25 December 2013

My Merry Christmas

So far my christmas holiday has been full of action, love, good food and relaxation. On Wednesday when I landed to Helsinki-Vantaa airport, I had my dear mummy and sister there to pick me up <3 That meant a lot to me, and yes I cried again. It was a wonderful moment to see my two favorite girls again after such a long time apart..
First thing I did when getting home-Ruispalat I have missed you so :-D

AHH! Received these from one of my workmates, Thank You! God I missed Fazer too
The first thing on Thursday I got to do was to wake up at 7am after a 5 hour night of sleep, and I was off to work. Me and my weak mind will someday get me in trouble for being too nice. But it was a nice back-to-reality check from all the "studying" hah.. Im grateful to have such an amazing work place where they always accept me when I come and go. Its such a great situation to have a work place where I have the option to work for part-time when I am available. And also, to have such nice people to work with of course that its always so nice to return!
Friday morning we even had some snow
Tampere shopping-tour; bought myself a new hat
But on friday, after two days of working and very low sleep hours, it was SO nice to know that the next few days I could just sleep, relax and enjoy being home. I still needed to do some christmas shopping, but happily I managed to do all of it during Saturday. For once in god knows how many years I had actually bought/made and wrapped my presies before Christmas Eve.

Yesterday, on Christmas Eve, morning we headed to grandma and grandpa's for morning sauna tradition. After, it was time to enjoy the long waited rice porridge joined with our cousins. There is this tradition that one almond is always hidden to one pot of rice porridge and the one who gets it gets to wish for something and has good luck for the upcoming year. For the past years, I don't remember even one when I would have found that freaking almond from my plate. And I remember always being so upset as my older sister was usually the one who got it. But this year it was proven that miracles do happen- and I found the almond! 

This is when the real Christmas begins 
One of the reasons I love christmas is because of all the traditions around it. After breakfast we drove to the cemetery to light up candles for the memory of the people who are not here anymore to celebrate chirstmas. The "candle sea" for the memory of the lost ones in there is so beautiful. Then back to home to stress about the food. Mum is always under so much pressure(by herself) to make everything in time and perfect that two hours before Mummi and Paappa arrive, you shouldn't be around the kitchen area haha..

Finally after hours of waiting, everyone dressed up nicely, its time to just relax, sit to the table and enjoy each others company and share stories. Our christmas dinner lasts for hours and hours. There is always too much food and the food is amazing of course. This year mum had even made some special vegetarian dishes for me, and they were so yummy I will never want to spent my christmas ianywhere else.
Sisters; youngest, middle and oldest; tallest, middle and shortest
Where is the food?!
Oh, there it is 

The evening continues with gift exchanging and intense board game tournaments. This year Santa didn't come to our home as he had so many other houses with smaller children to visit but it was ok ;-) Either way, I received so many amazing gifts - I wasn't expecting anything at all but I guess I had been very kind! I love them all, and they were all very useful.

Today, as soon as I got myself up it was time to head to our cousins home to eat some more and also to see my precious goddaughter. She is so big already!
Me is hungry - give me some cake!
Now I will go and eat some more, maybe watch a movie and have an early night in. Tomorrow I will go to my grandparents and bake some Finnish goodies(korvapuusteja) for them to enjoy when I'm away again.
Merry Christmas from the ladies of the family <3

16 December 2013

Gingerbread House Making

Last week one evening I had the best fun ever. We decided that we want to make gingerbread houses to lift up our christmas mood. As in the Netherlands they don't know the concept of christmas correctly, they really don't sell gingerbread dough anywhere, let alone ready-made gingerbread houses. So we had to improvise. 

At Albert Hijn(local supermarket) we looked around and considered what could be a good base for the house. Stroopwaffles were too heavy and cookies too thick. Then we found these waffles cookies - a perfect building material for the houses. For decorations it started out as "we only need a few things" but suddenly let to a insane gathering of all sorts of cute and colorful and cool candy. In the end, we spent 30 euros altogether for the waffles and decorations. In addition to that, we had three different color of decoration marzipan, #noshame.

I think we spent like around 3 hours making our beautiful houses, and even though we received some very suspicious looks and words from some of our hall mates we did finish them. And we did good. The outcome od our houses is amazeballs in my opinion. We made them from scratch without gingerbread and any molds to shape them. 

The on made by me is more of a modest and simple design. My plot features a simple house with two toned roof, a red bow to give it a festive feeling, a frozen pool and forest with a wild pig. The house is owned by a retired albino christmas elf. 

Amyrats house is more creative and dimensional. It includes a sick slide to a pond, a huge snowman  and so many pigs. Pigs rule the house.
Happy gingerbread house makers with Meeko sweaters

December so far

Christmas is so near! Only two more days and I will be on my way to Finland. Craazy! I couldn't be more excited about wednesday. Also, it turned out that one of my friends living in here is also flying to Helsinki on wednesday and we are on the same flight! So I even have company for the way back. 
Thanks mumsie for sending me this
Still, before I can leave Groningen for two week, there will be at least a group presentation, a lot of other school work and stressing about packing. Kind of panicking if I will manage to do everything in two days. December has gone by faster than I thought. I was waiting for christmas and visiting home so much, that I thought that the next 18 days would be the longest ones ever. But for once, a lot of schoolwork has been for my favor. Only 2 more lids to open from my Fazer christmas calendar!

Snowing at last in Groningen
Last week I was working on getting christmas gifts sorted, and happily I managed to buy most of them or at least I know what I would want to buy.

On Saturday we visited Bremen for the christmas market. 7 hours in Bremen consisted of glühwein(yuck), awesome carousel ride, medieval christmas market and a visit to Primark. I managed to do some christmas shopping, but not as much as I hoped... My plan was to visit Amsterdam yesterday, but I kind of slept in and suddenly it was four o'clock in the afternoon. Oh well, I just have to be very productive and get things done in Tampere. As last week I got a message asking weather I would like to work for a couple of days during my stay in Finland.. And knowing me, of course I accepted the offer. So five days of my 2 week holiday will be spent at work.

Today I basically have a day off from school, but I still need to finish one presentation and then in the evening is our last floorball practice. 

10 December 2013

Exploring Holland: Day in Den Haag

On Saturday it was time to do a little day trip again. I have had so much going on at school and everything so I feel like I haven't had time or energy to travel around.. There are still some places to see before I am ready to return to Finland!
Local Politie? 

Our ambitious plan was to catch a 9am train as it takes like three hours to get from Groningen to Den Haag. Surprisingly(knowing my sleeping preferences..) we left the house at 9:30 and made it to 10:46 train. By that we arrived a little late, around two o'clock and actually got to spend only a few hours in there as we had plans for the evening in Groningen. Once again, we had no plan whatsoever on what to do, see or experience in there so we just wandered around the center.

At some point we realized we hadn't eaten at all and at least my stomach was feeling very angry at me. So we headed to find a place to eat. Out of all the restaurants, we chose the slowest one in town when it comes to service but the location was nice, a great place for people-watching ;-)

I had somewhat high expectation for Den Haag. I don't even know where or from whom I had gotten my image for the town, but it was totally different what I thought. Maybe we should have done a little more research on what to do, but for now I can only say that it was a nice trip but probably we could have spent the day way more efficiently. I had fun though, we made some new friends (Russian tourists) and it was a nice getaway for a day. Maybe not totally worth the 6 hours traveling by train.. I really don't have anything to say about the town, soo maybe I will just end it here. Next weekend we are heading to Germany and maybe also to Maastricht or some other place in Holland, so hopefully a little more enthusiastic report on those ones.

6 December 2013

Happy Independence Day to Finland

On Wednesday evening at a group meeting we were scheduling our next meeting and one of the group members mentioned that on Thursday it would be a very bad weather so maybe we shouldn't meet then. I didn't think that it would be anything too bad, a little more wind and rain, maybe even snow. But on Thursday as I woke up, it was raining like no other, the wind was super fast and the weather did not look very tempting.. So i was more than happy to stay in. 

In the evening, we were so bored and Amyra asked if I would like to go see the new Hunger Games movie. And so we did. It took me a while to get into the whole HG hype. During the time the first movie came out, I watched it online and was expecting a lot as everyone was talking about it so much. After the horrible 1,5 hours I was not convinced - how can someone be so excited about a movie where people are kept in a trap underground eating each other.. Not until a few weeks ago I realized that the movie I had seen was not what I thought it was. Instead of Hunger Games I had watched Hunger 

Right after that relatively embarrassing realization I made amends and gave over two hours of my precious time for the actual Hunger Games. And let me tell ya all - totally worth it! Usually I am not that into the whole action-figthing-guns-and-fire type of thing on movies(openly sucker for romantic movies), but this time it didn't bother me at all. I was immediately hungry for the second part ;-)

So, yesterday I Finally got to see The Hunger Games: Catching Fire. I had heard somewhat a lot bad things about the movie, that the ending was not good at all, and there would be too much of the battlefield bit. But for me, that was not a problem at all. I think it was a perfect continuum for the first part and left anticipation and excitement for the third part. I even cried, twice. Also, How gorgeous is Jennifer Lawrence?!

Our way home from the city was not so romantic then again. The storm had come even worse, the wind was gusty and it was even hailing. But as soon as we got back to Korno, it started SNOWING! We witnessed the first snow raining down, and it was a happy moment have to say. This morning as I woke up and looked out and down, I was so happy to see a thin, white layer on top of the grey ground.

It took me a loong time to write this post as at the same time I am sticking into my traditions and watching the handshake-event this time from Tampere. #Linnanjuhlat I mean.

5 December 2013

Sleepless Nights

I don't feel like sleeping, so #bloggingtime.

I have had a pretty tight schedule at school for a few weeks now and will probably have until christmas and then in January again. I don't have any exams in January, so that means a lot of homework and other (group) assignments.

Tomorrow luckily I get to enjoy a day off from uni, or at least from Zernike as one meeting got rescheduled for next tuesday. That doesn't mean that its going to be a lazy day - just made a to-do list of twelve points. Time to be productive. Apparently some storm is hitting Groningen again, so I am glad to just stay inside and deal with all the boring stuff, maybe light up some candles and enjoy the winter.

Have to start thinking about christmas present also. It is always as hard to thing about good gifts to give for your loved ones.. Something useful but not boring, meaningful but not too over-the-top. Hopefully Groningen has some sweet things to offer on that area. Next weekend I really want to go somewhere, The Hague or Utrecht maybe, so that might be a good opportunity for some gift hunting. On the 14th we are also going to Bremen for a christmas market, and then on 18th I am already flying back to Helsinki!

Thanksgiving dinner ....
Yesterday I started to pack for christmas. As in packed my summer clothes and stuff that I really won't be needing anymore. And oh my.. It feels like there is as much clothes and stuff in my room as before packing. I honestly do not know how I will empty this room. Stressful. I guess I have to add another dash point to my list: find out the rates for sending moving boxes to Finland.

Christmas lights

1 December 2013

Exploring Germany: Frankfurt and Heidelberg

Lastly but certainly not the least, I was headed to Frankfurt. At Frankfurt central station my mum was waiting for me in front of my platform and I was sooooo happy to see her <3 I didn't want to cry but I would be lying if I said no tears of happiness were unleashed(:-D).

Once again we got acquainted with the chinese block while we walked to our hotel. Mum had arrived earlier than me, so she already had checked in and knew the route to the hotel. We had a really nice room with, once again, a corgeous view. Those hotel sheets and fluffy beds were so heavenly! 

Even though I was so tired from everything, we headed to the city to walk around a little bit. Our hotel was close to the Main River, and the surrounding were beautiful with the autumn leaves on the ground. I wasn't really up for shopping, but we walked trough a few stores trying to find something for father's day. And once again, I tried my luck in one store to find the Alexander Wang bag.. No luck for me this time either! The city area of Frankfurt was kind of odd - there were some old building with the traditional german design but then again a lot of new, modern high-rise buildings. In the evening we had a nice dinner at a restaurant on the other side of the river. The place was called 36 grad and I must say, it was a really pleasant experience. It looked very youthful in a good way, the menu was awesome and the decorations of the place were fab! I wish I had more pics from there, but it was so dark that it was practically impossible to take good pics. The restaurant was full the whole evening and the atmosphere was relaxed yet fancy, so a great location for a dinner or get together with friends.

mamma <3

As I arrived to Frankfurt on Friday and we had basically seen the "important" things in there already during the first day, on Saturday we decided to do a little day trip to a city near called Heidelberg. Mom had got some recommendations on visiting there and I also had one extra day in my InterRail ticket so it was perfect. We took breakfast with us from a cafe at the Chinese block and took a train there.

In Heidelberg we headed straight to the old town, as that is basically the only thing worth seeing I guess. And it was the cutest place. The old town area was quite big so it took a while to walk around it. There was so much to see, so many cute buildings, stores and cafes. The best part of the day however was the castle. Located uphill from the city, there was this gorgeous castle with the most amazing view. There were even people fencing in the yard of one of the buildings, haha.

Across the river there would have been some sort of a philosophy path, but we decided not to go there after all. We did some shopping, tried to find souvenirs and had sushi for lunch. After wandering around enough we literally run to catch the train -which was late of course. 

The next day was time to say farewell to mummy. We went for a morning walk by the river, checked out and headed to the train station. I felt so sad to leave her again for another two months and even writing this makes me miss her and all my family so much.. But I was also happy to start my travel back to Groningen, even though it was a long one. I had my backpack full of finish treats(Pätkiksiä, joulusuklaata, Marianneja...) also, so that comforted me a little ;-)

Oh yeah, and there was a marathon in Frankfurt that Sunday so the station was filled with runners getting ready and loading their carbs :-D