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, September 30, 2008


I went to see the doctor yesterday. There was no urgent need to seek medical attention but from past experience I have learned to rather be safe than sorry. Hence, despite my general dislike of doctors I called up to make an appointment for after work.

The doctor was on time. Marvellous. Did not think that was possible for an afternoon appointment. So no need to wait.

She carefully listened to what I had to say and then prescribed me some medication. As she handed me the pink piece of paper I was to take to the pharmacy I thought the appointment was over. After all I had been in the room already for almost 3minutes. I was wrong.

She sat back in her chair and asked me further questions. About how I felt. About my social life. About my work. About my sports.

She also told me a secret. Apparently life gets easier with time. As you get older the pressures put on you when you are young disappear. Apparently you learn to think about yourself and your own priorities over the expectations of others.

We talked for about 20minutes. Just about stuff. Nothing serious. Just stuff.

She walked me out to the front door and told me to come back if the medicines she gave me didn’t seem to work too well, or if I had any other questions. Then she would investigate further, if need be.

I left the clinic feeling light and relieved. Slightly annoyed because I never think medications should be the first route to take. But realising that those twenty minutes in that room were probably going to have more of an effect than any medicines she could have given me. Just because she listened. And asked “how do you feel?”

Monday, September 29, 2008

biking again

Last weekend we decided to take the train down to the country again. The weather was supposed to be spectacular, which, considering I live in England, could mean almost anything but we decided that it meant that we could see the yellow, warm fire up in the sky – also known as sun.

I must say that the best thing about London is that it is a city easy to get out of. Despite the horrific UK rail service I could get my toes into the grass after a 2.5h train ride. The fresh breeze welcomed us when we walked to the car park and drove off to our hobbit house destination.

On Saturday the day woke up brilliant. It was warm. The sky was blue – clear from the most remote sign of clouds and rain and I the temperature was hitting levels at which I could almost consider wearing a t-shirt.

We jumped on our bikes and headed off for a day of biking. The first bit of the journey was nice and easy. After 5min we stopped at a pub. I should probably note that one member of our biking company was a Scot.

Well hydrated we tried again. This time we made it all the way into the forest. Bumpy paths were an excellent way to verify the quality of suspensions, tyres and the rest. I concentrated on reminding myself that my bike did indeed have gears. So I should use them.

The first hill was a killer. It was steep. It was long. It was rocky. It was slippery. I kept pulling my front wheel up, which made the back wheel turn like a whisk in cream. I fell off. I fell off again. And as soon as I was back on the saddle I fell off again. Every time I fell, I banged my knees into the frame of my bike causing the inside of them to turn into reddish-blue. Finally I got the hang of it. “Keep your bum down to put weight onto the back wheel so that it has something to work with” my friend told me and it worked. I made it. Well not all the way but the rest of the hill climbing exercise involved a lot more biking than walking.

Coming down was a lot more fun. And a lot more scary. I, being a bit of a wimp, was forced to hold on to my brakes like to my dear life, in order to avoid falling straight on my face. After a while I got more comfortable with the speed and the bike and the descend and let it go. I was still not going fast but bounced happily down the hill.

But what goes down, must come up.

After 6hours of hard work we arrived back to the house. Most of us city dwellers were suffering from a serious overdose of healthy living and fresh air. What a divine feeling. Think it was the 15th uphill that made me realise why I keep myself fit – knew there was a reason for it.

After a hot shower and a big meal we slouched in the living room, with a glass of red wine, in front of a real fire, watching the Saturday fun of “Strictly come dancing” (Tanssii tähtien kanssa), trying to guess the judges’ verdicts. And seriously criticising the poor dancers who all did better than any of us ever could.

I think that this is what they call happiness…(and I climbed that first hill running the following morning…down into the valley, up the HILL, down again and back up to the house with a spring at the end…no wonder I have the tights of a Danish workhorse)

Thursday, September 25, 2008

one for the adrenalin junkie

Before moving to London a friend of mine told me to be prepared – cycling in London is a high intensity, extreme, combat sport. The other night I had to get to the other end of Oxford Street and learned what he meant.

Biking in London is fun. I have a very basic commuter bike but have now started to cast hungry looks to a light, courier type speed bike. They look so nice and neat and handy. And the whole thing gets even more fun when you don’t know where you are going.

London never sleeps and hence there is always traffic. Days are fine, as the majority of the drivers on the roads do that for living and hence they don’t have time for all the hassle that follows from knocking a biker over. It just takes too long to sort it all out. And hence – they watch out.

Motorbikes are the worse. In my view. And busses.

I have now learned to comfortably manoeuvre between two double-deckers and they no longer make me scared. They did at first. Very scared. Now I flap my arms like a malfunctioning helicopter when ever I need to go from one lane to another, from one side of a lane to another or just to turn. Oh yes, I need to go on roads that have 3-4lanes. And tunnels. And speed cameras. And traffic roundabouts. Horror.

And the traffic circles the wrong way round. For me that is.

When I felt that I had learned to master the London traffic someone whooshed past me on blades. On roller blades! Madness. Pure madness. Though made me feel like a bit of a coward. As he disappeared through a tiny, narrow path between two buses, one where he had to put his blades one in front of the other I saw his arms and legs – bruised, torn and bleeding. Now I see how it all works.

Shoot, almost smashed into a cab door.

Must not lose focus. Must not lose focus.

I still wear my ipod. But now the sounds are at the lowest, just background humming that doesn’t stop me from hearing the traffic. And I wear my glasses. Always. And I have flashing lights. But I still jump lights. And I still go too fast. And I still go past the idiots that are slowing me down and I still cross lanes between two cars in order to find a narrow path, which allows me to go go past the cars that are stuck in traffic.

And one day I will get knocked over.
But until then…lets raise our glasses to the dream of an adrenalin junkie.

christmas magazine

Since I was little I have been a Christmas maniac. If I just get the chance I will prepare hand made Christmas cards and wrap presents individually, all in a different way. I will most likely make the insides of those presents myself as well. If I can only find the time and work space.

So, due to this I always used to get the Christmas magazine. It is a special edition of one of the oldest women’s periodicals in Finland, that comes out a month or so before the special festive season (well what used to be the special festive season, now Christmas tends to start end of September and never be over), well in time for me to absorb every word on those special pages and try out the best ideas and learn about the new Christmas trends.

Yesterday, while having lunch at my desk, yet again, I decided to check when this year’s edition of the precious magazine would be available and how I could be among the first people to receive it in the mail.

I couldn’t. The webpage didn’t allow me to prescribe it. I was excluded from the well selected group of Christmas enthusiasts, who were allowed to get their hands on to the latest season trends and tricks before all the rest of the plebeian.


I contacted customer service. There must be a way.

They told me that I would have to send a special request, by email in order to receive my copy. And I would not be able to participate in the competitions that were available to those ordering online. Then, they would be able to send it to me to my London address, but it would be likely that I would have to wait an extra day or two. I could deal with that.

So first thing this morning I emailed my request.

And now I am waiting.
For two months and eight days or possibly seven if the postal service works efficiently.

Monday, September 22, 2008

vintage shopping

I have been suffering from a serious lack of black boots. Everybody knows that one of the basis for women’s wardrobe is a pair of black boots. And I had none.

On Saturday I forced myself out of bed and into the sunny east London weather. Having very little energy left from the week I decided to rummage through the vintage shops in my neighbourhood. And they are plenty.

Vintage shopping is an art form. I have a friend who masters it to the extreme and is hence always dressed in the funkiest outfits and carries the trendiest looks with hardly any strain to her bank account balance. I, however, am a novice in this domain.

After two hours of work I had made a purchase. Black boots. A cool pair of boots that cost me ¼ of the price of new ones. There would be very little risk that I would meet the same pair in another pair of feet in this city. Excellent.

But now I was all excited about my new achievement. I could not stop.

I took the pair of boots back home and restarted again. Now I knew what I was doing. And only 20minutes later I was the owner of a red or maroon pair of boots, dressy ones, with a high heel. Quality.

Legitimately I also needed a new handbag. Luckily at this point my dehydrated and hungry state and the extreme fatigue that was weighing on my eyelids forced me to go on a search of food.

That very same night, I decided to, against my better judgement (as evidently this did not help my already prevalent zombie state), to attend a party wearing my red boots. And indeed they were noticed.

And as the two pairs only cost me ½ of the price of a non-vintage pair I really had saved money and hence had another ½ to spend. Just guess where you will find me from next weekend?

Friday, September 19, 2008


On my way to work, at the corner of Petticoat lane market there is a fruit stall. Every morning, right after eight o’clock the stall owner smiles behind his table, and often has his wife to keep him company.

You cannot touch the fruits. “Hands off” –signs pop into your view between the various, delicious looking colours. 5 apples for £1. Bunch of bananas, also £1. Rasperries. Grapes. Pears. Strawberries. Avocados. Everything you need or might feel like.

“Oh, no love. Don’t take the nectarines. They are so hard that they will be good to eat on Christmas Eve.”

“Ah, well, the pears are a bit rotten today. I would go for the apples.”

And so I did. Stocked up my desk drawer with fruit supplies.

So I got five apples. For £1. And few extra ones. “Wait love, these were bruised in the van.” The odd apple had a miniscule brown spot, where the sun had touched them, or where they had bumped into another apple on the way. So I got three of them. In addition to the five I bought.

And so I was off.

Turned back to find out if there is any hope to find the couple from that corner during the weekend. There wasn’t. They left weekends for the younger ones and worked only during the week, weather permitting. What ever that means in England where it rains 110% of the time. Shame though. They have the best stuff in the neighbourhood.

“Have a great day love! And be careful with that bike of yours.”

All that for quid. What a bargain. And what a way to start the day.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008


For work I tend to wear high heels. This has caused great amusement among my friends, most of who have never ever seen me in anything but trainers or fliplops or at least definitely not in a suit, shirt and heels.

Today, after lunch I was desperate for proper coffee. There is currently no coffee machine in the office. A detail, which I find highly annoying. Making people work in an office with limited or nonexistent access to nice coffee should be made illegal. Period.

So I grabbed my coat and hopped down two flights of stairs to the street. Luckily my nice coffee vendor is not too far away from the office. Just far away enough for my coffee to have time to cool down to a drinkable temperature while I make the journey back to my desk.

On the way back I got stuck. My heels sunk into the grass between two tiles on the road. I was stuck. With my Americano with some hot, skinny milk in the other hand and my purse in the other I tried to free my shoe from its capturers. My feeble attempt drew the attention of a rather attractive young man, who came to my rescue. How embarrassing.

“Are you ok?” Oh I am perfectly fine. Just stuck.

With a broad smile he helped me out of my miserable situation and let me into the building. After all the front door is rather heavy so one can only imagine what kind of a disaster could be looming around the corner, had I tried to open it myself.

Did I see a shimmer of light through the clouds when my blond prince rode to rescue?

Probably not. But he works in the same building.


Yesterday in the City was blacker than the Black Monday. Tsunami wiped over the financial markets, leaving the sector in turmoil. “5000 jobs axed in the city” the headlines screamed, in the afternoon. There was talk about this being the “beginning of an end”, the “end to an era”, the end of “capitalism as we know it”.

The scene was absurd – worried, even terrified faces everywhere. In line, waiting their turn to pay for groceries, people had their eyes glued on the TV screen, hanging above the tills. News, showing on shop windows made heads turn. The stride from the steps, that usually rush through the busy streets of the City on a weekday, was gone.

Luckily not everybody was taken back by these unexpected news. “I went shopping.” A friend told me. Huh? “Yeah, there was a sale on in the bourse!” I had to laugh. The eternal optimist.

Chuckles. You know how many of my friends still worked at Lehmans? And you are laughing? “Oh, with their £million/yr salaries they do not have to worry about having bread on the table. But it must suck. At least I got out in time.” And then it is cynical and mean call bankers vultures. Or maybe it applies only to ex-bankers. Or the ones in the sidelines. Go figure.

Bets. Who would you put your money on? Who is the next? It will be in London, don’t you think? I decided not to participate, too worried to lose my last pounds, reserved for take away coffee when the rest of my savings were eaten up by inflation.

Somebody told me he had just had his personal revenge – after being turned down by the banks, now in the headlines, he was enjoying a low, but still existing salary. I could say the same. After all I had, when I still believed that I could and would want to make it in the world of high pressure and high wages, gone through the trouble of trying to be recruited by the market leaders (and followers). Not that it ever bothered me that I wasn’t, now even less.

I biked back home through the city, where dark clouds were hanging over the scene. Turned the TV on. Kept it on, happy having had it fixed only a week earlier. Not that I really expected anything groundbreaking to happen. But just in case.

For once, working in the City had become interesting.

Friday, September 12, 2008


Few weeks ago, my sister told me that she had found an excellent new sport – savate. Apparently the weekly working sessions left her finding new muscles, or then it was the old ones reminding about their existence.

Sounded pretty good to me.

I did a little google search and found that there was one, just one, one little one, but one club in London. And they had a nice deal for beginners.

Sounded pretty good to me.

Savate is also known as Boxe-Française. Which obviously means French boxing – kickboxing in reality. It originates from 19th century France and has been described as fencing with the feet and like fencing it emphasises technical ability rather than force. So, in theory it should be just the thing for me – after all there were many French noblemen who excellent in both. Not that I have ever been able to boast on my fencing technique, quite the contrary. I have always relied on my ability to run up and down the piste until my opponent was out of breath and too tired to defend him/herself. But that is all beside the point.

Salut. En guard. Allez. I recognised those at least.

So yesterday, we arrived to the club, got changed and were ready to go. The class started with an announcement about next week’s class. It would not take place. Because the coach, alongside with six other people standing in the room would be participating in the world championships and hence there would be nobody to teach the class.

World championships? Were we really in the right place?

The first our, after warm-up, was technique. I paired up with a world-class boxer who was happy to correct my feeble attempts to imitate the coach’s smooth, controlled and elegant moves. Unfortunately my knee does not, due to numerous sport injuries, go to the point where my leg could be considered to be straight and hence I looked more like a chicken, trying to fly than an elegant boxer.

We decided to stay for the sparring and fitness session that followed. I do not want to imagine what my friend and I looked like, dancing around the ring, desperately trying to not miss each other and not kick at the same time, as this usually resulted our legs getting locked and us being ready to fall on our faces. Luckily the fitness circuit was there to give me my self-confidence back – I don’t want to boast but, well, I was not the one out of breath there.

After the training session we did, as you do in England, move to the pub. You could pick out the competitors as they ordered cordial or lemonade instead of the traditional pint. A good crowd they were.

After biking home I was full of energy and reluctant to go to bed. So today I am tired – a signpost for fatigue. But not too much in pain.

Might have to try again in two weeks. With a mouth guard.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

dance class and some famous people

Last night, halfway into our fusion funk class (fusion funk is a dance that mixes hip hop, locking, popping, jazz and robotics and the class something to which my friend dragged me to as moral support) a random, half-singing guy popped into the studio, bringing everyone to a standstill. He did his little circle around the room, being all cool and stuff, leaving us staring at this madman with our mouths open.

Who was this guy?

His exist was equally random as his entry, but as soon as he had disappeared from the room, one of the girls stopped holding his breath and sighted – “that was Jason, oh my gosh, that was J***!”

J***? Who? J*** who?

Well J*** from NKOTB, obviously. Duh.

New Kids on the Block or NKOTB as it is known was (or is, who knows) a boy band, extremely popular in the late 1980s, early 1990s. And J*** was one of the members. I think. Have forgotten the names by now. Anyway, at the time we all loved them. I remember my mum making me a shirt with their picture on it. And a friend of mine had a little chest in her room, decorated with photos of them. I think she got it as a present and I remember having been a bit jealous.

So, had you then told the 7year old me that one day, when I would be living in London, one of the “boys” would storm into the studio I would have most likely have fainted from cheer excitement, or disbelief. In fact had you then just told me that I would once in my life see them from far far far away would most likely have made me feel I was blessed for life.

But now, when I was standing not even meters away from him I did not know whom the man was but was rather annoyed by the disturbance. And to be honest, I did not feel blessed after his departure. In fact I was equally lost with my steps, my moves were no more convincing and my rhythm far away from the beat as they had been prior to his the appearance. What a disappointment it would have been to the 7year old me…

London life…

Tuesday, September 09, 2008


I have a new bike. Again.

Despite living walking distance from the office, my first week in London made me miss a proper mode of transport. There is the tube, yes. But everybody knows that the only thing it does is eat your time and money. It will not work when you need to get somewhere, it is guaranteed to get stuck at least once during your journey and other than occasional open window it has no ventilation.

Not my cup of tea.

So I got a bike. A second hand one. I was hoping to find a courier bike with one gear only and a light frame but there were none available so I settled for a basic city bike with too many gears to my liking but a sturdy frame and an ugly colour. It looks quite nice, and I am afraid that despite of the chain lock thicker than my wrist it will not remain in my possession for too long but if it does I have a two week period when I can change it to another one if for any reason I decide not to like it and in addition to that, one month of free repair if something goes wrong. I considered this to be a bargain.

To try off my new ride I cycled from mine to Greenwich to go for a run. Didn’t get lost. Wasn’t hit by a car. And nothing fell off my bike. Promising. And less time consuming than the train. And by far more nerve preserving.

Yesterday it was time for the true test – going to work. I decided, as it was not raining (the rare morning in London when it is not wet. Sun would be an exaggeration) to wear my suit for the way. And trainers. In my minds eye I could imagine my brother’s facial expression, had he seen me, when I packed my heels in my bag. Besides, the whole wearing trainers on the way to work is so New York and so pretentious. But so very practical.

I shifted through the city, with my open suit jacket flapping behind me, like Batman’s cape.

12minutes due to unexpected one-way street that forced me to do an extra tour. 15minutes after having closed the front door at home I kicked off my trainers and put my feet into heels.
Not bad at all. For London.


We went to IKEA on Saturday. It is a dangerous place.

The closest IKEA to us is behind two different tube lines and obviously one of them was closed due to maintenance work on the day and we ended up taking two different replacement services before getting to the yellow IKEA shuttle.

Being all organised and prudent, we had made a shopping list. And taken measurements. Kitchen trolley. Bathroom trolley. Spatula. Madres cover. Bin. Another bin. Towel rack. Nothing unnecessary. Nothing expensive. Nothing too heavy.

When dragging three full blue bags and a 20kg brown box to the yellow shuttle cursed the Swedish invention. Red glass things for candles. Candles. (yet I have noticed that there are no matches in our flat and hence the candles are useless) Drying rack for clothes. Some nice linen. Two bins. And a kitchen trolley.

No bathroom trolley. (hence all my toiletries are still all over the floor in my room) and definitely no bookshelves.

By the time we got home we were soaking wet, bruised and exhausted. But this was not enough to tame down our excitement.

And the homebuilding mood carried on till Sunday. I woke up early, having gone to bed at a decent time after a rather late night (or early morning) the previous night and could not wait to attack my old kitchen step thing with red paint and a new brush I had bought the day before but had not yet had a chance to use.

There was no room in our flat for painting so I spread one empty cardboard box out on to the landing, in front of our door in the hallway. And started spreading the off-red layer on to the cleaned wood.

In my pyjamas.

But luckily nobody else in the building was up at that time.

For the moment we are not planning another trip to IKEA. But my steps need a third coat of paint and then it will be ready to be the spot of colour in the flat.

But we are still missing that bathroom trolley.

And I bought another two bottles of shampoo.

Evil IKEA.

Friday, September 05, 2008

the office

I started a new job on Monday. It is my first real job. I am no longer a student working evenings and weekend to earn the money for my rent or an intern, getting work experience during holidays but I have a full time job with a monthly salary and that is it.

Excitement. And confusion.

I am in the office during the day and during the day only. No evenings. No weekends. I honestly am not even sure what this kind of a life should entail. What do people do with all this free time? Not to say I haven’t managed to keep myself occupied.

After my first day at work I was not quite sure what was expected of me. In fact I was totally lost. In my first real re-cap meeting yesterday morning it was obvious that my position had not changed much. It had, if possible gotten worse.

I went back to my desk completely discouraged. Surely there had been at least one word in a right place in that text. Well, there wasn’t. And I was not quite sure how to ensure that there would be. I restarted reading but could not understand most of the terms and concepts used in the text. And time kept running faster and faster and I had no new words on the screen but the word document was equally blank as it had been hours earlier.


I asked for help, but could still not grasp the main points. I could feel tears gather into my eyes. I left my desk to avoid people from seeing I was crying.

I was devastated. I would never learn the job. Surely you should, even at the very beginning at least be going to the right direction and not be at level zero.

Five past five I took my bag and left the office. I could not take it any longer. I walk home regretting ever having moved to London. Four days. I had been living here for four days. Must be a new record.

Today I got thumbs up. Good work I was told. Still not as good as it will have to be but good nevertheless.

I didn’t cry today.

And will come back on Monday.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

across the canal

On Sunday morning my alarm went off after two hours of sweet dreams. I showered, got dressed, checked the apartment to make sure nothing was left behind, picked up the my last bags, went downstairs, dropped the key into the mailbox and walked to the metro.

Train. Sleep. Sadness.

Tube. I collected a new set of keys from a friend who had kindly enough got them the day before after a 24hour rush of collecting documents together.


When I got to the front door, I had only seen once the week before the movers were there already. Sigh.

It did not take too long to carry all the boxes to the empty second floor apartment.


I sat down and looked around.

My new home.

And hour later I had found a supermarket and loaded up with cleaning materials. I got back and found a extra energy reserve from somewhere inside of me. I started scrubbing.

By the time my housemate arrived ten hours later, the kitchen was shining, plates and cups were in the right place and the bathroom smelt fresh and clean.


We have two big bedrooms. I have a real bed. No clic clac sofa bed but a real proper bed. And a wardrobe with mirrors. And a kitchen. With an oven. And a washing machine. And working space. And I dining room table. And a sofa bed for visitors. And big windows.

By the time I made it to bed it was late and I was exhausted. I set the alarm for seven. For my first day at work.


On Friday it was finally time to move. Well I wasn’t going anywhere yet but my possessions were. What a shock and horror that mission was. I had too much stuff. Way way too much stuff. In the process of packing I found things I did not know I owned. I also found out that I own 44 hangers. A rather large number for someone who own five shirts.

Despite the utter desperation I had landed myself in, earlier, all boxes were full and sealed by Friday morning. Excellent. This was especially important since we had a farewell lunch planned with the girls.

After a busy morning of faxing papers for my new place in London I sat down with the girls and a bottle of champagne. Got some food and a bottle of red wine. We were in Paris after all. And a bit more champagne.

I had to rush home. In a slight state of inebriation I got changed into scruffy moving clothes and started running boxes down six flights of stairs. And as it was, everything was waiting, next to the door when the moving van parked on the road. More carrying.

When my meagre possessions were in the back of the van we hopped on to the seats and drove of to my flatmates cave. Well it was not really her cave but a cave where he things were. More carrying. This time up the stairs.

My head started to feel less cloudy as we went on.

Boxes. More boxes. Even more boxes. No hangers. But more boxes.

I felt less bad.

Job well done.

Dinner time.

Given that I had barely recovered from my rather copious and extremely boozy lunch I decided to join the group that was meeting up for food in a nice Madagascar restaurant, not far away from where I lived. And one I had never been to.

The food was good and the wine was plenty.

I returned home late. Very late. To an empty apartment.

How could I leave Paris?

Paris is home.