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Archive for the ‘blended thoughts for every season’ Category

A while ago i read this article (in Finnish) about who is worth of being a Finn. The main point of the article was that not everybody is worth to be Finnish because of various reasons: place of birth, outer look (skin, hair, eye color for example), name or accent. At least the most accepted person to be a Finn, as i understood, is ideally if you have Finnish parents or relatives and if you look typically like a Finn, blond hair, blue eyes and fair skin. Which in my opinion is so strict and narrow-minded. I say that because usually excluding somebody from a group, you basically give this strong message that you are different, you are not one of us and you are not welcomed here. When a society makes it clear that you are different and points out those differences, they are basically putting you in a special category, you are the other not one of them.

The person interviewing immigrants from Western countries, which are thought to be more desirable, got answers of the kind that there will always be something, outer look, accent or name that will make one not Finnish enough.

This happened to me several times when people pointed out my outer look (dark hair and nose(!!!)) and my accent. The fact that people ask me where i am from is not a problem but when you get this question several times (a day even!) it becomes very annoying. And then, the most irritating is when people point out your outer look.

It happened to me several times when an older man approached me, started staring and analyzing my eyes and hair and said: “Yes, you have dark eyes and hair but you are too white for a Romanian!”. A girl told me at a conference: “Your nose is so different from Finns.” And once, this one i found it really threatening, a guy interrupted me out of nowhere while i was writing work mails in the university computer room. He asked me in a high-pitched and quite annoyed voice where i am from. I said Finland. He replied you cannot be because you have dark hair. I said i might have dyed it. He insisted that i have an accent and therefore i’m not a real Finn. In the end i told him i want to write my emails in peace and i don’t see the point of this conversation which was quite threatening because he sounded annoyed like i was disturbing him with my mere presence. He then had the audacity to say: “Sorry if i offended you!” on a tone suggesting that i was the nasty one for pretending i’m an intruder in his sacred land.

And one other time, my friend’s neighbor told us: “I can see you girls are from another race.” Yeah, we are White-Caucasian just like you, great you showed some huge ignorance here. I also overheard one neighbor say: “Hope the kids will have blue eyes and blond hair.”

If there are not people being assholes then i don’t know what it is.

If i am Finnish enough? That’s a hard question but there are some points i want to make. For me this question is not as simple because there three aspects i regard here: 1. my DNA 2. my (cultural) personality and 3. my legal status (citizenship).

If i take the first one, DNA, i’m not Finnish because i wasn’t born here and my parents and grandparents are not Finnish, further than that i don’t know, i need a complex DNA test. About the legal status, yes, i’m Finnish. I have Finnish citizenship and i’m completely integrated. My personality, mentality and cultural inclination, i would say is strongly Finnish. Growing up and living in Romania, it was very hard to adapt to their mentality and live by their standards because my personality is very different. I don’t know if being an introvert has to do with that but i felt i didn’t belong into a culture which is very extroverted. I’m not saying that there is something wrong with a culture but sometimes we can’t do anything about it if our personalities just don’t fit there.

Am i Finnish enough? Yes and no. Do i care? Not an ounce. Do i care about these attitudes? I do because they are damaging.

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I remember reading a while ago an article about sanitary pads tax and how that should be lowered (from 24% to 12%), including tampons, absorbants and incontinence pads. In Finland, a pack of average absorbants (14 pack, normal size) is between 2.30-3.50 euros and here i don’t count in cheap brands which are an absolute disaster because of their low quality. Don’t ask me about tampon prices as i don’t use tampons (i did when i used to have periods but only when i was swimming and they were extremely uncomfortable). And before judging me why i don’t use a menstrual cup – i tried but it was a disaster and i guess because of endometriosis which suspicion was later confirmed by a specialist.

But, i’m writing this because it amused and somehow disgusted me the comments left by men who demanded that they should also get tax-free razors. Look, you just don’t compare sanitary pads with razors because if you take both genders into consideration, women also use razors. And quite a lot if you take into account that some of us are quite hairy. Add to that wax, hair removal creams, hair removal devices or hair bleaching. Because society sees us as disgusting monkeys if we dare to expose the smallest amount of hair in the places deemed by the almighty society not fit to show hair on. And to add to that razors for women are more expensive than men’s. I saw that with my own eyes in the grocery store one day when i compared the prices out of pure curiosity. As a guy you can go around with an unshaven face but dare to go out with hairy armpits as a woman (search for death threats that some women got because they dared to show their bushy armpits in public).

So both of us we need razors but only us need sanitary pads because well, damn biology. You can stop your period but then again you need money for the meds to stop it. And now i’m talking about lots of women who struggle with money and for whom 2.30 euros is a lot of money (not to mention women who have heavy or extended periods and they might need 3+ packs of absorbants per month). In this case about 10 euros per month is lots of money. Nobody said about giving sanitary pads for free although it might be a very good idea for the ones who live in poverty. But lowering the tax would be of great help. And whoever can stand a menstrual cup, i do advise them to buy it because even if it is a bit pricey, it will save a lot in the long run. I would use one if i could as most of sanitary pads are also manufactured from synthetic products which are not healthy for the body or environment. There are better sanitary pads namely cotton and organic pads but they are a bit more expensive than their synthetic counterparts.

In Finland the brand Vuokkoset sells organic bio-degradable and cotton absorbants and pads.

 

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“There’s more to life than being a passenger”. Amelia Earhart

Not many people know that but one of my childhood career prospects was to become a commercial airline pilot. But i knew this will never happen because of a disease i didn’t know i have back then and mostly because where i grew up people would just laugh into your face if you were a girl and wanted to become a pilot.

I’m very conscious about my choices and environment but there is one thing i will never give up: flying. So when the Swedish hippies started bragging about their useless eco taxes on flights, i became fierce. First, their whole point is to make flights so ridiculously expensive so people won’t fly anymore in the hope they will save the planet. Which won’t happen because those taxes will surely go (as usually) into the pockets of some rich magnates and what you will be left with it’s probably destroying an industry and have even more jobless people.

When greenies bark so much about taking down the aviation industry all they have in mind are the retired people travelling to Canary Islands or Thailand for their holidays. Sorry to break it down but the aviation industry is so much more complex than people transportation, there is also transportation of goods, namely the cargo flights which are a bigger part than people transportation. And then there is the part that it has nothing to do with goods or people, one example would be the military.

And believe it or not many people are not travelling just for the sake of travelling. Thinking now of the average Jones who goes to work. When you work, employed by somebody or having your own business, you don’t have many days of holiday so one could travel mostly once a year (at least my case). Other people travel a lot because of work, study or because they have families and friends in other parts of the world. Travelling for pleasure makes a very small part of flying.

Another thing with flying, when i look at Finland, is that ground transportation’s infrastructure is quite weak and expensive. I’ll take an example: travelling from Southern Finland to Lapland. You need to change trains twice and take a bus because the railway stops around Kemi. This journey costed me two years ago 210 euros (with student discount) and it lasted one day. Norwegian Airlines has flights between Helsinki-Ivalo starting with 30 euros. In 1 hour and 40 minutes you are in Lapland with a very convenient price.

My family lives on the other side of Europe and one time i was crazy enough to look if i could make the whole journey by train. I gave up after i saw it takes about a week, it is extremely expensive and you need to go through several border checks between countries. No thanks. Blue Air has very cheap tickets Helsinki-Bucharest and you’re at the destination in less than 3 hours. Time is money.

Plane tickets are already expensive as it is and the conditions are not that great. A basic flight has almost nothing included hence the low price and i do remember when i started flying long ago, plane companies used to have much more decent conditions and here i refer to meals and included fees for luggage. But i don’t complain, as long as i reach the destination safely, i’m happy.

So, yes, us the average Jones can’t actually afford to travel so much because of the prices and available free time but also, and now i refer to myself, i don’t do that well on long haul flights. I flew to Canary Islands few years ago, the flight took 6 hours and i thought i’m going to go mad. I was in pain, physically. That was as a passenger, i have no idea how i’d act if i were a pilot. Sad, i’ll never find out besides flying simulators.

But coming back to the problem, i’ll leave this article here. The issues that i have already mentioned and mainly the loss of jobs and eventually closing down small airports are mentioned in the article as well as failed attempts of other countries to introduce an eco tax on flights. For me, it is nothing new as i have the decency to take into consideration economic factors and actually inform myself before shouting let’s put a tax on everything to save the world. Taxing is not a solution but improving aircraft and fuel it surely is. So, before i book a flight i always inform myself what type of aircraft does the company use and what kind of general policies they have. Sometimes price is not always the key as on some routes you have no choice but to fly with a certain company. In case, i book long haul flights, i’m more strict about the airline but as i don’t travel outside Europe for now, i don’t have to worry about it.

 

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This is a conversation from a page on Facebook, the initial post was about salary, respect and difficulty for different jobs. I usually do not read comments but scrolling down through them i didn’t help not noticing these two. They are talking about cleaning jobs or blue collar jobs and they assume that if you work these types of jobs, you are automatically stupid.

The first person says that if she (cleaning lady) was smart, she wouldn’t have to clean. She would have more money then and be able to educate herself. He is polite with cleaning ladies but avoids talking to them on complex subjects because they would look at them in a strange way. The second person says that not everybody is smart and must be jobs for stupid people also. But they should be paid decently. (I agree with the last sentence).

This comments left me a bitter taste because as many people do, these two also see things in black and white and tend to simplify life situations a lot. Life isn’t that simple. And to put it straight, working in a blue collar job does not make you automatically stupid. I won’t get into discussions about the present job market and the number of highly educated people who work below their qualifications because they can’t find suitable jobs but they need to make a living. And working in a blue collar job is nothing to be ashamed of. Many of us did it and are doing it in order to earn a living or to pay our studies in hope for a better future. Not all of us are born in rich families or some of us might have the misfortune not to have a family to support us.

By writing this i would like to open the eyes of people who think exactly like the above persons, a mentality which unfortunately, is quite spread in my country of origin. I did deal with similar comments from different individuals because i worked blue collar jobs during college in order to pay my rent. Luckily i didn’t have to pay a tuition fee but life in Finland is expensive and besides it felt very good to earn my own money. Besides that i also learned new skills and a totally new perspective on some jobs that are looked down to. I never looked down and still don’t on blue collar jobs and i can honestly say i met several people with bachelor and even master degrees who cleaned, worked at the grocery store or laundry services in order to earn some money.

Or the situation might be that you move to another country, you barely know the language and that’s quite sure they won’t give you a job as a manager. That is also depending on the field you are working in. In my case, it wasn’t that easy, when most of employers regarded my bachelor studies as useless just because they were done in another country and i did not even get the opportunity to prove my knowledge.

And my last point is that in Finland being a cleaning person requires special training which usually lasts for a year and you learn quite lots of stuff from different cleaning equipment, products, materials to basic chemistry. You can also specialize yourself in different kind of areas like for example hospital or office cleaning. I can talk from my own experience but cleaning in a hospital is very challenging and requires lots of skills and attention. You work in a highly sterile environment and you get in contact with all kinds of sick people and bodily fluids.

I did have a week pre-training before starting and i do admit that sometimes i was amazed at the things i learned that never crossed my mind they existed. I am ashamed to say that i came there with the prejudice that i know everything, this is an easy job, just swipe the floors just to leave with a tone of new knowledge about bacteria, infections, prevention, chemicals, how to dispose of hazard waste, sustainable cleaning or customer service.

Never judge the difficulty of a job by its salary or by the skills you think a person should posses for it. Especially if you never worked a day in your life in that job. Yes, some jobs are easier than others. Does that mean the people who are doing them are stupid? No.

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I decided to write here some of my thoughts on presents for loved ones, be it Christmas, birthdays or other occasions. My principle when buying presents is very simple: keep it simple and don’t complicate yourself. For the people I know and sometimes acquaintances I have the following rules:

  1. Keep it minimal. Buy few things but usually quality ones. I sometimes buy just one, maximum two items but I take care that the quality is very good. For example, handicrafts, handicraft shops or fairs are perfect to buy presents. The presents can be also food.
  2. Ask the person. I do that almost all the times in order to avoid buying unnecessary stuff or stuff they don’t like. The can tell me few things and I choose something from those things. Of, course it might now be a surprise but I prefer to offer them something they will really use instead of a disappointing surprise. In case you don’t know the person, money can be a very good idea. At least here, we do that quite a lot. I also received money for my birthday and I didn’t mind because it came in really handy, for example I once loaded my bus card for a month during winter.
  3. Presents don’t always have to be things. I got this idea from my friend who invited me to a cake buffet. You paid a certain sum and ate as much cake as you wanted. You could invite your friend to a restaurant, a concert, a trip, a movie etc. Experiences can make the best presents sometimes.
  4. Gift cards. Different shops have gift cards for different sums of money. This is a bit similar with money offering but it can be used only in that certain shop. It works great for people you don’t know that well and it could be for a shop with a wide profile of products so they can choose from. Gift cards saved me from situations where I was invited to different occasions by people I didn’t know very well. It is an honor that they thought of me but sometimes it can be challenging when it comes to presents.

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In the shade of the recent unfortunate events and finding this article online, i decided to write my piece of mind about this matter. Few days ago, i opened my facebook at the sad news that the singer from Linkin Park has died. I did listen a lot to this band while in high school. I never knew though that Chester was suffering from depression. I was sad to hear that but i got sadder and even angrier at the way people talked about depression and suicide. People dismissing depression as just a phase, not a real illness and one can just get over it.

I never suffered from severe depression so i can’t even talk about it but i would never ever dismiss it. Depression is a very serious illness with severe consequences and it destroys lives. I’ve met people suffering from it and what it struck me was actually my incapacity to help them. Because depression is a serious disease and needs specialized medical attention. As a friend you can be supportive but never dismissing. That is one of the worst things you can do, be dismissive. Although to be honest, sometimes i wish i could do more for them than just tell them to be strong.

But, now to be honest, i wasn’t shocked. I was angry, i was sad but not shocked. Because i have gone through the same thing, that means people dismissing and judging me for my illness. And my illness is physical not mental. So, if i was judged because of a chronic physical illness, i can’t even imagine how much shit people with mental illnesses get.

I’m suspected of a chronic auto-immune disease that has no treatment for the moment although I’ve might have had it (according to specialists) since i was a teenager. Because it is understudied, the delay in diagnosis could take up to 20 years and in my case i have not yet a clear diagnosis because i need surgery which for the moment i’m foolishly postponing it because i’m shit scared of it. The only treatment for now is hormonal and surgical which doesn’t sound glamorous at all. Unfortunately, i had to put up with lots of condescending attitudes from people starting from the “it can’t be that bad”, “you are exaggerating”, “it’s just a fuss”, “it can’t be that serious” to people who downright attacked my medication saying that it’s not natural, i’m destroying myself, i should try voodoo medicine and not trust doctors and then explaining to me the side effects as if i am some stupid kid who can’t read the labels or understand them. Funny thing is i don’t even know most these people personally.

Here are some guidelines for these people who like to play the know it all specialists:

  • If you are not sick or never been sick, you have no idea what i’m going through. So before opening your mouth to say stupid things, think. I never open my mouth to give advice to a person with severe depression because i have no idea what they are going through.
  • Are you a doctor? No? Stop giving medical advice. Of course, suggestions are always welcome but don’t talk like a know it all.
  • STOP JUDGING MY MEDICATION! I have been to a doctor for that and i’m sure that after years of studying, they know what they are doing. Much better than you ever will. In my case, the pills i am taking are the only ones who can make me function and keep my illness under control (for the moment). When you find a cure or a better treatment for it, come and announce me. Until then shut up. I know very well what i am taking, i know it has risks and side effects, i know what those are. I’m an adult, not a two year old toddler. Do you think i enjoy taking some pills which have risks of cardiovascular disease, blood clots and other charming side effects? No! We have no choice for the moment.
  • Take off your tin foil hat and stop blaming some conspiracy stuff and big pharma. Yes, i know companies are greedy but without some of the medicines we have now, some of us would be dead. There is no secret maybe but i usually hear this rhetoric from anti-vaxers who see everything a conspiracy out there to get them.
  • Voodoo medicine aka homeopathic. Tried that honey, it didn’t work. I have nothing against it but following the logic of big pharma what makes you think there aren’t the same kind of people who would like to make a profit selling sugar water to desperate people? I do take some supplements along with my medicine but relying only on supplements would be very foolish. I do have some friends though who gave me very good hints (tested ones) from people with same symptoms as i. I appreciate that a lot and of course i’m going to try them. But under no circumstances they dismissed conventional medicine.
  • There is no magic way out, there is no magic pill to make us healthy. Instead of being judgmental, don’t say anything at all if you have nothing supportive to say. I will give you a hint though, what i usually tell my friends who are struggling with an illness. I wish them all the best, to stay strong and if there is anything they need just ask. That’s it. It’s very easy not to be an asshole. 🙂

 

walkinmyshoes

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I thought of writing this article after I got fed up with the endless articles about birth rates declining and the constant blame put on women because they choose to pursue higher education. I thought that we left this behind many decades ago but as I can see this is the number one scapegoat most people around here prefer to point at. I won’t get into the importance of education nowadays because when it comes to pursue one, it’s each to its own, I would say it better to have one than none at all.

The ones who are usually barking so much on the subject are men who complain about their poor peers who remain in the countryside, choose to stay out of school or pursue a professional school and then remain single because those “damn harpies” choose careers and move to the big cities. They usually come up with apocalyptic future scenarios of old spinsters, damnation, cats and loneliness. In addition to that they are also complaining that these women are too picky, too stuck up and that nothing is good for them.

My first thought is, then why don’t you go and get an education yourself? Why are you jealous on a person who wants to build a future for themselves and their world doesn’t revolve around yours? Because believe it or not, you are not the center of the universe and no person owes you anything.  You miss the good old days when women were barefoot, knocked-up in the kitchen? Then be prepared to have a super income because nowadays you can rarely manage on one salary. The biggest problem with these people is that they live in the past, in a world of fantasy.

Being dependent and relying on a guy (of one’s free will) is perhaps the most stupid thing you can do. But again, I also guide myself on “the best person to rely on is yourself” philosophy. You never know when the other one will kick you in the curb or you know, misfortunes happen. I was also taught wisely by my parents that it’s better to have your own finances and never rely on anybody.

Nobody stops you from studying and earning a degree if you want. Not in Finland where (for the moment) there are no tuition fees. But some people don’t want higher education and others are not meant for it. Which is fine. But stop complaining and blaming other people for your incapacities or laziness. And stop blaming the system that it favors girls. If you really want to achieve something, no system will stay in your way. I saw proof with my own eyes and of both genders.

Blaming women that they are too picky is rather shallow I would say. As mentioned before, nobody is entitled to like you. These women have their own preferences, own personalities and own minds and they’d better be picky if it is about something so important as sharing life with somebody. It’s better being alone that be with somebody just for the sake of being and then realize you share nothing in common or even hate each other.

As for the profession part, these “critics” must live underground because lots of us are not hunting for a profession. For me it is a deep insult to hear that I’m a stuck up academic bitch who doesn’t even look at blue collar workers. Profession has never been an issue when I connect with another person because I look at that person as a human being not at a profession. One of my top priorities is mutual respect. If that is missing, I’m sorry to say but it won’t work. I never looked down on any person because of their profession (sadly I can’t say that was mutual, I’ve been humiliated many times while working blue collar jobs). Professions can change but the dynamics between two persons is much more complicated and I doubt that a profession or education has so much to do with it. My partner didn’t even attend high school and I have two MA’s and I must say that it would be quite a shock for these people who can do nothing more but judge. It’s true, I did hear nasty remarks from some that how can I be in a relationship with such a person, pointing out the fact that I’m superior because of my education. Needless to say I cut any ties with these people. If you can’t respect people I care about, I don’t have any obligation to respect you. An MA diploma doesn’t make me superior in any way but the fact that I respect people the way they are and not judge them like you do, yes, that makes me superior to your judgmental ass.

And before blaming women that they are like this and like that and don’t pay attention to you, take a look at yourself first. Do you think somebody would like to be with a person who does nothing but blame others and likes to dictate how others should live? Because I wouldn’t. Before demanding things from others take a look at yourself. Are you worth it?

 

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