dream hunter

You wonder if you should take a step to the unknown. She leaped. You wonder if you knew how. She taught you. You wonder if you could. She did. A friend who's always there. A source of inspiration and admiration. Courageous, beautiful and full of amazing thoughts. She's someone so annoyingly perfect you'd want to hate her. But you can't help but love her. by iiris

Tuesday, March 27, 2007


Facebook has become the common pastime for practically everybody. I, however, have refused to set up my own account. This is mainly because I really don’t need yet another means for procrastination but also because I really don’t need everybody to be able to find me easily from the internet. It took me forever to start writing this blog and I strongly believe that it is more than enough.

So last night I got an email saying that someone I know had added me as a friend into his facebook. Excellent. Curious as I am I wanted to see his account – just to know if there were any pictures and what have we. But to see the page I had to login – I had to create MY account to see HIS account. I did. And I noticed that I could find pretty much all those people I went to university with from there, I mean from Facebook. After five minutes of intensive research I gave up and went to bed.

This morning I deleted my account – enough is enough. I told you, I am NOT going to be on Facebook.

Monday, March 26, 2007

this is cheating

During our lunch break at school we ended up having a random conversation about marriage, kids, work and other random stuff that will eventually become a part of our post-student life. From kids we moved on to toys, amusement parks and sports. We realised that really being a child is so much more fun than being an adult.

As a child one can go to a jumping castle whenever and with whoever, as long as he or she remembers to take shoes off. As an adult, even a young adult, one can’t even jump on a road without a certain amount of negative attention. Yet, this is not the worse thing. As a child, in an amusement park, one of the best thing is to drive around with those little cars that you can bump into each other in great speed. Not too many of us step into them after getting our licence, as real cars are supposed to be by far faster.

If we were, with out real cars to drive into another one, just because the driver of the other one was competition, annoying, smaller, bigger or just on the way, we would get fined or in the worse case go to jail. If we did this as kids - we were heroes.

We decided not to be too disappointed about no longer being allowed to go into the little “pool with balls” because there you are bound to be hit by someone or by a ball or be kicked or whatever. So this indeed is not a loss comparable to the jumping castle, bumping cars etc etc.

Before returning to the library, to class, to a meeting we decided that we have been cheated – we should have stayed little.

a lamp, photos and some coffee

A friend of mine, a promising young photographer, is preparing her first exposition and asked me to model for one of her project. Her idea is to have pictures of people with their bikes and mine being – as you all know – already a real celebrity she wanted to include us as well.

Another object in the photos is a lamp. Just any lamp that I happen to have and happen to like. So early this morning I took my lamp and my bike and waited on the road for her to show up. In fact taking the photos was quite amusing. The sun being our only light we turned and circled to find the perfect place, the perfect angle and the perfect pose. Then, when we got to the end of the film (yes, she has a camera with a film – they do still exist) we decided that it was time for a cup of coffee.

The lamp under my arm we marched to the closest café and chose a table in the sun (which has now decided to return to Paris – finally). I posed my little lamp on the table and ordered two coffees. The waiter looked at me, looked at my friend and looked at the lamp and went to get our coffees. A man walked past us into the café, took a step back, looked at the lamp and me before stepping forwards again.

On my way home, my little lamp under my arm people kept turning their heads. I checked my image from a shop window but could not see anything wrong with my outfit. So was it the lamp?

Like for real, in a city like Paris – am I really the only one going around with a lamp on a sunny day?

Saturday, March 24, 2007

i want...

I have been, for the past few days, craving for homemade pizza. I don’t really particularly like pizza – or at least not to the extent that I would get out of my way to get it. It doesn’t have any special memories attached to it either – except that one time when we were left home with our dad. There was soup in the fridge for lunch but obviously (knowing that dad will eventually give in, as he always does) we wanted to have pizza. And we did. Though not one of us questioned either the fact that there were pieces of potato as topping or the fact that we never actually ate that soup. So in general there is no real reason for me to grave home made pizza.

Maybe I am not really missing pizza per se but rather I want to sit in front of a warm oven and watch the cheese melt. And I want to fight for the last piece that I can’t really eat because have already had enough but as I want to be the one who gets the most I have to fight anyway. Or maybe I just miss the times when we made pizza, rented a movie and sat on a sofa eating pizza and watching a movie (this was after I moved away from home – duh – no eating in the living room in my mum’s house).Whatever it is, I don’t have it.

It is funny how you always want the things you can’t have – stay home when you have to go to work, go out when you have to stay at home, run when it is raining, and eat chocolate when the shops are closed. It is as if we or I in particular am just impossible to please.

Anyway, my point is that I want homemade pizza. I don’t want a frozen one (well, it is not like I could bake it without an oven or a microwave), nor a delivered one or one in a restaurant. I want a homemade one. And I am not going to be happy until I get one (or forget that I wanted one).

And now I must go to work and it is raining and I didn’t even go for a run. Maybe I should hide. You think that would help?

there is cold and there is cold

Every time I dear to mention that it is getting a bit cold or that I am freezing, I am reminded of the fact that I come from Finland and should, thus be used to the cold. Yet, I am convinced that there is difference in colds between countries.

The early spring that we had here got scared of something and ran away leaving us with rain and temperatures that barely reach positive numbers. Every morning, when I hop on to my bike I hope that the sky won’t open and pour down its collection of icy water until I have made it to school. It will.

By the time I get home at night, my coat is still damp and fingers freezing. I put on my pyjamas, a fleece, jogging pants, woollen socks and cover myself with a blanket. Despite all this effort the cold will not go away and I can hear my muscles screaming from the strain that my “relaxing” break in front of a silly series is supposed to give them. I soon give up and climb into bed, under two duvets (with my layers and my blanket). I have a nice, big bed but it is currently nothing but a waste of space as I will be in a little curly ball in one corner. But the cold will not go away.

In the morning, when my alarm goes off, I hold on to my blanket tightly, put my toes into slippers and jump into the kitchen to make coffee. If I keep my face above the kettle I can’t see myself breathing. I think that, if I wasn’t always in such a rush I would stay in the shower for the rest of the day. But I won’t because I can’t. When I get out I am steaming. I mean really steaming - the way when you do when you run from the sauna into the snow.

On my way out I put on my coat – still damp – run downstairs and hop onto my bike, hoping that the sky won’t open and pour down its collection of icy water until I have made it to school.

I don’t mind the cold. In fact, cold but sunny mornings can be nice, especially when there is snow. It is the cold that never leaves that I don’t like. It goes through you, into you and doesn’t leave until summer. It is the cold that makes everything stay wet and mouldy I don’t like. It is the cold that makes you want to stay in bed and not get up until June that I don’t like. It is the cold that makes your morning coffee cold before you are half way through that I don’t like.

So, I can deal with the cold that goes away with a cup of hot chocolate but not with the one that follows you to bed and eats its way to ones heart.

There is a difference between colds.

Friday, March 23, 2007

super glue

I swore, a long time ago, that I will never become one of these people who think that super glue fixes everything from an antique mug to a broken heart and when not, it is time to resort for duct tape. But the, I have a pair of black boots with a little buckle. This thing broke for the first time little over a year ago and I spent a long while fixing it nicely with needle and thread. Well now, the little buckle did it again – it was sad looking and hanging partly in the air and hitting my bike when I got home. I went straight into my handicraft box and took out a bottle of glue. It worked miracles. My shoes were like new. I thought that while I am at it I might as well fix a broken (a piece of cheap fake rubbish) necklace as well. Oh, excellent, now I could use that one again.

Still with the tube in my hand I did few little rounds skimming my apartment. Cracks on the walls, hmmm, cracks on the sealing, hmmm, window frame –not worth mentioning….my bed with two duvets and a blanket…I put the tube away and curled up in my bed.

But I can now use my boots again.

Monday, March 19, 2007

blame the parents

Somebody asked me today why in earth I am doing a course in English when I have not only lived in England and South Africa but have also gone to « international school » etc and thus can hardly say that I don’t know the language. The teacher overheard this conversation and started to ask a bit about our backgrounds. “You (he was talking to me) are obviously one of those who has had a complicated childhood, but are there others in this class?” His point was that often those who have been, as a child, dragged from one country to another end up themselves doing something similar.

It would have been nice to just leave it to that and have all the blame put on to my parents but as a reasonably honest person I had to correct him – in fact it is me who has created those complications. It was me who wanted to pack my things and go. He looked at me rather strangely but understood my point.

Now, then I can’t stop wondering what is the reason for me ending up like this. Why am I not, like my sensible siblings, in Finland, living in a nice flat, surrounded by people I have known for years? Maybe I could blame my parents – maybe I had a complicated childhood but just on a different scale. But that is a bit difficult to justify as I am the only one who ended up like this. Maybe I was taken on to an aeroplane too young and the change in air pressure affected my brain. (this didn't happen to my sister or my brother) Or maybe it was just me who had the luck of getting the gypsy gene.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

from sports to shopping and back

Yesterday, on my way to work I did some “compulsory shopping”. This shopping differs from “retail therapy” or “I want something nice and new” shopping in the respect that it is something you have to do, whether you like to or not. This time I would rather not have – due to the disastrous state of my bank account, combined with the number or people in the shops on a Saturday afternoon. However, I had unfortunately earlier during the day, in the laundrette noticed that there is no way of getting my running t-shirts clean again. I mean, not matter what kind of poison I put into them, I still would not want to wear them after being washed. So I am sure, you can understand the urgency of this shopping trip.

Sports shops are dangerous places. After piling t-shirts and a pairs or shorts (another must) into my basket, I wandered through the nutrition section. Oh well, not too much temptation there. In to the bag section – well I have started going to the pool once a week and it is nice to have all the things I need for that ready and in one place. So maybe, just maybe I could treat myself with a new bag. Then I saw yoga mats that were in sale. The truth is that I have been doing quite religiously this Pilates thing my sister gave me. So really, I should get a proper mat for that.

By the time I had made my way to the section where they sell free weights my sister phoned me. I told her where I was and what I was doing. She also thought that the mat and the clothes were a good idea but that told me not to touch the weights – mainly because they are just evil when you have to move. She was right. Besides, I have even been lazy with press-ups so having weights will not increase the power in my arms.

There are different types of sports and athletes – those who do sports, those who do sports and spend a lot of money on equipment, and those who spend a lot of money on equipment and pretend to do sports. I was on the slippery slope towards the last kind. I took my basket and made my way to the till. On my way I made a decision: when I have nice and muscular arms, due to all the press-ups and dips I have done at home, during the next x number of months, I can buy weights. Besides, I now have a mat to fall on to.


Today are the parliamentary elections in Finland. Obviously I have thus had the past two weeks to go to the embassy and vote. In fact I even went to the embassy but didn’t vote –which is pretty bad, I suppose.

I have friends here who are quite keen to know what the result is going to be and others who, like me, don’t really care. And why can’t we be bothered? Why is it more interesting to know who is going to be the next French president or when will the opposition leader in Zimbabwe get out from hospital? And I think the common sentiment is that Finnish politics don’t really matter to us.

It is horrible to say that you it is all the same what happens in your own country but at the same time it is logical – I guess. It is almost impossible to get a proper picture of what is going on by reading only few online newspapers. Most of them seem to be concentrating on everything but the politics part of the elections. Due to this, I have not yet managed to understand what really is going to be the difference between their policies now, yesterday and tomorrow. I could, obviously, vote for the Greens, just because I always vote for the Greens, but at the same time I have my papers in some tiny town in the middle of nowhere, in a place where I have never ever lived and thus their candidates are all unknown to me. Besides, even if representing “my” party, will some middle age teacher with a back garden represent my interests?

So for now…it is all just too far away. It is all just too irrelevant.

Sunday, March 11, 2007


My mum just phoned me to congratulate. It appears, that despite feeling like the worse run in my life, it didn’t go to badly after all. But I should have guessed that, as I didn’t see too many women after the first few kilometres.

Still, there is always space for improvement. But before that – I am on sick leave.

paris half marathon

My alarm went off little over two hours before the race. I had plenty of time for porridge and coffee and random wasting of time. Eventually it was time for me to take my flu medicines, get dressed and go to the metro. It was packed with runners. As the mass of people with numbers on their chest moved closer to the starting point I begin to feel uneasy. These people were runners – what was I doing there?

It is a funny feeling you get at a beginning of each race –you know you have been training hard, your know you are fit and you know you have had a good night sleep and you know it will be fine but still, you get scared. The one and only thing you want to do is to turn around and go back home and back into bed.

The crowd started moving and we approached the starting line – I stepped on to the side and started running. With a little zigzag I made my way through, slowly a skinny guy after another got left behind. A short while after I hit THE pace. I knew that like this I could keep going and going and going to the other end of the world. Slowly the line got thinner and thinner. I used the first drink stop to pass several hundred runners at once. Now I had space. I started to remember why I love running.

At Bastille I was tackled. Like for real – I was tackled. Some idiot had his sports slightly confused and I flew straight on my face. In the mass of people the runner behind me had no chance to react and he stepped on me. Great. I got myself up, smiled at the person who had caused the whole little accident and carried on going. I had lost valuable time, hit my hand and my head and got confused with my pace. What a prick!

Little over half way through the race the effect of the pain killers I had taken in the morning started to fade away and with that my head started spinning like mad. I increased the volume in my ipod and tried to concentrate on everything else but what I was doing. Why hadn’t I listened to the people who had told me not to run when ill? Silly, little me.

I checked my watch and swore – I was lacking behind my target. This was not good. But the end was getting closer and closer. I had done it – almost. I made an evil face to the cameraman, closed my eyes for a second and ran, and I ran and I ran like it was the only thing in life I knew how to do.

I felt sick. I felt really really sick. But I had done it.

And btw – the song playing on repeat from my ipod is called “Fighter”

Ps. My no.11 pair of Pegasus has now retired after serving for over 2000km.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

the French

Today (this was after the coffee and presidential candidates and friendly drivers) on my way to the laundrette I was stopped by a huge manifest. This obviously is no surprise as everybody knows that strikes and manifestations are the French national sport. Any reason or a lack of reason is a good enough reason to go on strike. Yet, there seems to be a strong correlation between the weather and the number of manifestations.

During my time in Paris I have noticed a peculiar phenomenon – when there is sun there are also manifests and when it is cold and raining, nobody bothers with banderols, except the homeless but they have nothing to lose as it is. This then makes perfect sense. Why bother roaming on the streets when you are bound to get cold and wet and in the worse case ill when you can wait until spring and march in the sun?

My theory is that during the cold, dark winter months the French keep themselves warm by drinking red wine and talking about politicks in smoky bars and brasseries. By the time the weather is starting to warm up, they have collected a long list of things to complain about. With all the energy from the numerous bottles of wine emptied they make it to the streets. It, then, takes until August until all the numerous problems of the French society have been brought to the knowledge of the higher levels of authority. In August it is time for holiday. The whole society basically stands still for several weeks, and the only life to be seen on the streets of Paris are few lonely tourist. By the time the holidays are over and it is time to get back to school and work, the weather is changing again….

So today, I was stopped by a huge manifest. And I suppose this was only the beginning…

spring has come to town

Today, after school, I met with a friend of mine for coffee. (and yes, I know it is Saturday, but in France school on Saturdays is allowed)

We sat down and prepared ourselves for what was supposed to be a weeks worth of gossip – agony and frustration. The sun was shining and the sky was bright blue. The terrasse was bathing in warmth and light. Did I say “a terrace”? Yes, indeed, we were sitting outside, for the first time this year. Slowly, all the problems we had managed to collect during the week didn’t seem that important at all.

Obviously we weren’t the only ones who had noticed the new beauty. In between the swarming crowd we spotted a familiar face. Before we had quite managed to put a name and face together, François Bayrou walked past us wishing us and the people around a lovely day. Oh, I would so vote for him if I could vote.

Talking about voting, after our little break in the sun I walked my friend to the Finnish embassy, before hopping on to my bike and cycling home. Before, when leaving the café I managed to get a smile from the waiter, when paying our bill. I am not quite sure if I remembered to smile back as this was such a historical event – the French waiters do not smile – ever. On the way back a friendly driver stopped and let me go first. I was chocked – the French drivers do not – ever – stop. This simply doesn’t happen.

It really seems like spring has come to town…

sod's law

Tomorrow morning at 10am, I am supposed to run little over 21km as fast as I can. To make sure that this “fast” really is a nice pace I have been training for weeks, have given up alcohol completely for weeks, have forgot about parties and late nights. In fact I have tried to do everything in my power to make sure that on Sunday, things will go well.

Yesterday I woke up with a sore throat and a stuffed nose. I couldn’t breath and my head was bumping like there was a little drummer inside. Great. I couldn’t let this bother me, so I went for a short jog, took a shower and jumped on my bike. On my way to the Marathon Village I stopped at the pharmacy. “I have a race on Sunday and I have a killer cold, please give me something that will make me feel better”. With a bag full of medicines I continued my journey. I wasn’t the only one there that morning – several others had also been hopeful that the queues would be shorter in the morning. And these people – they were RUNNERS.

Holding tightly on to my number I jumped on my bike – and it started pouring down. By the time I had pedalled 10km back to school I was soaked, cold, shivering and had mascara running down my cheeks. Luckily one of the guys had an “extra” woollen shirt which I happily took. Huddled under my little tent I tried to get my pounding head to understand the relationship between law and economics.

Today it is sunny, and the weatherman has promised that the little bit of cloud will disappear before tomorrow. I just wish that those pieces of cotton would take my cold away with them.

Saturday, March 03, 2007


Students of development should be optimists who still believe in the goodness of human kind. Some call us hippies, some floaters, others something else but everybody thinks we are trying to build castles from clouds. We are not supposed to be, like many other economists, driven by the desire for money. Our goal is not supposed to be a big paycheque but we should get our satisfaction from the success of others. It is true that it takes a certain amount of insanity to give up a high flying career in a bank or consultancy to go and live in a small village in Africa, where running water, not to mention electricity is a phenomenon of the future. It really makes no sense to trade a nice house and a beautiful car to a suitcase or a back bag.

The problem is that to go out to teach and help one first has to learn. And the more you learn the less you have interest in going out to teach and help. We really don’t have the tools and guidelines to make a real difference. Still a hundred years ago, not even, cars we seen as something worth aiming for – imagine a world where everybody could easily drive around and from place to place. Now, we desperately want to degrease the number of those things as they are ruining the air we and our children are supposed to be able to breath. And it is not only the environment that we are destroying but ourselves as well. We have built an image of thriving cities to the extent that any other type of lifestyle is seen as backward and undeveloped. Yet, when climbing over a sleepy homeless in an attempt to get to my flat I, for a short moment, lost the sense and sensibility of it all.

The more I open my eyes and look at the reality behind the blurry visions and dreams I am forced to think that our efforts are nothing but a waste of time. Why fight a lost battle when we could benefit the consumer society at its height. Indeed, why not aim for the big bank account, fill it, empty it and enjoy the things only money can buy? Our world is, after all, going to explode due to its own impossibility.

The problem is that how can I be sure that the battle is lost for sure, if I don’t try fighting?

Friday, March 02, 2007

that's what you get...

Last term, during my period of utter frustration, I chose to do English as a foreign language this term. This felt like an easy option, after all I have spent 7 years of my school career, studying in English and lived several years in an Anglophone country. Wouldn’t it be nice to just have two hours of something easy and amusing? Besides, some creativity would be a good balance to the normal academic writing I would have to do in some of my other courses.

Before being able to do a language course, I had to do a level test. This, did not scare me too much as I was sure I would be put on to the highest level and thus could choose a literature class or study something politics related or what ever else that takes my fancy. I then looked through the list of options and first picked out few that sounded the best – “Devil’s Wine a Sampler”, caught my eye and fitted my timetable perfectly. This course was also taught by a native speaker so it would be perfect.

When I then arrived to the class for the first time I sat in a room listening to an older Irish gentleman, who had a background in marketing. Now, he was at Sciences Po to teach English Poetry. POETRY. I hate poetry. Well, I don’t really hate it but it definitely is not on the top of my list or preferred styles of writing/literature. Besides, it is extremely difficult. So, when I was asked why I had chosen that particular class I had to admit that I fell for the description – I fell for the catchy title, which could only be created by someone specialised in marketing.

After the first two hours and a poem by Robert Frost I was convinced that this course would indeed be rather interesting. At least, it would be something new. And, the teacher was excellent. When it comes to the easy credit – forget about it.