A while ago, when i was still studying for my first MA, i was applying for all kinds of summer jobs to support my studies. Strawberry picking being one of these summer jobs. I applied two summers in a row and unfortunately, i was never chosen. I didn’t even hear from the employer. The second year, i called to see if there would be any chance of me getting a place there for a month and a half. I was told kind of coldly that the jobs were already filled. Weird enough vacancies were advertised through the whole summer but i was told they had no jobs. Weird enough but okay.

Later on i read an article (i think it was HS) where the owner of a strawberry farm was complaining that Finns are not interested (to be read too lazy) in strawberry picking jobs). I got really pissed because my experience proved otherwise and even people i knew went through the same. Not surprisingly, i also read the comments and people confirmed what i already experienced. We were all in the same boat and here we were, this guy calling us not interested (lazy).

I am anything but lazy because i grew up at a farm and all my summer holidays as a kid, I’ve spent them helping my grandparents with farm work. And it was a lot of hard work! My first though was, if so many of us wanted these jobs but we weren’t chosen what was the problem? Anyway, i soon found out that it wasn’t our lack of interest, laziness or language skills (in my case). No, it was the wages. People do demand a fair wage because the living expenses here are quite high. One needs to live with the money they earn.

Media here has made a tradition is writing articles most of the times siding with berry farm owners and scapegoating the locals (preferably unemployed) or young people that they are too comfortable or lazy. And now it’s that time of the year when media starts complaining again for the lack of workforce within berry picking. In the article one can find why people here are not actually picked for these jobs. Usually, in Finland they managed to bring people from Thailand to pick berries because the farm owners can pay them much less than they would pay a local. But this year not so many of them made their appearance because authorities from Thailand warned their citizens not to go to Finland for work because they won’t get a contract. Which is worrisome if we are to think Finland prides itself of being fair country.

Not too long ago, there were also problems with a berry farm owner accused of human trafficking. These workers were basically lied about the conditions and the wages they receive upon coming here. And then the most important question: if you fuck up with people like that, then how do you expect to get workforce? First, you push away local workforce because they demand a fair wage, then you bring people from Thailand and abuse them because keeping them in horrible conditions and paying them almost nothing is abuse, let’s say it straight – slavery.

I wish media would stop siding with these strawberry farm owners because it’s hurting both us and the people who are brought here for tiny wages. Although i’m not surprised at all given the lies that usually media spreads about unemployed people in general in order to manipulate the general public into hating them and then using politics to kick these people who are already on the ground.

If you can’t find workers, first look at yourself because most likely the fault is in your company. Are the wages decent? Can the workers survive on them? Strawberry picking is not a difficult job intellectually but physically is quite challenging .The wages don’t have to be very high, i knew i would not make a fortune from strawberry picking but i still wanted to work because money is money and it would have helped me a lot during the school year. Then consider the conditions, for example, lunch break, facilities (kitchen, toilets) and transportation. Strawberry farms are also not situated in the city and it might be difficult for younger workers who do not have a driver’s licence or a car to get to work.



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.” As if my dark hair and eyes are somehow wrong to inherit, like some genetic disease.

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.

There is one thing that my parents taught me is extremely low: stealing. As a child i was never encouraged to steal fruits as many would do because “come on they are just kids” and i actually knew what would follow at home if i did that.

But to my unpleasant surprise, i did witness some very stupid reactions towards some persons who managed to secure their property against thieves and even have the courage to mention that on social media. I will talk here about trespassing and stealing from another’s property. I did witness that a lot and unfortunately i was also a victim of it. Mostly kids were stealing fruits but also adults managed to cause lots of damage to two of our apple trees and a quince tree. My grandparents and parents put lots of effort into growing those trees and yes, they were on our land so therefore our property.

The arguments i saw on social media defending children stealing are completely irrational and damaging. People were just invoking that kids are kids how can one be so evil? First, kids or not, trespassing on private property and getting stuff that it’s not your is still stealing, no matter the age. I don’t blame the kids, i do blame though the ones not teaching them. I was told very straight by my parents that such behavior is unacceptable and if i wanted cherries from our neighbor i should ask her. Which i did. And guess what? I got cherries! Second, the one defending their own property is not evil, it’s theirs, they worked for it and they have all the right to take measures to stop the thieves. These irrational reactions from people happened in Romania which does not surprise me at all. In other places people would call cops on you. And then people wonder why they have so bad reputation abroad as thieves. Well…it starts young and with these attitudes.

Two unfortunate events i did witness were some brats ripping of almost half the branches of one of the apple trees that my great-grandfather planted. I caught one of them inside our garden ripping of the apples and throwing them to the other two who were near the road on the other side of the fence. When i told him to get off our property he started swearing and threatening me. I went to get our German Shepard who was trained to attack any stranger who would trespass on our property. They did vanish and my grandpa made an official complaint to the local police which of course, didn’t do anything.

The second one was when several young men from our village stole quince from our tree. Me and my sister were in the garden and told them to go away but they started ripping off the quince and throw them at us, swearing and calling us names. My sister was badly hit by one. Grandpa went to the police and made them pay for the damage just to hear that later one one of them threatened to beat the shit out of me and my sister when they catch us.

Remember: the apple and quince tree were OUR PRIVATE PROPERTY ON OUR LAND and still they had the audacity to steal and threaten us when we called them out. But by no way, defend kids stealing instead of teaching them to ask if they want any fruit. Encouraging this behavior will make it even worse as demonstrated with the group of guys who not only stole our quince but they also attacked us. On our property. I really doubt somebody would say no, i wouldn’t have said if those asked for apples or quince.

But they didn’t because unfortunately, where i grew up, there is a complete lack of disrespect for others’ property and many consider stealing very normal especially when a kid does it. Because it’s just a kid. But tomorrow it will be an adult and it will continue to do that…

Few days ago i read an article about endometriosis symptoms which are present in very young girls. It was one in ten girls who were complaining of bad periods pains and besides they mentioned symptoms typical of endometriosis. Roughly 5-10% and the study was done on 15-19 year old girls. What caught my eye was the statement that they present symptoms similar to endometriosis. Because i doubt an actual study to find out if endometriosis is surely present in such young has been done.

Endometriosis is almost always presented as being a disease of women of childbearing age which means 25+ years old. And from here creating the belief, which is actually a myth, that women at this age and older have endometriosis because they delayed or refused to have kids. Which is one of the greatest misconceptions of endometriosis along with pregnancy cures endometriosis which is the biggest aberration most people and even doctors still believe.

Endometriosis is such an individual disease that it differs a lot from person to person to the point that one might have severe endometriosis and have no symptoms whatsoever and the other might have an incipient stage and debilitating symptoms.

There is a very simple and logical explanation why endometriosis is thought to be a mature woman’s disease: it is so ignored by the medical community and on another hand so hard to diagnose that it takes an average of 9 years to get a diagnosis. In reality, some women wait much longer than that to be diagnosed. It took me 19 years and it spread to my ovaries forming endometriomas which were easy to spot on an ultrasound. Endometriosis starts really early but by the time it is diagnosed, you are already an adult.

According to this article:

Before the introduction of laparoscopy in the 1970s, endometriosis could only be diagnosed during a laparotomy, major surgery involving a 10–15 cm incision into the abdomen. The risks and costs of a laparotomy meant it was usually done only as a last resort in women with the most severe symptoms who were past childbearing age. Because only women in their 30s or 40s were operated on, the disease was only found in women of that age. Subsequently ‘the fact’ arose that endometriosis was a disease of women in their 30s and 40s.

It was only with the introduction in the 1970s and 80s of laparoscopy to investigate women with infertility problems that gynaecologists began diagnosing the disease in women in their late 20s and early 30s, the age group being investigated. So, they revised the typical age range for endometriosis down to the late 20s and early 30s.

Then again, laparoscopy is not quite a piece of cake surgery to do and doctors are not willingly doing it on patients younger than 20. I started having the typical symptoms of endometriosis when i was 12-13, roughly when my period started but nobody even dared to mention the possibility of surgery. It was just a bad period and that was all.

On the site of Dr. Nezhat, a specialist in the field, it also mentioned that endometriosis is so hard to detect with non-invasive tests that usually doctors and parents hesitate to perform surgery on such young girls without any hard proof of the disease. Also teenage girls are told that menstrual pain is normal and in turn they do believe that pain is normal and hesitate to look for further help. Being a specialist in the field he had endometriosis patients as young as 9 year old and mentions that endometriosis, can be found in rare-cases even in new born infants or in premenstruating individuals.

Recent retrospective studies found endometriosis in 70% to 73% of adolescents with pelvic pain that was unresponsive to medical therapy, while another study by Dr. Marc Laufer, found the incidence to be 95%.  The youngest girl with endometriosis reported in the literature was age 7, while Dr. Nezhat’s youngest patient so far was nine-years old.


Although rare, it’s also important to point out that there are cases of premenarcheal endometriosis; that is, endometriosis which develops before menstruation begins. A handful of cases of endometriosis in neonates (new-born infants) have also been reported.

Such cases of premenarcheal endometriosis often strike people as surprising, since endometriosis is so commonly described as a disease of reproductive-aged women (i.e. those who are menstruating). However, just as endometriosis can occur in postmenopausal women, it is also true that it has been found in girls who have not yet menstruated.

It very interesting and actually very right when Dr. Nezhat refers to endometriosis as a disease of the adolescence as it was also believed to be in the past. I would dare and take a wild guess that this disease would have had a total different approach if broader studies would be done on younger girls and if their pain would be taken more seriously. Because in most of the cases, if this disease is left untreated for years, it will only cause more damage. But first and foremost it needs a reliable non-invasive way of diagnosis. Until then, the myth of the career women postponing kids will still persist and it’s damaging everybody.


All hell broke loose at the end of March last year when i started to have constant pelvic pain. Much like a period pain from hell but instead of a week, it was everyday. I always knew that there was something wrong with my body because no normal woman ends up at emergency because of her periods. But doctors never took me seriously, just period pain, learn to live with it, all women do. Little did a know that later on it will develop into an almost 7 cm tumor.

The tumor was discovered at a private hospital and it costed me around 200 euros because the public healthcare was not really interested to know why sometimes i could barely walk because of the pain. One bored doctor just pressed on my belly and she said convinced that i’m just fine. I still fail to understand how can you not feel a 7 cm sized monster.

The fun started at the private hospital when after having an ultrasound done and being told i have an endometrioma, i was referred to surgery. The doc told me that i have a disease called endometriosis and it could be in an advanced stage if i managed to have such a big tumor. That didn’t sound new to me, i knew that i might have it but nobody listened. I tried to persuade the doctor to prescribe me a certain brand of birth control pills in the hope that maybe i will get rid of the pain and maybe it might shrink the tumor. She flat out refused without any reasons. She said coldly that it won’t work.

But why not give it a try? I was sent at a public hospital for surgery, met another doctor, same story. I could barely persuade her to prescribe the pill to me. In the end i told her i’ve been taking codeine pills for several months and i’m really afraid i will become a junkie – my pains were that bad. I did get my hand on those pills from unofficial “channels” because no doctor would believe my pains were so bad. But i needed strong stuff in order to go to work and to go on. The problem was…i really didn’t want to get hooked on them. I started taking the pill again in July along with painkillers and cancelled the surgery. I was putting my last hope in those artificial hormones.

At the beginning of August, i ditched painkillers as my pains started to fade and i could sleep better after several months of painful sleepless nights. Amazingly, i did not get hooked on codeine even after using it for about four months. Now the pains were occasional and at the last check-up in October when i also had an MRI, the situation was the same. The tumor was still there but the pains were’t that bad. I decided to have the surgery because the tumor might burst and get into more complications. The doctor prescribed to me strong painkillers that are usually given to rheumatoid arthritis patients. But i never got to take them…

On April the third i was scheduled for surgery. I started crying and thought that’s it. I was so afraid i started having nightmares and slept very bad. During these months i had several CA-125 tests, used to detect ovarian cancer, and got some positives but with the values not being so high above the limit, i was just classified as an endometriosis patient. They do test positive in endometriosis patients as i was assured by two docs.

My surgery was cancelled one week before though because the surgeon noticed that what was once an almost 7 cm tumor it has shrinked into a 3 cm cyst. She was very surprised but nevertheless she told me that in rare cases it might happen as the pill does shrink endometriosis. Although it was hard to believe that such a big tumor could be shrinked so much. She decide to just keep an eye on it and sent me for some more tumor marker tests which came back negative after two weeks.

It was also hard for me to believe it but i am very glad i stood my ground and insisted to have it my own way. I could also say i was lucky and my body just responded to the treatment. The last time i had to take a painkiller for endometriosis pain was in December last year. And since April i returned to my normal fitness schedule and biking as much as my heart wants.

Am i completely pain-free? Not really, sometimes i do have pelvic pain but not as bad as it used to be. Will this treatment work in a long term? I really don’t know. Birth control pills do have their risks and bodies respond different to them but for now i’m enjoying the fact that they work and i can have a normal life. Besides there is no other treatment for endometriosis so it’s not that i’m having too much choice to start with. But I think i’ll worry later about the future.

When it comes to sports i do not keep journals, i do not measure steps, kilometers, calories or anything. For me this would get so boring and time consuming and it would eat all my energy and enthusiasm. I usually use the calendar that Fitness Blender offers and i’m scheduling there the workouts i intend to do during a week. I do not plan more than a week because of my health issues and i do not take it hard if one day my body just says no. I learned to listen and respect it. After all there is nothing i can do when it decides that not today. I’ll just make it tomorrow if i fell better or depending on how tired and in pain i am, i take on a less demanding workout.

I usually do between 3-5 workouts per week, sometimes even six but some of them must be pilates as i cannot do high impact workouts 6 days in a row. It’s too much. The lengths of the workouts are between 30 to 50 minutes or even up to one-two hours if i am running. If i do 30 minutes workouts, i usually schedule them one day after the other but i’m making sure to work different body parts on different days to avoid tiredness and injuries.

This week i took five days and scheduled them in the following way:

Monday – Lower body workout

Tuesday – HIIT Cardio and abs workout

Wednesday – Fat burning cardio, butt and thigh workout

Thursday – Upper body workout with descending reps

Friday – Break

Saturday – Break

Sunday – Running (running and walking)

This week i call it a lucky one as i could do all workouts and didn’t feel tired at all after them. I did have though pelvic pain few days in the mornings and i thought i might not make it to do the workout but luckily that was not the case in the evening.  All of the workouts above, besides running, are from Fitness Blender but sometimes i also do my own DVD’s.

Do i choose the easier or the more advanced part in a workout? Well, it really depends on the exercise. I try to do the challenging part but if it is too challenging i switch to the easy version, if i get too tired – i switch to the easy version. There is no use to strain myself and do the exercise incorrectly. Better do the easier version and do it correctly than strain myself and most likely get injured. The same goes for the amount of weights i’m working with. I use weights that are challenging but not wearing me out. Probably the most important part in all of this is getting to know your body well and workout accordingly. To be honest, i’d rather use lighter weights than heavier ones. Also when you live with a chronic illness, you learn the limitations of your body quite fast.

Very few people know that i used to practice aerobics (so-called cardio) at a very advanced level for several years. I gave up because of lack of time and mostly because i took up other activities. The whole fitness thing started in 2013 after a visit at the physiotherapist; lower back pains have plagued me for a while but then, at that very moment i had to face a very unpleasant truth: i had very weak lower back muscles. With just two exercises (that i failed completely) he proved me that i had a lot to improve. It was not late but it all depended on me.

Being at the gym, i told him: show me how to use these machines. We went slowly through every single machine in the gym and i also got tips for exercising on my own. I got all kinds of fitness DVDs from thrift shops and some i borrowed and copied for my own use as i couldn’t find them anywhere. And so i re-started my journey. It was a bit difficult because i had to read and watch the tips the virtual instructors had in order not to hurt myself, start slowly and build my strength gradually as my back couldn’t have stand a high impact training immediately.

The whole fitness routine was not only for the back but also to get rid of negative thoughts and energy. It does feel like every ounce of dirt from your mind goes away with the sweat and you are replenished with good energy. To add to this, i also noticed my body changing. I didn’t have in mind losing weight as i didn’t have problems with it but my problem was, like many others’, sedentarism. And it was destroying my body.

That was up until last year when i had to stop almost completely after i was diagnosed with endometriosis (at which point the disease was so painful even walking hurt). I was so angry because something i really loved was taken away from me and i couldn’t do anything about it. Part of me accepting the surgery, was my desperate hope to get back to the fitness routine without even taking into consideration that the recovery might be as long as six months; abdominal surgeries are very hard to recover from and i’m not a top star in recoveries.

But my luck and stubbornness managed to get me out of this situation and i cancelled the surgery because my body responded to medication that three doctors considered useless. After one year of not doing almost anything besides some occasional pilates i decided to re-start my routine with low-impact exercises. Everything went better than expected and now i’m on one month of 3-5 weekly workout routines. I did have some less than optimal days when my disease decided to show who’s the boss but i did complete my workouts and even running with mild tremor pains.

For the moment i don’t have any steady plans because i’m very well aware of the fact that this disease can ruin everything again so for the moment i’m enjoying my painless workouts and give myself a break if i see i can’t carry on. But it’s good to be back to my old self!

For the ones interested in my fitness routine, i use FitnessBlender.com and i compile my own workouts which consist, besides of videos, running and my own DVDs.