tiistai 22. marraskuuta 2016

Recent creative stuff!

Yesterday evening I finished my bonnet that I started some days ago. It's only the second one I have ever made. The pattern and everything was just improvised as I went on. But it turned out quite fine (the color is perfect also!) even though it wouldn't pass a closer examination hihih..

Also, yesterday was all the way just a day for being lazy and doing artsy, inspiring stuff. I was playing with my watercolors and came to the conclusion I really need to practice more often!

I promised to make a crocheted doily rug as a Christmas present for one of my family members. Never have I ever made one either hah! But always wanted to so I took on the challenge. I was surprised how satisfying it is to crochet that stretchy t-shirt tricot. I'm so hooked. I want to make millions of these in all colors and other stuff from chunky yarn!

sunnuntai 20. marraskuuta 2016

What's Been Going On

To be honest, writing the title of this post made the words of Donald Trump pop up on my mind: "...until we know what the hell is going on!!" Well, the rest of this has nothing to do with Donald.

Just a quick Sunday evening update written from under a warm blanket. Firstly, my internship is going sooo much better now. I know the jazz now so no problems. I have been doing all the evening shifts. Taking reservations, welcoming the arriving clients, verifying rooms and so on. Only thing that bugs me is that my French skills still make me nervous and shy in front of the clients at times. It's just something to live with and that's all. I learn everyday to speak just a little bit better. I did get compliments on my pretty accent though! Yaay.

What else...I have been battling with the French bureaucracy for eight months now. The unemployment services particularly. Even though my husband works, we are really struggling with money. I have done everything by the book ever since the beginning, but I haven't received any of the money I was supposed to get for my French course and this one of a receptionist. Well, long story short: last Friday I went to their office, got the usual shit service, made a scene and marched out. I gave up all my hopes and decided to survive without their money. And I found peace! Now, if they in the years to come will finally get their shit together, it will be just a great surprise. It would be just a way too long post to describe the utter, complete, maddening incompetence of the employees in the French social security and unemployment services. If you are a fellow expat in France though, you will know what I'm talking about.

Our hotel will be closed for a week now for renovations, which means holidays for me! Will be knitting and sleeping.

maanantai 14. marraskuuta 2016

A Quiet Monday

Wrapped in my huge warm scarf, eating breakfast all day, knitting while watching silly videos on youtube.

That's the Monday I need right now. Time to let go of everything for a moment and let things quietly fall in place. We all have these ideologies and inspirational quotes hanged on our walls or pinned on our pinterest boards, but why is it so hard to live by them? You know. Not giving a shit and finding the peace in the moment. The first thought on my mind this morning was about work and I wasn't feeling that great, but now I can say that I'm starting to feel normal again. Not all confused and frazzled, but really starting to see things in a brighter light. This afternoon and evening I will work on the stuff I need to handle in order to manage in my internship. I will just give my 100 percent of effort and if I fail, well, then I can really say I goddamn it gave it my best shot. Yes. That's the spirit I will commit to from now on.

I started a new knitting project today that I intend to be a quite short one. I bought this lovely rustic orange/yellow yarn the other day and plan to make myself a bonnet. I already actually finished one scarf I was crocheting and a knitted hat for my hubby, but without a proper camera I have been postponing posting pictures of them on the blog. I guess I'll just have to snap some photos with my iphone4 and deal with it. I really intend to start posting more and better quality photos as soon as I get a real camera in use.

sunnuntai 13. marraskuuta 2016

The Internship Begins

It's Sunday evening and two days into my internship. I find it hard to just lie down and let my mind and body relax. I feel emotionally and physically compressed by all the pressure. I know I'm such a fool to take on this stress. I'm a goddamn adult. I should know how to put things in proportion by now. But well, I am a highly sensitive person. It is a biological fact that I do not like to fail, changes stress me and too much stimulation overwhelms my body. Yet it is always me who seeks out these challenges.

Elaine Aron always talks about the  HSPs having to stop living like the rest, the 80 percent, of the people. This means arranging your life so that you are not exposed to exhausting amounts of stimuli on a daily basis. This is really easier said than done in my case since I have the constant need to prove to myself that I can do exactly the same things as everybody else. Time after time I end up finding myself in places where I wish I would fit, but which are really the worst environments for someone like me. At least in the beginning. In the end I have always come out of the thing as a winner. But the problem is that I'm not used to fail and the thought of maybe not making it feels excruciatingly shameful. 

Being an expat means really playing life on the hard mode. Especially in a country like France, where you can't rely on your English language skills almost ever. In Finland you can for example find a job as a foreigner and never have to learn any Finnish. Everybody will speak English in the work community for you. I'm not saying that I want people to speak English to me here to make my life easier. It would just be nice to have the option to clarify things in a language that I'm capable of perfectly understanding. Like few first days at work have been so challenging since all the information was given to me in french. My brain was working so hard both trying to understand the message and memorize the information given. I work constantly on improving my French skills, but it's so frustrating to feel like a complete fool on a regular basis when I know that in English or in my native language I would do my job perfectly. But here I am repeating over and over the phraces that I need to master for the job.

I have two days off now, but I will be spending them training my french and trying to learn all the important details on the hotel. So much information to process, so much new to learn.

keskiviikko 2. marraskuuta 2016

5 Things I Love About France

1. The coffee

Finns are known to consume the most coffee in the world. But what kind of coffee do we consume? It is not rare to be served a cup of coffee in a restaurant or a coffee house that has been stirring in the pot for more than few hours. The coffee has turned brown and tastes bitter. The point is not the quality, but to just have the cup of coffee. In France I have learned to appreciate the freshness and good quality of this black gold. If the coffee is bad, it's a scandal. And I have learned it is also not the quantity that matters. When the taste is on point, a little goes a long way. And in France coffee equals expresso. If you want it the Finnish way, make a point of asking for café long.

2. The restaurants

The first time I cried for food was in Paris. It was so delicious I felt my brain tickling. Afterwards I have been time after time spoiled by amazing culinary experiences. And you know what? In completely ordinary French restaurants. No five star stuff, but prepared with care from fresh, seasonal ingredients. I also love how the French manage to make their restaurants so effortlessly casual and comfy. I'm yet to find a Finnish restaurant that would combine real casualness and good food (and reasonable prices).

3. The history

History is everywhere in France. I never imagined that a country could have so many well preserved medieval castles and villages and even monuments from the Roman times. One of our favorite past times with my husband is to hop in our car and go discover a new cute historical village. We walk the narrow medieval streets, visit the tiny church and have a coffee in the local bar. We love to visit the numerous museums that the South of France has to offer. 

4. The people

I will make a more in depth post on the French people very soon, but let me just say that the French are one of the most undeserving of their bad reputation. They have often a strong sense of righteousness and compassion. They are lovers of history and the arts and they are always curious to learn new things. They are also very passionate and incredibly annoying at times, but once you get the hang of it, you will casually yell your lungs out at them over your own beliefs just like they do.

5. The Bread

Oh, the French baguette. France has changed the way I feel about bread forever. It has to be fresh and crispy, but yet soft and airy inside. One of the most French things to do is stop by the boulangerie on the way home from work. On the way to your car you can't resist breaking a small piece of the fresh
 baguette to snack on.