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

Monday, October 27, 2008

insignificant errors

At my job I am supposed to write up to date economic analysis. Unfortunately the best of us make mistakes sometimes.

Amidst the current economic and financial turmoil data has been showing a significant downward trend in every statistic in every possible economy. Well except inflation of course, which still remains high or higher than desired in many places.

Today yet another negative news was released about one of the countries I am covering. This time it was a rating made by an international rating agency about one of its credit ratings. The drop was not a cause for major concern but the downward revision from positive to stable was still unfortunate.

However, in my report I changed the matters slightly. While I have my statuses correct the prepositions in front of them swapped places. Suddenly the global mayhem was improving ratings. Excellent. Just what we need.

I soon enough noticed my mistake and moved the prepositions to their respective places. However, I was tempted to leave them as they were. This might not show me possessing strong occupational ethics but would provide a much needed uplift to the gloomy atmosphere so very prevalent currently.

Besides, the novelty of this whole chaos has worn out long ago – want something new to write about. So why not give it a little kick to the right direction?

my weekly mission

As I have become the cook in our East-London mansion I tend to be responsible also for making sure that the necessary ingredients can be found from the cupboards. Filling the fridge has become one of my weekly pleasures. I never leave to the grocery mission unprepared and hence on Saturday I again made sure I had made a mental note of all the things my recipe required as well as any other items that might be missing from our household. I put two shopping bags into my bag back and started my quest.

After a 15minte walk I had reached the supermarket. I chose a small trolley as believed this to be sufficient for my needs and entered through the automatic double door.

In the fruit and vegetable section I suffered from a brief moment of disbelief – no carrots left! Luckily a little detective work revealed a second box full of bright orange vegetables under the empty one. Relief.

I turned around, back to my trolley, put my carrots next to the bananas and moved on. A bag. An extra bag. There was a nice bag, that was not mine, hanging from my trolley. It was not my trolley. Somebody had taken my trolley. I looked around frantically. I soon spotted a girl going towards the meet section, to which I was also heading, with a small trolley with vegetables in it. A rather familiar selection even. I rushed after her and politely asked if she owned a recyclable shopping bag. She looked at my trolley. She then looked at her trolley that actually was my trolley and started laughing. We had picked the exact same things, which then had led to the confusion. We swapped trolleys and continued our respective tours of the supermarket.

Another crisis was avoided.

I had to remember to pick up toilet paper. It is an item I tend to forget and then I have to go to one of the close by mini-markets. I stood in front of the shelves and tried to make up my mind. In fact I had to decide between pale blue-, peach- and pink coloured paper. After many minutes of wondering and pondering I chose the peach one. Should match the blue in our bathroom well enough.

One step closer to completion.

When the last item had been placed into the little trolley I moved towards the check out. The lady behind the till was very pleased when I said I had my own bags and would thus not be needing their plastic ones.

Loyalty card for the points that can then later be turned into pounds. Last week I got £5 pounds off my bill just because of that, which allowed me to get few extra treats. Definitely worth it.

Wobbling back home took me a bit longer due to the heavy load I had on my back and over my shoulders.


Mission accomplished until next weekend.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008


I had my first ever track training session last night. The journey to the stadium looked simple enough so I hopped on my bike and started pedalling. Unfortunately my sense of direction or the lack of it and few road works ensured that I got totally and utterly lost and suddenly the 12km distance turned into something a lot longer.

When I finally locked my bike in front of the track the others were already stretching their legs and ready to go. Luckily the cycling had warmed my muscles so I could join them for the torture.

2min30sec. Hard effort. 3min30sec. 4min30sec. 5min30sec. 4min30sec… And a 90sec break in between. Around. And around. And around.

My heart was pounding and I needed the break to catch my breath.

My legs are not used to being pushed beyond their comfort zone and my muscles were expressing their serious dissatisfaction to this exercise.

Last lap. 81sec. Too slow.

My head was spinning – the endorphin rush almost beat that of a post-marathon high. I felt fantastic.

4laps to cool down. Back on the bike.

I got home buzzing. (This time I did not get lost) And annoyed. All that mileage and time wasted on unstructured training. Luckily my peak should still be ahead of me so it is not all lost.

And next week…all laps sub 80.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

breakup drama

Last weekend I had an extended lunch with a friend of mine who had recently broken up with her very long-term boyfriend. She is my age and had been planning the future based on the relationship and was devastated by the fact that she, again, after years of coupled-life found herself from the world of singletons.

There are times that accommodate single life well. Student life. Summer. And there are times that are extremely unfriendly towards unitary living. Winter. New job. Coming home from yet another day in the office or at the work place where you have put all your energy into learning, understanding and looking enthusiastic is not the point at which you want to go out and meet new people and socialise. No. You need someone who wants to listen to your thoughts or go for a walk or alternatively you just feel like curling under a duvet with a good book. But the problem there is that the more nights you spend with your book the more nights there are when you don’t go out and meet new people and the more the days move towards winter and the colder it gets and the more you need to spend money on your electricity bill and the less you have left over for social activities – it is a catch22 really.

But what is the alternative? A bar? A sports club? A date? Another first date spent talking about yourself, your hobbies, the things you like, the things you don’t like and wondering whether this person is even remotely interested in you or whether you can be bothered to leave that book for him another time. And usually you don’t. And you try again. Or hope that someone will notice you and ask you out so that you can try again.

I tried to convince my friend with the positives of single-life. Freedom. Independence.

“So I can freely choose where I want to go travelling alone and which film I want to go and see alone and in which group I am the third wheel or the outnumbered fifth person?”

Yes. That’s it.

I wasn’t doing a too good of a job.

“Besides, guys who are still single at our age – there must be something wrong with them. Surely. All the good ones are taken already.”

I know.

And the girls at our age?

After a number of hours, several coffees and apple crumble with ice cream we asked for the bill and left the restaurant. We decided to stop at he famous Notting hill travel bookstore (Yes the one in the movie. And yes it is lame. But it is a fantastic store.). Maybe there, amidst the beautiful photos of warm places we would meet the last lonely (or two of them ideally) singleton traveller who would be willing to keep us warm over the fast approaching festive season.

We didn’t.

So we left. Said good-bye and started pedalling to our respective directions. To spend another Saturday night. At home. With a book. Under a duvet.

Monday, October 13, 2008

rolling to a party

We had decided to celebrate our grand mansion and invite few friends over for a party. However, with other halves and what have you a handful of acquaintances soon turns into a large crowd. To a point where we were slightly worried that we might just have to allocate people 30sec or 1minutes slots in our spacious living room.

I had spent several days and possibly even weeks planning the food and drinks. I had eventually compiled a set of five savoury snacks and two sweet ones, served with an autumn punch.

In the morning we did a hike to the supermarket. Unfortunately I had not quite thought true the logistics of it all and by the time we were back home my back was killing me and my arms were twice their original length. However, it was comforting to find out that even with the rising food prices you could still acquire that amount of goodies with a rather low budget.

Seven hours later it was all done and set up but I was exhausted.

My first task was meatballs. In fact 177 of them. I had decided to make two types – spicy chilli-onion ones and more Mediterranean style garlic-basil ones. So I rolled, I rolled, I rolled and in between rolling moved ready ones out of the oven and placed new ones in. Without burning myself. And continued rolling.

More rolling – with zucchini rolls. Fill. Roll. Fill. Roll. Fill. Roll.

Chopping – carrots, cucumber, celery, peppers.

My mum’s apple cake was to serve as a desert and, as I later found out, that turned to be one of the greatest successes.

Three types of breads.


Shower and done. Almost. As I was putting on my make-up I noticed that there was a cut in my face. Where from? I had no idea. But there was no way to cover it. Shoot.

And I was done. In every sense of the word. We opened a bottle of red wine to start the evening and soon I found myself joyously bubbly and soon very sleepy.

But I think the party was a success. Food was gone, bottles (that we had not bought) empty, punch bowl sucked dry and the flat a controlled chaos.

And today, I had the last meatballs for lunch.


I have, somewhere down the line, inherited a liking to funky chairs. However, I haven’t yet had the opportunity to act on the desire to be the owner of the most random collection of chairs.

On Friday night, we were walking to the buss stop from a party. The arms of a clock had passed midnight and the streets of Holloway were empty. We saw a lamp next to a bin. And a chair. We stopped. Looked. Watched. Examined and pondered. The lamp would definitely come in handy. And it looked like it would work. We picked it up and continued walking.

I stopped.

I could not just leave the chair there. After all it was a Danish butterfly.

I ran back and crabbed the chair.

After the first bus ride we had to change busses to get all the way home. At the bus stop I placed the chair on to the ground and sat down. I was still recovering from a massive flu I had been suffering from and was feeling rather weak and tired, despite having had nothing but diet coke the whole night. Bu obviously the other people at the bus stop in Angel had had something stronger than water in their glasses.

“Cool chair. Must come in handy”, someone told me. I agreed with him and explained that I never leave my house without my chair, because you never know when you might need a seat. The boy looked at me with a peculiar face but due to the multiplicity of creatures found in London, well, I think he believed me.

Eventually the novelty of waiting for the bus and the attention wore off and we hailed down a taxi. After all we weren’t that far away from home and the few extra pounds would be paid back in extended sleep.

I picked up the chair and placed it in front of me in the taxi. The lamp fitted perfectly between us on the seat.

When I woke up on Saturday morning the chair welcomed me on the landing. Exactly where I had left it the night before. Slightly scratched but with a lot of potential.
And as you might have guessed…I am painting it red.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008


As a daughter of an architect and granddaughter of a seamstress, with a great uncle in interior decorating home building and decoration should be a no-brainer to me. Unfortunately, this is where my genes have failed me.
When I move to a new apartment I go through a sudden outburst of nestling. I empty my bags and boxes as quickly as possible and scrub and clean the whole place from top to the bottom. Usually, during the first week I manage to make one or several trips to IKEA where the most random items attach themselves to my shopping bag.
Unfortunately this tends to be a passing phase and within days, if not hours I will have forgotten I have a new place, which should be made nice and presentable. Instead I will be horrified by cutter and stuff. I realise that in no time I will have to pack up everything again and at that point it is best not to own anything that could maybe and possibly be considered unnecessary and even the necessary items are a hassle. And with my lifestyle of action packed hours, I hardly ever spend any time at home anyway. So who cares what the place looks like?
My mother.
She phoned me the other day, again, to ask about curtains. I had been, since my move, promising to send her measurements and pictures of the apartment. I have no photos and do not own a measuring tape and – to really be quite honest, had forgotten the whole measuring thing. She also asked me about linen. Well I do have two sets. The other one might be something I got at the age of eleven, with bumblebees on it, but it works. Well, it works as long as I don’t have nightly visitors, at which point it might be slightly embarrassing. Plates and mugs I have several but I tend to use only the one that is next to the sink, having been left there after the latest wash. The others stay in the cupboard. I also own one bath towel and as long as I wash it between two showers it seems to be sufficient.
Or that is what I thought.
But I was proved wrong.
Yet again. After having argumentatively convinced my mother that I would not need a matt in my bedroom she got me one for the bathroom. And I must admit that it is rather nice to step out of the shower onto something else than a cold cold floor.

Monday, October 06, 2008


I don’t go to church. Ever. Well I do when somebody gets married or one of my friends organises a christening for their children or the latest addition to the list of many but for the rest, I never go.

Yesterday I was feeling miserable. Absolutely rubbish. There was no apparent reason to my gloomy mood but that just made things even worse because not only was I unhappy but I also could not figure out how to make myself happy.

After having spent most of the day feeling sorry for myself and eating chocolate, which made me even worse and then this meant I had more chocolate to comfort myself and that obviously made me feel even worse as I already felt like I had had too much chocolate. I was bored. I had nothing to do. I had nowhere to go to. I had no one to talk to. To break this self-destructive cycle I decided to bike to the Finnish marine church to increase the number of books waiting next to my bed to be read. Maybe I would even get some dinner there. If they had something nice. Or buy few more sweets. At least Finnish chocolate is better than the English one.

I got there just as they had started their evening service. In order not to disturb I quietly climbed upstairs. I sat in the corner and read my book (in French). At the background I had a constant humming of prayers and what ever went on with the ceremony. As the Finnish church is a Lutheran church there was no loud clapping, dancing, shouting, speaking in tongues or any other form of worship so prominent in other places. No. It was all quiet and reserved.

I heard the piano tamper familiar notes and soon a handful of voices started to sing a familiar hymn. I knew that. We used to sing it in primary school, in the choir…”siunaa koko maailmaa/isä, siunaa koko maailmaa”. I could picture the big sports hall, full of kids, a piano in the corner and us, the choir, in the front.

I smiled.

I think I hummed.

I got back to my reading.

Before leaving I bought few sweets. I just had to. And spoke some Finnish. I think. Though it might have been in English as I think someone addressed me in English with a Finnish accent. Anyway. I think I spoke some Finnish. It definitely was not French. My book was in French.

When I got back home I felt a lot better. To a point where I managed to get myself out into the darkness and cold (the rain had stopped while I was choosing books at the Church library) for a long run. It wasn’t really the song that did it. It was the familiarity of it all.

At the same time it made me feel worse. The song was just a memory. A part of history. It was as if I was trying to hold on to something that I used to have, but had lost.

But still, while I am trying to figure out if I could ever belong to this city I hold on to every occasions to speak French, read detective stories that take me to the roads and bars of Turku and wonder where to go next.


I am haunted by beetroot.

After my return to the UK I rediscovered pickled beetroot. For less than a pound I can get a huge jar of beetroots in vinegar. And they are delicious. But the problem is that it is something I get cravings for. I have never been able to explain to myself where this weird desire to eat pickled beetroot or cucumber comes from but it is a very stubborn desire. So now every time I do my grocery shopping I buy a jar and it will no doubt last for at most two meals.

But this is not it. Now the silly red vegetable is following me everywhere.

I went to the country with my friend a week or so ago and on the way we stopped at the super market to get salad ingredients for our pretentiously healthy dinner. While I was picking up lettuce he popped something into the basket – beetroots. Ok. Ok. Ready cooked beetroots are a good thing to put into the salad. Why not.

Last week I ended up eating my Friday’s lunch for Thursday’s second dinner (I was hungry) so on Friday I had to march to the shop to get a take a way lunch. And the only nice looking salad I found was – with beetroot. On the way back I stopped at my usual coffee place and while waiting for my Americano with some hot skinny milk I noticed their new autumn drink – carrot and ginger with…beetroot.

Last Saturday I went out for a nice meal to a rather fancy restaurant. Sigh. No beetroot. Not in any of their dishes. I had managed to escape the haunting red root vegetable. While we were concentrating on the delicious sounding dishes on the menu our waiter (French – what a pleasure) brought us little nibbles to start with – a ball with mozzarella, chorizo stick, foie gras mousse…and BEETROOT with goat cheese.

I must admit it was a good combination though.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

economics and economists

I have never bothered too much about economics. Well yes, admittedly it has been my major in both of my degrees, and I now earn my living pretending to be a professional practitioner of the subject but even still, my regards to this particular section of social sciences has never been extremely high.

Economists have a well-known record for having correctly predicted nine out of the past five economic/financial crisis. And as far as I know, nobody realised that the current one was on its way, before it hit the world’s largest economies like a tsunami. (well there was that one bearded one, but he was never really an economist – Marx I think he was called)

So far I have failed to understand what economists have done correctly. We have indeed managed to not find a solution for world poverty and underdevelopment. And our models work only in theory if even then, but have hardly any relevance in the real world. To be honest, I did briefly consider building a formula, based on which I would do my forecasts but then, realising that I struggle calculating year-on-year percentage changes I thought a multivariable model with more signs than the common, primary school plus and minus would just confuse me more than anything. And that obviously, would be nothing but waste of my precious time.

The best brains in my profession gather to the ECB, the Fed and the World Bank. These brilliant minds coming from the most highly rated schools in the world, combine their knowledge in order to sort out the mess, uneducated, non-economists have caused in the world. Well one of them has now decided to come down from the ivory tower and share its wisdom to the men of the streets. We, the economists, believe that our intellectual capacity if far beyond that of the average trotter, but the kind intellectuals of the ECB have thus decided to put the complicated concepts of economics into a model that even a child can understand. However, as I watched the blue inflation monster struggle in its jar, in which the ECB economists kept it captive, desperately trying to get out to the free economy where it would be able to eat people’s salaries I started to worry – but then again, who am I to judge? A novice should never criticise his/her superiors.

But if you would like to learn about the inflation monster, go and check the film at
http://www.ecb.int/ecb/educational/pricestab/html/index.en.html it is hilarious.
I also recommend http://www.oxfamblogs.org/fp2p/?p=50 puts things into perspective.