin -ehum, it sure will.

Chocolatesa -it's cool, I've been taught the sauna know-how by real finns. I should be safe ;)

MKL -like I said, I didn't mean anything bad about FI, just that life here is so... normal. But u r right of course. I def don't want to grow old anywhere else but Scandinavia!

Tales -maybe I should refuse to power walk too.. although... I have to move! So I just have to swallow my pride and go on. Maybe I'll wear sunglasses during tonight's little walk.. hm...

miss.chief -and the ones in Sweden!

Joanna -I don't have any car, and even if I did I would always try to take the bus when I could... as it is def more environmental friendly. Therefore I feel the high bus ticket prices are insane... WHY is it so expensive to use public transport when it should be the one thing that should be cheap over here, so that people stopped going one-by-one in their cars and started taking buses/trains...? Doesn't make any sense.

Tarja said...

Yes, Finland is kind of boring compared to China. But as somebody wrote when you get older you might want to start experience the boring. And allso if you have children it's easier to live in Scandinavia.

You should try water running with the belt? I do it allso in Shanghai. I bought the belt from Decathlon. And what about nordic walking with the sticks (like cross country skiing sticks). Both are really effective ways of exercising. Just put on your heart monitor and you'll see... =)

Brad Farless said...

Jonna: I didn't even think about it, but Anonymous' pool exercise suggestion sounds like a good one. Swimming laps will wear you out fast, even if you're in good shape for running. It'll keep you fit until you're ready to get back on the pavement.

Kate said...

For someone who has never been to China or to Finland, they are both equally interesting! You might not see it because it is so similar to what you grew up with. And you are the most interesting thing about your blog, no matter where you are because you are such an entertaining writer! Don't sell yourself short!

TC said...

Suomi is boooooooing! Reindeer steaks, salmon fillets, reindeer steaks, salmon fillets, every %$&%^ day! Oh, and no starbucks, just robert's coffee and and even their mighty Carrolls Burgers has surrendered to BK! :/
No offence to the Finns (who are all so clean and neat in Helsinki), but its just more fun hopping over to Stockholm or St. Petersburg anytime.