perjantai 2. maaliskuuta 2018

Freezing In Avignon

Did you know that the South of France has this special sort of wind called Mistral? The name stands for masterly in the Occitan language of the southern France. Masterly it indeed is and during winter it feels as if it could rip the flesh off of your bones. The thing is that the French houses handle very badly cold temperatures so it's been quite a quest to battle the cold also indoors. Our batteries work  rather well but, thanks to nonexistent isolations, we are basically just heating the street and the birds sitting on the roof. The walls and tile floors are also stone cold. Quite a culture shock for a Finn who is used to be able to wear sleeveless shirts in the house regardless of the weather! Well, luckily as soon as these cold air masses from Siberia are gone the spring will be here in no time.

Despite of the record-breaking cold temperature (negative degrees almost never happen in the south) we decided to have a little stroll around our dear Avignon. To be honest, we were desperate to get out of the house as the whole last week Q was bedridden thanks to influenza. With our woolen hats, socks and mittens we were ready to face the last of the winter winds.

Ps. Both of our knitted hats are my recent creations to keep our heads warm against the unexpected freezing weather!

keskiviikko 21. helmikuuta 2018

About Languages, Feelings & Personalities

I'm a firm believer in that we are not exactly the same person in every language we speak. Or more precisely, each language makes us express ourselves in a different manner. The change can be mild or rather dramatic. I think these different 'personas' are all part of our true self, but speaking a specific language can give us the means to express certain sides of ourselves that are otherwise left in the shade. Do you recognize this phenomenon in yourself?

I have studied many languages in my life, but what I'm left with is Finnish, English, French and Japanese. Finnish being my mother tongue I have a special relation with it and I do think that I'm my most authentic self speaking Finnish. Everything expressed in my mother tongue impacts me much more strongly than in any other language. You can insult me in horrible ways in English and even more in French and it will not touch me. Do the same in Finnish and I cry my eyes out. In other words, things seem less real to me when expressed in an other language than Finnish. For this I am much more open and confident when speaking English. It's a language which for me represents the liberation from the chains of my shy mother tongue. Even though I am my most true self in Finnish, it doesn't mean that I would always want to be that way. I love how Finnish makes me feel so deeply, but sometimes it's nice to embrace other sides of my personality. English is also the language that opens up the world for Finns and which is why for me it's the true lingua franca (even if the French like to strongly disagree). This is also the reason why I write this blog in English even though I make many grammar mistakes. The most important thing is anyway that everybody understands more or less what I'm talking about. 

Well, how about French language then? How does it make me feel? Since I started learning it I have understood that not all languages are made to make us feel something. I would go as far as saying that some just don't fit us at all. For example: I have studied 8 years Swedish, but it never made me feel anything and nowadays I have forgotten everything I ever learned. I think each person has a set of languages that make them feel what I call a language flow. I feel this flow when I speak Japanese, Finnish, English or when I hear Italian (I wanna learn it!), but 

To be honest, I thought that by improving my skills, living in the country and everything I would eventually get accustomed to it, that French would somehow naturally become my language. At first I thought that the problem was being obliged to learn it. This explanation doesn't make any sense though as in Japan I was also put into a very tight situation to learn fast and I still love Japanese. It's strange, but I feel as if French was some sort of manual skill that I have mastered in order to survive, but which includes no passionate feelings of any kind. My mouth moves, but the language feels insufficient to expresse truly any side of my character. What is even more confusing is the fact that despite of my indifferent feelings, French has started to invade the communication between Q and I. More and more English words in our sentences are being replaced by their French counterparts. We have been joking that we speak now like the 19 th century Russian aristocrats in the BBC's adaptation of the novel War and Peace. So, I have no tender feelings for French, but I'm anyway casually starting to replace English with it. I'm even constantly complaining about how fed up I'm with studying it. This situation is interesting for a couple of reasons: will Q and I eventually switch from English to French? If yes, will we be the same personality-wise? Got to remember that we got to know each other in English. Surely he is himself happy speaking his mother tongue, but I can't help but to notice myself thinking as he switches back to English: ahh, there he is!

I find this topic so fascinating that I could just go on and on about it. What are your thoughts on languages' impact on how we express ourselves? Share your experience!

torstai 8. helmikuuta 2018

Finished My First Knitted Cardigan!

There it is...I don't know what made me fine with starting such a huge project, but I'm glad I did. I had been eyeing a cardigan pattern in the winter 2017 Novita magazine, but was hesitant to order 80 euros' worth of yarn from Finland. Despite of the temptation, I didn't make my move. While I hesitated, the universe found once again a way to bring me exactly what I needed: my mother-in-law found 20 skeins of yarn for 25 euros at a yard sale! The yarn was the perfect match for my project in terms of both colour and consistency (57% wool, 25% viscose and 18% alpaca). After having obtained the needed materials, I was so excited to start my cardigan-project and the thought of owning such a beautiful hand made garment kept me going until the end. I'm so happy that it turned out exactly as I had imagined. It's funny how confident and untouchable a self made cardigan can make me feel: I'm comfortably wrapped in the results of my own hard work.

Now I'm of course ready for my Novita spring edition as I have developed something of a knitting addiction! I will be focusing more on sewing though for the moment as Santa Claus brought me my first own sewing machine and I'm itching to play with it. I bought yesterday some amazing fabrics at the Mondial Tissus' sales and I'm brainstorming what to make with them.

P.S. I wrote about my cardigan project previously here.

torstai 1. helmikuuta 2018

Overwhelm // White Fingers // Sick Manu


I just came home from school and the first thing I did was make some good coffee. Now I'm lying on the couch wrapped up in blankets and cardigans with a hot water bottle behind my stiff neck. It's another one of those chilly, rainy and humid days that are so common during the provencal winter. I have almost finished my second week of the second semester and I'm little by little getting used to our new, much bigger, group. Instead of five students we are now over twenty, which has both pros and cons. It's great to have more people since we can have more interesting conversations in the class and I can learn from their way of speaking, questions and mistakes. On the other hand, me being an HSP, I have been suffering from overstimulation during these past few weeks which has unfortunately triggered some stress and anxiety issues. My neck is stiff from all the tension which has accumulated within my shoulders. The stress has also triggered something that never before happened to me: since one week the tip of my index finger has become occasionally completely white (meaning that there's a problem with the blood circulation). Well, this scared the shit out of me since it happened again today and I wondered already what sort of horrible disease I have...but after some googling I found out that the phenomen is called raynaud's syndrome and it's in most cases harmless. Apparently it can be triggered by emotional stress so I'm just going to try to chill and we'll see if it happens again. I know from experience that in a few more weeks the overstimulation will disappear.

Something else that has added to our worries recently has been our little Manu, who stopped eating four days ago. He came home from his outdoor adventures and he just seemed more tired than usually. We thought that he was simply in the need of a good rest, but he kept looking so miserable and then lost interest in food altogether. Thinking that he had maybe worms we gave him some medicine, but during the  night he started vomiting. Yesterday we took him to the vet and she thankfully didn't find anything seriously wrong with him. No fever, no intestinal infections. According to the vet, it's some virus that just needs to run its course. She gave him two injections to stop the vomiting and he's to our relief feeling much better today. He is able to eat some tuna which has given him lots of strength back.

As it's the 1st of February I might as well tell you how my New Year's resolutions are going. Or at least how the getting fit-part has progressed so far. I have first of all drastically reduced my wine consumption and now even my parents-in-law know not to propose it at every dinner. Even when they do, I just take the tiniest bit to taste and that's it. I have also kept my diet overall very clean. Lots of fruits and vegetables, full grains and lean meat. As exercise I have been walking and doing yoga which is great for slowly strengthening my whole body without hurting my joints. I found on youtube a 30-day yoga journey which I have been enjoying very much. Each practice is between 20-35 minutes long which has allowed me to do it first thing in the morning. The only problem has been lying down close to the cold floor on top of my yoga mat at 6 am on a dark winter morning...but I read somewhere that yoga makes you so mentally strong since it teaches to sit in the pain. To feel the pain and be fine with it. Hmmm, that's a good lesson for me!

Happy Thursday to everyone. And well, even if it sucks it's anyway almost Friday. We have plans to spend tomorrow evening with some great people so at least that should relax me!

keskiviikko 24. tammikuuta 2018

Photo Diary // Saignon

Q and I are both lucky to have our wednesdays off so we usually try to make a little afternoon trip together. Today we were itching to get a chance to drive our new car which we were finally able to purchase a few days back. Our old skoda which Q had had for 13 years was really starting to act up: we couldn't lock the doors, one window was permanently stuck (very nice during the grueling summer heat) and it most likely wouldn't have passed the next technical control. I can say that it feels so luxurious to be able to open all the windows and not be constantly wondering if we'll make it from point A to B.

So, we were fine to go just anywhere as long as we could drive there. We took the direction of Apt as I had never been there. Once arrived, we came very rapidly to the conclusion that Apt wasn't going to be that interesting to discover otherwise than through a car window. So, luckily we ended up on a tiny touristic road which took us to the commune of Saignon! I love tiny villages with a long history of which there's traces everywhere. 

sunnuntai 21. tammikuuta 2018

A Week Of Capsule Outfits // Saturday + Sunday



Tsadam! This post marks the end of my week of capsule outfits-series. I must say I have been very happy with the pieces I chose for my "winter" capsule and in one week I haven't even had the chance to wear all of my items. There's also been zero "I have nothing to wear"-moments. 

We had a 9 hour dinner party last night (including not a very modest amount of wine) from which I'm trying to recover at my parents-in-law's. Little did I know that there would be champagne, prosecco and some epic red wine...I drank the minimum while deciding to consume liters of green tea as soon as possible as I'm really starting to feel the need to detox. Luckily school starts tomorrow so I'll be getting back into the swing of things and it will be easier to maintain a healthy routine.

Bon dimanche et à bientôt!