Throw away the tomatoes

August 9, 2015

Vacation times are finally over. I was one of the first people to come in to work on Monday morning, I was kind of expecting it to be another week were we’d only be a couple of people on-site, but just after 9 o’clock, people started pouring in, I was even a bit shocked about how many we are, and next week even more people will turn up. Though it felt weird at first, it was really nice having some more people at the office.

beer_beach

We’ve also experience real summer weather this week, which means excruciating heat. I’ve been down at the beach a couple of times, meeting up with friends, though I have yet to swim here in Helsinki, with any luck, and if the weather continues, I just might do that next week.

Posters and artwork

I’ve talked about this subject before, or at least mentioned it. Since we moved we wanted to put up more artwork (or framed posters), and most of the stuff we’ve got up on the walls are things that I’ve chosen. So for the bedroom I told Paulina that she had to decide what she wanted there. After a couple of weeks of me nagging her, and she spending countless of hours trying to find something she liked, I asked her how it could be so difficult to find a photograph or poster that she wanted framed, and if I’d be the one deciding, I could probably find something within five minutes.

And the bet was on. Recently I’ve explored older photographers, and one picture that I really liked was Ansel Adams“The Tetons and the Snake River (1942)”. Paulina hated it, and felt it was a bit too nature:ish-tacky-thing, and I can see what she means.

So I gave it another shot, this time I went for something illustrated instead, and I’ve always really liked the classic Moomin drawings, the ones with the thick lines. Calle, in Stockholm, told me once that it’s a technique were you draw something super small, and then enlarge it for the final print, which gives this super detailed effect. Anyway, I found the official Moomin Shop (which is actually located here in Helsinki), and I really liked two of the posters they had, one more than the other: “Comet in Moominland” and “Hemulen in the forest”, the first one being the one that I really liked, the second one is really nice and would work really great in the apartment, but it feels like we’d really need some color.

Paulina didn’t care much for the Comet, but loved the one with Hemulen, and it was settled, we ordered it. I had initially thought that the shop was located in Turku, and that ordering online would be the easiest route, but then after placing my order, I noticed they had a shop in central Helsinki, so I could’ve saved a lot of time just picking it up from there.

moomin_shop

It took something like a week for the poster to arrive, and I was really excited about getting it up on the wall.

They had taken great care in the packaging, wrapped in semi translucent paper, rolled up, and packed in a cardboard tube. And for once, the post office hadn’t treated the package like it was trash. We had bought the 50×70 cm version, and we had a white frame which was 60×80 cm, so it took me 3 attempts and 30 minutes to get the alignment correct.

moomin_poster
If you look closely, you’ll noticed that there’s a repeating pattern, the above and below parts are the same. (so there’s two Hemulen)

And after all that waiting, and the excitement of getting it framed, it now stands on the floor leaning against the wall, because we can’t figure out exactly where we want to put it, and if we should leave space for more artwork on that same wall, or center this one. But I guess it’s part of the process.

Swedes in town

We had a couple of friends over from Wednesday ’til Saturday, Karin and Calle. I’ve never met them before, but Karin and Paulina used to work together, and they are super friendly and social, so within like two hours it felt like I’ve known them for quite a while.

It was basically one of the first times that they’ve visited Helsinki (or Finland). It’s interesting how many Swedes there are that have never been to Finland, even though we’re neighboring countries, and what makes it even more interesting is that there is really few Finns that haven’t been to Sweden.

Granted, even though the countries are geographically close, the way people act are quite different, not that either way is better or worse, Finland and Sweden just tend to be different. It’s the usual subtle differences between two countries, but there’s also the huge difference, like Swedes have a tendency to get more close and personal, while Finns tend to keep things pretty formal (until the alcohol is let loose, then all bets are off).

karin_kalle_at_beach

One of the first things we did was to go to the beach for a picnic, with typical Finnish cuisine, like Karelian pirogs, with egg-and-butter toppings. It’s really delicious, even though it might sound a bit disgusting.

I also really tried getting them to try Maksalaatikko (translates to “liver-box”) which is basically a mix of raisins, liver and rice, which is prepared in the oven. Again, it’s super-delicious, even though Paulina kind of dislikes it and calls it dog food, because it does look a bit like dog food, I’ll give her that. Surprisingly, both Calle and Karin were pretty open to trying it out, and we even bought some home, but for some reason, we never got to try it out.

toolo

Paulina didn’t have any work this week (not to be confused with vacation, she just didn’t have any shifts), which meant she could spend the days out with Karin and Calle sightseeing. On Friday evening we were heading out to meet a friend of Karin’s who lives here in Helsinki.

We had agreed to meet up in the bar/restaurant/what-have-you Korjaamo (edit: apparently it’s a “culture factory”), which is located in Töölö (an area just north of the city center, like a kilometer or something).

korjaamo

I’ve never been to Korjaamo, and neither had Paulina (and obviously not Karin nor Calle either). But after some minor navigational issues, we did indeed arrive, and even on time.

Korjaamo is a really interesting place, it’s built in to, what used to be, the repair shop for the tram-way here in Helsinki. Oh right, Korjaamo is Finnish and translates to repair shop. They had two kitchens, one which served dishes off the grill, and the other served sushi. I don’t think I really need to say what I went for.

I order their hamburger, which was kind of good, nothing spectacular really, though it was rather small. So once I had finished it, I went for seconds, and I ordered their home-made sausages, which were really good.

group_picture
Karin taking a group shot.

We had a couple of drinks and talked throughout the evening, we even tried making a Snickers-shot (blended a Snickers chocolate bar with vodka), it turns out that if you blend a Snickers with vodka, it ends up tasting like Snickers with vodka, who would’ve thought?

Anyway, Paulina and I decided to head home pretty early, I was dead tired after have had a long work day. But Calle and Karin went out to see Helsinki at nighttime. They told us that they came home at around 3 AM, though they came home really silently, ’cause I didn’t wake up by the door slamming shut. So when I did wake up early Saturday morning, my first reaction was that they hadn’t made it home, so I jumped out of the bed and headed out in the hallway, and then I noticed that they were steadily asleep in the living room.

akademiska_aalto_cafe

Their plane was leaving at 2 PM, which meant they had to start going for the airport at around 12 PM. So we spent the last hours in Helsinki in Akademiska bokhandel (the bookstore that I’ve talked about previously), not only is it just a shop, they also have a café on the second floor, called Aalto Café (after Alvar Aalto, the Finnish designer).

This is easily my favorite café in Helsinki, and they have this really awesome breakfast, where they bring you a plate with all the ingredients for a sandwhich (cucumber, cheese, ham, etc.) and you get to assemble the sandwhich yourself, which is really neat, because then you got to decide how much of the different toppings you want, and if your like me, you throw away the tomatoes.

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