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, May 29, 2007

here we go again

Two hours after receiving the excellent news I got a text message from my sister. It said “you have been entered for Helsinki City Marathon – start training”.

I have 12weeks.

life is beautiful

I am looking at the world through special shades – everything seems to be beautiful, sunny and happy. Despite my piling work load my feeling of desperation has changed into optimisms.

This morning I finally got some good news – I had an internship for next autumn. And I don’t only have an internship I have THE internship. My special interest is the role of refugees in post-conflict economic development. This might be because when I was still a kid I wanted to become a doctor and work on refugee camps (yes I know, I was already weird as a child), or who knows. At any rate this does not quite fit the mainstream idea of fashionable field of research and hence it proved out to be quite difficult to find anything. So, just when I was ready to give up I was told I will be sent to Sierra Leone to work in a refugee reintegration programme.

I was ecstatic – this was amazing. But this was not all. Prior to be sent on to the field I will work in the main office for two months. And the main office is in Helsinki. So not only do I have a research project and an internship but I will also have the opportunity to go to Finland – during the summer. What could be better?

Monday, May 28, 2007


We have a big exam on Wednesday so today and since it is a public holiday (don’t ask why – this is France) I decided to use my time well and spend the time studying. I managed to get myself up around ten (my excuse: I was at work last night). I went for a run as the rain seemed to have stopped. Then after getting home I had to take a shower and get something to eat and by the time I got to my books it was already one in the afternoon – excellent.

After I had gone the first two pages my phone rang. An hour and 3pages later he suggested that I go to his place to study because that way we will be more productive. His reason for the choice of place was apparently the size of his flat, compared to mine. I think it might be the pouring rain outside.

Studying in pairs can be extremely effective and so much more fun. One chapter, step by step and at the end a recapitulation of the whole thing. Then we got stuck. I tried to phone a friend but he was too busy drinking wine to help us. Luckily two stupid heads makes one clever one so we eventually solved the problem. Snack time.

I got a banana milk shake (so good and so good for you…milk, banana and cinnamon, mmhmmm). Back to work. We sat on the floor, I wearing my friend’s woollen shirt because I was freezing and hadn’t realised I would need more than three shirts when it is almost June, listening to the rain and going through the government intertemporal solvency constraints and other fun stuff. It is amazing how much fun macroeconomic theory can be when you add a touch of imagination and a hint of black humour. More than once I found myself rolling on the floor and laughing out loud.

The phone rang. It was time for us to hop on our bikes and move on. Luckily it was downhill most of the way. When I opened the front door the rain started pouring down again. What a miserable weather.

I think I now remember why I am still a student.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

going to work not to work

My mum came to Paris for the weekend. During the two short days she is here she wanted to have dinner at the restaurant where I work, because my brother and sister and my grandparents have been too. So, when she booked her flight I booked us a table.

Last night we came home after long day of shopping and got changed to go out. When we arrived the place was already buzzing and busy. I took the reservation board from the table and we sat down. Like always I translated the menu, except this time into Finnish rather than into English.

Our barman looked stressed. “What are you drinking?” he asked. “Nothing, you haven’t given us anything.” We got two glasses of red wine. He ran down to the cellar and I started to feel like I should do something. Our starters arrived. To food was as good as I had been told it is.

When waiting for the main course I really started to get frustrated because it was pretty obvious that the evening was turning into a chaos. I got us another two glasses of wine from the bar – no point waiting for a waitress. After we had finished our main courses there was a chair free at the bar and my mum sat down to enjoy her desert there. Our table was given to the first couple inline for a table. I was given a cloth.

I stood there drying glasses. Excellent. We got some more whine – a bit better. I got a dry towel and our barman started to relax a bit. I got a chair – an upgrade. I chatted with my mum and with the regulars. It was like any other night, except this time I was on the wrong side of the bar and wearing heels. When the evening started to slow down we decided it was time to head home. Yet another night there was over. “See you tomorrow.”

The food was stunning and the wine excellent as always. We had a great dinner, but still…in that place, I prefer to be on “my side” of the bar.

Friday, May 25, 2007

positive attitude...sucks

On Wednesday my friend told me I am too pessimistic. Apparently one must have a positive attitude towards life because good things do happen.

Today I got great news. I got an internship. I was so happy about this that at school I right away told my friend that he indeed was right.

My phone rang – bad news. I no longer had an internship. Luckily it was nice, sunny and warm and I could get rid of my anger and frustration in the back garden of our school. Slowly the sky turned black and it started pouring. By the time I was on my bike and on my way home it was thundering and lightning. I got soaked.

This morning I went to the laundrette and as the sky was blue and it was warm I put my clothes outside to dry. When I got home, soaking wet, these clothes were soaked too. And there was a huge pool on my floor. In my flat there isn’t a place for one wash worth of soaked clothes (they were dryer when I got them out of the machine this morning) but it is too late to go to the laundrette and put them into the dryer. Great.

Luckily my mum is coming for the weekend – or was. Due to the horrible weather in Paris her flight is postponed by at least 2hours which means that she won’t be here until 1am if at all.

So don’t ever talk to me about positive attitude again – good things just do not happen to some people. We are only the beneficiaries of irony.

I think I need a drink.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

cos i have to revise

I am supposed to be revising for my exam at this very moment. To start revising I had to organise my notes. In between the pile of paper there was a note from last night. In fact this note is the first A4 of our conversation during the four hour macro class we had. The others seem to have gone missing, or then my friend took them. Anyhow, that is not my point.

I have now spent almost 18years at school. And for the past…at least 13years I have amused myself by writing notes to the person next to me, sending text messages to the other side of the class room, reading something I should not be reading, surfing online etc. So, last night was no exception (except that this time it was not me who started the little conversation). We talked about time after school, Paris, people, problems, dreams, and happiness – a lot of things.

This morning I was back at school at 8am. 8:05 I received the first note. If I was still in primary school I would have been thrown out of the class room or at least our little message would have been confiscated. Luckily I am doing a Masters so the professor didn’t even notice, or if he did he couldn’t be bothered to care. When I got home I looke, out of curiosity, through some notes I have left from uni in England. I don’t think there is one lecture I have managed to survive through without at least one little comment.

In a way I should be thrown out of the class room because I am distracting other students. Then again my argument is that it is not my fault if they read my messages or answer to them. Though, since we spent our time talking anyways, we would in theory be better of if we stayed outside the class room. Chairs in a café are by far more comfortable.

I wonder what I would be like if I actually had paid attention all these years at school.

And I am supposed to be revising for my exam.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007


My sister was in Paris for the weekend with a friend of hers. One morning, when we were having breakfast, her friend made a statement – “the French must be really happy people”. Surprised we asked, what the reasons for this apparent happiness are – “they get to eat croissants everyday”.

After my phone interview I happily announced that if I get the job and with it get to spend some time in Helsinki I will just eat liquorice and porridge. The image of little Fazer liquorices brought a smile on my face. My sister seemed slightly puzzled – “so you will come to Finland just to eat liquorice and porridge?” Yes.

…And then they say that today’s young are not satisfied with anything…


During the past weeks and months I have sent my CV here and there and everywhere. At first I was patient with replies and tried not to get discouraged by several “no”-emails. Now, I am getting stressed and starting to panic, as I still have nothing. So, yesterday, to make sure I will at least get somewhere I phoned up one of the people I had contacted by mail.

The voice on the other end of the phone sounded nice and friendly and she right away recognised my name. I took that as a positive sign. She thanked me for phoning and apologised for taking so long to get in touch with me. “But since you phoned I could ask you some questions.” Sure, why not. The few questions ended up being a little over 30min phone interview – excellent. In general, this would have been a piece of cake, no big deal, but this time, it was in Finnish. I had to answer to these questions in Finnish. I had no idea what the research question for my thesis is. I knew more or less what I study but had no idea what my courses are about. I just didn’t know anything.

I tumbled through the interview by using English (and few French) terms and hoped to make some sense. Finally she asked the question I had waited for – “So, working in English would not be a problem?” I now knew what to say.

My competition consists of two other students – I just hope they hesitated with that last one.

Thursday, May 17, 2007


Despite not even knowing where I am going for my internship, which is supposed to start in August (and yes, I am slowly starting to panic, as august is approaching fast) people keep asking me what I am planning to do after I have finally finished my studies. I have a tendency to start my reply with a slow “weeeelll…” since, to be quite honest, I really don’t know.

My mum is a professional job searcher. I think her morning newspaper consists only of job announcements and houses that are for sale. And the weather of course. Occasionally she sees something that involves language skills, a degree in economics and gives possibilities to travel. This is when she phones me right there and then or just accidentally mentions this possibility in another context (this happens especially when the posts are in Finland and stay in Finland).

I have friends going to the diplomatic services or working in the diplomatic services. In fact it has been something I have considered too – and even quite seriously. So yesterday, when I felt completely overwhelmed with work as it was, I decided to check the web pages of the Finnish foreign ministry and KAVAKU (their training programme). It sounded amazing. The brochure highlights the fact that as a diplomat (or anyone working internationally) one has to change countries every few years and spend some time in Finland in between – perfect. Apparently the possible stress caused to your partner and children should be carefully considered before applying – two seconds – no risk of either (partner or kids that is) so no risk of hassle or trauma. Excellent. The salary doesn’t sound too bad either (especially after living on student support and restaurant work).

After having gone through all the benefits I moved on to looking at the application process. One of the questions in the final exam was (in the last round) the number of reindeers in Finland. Seriously. To get into the diplomatic services in Finland you must no the number of REINDEERS in Finland. Ok everybody knows that Father Christmas lives in Finland but still why does a diplomat need to know the number of REINDEERS in Finland? I gave up – the foreign ministry was definitely not for me. But then again, I suppose it is good to rule out the things you definitely don’t want to do, or something.

Oh and by the way – there are 196 727 reindeers in Finland.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007


My internet at home has been down for a few days now and my life has turned into a mess. In the morning I cannot read the news, check my mail or listen to the radio. I cannot talk to people on msn. I cannot waste time surfing or download TV series for the evening.

I am lost. I keep my computer on and check the connection sign on a regular basis, hoping that it miraculously changes away from the yellow triangle. I now get to read my messages with a delay and have nobody wishing me good morning or sweet dreams.

How desperately hooked am I?


Our little journey finished two days ago and I am still recovering. It is funny how holidays can be such hard work :)

Early start on Friday morning got postponed due to the late arrival of two of our group members. The hour of waiting was productively spent on discussing the need for insurance with the car rental company. Our driver, who still had not managed to buy a map, was convinced that this precaution would be unnecessary. I rested my case.

We took the scenic route to Giverny (read: as we had no map, we got lost) where we aimed to create our own interpretations of the Japanese bridge. This attempt soon changed into a race around the water garden. I started to think our plan was somewhat ambiguous. The first stop made us also reform the managing structure of our common money pot. The services of the investment banker were no longer needed but the job was given to the economist. The development economist and the social scientist were not consulted in this matter.

Our next stop was Rouen – lunch. We had no time to waste. We were racing against the clock. So, buying a CD, 2min45s, cathedral 3min – forgot lunch – buy a sandwich. 1min after our deadline (because our driver drove the wrong way in the parking hall) we were on the road again, singing along to the soundtrack of Pulp Fiction and eating little chocolate boys.
Our main attraction for the day was Etretat, cliffs that have inspired poets, painters and other artists. Seagulls, we saw seagulls. Being deprived of the sea in our daily lives the sound of seagulls was a song from heaven. (We tried to catch one to take with us but failed miserably in this mission) 30min later we were back in the car.

The day ended with a diner on a French farm and the night started with a game of pool –and another and another…after the #th game we decided to go cow tipping. This clever exercise involves the pushing of a sleeping cow on to its side. Ideally we could create a domino effect, yet in practice this obviously would not happen. Luckily, at least from the point of view of the poor animals, we did not manage to come to an agreement on whose cows to attack.

City kids on the countryside – after a late breakfast we borrowed bikes and headed to the main farm. It is amazing how much fun haystacks and car tires can be – and the combination is even better. Our climbing, descending, jumping, running, throwing, betting … was followed by a three legged black cat. But farm work is hard work and eventually our stomachs reminded us about the approaching lunchtime – lets race back to the car!

Our short stop for lunch extended itself over several hours. Cider being the popular drink in Normandy we decided to get some for the night. The owner of the shop had a different view about our visit – he offered us a drink. During the second one we found out that he was the most likely next mayor of the town. With the third I learned that you should never let your partner (girlfriend, boyfriend, husband, wife, what have we) drink from your glass as after that he/she will always see your thoughts. After a careful sampling of pommeau, calvados, apple liqueur and a variety of other apple involving drinks we continued our quest to the Mont St Michel.

Despite several attempts and being the last visitors we did not manage to get locked into the old abbey. Fine. Low tide and loudly calling quick sand. Surely it is necessary to get stuck in the sand at least ones in your life. Didn’t work. Fine. Back into the car. Supermarket. Back into the car. Towards the sunset with a beer in hand. Holiday.

Finding our hotel in St Malo proved slightly difficult as our road map (we eventually managed to buy one) did not include the small town surrounded by high walls. Thinking while drinking thinking drinks we sat in our rooms planning the next course of action. Food. After a lazy dinner we left to look for some action. Evidently a group of Russians, serving in the German marines had the same mission.

Mission completed – by the time we reached our beds the sun was already rising. After few double espressos in the early afternoon we were ready to go again. We climbed on the high city walls (build in 1905 against the Mongolian invaders…?) and admired the beautiful view. Unfortunately the weatherman was not on our side and soon the -40c weather and recurrent hurricanes drove us back down again. Mussels for lunch.

2hours before my work shift started we finally saw the first road sign indicating our final destination: Paris 250km. I squeaked, but apparently there was no need to worry – I would make it. Without further questions I buried my head into my notes and continued studying.
When drying glasses behind the bar a bit later I was still humming “the son of a preacher man…”

Thursday, May 10, 2007

road trip (part 1)

Last Sunday we came up with an excellent plan – we are going on a road trip. Three day in Normandy, Bretagne or the Loire Valley – it would be great.

Yesterday we booked a car. We booked a very small car. In fact calling it tiny would be exaggeration. Then, after 13h of classes (I seriously started 8am and finished 21h15) and dinner, with a glass of wine we started to plan our trip.

Two hours later we had decided to buy a map - just a normal road map. Progress.

I decided it was time to go home. I was tired and exhausted and drowsy and shattered and all-in beaten.

Tomorrow morning I will get myself into that little tin can and hope for the best. Yet, I would like to see Deauville.

we are doomed to be nerds

As usual we went to the resto-U for lunch yesterday. This fine establishment provides us with a full meal for 2.75€, which in fact is not too bad. Our table conversation soon turned into politics and to the FT.

It is more than well known that I do not belong to Sarkozy’s supporters but am as far on the other end as possible. Now, FT seemed to share my views. The fine comment of Mr Wolf argued that the new French president was lead towards Colbertian mercantilism (these are the policies of a French minister between 1647 and 1669). Excellent. Giggling.

After a further analysis of the article and a risen level of amusement we all cracked – what a bunch of nerds. Seriously, when did we start finding references to long dead economist as witty insults? When did we start considering the FT as an easy read that is as must as the daily horoscope? Like seriously…

Then again, my sister can do a page long calculation without a single number, so I supposed we are doomed by definition.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

dogs and dreams

When I opened my eyes for the first time this morning it was raining heavily. As the first job for today is to go to the laundrette I decided to turn around and let the falling rain lull me back to sleep.

I had the most random dream. I was given a dog as a present. It was quite a little dog, a bit bigger than a duster, yet quite cute. As it was small I put it into my bag. As we walked on the street I noticed a pet shop and told my friend we should go and buy all the things I will need. We left the shop with a dog passport and a leach.

Then I went to work, obviously with the dog still in my bag. I took out a piece of meat out of our dinner to give it to the dog, yet by the time we had finished eating I had no idea what this meat was for – then I remembered the dog that was sleeping in my handbag. Soon after I noticed a cute wine box that would serve perfectly as a bed and then I woke up.

The sun was shining between the clouds and through to window into my bed. Behind the roofs the sky is still dark but somehow the atmosphere made me feel calm and relaxed.

I just wonder what the dream meant…

Monday, May 07, 2007

about winning the nobel prize

This afternoon, after our Sunday morning run we decided to take our books and go to the canal to study. We sat on a sunny terrace, me with my five million articles and my friend with his laptop. The aim was to define his thesis hypothesis, while I was supposed to understand the risks of openness to emerging economies.

He got an idea – this was going to be the start of his magnificent career. Seriously, his thesis would solve the problems of all post–conflict countries, amaze the academic community and win him the Nobel price, both the peace and the economics one.

Another hour and I was getting bored and my friend was getting demoralised. He saw the Nobel price slipping away as I pointed out few difficulties in the realisation of his amazing study. He kindly pointed out that I would run into similar problems with mine – “yes, I am aware of that, thank you”. Another hour and the second price seemed like nothing more than a silly dream. I started feeling cold, as the sun escaped behind the building.

One more hour and I saw equations dancing in the sky and my friend had started to examine the current news about the French elections. Over 3000 extra police were going to be on duty only in Paris to make sure that nothing would happen if Sarkozy wins. Great. Would this mean more protests and trouble? If you asked us – it would. We gave up with saving the world and solving the problems of all post-conflict countries and started to plan our anti-Sarko riots. Surely there would be need for some extra help? Besides afterwards – we would have a perfect case study with data readily in our pockets – what wouldn’t you do for your studies?

Saturday, May 05, 2007

again and again

Last night few of my friends and I ended up emptying several bottles of wine at my place. And as usual the common topic of conversation was relationships and dates or the lack of them. One of the girls was excited as she had only a moment ago been asked to go out the next day.

Today is the next day and she just told me she had cancelled the date – couldn’t be bothered she said. This was while I watched my phone ring without picking it up – I just couldn’t be bothered. We both claimed to be too busy to go out this afternoon – maybe tomorrow.

Being young and single should guarantee us the time of our lives. We have nothing holding us back and we are free to do what ever we want and go where ever we want. We could meet new, interesting people and just have fun. Yet, we are reluctant to get dressed up again, to do our makeup again, to go out for a drink or coffee or dinner again. We can’t be bothered to have the same “lets get to know each other” conversation again and afterwards wonder why he didn’t or did call again.

Both my friend and I were convinced that if the guy really was worth the effort we would not trade the date into school work or a good book. Surely, if he was any potential we would be eager to leave the house and hoping the time run faster till the time of the date. But we are not.

And tonight we will hate all happy couples again and hope to meet the right guy. And tomorrow – I think we will be busy again.

upside down day

I think I have had my shoes the wrong way round today or then I just got up with the wrong foot – whatever the reason, I have the feeling that everything just went wrong and upside down.

As I couldn’t pinpoint the source of my mixed feeling I decided to make a list of things that annoy me.

- people who start looking for their purse after slowly packing their groceries in a busy store

- people who lock their bikes so that nobody else can get theirs out

- people who leave their laundry into the laundrette after the wash is over

- people who cannot choose what they want at the bakery

- people who don’t answer to text messages or phone calls but let you wonder what the plan is for the night

- rain that falls on your good hair day making it a bad hair day

- films that are sold out, when you want to go to the cinema

- keys that get lost in your bag

- milk that has gone bad and ruins your morning coffee

- broken glass on the road

- ipod running out of battery halfway through your run

- everything being family size in the grocery shop

- deodorants that leave white marks

At number 5 I started t feel better. By number ten I was smiling…

Friday, May 04, 2007

paris by night

Summer has come to Paris and with it - picnics. Last night, after a killer day I went to meet some of my friends at champ the march. While biking in the warm night, under the sparkling Eiffel tower I felt more relaxed then I have for a long time.

After sitting myself down on the grass I opened a bottle of Finnish cider that had been waiting in my fridge for a special occasion. Though the cold drink tasted exceptionally good, it went straight into my tired head. One of my friends remembered that she had never given me the massage she promised a long time ago. Perfect. This girl has hands that can feel your energy and though she has never really studied anything related to massage or healing she can do miracles - almost.

The night reminded us about the time of the year and turned cold. So there I was huddling inside my little hoodie, apparently looking even more like a midget. Somebody next to us was playing with fire. The glittering light kept flying through the air leaving a flickering trace for few seconds afterwards.

Time to go home. On my way back my ipod played a song about someone who could not get enough of the world. I stopped to buy some chocolate. I climbed upstairs and curled into bed. I could see one little star on the sky.

Best of both worlds I get…

Thursday, May 03, 2007

politics and beer

The French love talking about politics. A Sunday lunch can easily turn into a dinner due to heated debates between the family members. In a restaurant or at a bar, feeling rise to the surface and nobody thinks about keeping their preferences a secret. Thus last night, when the debate between the two presidential candidates was on TV the city of Paris fell silent.

As soon as we got out of class, we jumped on our bikes and raced through the quiet city to a bar with a big screen (yes, we actually had to, unlike all the frenchies go to a bar because none of us has a TV). There we were, three Dutch, one Belge, one Spanish and one Finn, others with a huge pint and me with a large diet coke (yeah, even politics doesn’t make me drink beer). The atmosphere was like that of an important football match.

Obviously most of us are economics or politics students and thus by definition interested in politics but yet the heated discussion went beyond my expectations. Not only can we not vote but also we seemed to be unable to stick to one language at any one time – comments went from English to French and back to English and then to Dutch (with me commenting in between with bad Afrikaans) and somebody else trying to explain himself in Spanish. Despite not really being able to agree on anything at the beginning we were all happy not to be French – it is hard to choose between two bad candidates.

2 minutes before the end of the debate the candidates changed the subject and concentrated on Europe. We cracked – how French indeed? Why would it be important to know what the president of the world’s fifth nation thinks about Europe or the EU? Well, apparently neither of the two speaks English properly, not to mention any other language so maybe the lack of interested in European matter can easily be explained.

The debate ran overtime and we decided it was time to go home.

But quite honestly – I am happy not to be French.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

a clever liquoricetocrat...hmm

The internet is full of silly competition, which I have found to be an extremely good way of wasting time. Last week we found out that in terms of intelligence I am no match to a Finnish cow. Or wasn’t in the first round. Luckily my second try went a bit better and I could claim to have found someone I could beat – amused me for a long while.

Last night, after an exam and unusual Vappu-picnic I decided to check what my sweet-eating habits tell about my personality. I found out that I am a lakritsokraatti (liquoricetocrat). Apparently that makes me a cool individualist, who knows what she wants and why. I don’t like sharing and when it comes to sweets, I eat everything at once and don’t save for the future. They also said that most liquoricetocrats are first-born and that if I was a vegetable I would be a hot, red chilli. The test also showed a pie chart of my bag of sweets, with liquorice being the largest variety with chocolate on the second place – how true. Obviously I also like trying new things and if I was an animal I would be an ostrich.

And by the way – did I already mention that I slept almost around the clock last night and still feel extremely tired…

(if you want to find out what you are, try - http://w001.candykingcampaign.com/fi/)