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

Friday, August 24, 2007


This morning, when leaving the house in haste, I chucked my swimsuit into my bag, just in case. Maybe, just maybe I would have time between work and other work to jump into the pool.

Then, I started thinking about what I had done this week. On Monday I went to the pool, on Tuesday I went to the outdoor pool at the Olympic stadium, on Wednesday…well I did an x-bike class BUT afterwards I went to the pool for a bit, just to do few strokes. And yesterday, well yesterday I went for deep-water hydrobic and then, as I was in the pool already, swam 1000m. That is pretty impressive for someone who hates swimming.

The last few times, my sister has been giving me tips and hints. She has been correcting my technique and giving me exercises to do. Instead of spending my time being bored I constantly have to concentrate on what I am doing and whether I am remembering everything she told me. And then the Olympic pool and the one I went to yesterday are 50m pools so it much easier to swim for long.

I am slowly starting to understand people who go to the pool to relax and not just because they are too injured to do any other sport. I also understand people who go to the pool on their own and not just because their divinely gorgeous gym friend forces them to and they don’t really mind seeing him without that shirt.

Oh and the funniest thing is that my swimsuit decided to give up on our treaty on mutual friendship and assistance. So I had to shop for a new one. And I did it right away because I knew I would need one. Insane. Sure, I have running shoes lined up, waiting, but a swimsuit has never been at the top of my list of things to buy, or to have. Not until now.

A friend of mine has been trying to get me into iron man/woman competitions. I never even considered the possibility simply because there was no way I would go into that pool if I really didn’t have to. And now…well I think I need to learn to swim and not just to enjoy doing it first. Then again….

Thursday, August 23, 2007


For the past days I have desperately been craving for sweets. Not just any sweets but pick and mix sweets. And even then, only few black-, chocolate- and yoghurt ones. Last night I was very tempted to ask my friend to drive me home via one video rental place, which has a nice selection, but as he had, after dropping me off, another 45minutes to home and it was really late and he had to leave for work at 6AM, I thought it would not be too fair to do a d-tour just because of that. And later at night, instead of going to bed, even if it was past my bedtime I was still considering running of to the petrol station, BUT they don’t have pick and mix.

This morning, I got up earlier than usual but left home later than usual. This is what you get for thinking that there is plenty of time. There never is plenty of time in the morning. Except on the weekends, and even then only if you don’t sleep till past two in the afternoon. Anyhow, I had to had to had to stop at the shop on the way.

I picked out the things I had to get and then headed of to the sweet aisle. I hesitated for a second in front of the selection, took the paper back and carefully selected 6pieces of liquorice, 2pieces of filled liquorice, one piece of chocolate, one chocolate ball and 8youghurt raisins. Then I put the scoop away. I turned around and looked for one little chocolate bar – pätkis – the one and only I always buy. Happy with my selection I proceeded to the check out.

I ate all the sweets during the last few hundred meters to work. After locking my bike I opened the chocolate bar and by the time I had climbed up to the office that too was gone. I felt yucky. Like really really yucky. The kind of feeling you get after eating a half a kilo of sweets and a litre of ice cream before going to a roller coaster.

Who eats sweets in the morning? Seriously, it is like having cream cake for breakfast.

Well I got my pick and mix and I no longer have the tiniest craving for anything sweet. Not even a micro bite of chocolate. I wonder how long this feeling will last….

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

another date

A walk along Töölönlahti. Stopping for grandberry or blueberry juice at the Blue Villa cafe. Sunset. Evening breeze. Warm evening.

How does this sound?

I think I am lucky.

and why did i ever leave my bed?

I was woken up too early because of the builders, next door – seriously why do they have to start working before 7am? Before I had barely finished my coffee I got a lecture about how I am a rubbish sub-letter…fine, but I suppose I knew that already. Suddenly I missed my little home more than even before.

It was pouring down outside. I went into the shower.

The rain had calmed down when I was ready to leave for work, but as I stopped at the first set of street lights, I was soaked by a bus driving through a little puddle. Perfect.

Surprisingly enough I made it to work on time.

Working hard never pays of. As a reward for a job well done I got to spend the whole day filing papers and doing tedious sorting out of receipts. I know it is all important work and needs to be done, but still. And I didn’t even have any chocolate.

Before lunch the sky turned pitch black. The night fell early. Then the lightening started, and the thunder and rain. It only took two close hits to kill all office computers. Pretty impressive. I carried on filing my papers until they were all in nice piles and colour coordinated folders.

I left the office early simply because I ran out of things to do.

I was hungry. As I made it to the till to pay my shopping my phone rang – my friend who was supposed to come with me to the gym class phoned to say she wouldn’t make it. Fine, not like I wanted company anyways.

I made it home just before I was supposed to be out again. And somehow managed to spill water on my jeans and had no time to get changed. And I was supposed to look nice tonight. I was hoping to look nice tonight.

Now I am listening to the news about all the damage the thunder did when crossing the country. And I still want chocolate. Maybe I should nip to the petrol station.

There are days when getting out of bed is the biggest mistake one can make.

Sunday, August 19, 2007


Yesterday morning I was terrified and tired – exhausted in fact and the weather resembled my ghastly mood. The week had been too hectic even to my liking and the only thing I wanted to do was to sleep. In stead I did my laundry and went to the grocery shop. I checked the marathon website and told my sister that it had all been ruined already – I had not attached my running number to my top but instead had my clothes still somewhere in the drawers and no idea where to find clean socks with no holes in them.

At the start, when I eventually made it there, I pushed my way forward all the way to the front – behind the real runners.


The first 15km were easy. I was trotting along the leading girl and I felt like we were flying. Running felt comfortable and easy and so enjoyable. All the panic and horror I had felt only a bit earlier was gone. And we were going fast – really fast.

Somebody came behind be and pushed in front of me. I let her past and realised I was running at the front. I had been in the top 2. I had been in the top 2 in a marathon. The panic came back – this was not my place. I let them go.

Form then on I slowed down. I let the wind get me without fighting back. People were cheering, I had my family and friends there but I just could not push any further. I ran with a comfortable and comfortably slow pace. Somebody went past me. I let them pass and leave me behind.

At the end I didn’t sprint to the finish. I let it roll. The reporter told that the one who had been in the front in the beginning arrived to the finish at the 12th place. How sad - what a drop. But at least I had finished and enjoyed the run, I think.

Later I was enjoying cosmopolitans at a terrace bar, then moved to a club and danced till early hours in the morning. It was a good night out. I was told I didn’t look at all like I had been running that day. I realised – I hadn’t.

This morning, or rather late in the afternoon when I finally decided to climb out of bed my back was sore but my legs felt nothing. Usually, the following day I cannot get down the stairs. Today – nothing. No pain, no swelling, no stiffness. In fact I feel like going for a jog. I didn’t run a marathon yesterday. I finished a marathon.

Now I am annoyed. What got into me? Why did I just give up? I never give up. I never used to give up. And the next chance is next year. And that is a long time.

What made me give up?

Friday, August 17, 2007

date and some shoes

This morning, I left home in a rush. I had so much time that I started doing a bit of this and that and eventually I got in to the shower ten minutes before I was supposed to be out the door. This was not an ideal situation as I was going out on a date straight after work. Yet, as I ran down the stairs I was looking half decent, even if my makeup was still in my bag.

Before eleven my sister phoned to find out if I had already had my lunch. I told her it is not even eleven – “oh, ok. Well then, do you want to meet up half past at the shoe shop?” Of course I would. She bough shoes. I had earlier in the week seen a nice pair of trousers in another shop but had been too doubtful to buy them so I decided that she should serve as a judge. On the way we sat down, so that I could quickly eat my lunch.

We entered the shop and she saw a nice top – for me. We took that and I tried on the trousers. Perfect. She agreed with me on that. In fact with the top it was a perfect outfit. So I got them both. But they were black and dark grey and I was wearing brown shoes and it just wouldn’t go but the new outfit was so much nicer than the one I was wearing. Why, oh why did I not take black shoes this morning?

My sister for a moment wondered if she should go home to get me another pair of shoes but then realised that she would not have the time. I thought that maybe I should tell the boy that we have to meet a bit later, and then I would have the time to go home to change. But really, that would be a bit silly and what would I give him as a reason?

My sister was wearing white shoes. That would go. And her dress was white and brown so my shoes would go with her outfit. In front of a department store we swapped – shoes. And I will change my outfit before leaving work. And do my makeup. Perfect.

And it is only a date….

Wednesday, August 15, 2007


Last night I managed to leave work early. When I got to the pier there was nobody there, just a lonely boat, with its driver. I asked him if I could get a lift back to the mainland. He was happy to get something to do. With the warm breeze playing in my hair I enjoyed the approaching lights of the city.

When we got to the other side, our driver asked me if I had time to stay for a coffee – sure, why not, it was still early(ish). He fetched two coffees and we sat down at the seaside terrace. He started talking. After 20minutes I had hear his life story – I knew about his love life, his children, his past, his grandchildren and his future. The suddenly he held out his hand and introduced himself – as we had never officially been introduced to each other. I shook his hand, said my name and he continued talking.

Not too long after people had started to gather on the dock and he had to return to work. He thanked me for the talk and the coffee.

Slightly puzzled I wandered back to my bike and travelled home through the sleeping city.

Sunday, August 12, 2007


The hot topic of the week has been, how to properly do laundry. The conversation began last weekend, when I washed my clothes at my parents place and almost gave my mother a heart attack.

My mum and my sister, both think that you should do at least 4different loads – light colours, dark colours, white and linen. These all will then have different temperatures, different durations and different…something else. What a waste, I say. I do two – dark and light. Before I used to do just one, but then once somebody had left a red baby sock into the washing machine and all my white underwear turned ugly pinkish grey so I changed my habits. I don’t see how washing towels with other dark pieces of cloth will ruin everything. Besides if I had to separate everything I could never do laundry – the bio me already feels bad about half empty loads so I could definitely not wash only one tiny shirt in one go.

My sister’s boyfriend is still at the stage where I was before the red sock episode – after all one load cleans the laundry as well as several AND takes up a lot less time and effort.

The second question is tumbling dryer. I put everything in. Or almost, not the things that will catch fire. This is partly because in my flat in Paris there is nowhere to hang things up to dry and partly because it just is so much easier. That, then means that my jeans occasionally, or after every wash, feel a bit tight but they do stretch back to the normal state very soon. But, this is another grave mistake, I have been told.

And the last thing is ironing. Which I do not do. Ever. My clothes are ironed when I have stayed at my parents place long enough for my mum to have time to do it, but other than that, it does not happen. Except when I have something I need to wear, that has been washed, cannot be put into the dryer, but is still wet. Iron, after all, works better than a hairdryer for this purpose.

Today, I did do three loads- dark, light and my sister’s bed linen. After all, her linen, her rules.

ps. if you happen to know any eligible future househusbands – please send them my way.

Saturday, August 11, 2007


In the office I often deal with the project in Sierra Leone. Every time I get sent something important from there, the papers I tightly rolled. So, I open remove the tape and unroll the papers, roll them again into the other direction, read them, press them and put them nicely into a folder.

The rolling applies to any piece of paper that is even remotely important. Nobody has been able to explain to me why do they do it, so I keep unrolling them and rolling them into the other direction.

Still, I wonder why? What is the secret and magic of rolling?

what am i like?

Yesterday, by the time my boss arrived at the office, I had already made coffee, printed of few reports, had a second breakfast and was typing so that the keyboard was sending off smoke signals. She had stayed in the office until late the night before but told me I made her feel lazy. We were both scrammed with work but despite this I, for once took the time to go out for lunch. I met up with a friend of mine for a quick gossip session in the sun.

As I was packing my bags at the end of the day, my boss asked me about my plans for the evening. I told her that in fifteen minutes time I would be on a boat and on my way to work – the other one. She laughed, apparently she could see herself in me, herself 15years ago – now she no longer has two jobs, but one that takes the time of two. In the morning she comes to work, late in the evening she goes home, puts on her running shoes and after a relaxing break on the road climbs into bed just to be back in the office on time the following morning. She does not have a family of her own, or a permanent address – nothing is holding her down and she likes to have a one way ticked in her drawer. Well, people have different priorities.

I took my bag, ran downstairs and jumped on to my bike. The boat trip is not too long, but it is long enough for me to enjoy the beautiful view and the warm summer day (I know you all think it is always cold in Finland, but personally I think 28C is bearable). Just after one in the morning I changed back into my own clothes, took the boat back to the mainland, jumped on my bike, cycled home, climbed upstairs, set my alarm and curled into bed.

In the morning I got up, did some work while having breakfast (after reading the newspaper), took a shower, jumped on to my bike and came to work. By the time my boss arrived at the office, I had already made coffee…

I thought, that since I am in Finland for such a long time I would have time to see my friends, enjoy summer and do all the things I haven’t had time to do. Instead, somehow, I work overtime in one job and then spend the free time that is left over in another. I still haven’t caught up with sleep (surely that can be done after retirement) nor painted my toenails. But really, I don’t mind.

I wonder if I will ever learn the meaning of the words relax, take it easy and social life.

AND is the person sitting next to me, the image of me in fifteen years time?

Sunday, August 05, 2007

the night and the day after

I had just managed to get out of the shower and into my clothes when the first guests arrived. The kitchen was still a general disaster and last delivery from the grocery shop was only on its way. Oh well, it could only be uphill from there.

When my brother finally arrived with the groceries I sneaked back into the bathroom to put on some mascara – to look like I was at a party. When I was back in the kitchen the punch was ready and strong. The recipe had not specified what kind of vodka that half litre should be….

When the barbeque started cooling down, the boys decided to find some heat from the sauna. One at the time, their bright red faces been in a big smile, rolled into a tower and a beer bottle in their hands they returned to the dinner table – the party was picking up.

My cake had 25 candles and it was 150% chocolate. I didn’t manage to blow them all out at once but still my wish came true before the end of the night.

Somebody called a taxi. And a second one. We were going out – Lahti city was calling. Suddenly everybody was rushing and running – food into the fridge, can’t go out wearing woollen socks – but where are my shoes, shirt?, have to wear a shirt, does anybody have hairspray. With the last blueberry ciders we climbed into the cars.

We hit the dance floor, right after the bar and my eye caught a rather cute guy. My friend, who had by then had her fair share or the punch pulled me down to the ladies and gave me a serious, and seriously drunken talk about how I should seriously settling down, and find some certainty and permanency into my life. “I am sick of wondering where in the world you are every single month. And I want to know that my Christmas card reaches you because you have a true address. I think you just need to find your self a man. One that gives you a reason to stop and breath”. Right.

I left the dance floor with a phone number in my pocket. I waited until we were at the cloak room and to send a message to it. From the front door to the taxi my brother, who had all ready earlier made it clear what he thought about my escapade (luckily in his elegant and subtle way), kept shouting at the top of his voice: “Riikka likes the boy, the boy likes Riikka”. We asked him to be quiet, but he did not think this was necessary as he had all ready told the whole town. The taxi driver found my brother a rather lucky man – going home with three girls. Well, all these three stopped him from opening the car window and restarting his little chant as soon as we crossed the boarder between Lahti and Hollola.

Few hours later, my mum woke me up by phoning and telling they were on their way home. Excellent. By the time they arrived we had not really made any progress with cleaning, and no more bodies had emerged from the beds, scattered around the house.

We spent the afternoon on the beach. Except those who moved to their own beds.

I made almost 10€ from the empty bottles when we took them back to the shop.

I got a text in the evening, well a few.

I went for a run and thought that being back in Finland isn’t too bad after all. I think I could get used to this.


Saturday, August 04, 2007


The morning of my birthday barbeque woke up sunny and warm. It was going to be a beautiful, long and warm summer day…One that only exists in the north. The night before I came home from work at after two in the morning (not the office one but the other one that pays my rent) so when I walked to the train station to catch the early train I was still in my dreams.

I arrived to the station two minutes before my train and had just enough time to get a ticket when the train arrived at the platform, perfect. I climbed in, sat on the closest seat and continued dreaming. I was woken up by my alarm, when the train arrived to my destination. I had not been asked about my ticket, shame, over ten euros wasted for nothing. I am too honest that is what I am.

I arrived to my parents place and put on the coffee machine. This was a necessity as my eyes were not yet quite open. I took my mug and the newspaper outside and sat in the sun, in the garden. This is how I like it.

My brother had already done all the shopping so all I had to do was to start cooking. The first thing I did was: I caused a horrible mess. In less than ten minutes the kitchen looked like it had been hit by a bomb, or few. The music was playing loud and the doors were open. I ran back and forth between the garden (my mum grows salads and other green, edible things there) and the kitchen, leaving a trace of sand behind me every time. But the salads started to look pretty tempting.

It is now little after four and my first guests are supposed to show up in about an hour. I have not had my shower, I have not cleaned the kitchen, I think I have chocolate on my nose, because of the chocolate cake coating and if not I definitely have some on my shirt and I am not quite sure what to do with the big, green table cloth that was left out for me.

But the sun is still out and the backyard is scattered with flowers (and bees)….


The office, where I will be for the next two months, before packing my things again, and leaving for Sierra Leone, is dominated by women. So it was no surprise that when my birthday arrived the afternoon coffee table had three litres of ice cream on it (after all we were five that afternoon). Just when we were finishing the last bits the post arrived. We all jumped to get it, as we all knew that it was the day when the new edition of the African Woman was supposed to arrive. It’s not like the magazine is anything special, it is just like any other women’s magazine with useless articles about clothes and new ways to curl your eye lashes but there is one thing that is different – no diet advice.

I have come to notice that there are significant differences in male and female dominated work places. Firstly I had never thought I’d last for more than few hours in one of the latter, but in fact I have been there already for 3days and enjoying it. This might be because the dress code consists of old jeans and converse or flip lops that fly into the corner as soon as you enter the office. Or because everybody there thinks that bike is the only true form of transport in a city and Senegal a peaceful holiday destination.

What ever the reason there are some particular characteristics. First the amount of ice cream and chocolate that is consumed over the course of the day exceeds that of a male dominated office by far. I think our daily figures could be compared to their yearly ones. Another is the amount of time that is spent on bitching, moaning or just normal gossip. It is unbelievable. And the funny thing is that we still, somehow, manage to be reasonably efficient.

One of the girls was leaving for Uganda so we needed to do some shopping – led torches, five different types of electrical gadgets, some tools and few books that can not be bought from the destination. At the shop we spent a reasonably long time discussing the advantages and disadvantages of different plugs that protect the computer from electricity peaks that are common when electricity is produced with private, oil burning generators. I think we lost the shopkeeper there. I started to rethink my original view about the differences, maybe, after all…

We got the office and my boss picked up the phone to Sierra Leone, started writing and email, while burning some CDs…never mind…they are two different planets these offices…

first day

The night before my first day at work I could not fall asleep. Thoughts, ideas and questions ran through my head and I could not calm down. And in the morning the alarm went off at 7AM and I felt as if I had closed my eyes only few minutes earlier.

I switched on the coffee makes and picked up the newspaper from the floor, next to the front door. My sister climbed out of her room. I apologised for waking her up but apparently it wasn’t me but her internal clock. I think that is what they call a rhythm. I felt a bit jealous.

Right after eight I put my feet into my nice new working shoes, ran down four flights of stairs and jumped on to my bike just to join the long line of early risers who were on their way to the city. I followed the railway past Linnanmäki and then descended down, under the bridge, past the opera house and into the park. Few energetic joggers were going around the bay and enjoying the morning sun and the old villas on the other side were slowly waking up. I could see the white cathedral somewhere far away.

Past Finlandia house, the modern art museum, Stockmann, Svenska teatern, a turn to the left and I were in the courtyard. I locked my bike and climbed up into the office. The coffee was already dripping.

I think I’ll be just fine…