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Posts Tagged ‘i am thinking’

Yesterday, I had a brief talk with my flatmate about her study period in Finland and from one subject to another we started talking about things one hears hundreds of times while studying or moving here. I don’t take these things as an insult but after hearing them so many times, it gets tiring and at one point not all people have friendly intentions when they ask you about your background and motives for being here.

  1. Where are you from?

I hear this one almost all the time. In my first years here it was normal as I was studying in an international environment and met people from all over the world so we did ask each other a lot where are we from. Nowadays people ask me where am I from because of my accent. Sometimes they don’t even bother and take a wild guess: are you Russian or Estonian? Or some start talking to me in Russian all of a sudden which make me have a complete block because I don’t speak nor do I understand Russian. Other guesses regarding my nationality were Italian and Spanish. I think the closest is Italian.

I do not mind the question but given the nasty reputation that Romanians have (lots of thanks to Finnish media for that), I do have some hesitation when answering, also depending on whom is asking. The nastiest reactions I got were from older people when upon finding out where am I from they stopped talking to me and ignored me completely. I remember in particularly two cases, an older lady and a man, who looked at me so disgusted, if spitting was allowed, I think I would have gotten a phlegm on my face. Once an older guy, after hearing my country of birth, he got so close to me, started staring at my face analyzing every feature: “Yes, you have brown eyes but you are too white for a Romanian.” In fact, my eyes are hazel and yes, Romanians are white unless you don’t mean a certain minority and I guess he meant just that.

  1. Why did you come here? Why did you choose this country? What are you doing here?

It’s quite difficult to reply to these questions because, besides family ties, I do have other reasons I am here but I really don’t want to explain them to strangers, they wouldn’t listen anyway. My Romanian friend told me that some persons ask with a kind of annoyance in their voice which implies “oh no, again a foreigner, what the heck are they doing here?”. I didn’t really pay attention to it but it might be very well be. They usually shut up when I mention family ties.

  1. You speak Finnish so well!

I do take this as a compliment but sometimes it goes too far. For example, I barely manage to say “hello, nice to meet you” to a stranger and they immediately jump to the conclusion that I talk Finnish very well. I know they are trying to be polite but it’s just ridiculous. Wait until we talk about life’s deep philosophical matters and nuclear energy. Then tell me how god my Finnish is.

I do know though that I make mistakes and my language is not as good as some claim. There were at least three persons who criticized my language skills. One of them did it in a very constructive manner and I appreciated that a lot (she is a teacher afterall). The other two were just being assholes. One of them cannot speak anything else besides Finnish and the other just English but for him is perfectly ok to make fun of people who are trying to learn other languages than English.

  1. Do you like it here?

Of course, I do otherwise I wouldn’t be here.

  1. What do you think about Finland?

Again if I start a long endless discussion about things I like in Finland (and there are lots of them) my interlocutor would probably get bored so I just say “it’s nice”. End of story. If they want to know more, they can ask. I’ll gladly answer.

 

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Regarding my last post and some of the claims that students get too much money and they spend it on going out and drinking, I decided to write about living on student financial aid. The student financial aid includes the aid and some help with the rent – which depends a lot on the rent. Also the aid is given taking into consideration the degree so you might have it for 36 or 25 months or for another period of time depending on the length of the studies.

It is a while since I got my student aid but as far as I remember it was for around 25 months and about 450-460 euros per month. The rent was about 235 euros per month in a student apartment. Now, let’s do some simple math: after paying the rent I was left with 225 (given that the aid is 460 euros, rent includes water, electricity, internet + other administrative expenses). Finland is one of the most expensive countries in EU area and the food is quite pricy.

What can you eat with 225 euros per month? If you take the lunch at the student cafeteria it costs 2,60 euros. Let’s say you eat one lunch almost everyday at the student cafeteria – that is about 80 euros. So, you are left with about 145 euros. You also need to buy food for breakfast and dinner and one may assume that vegetables, fruits, meat (a generally balanced diet but nothing extravagant) would cost about 20-30 euros per week – 4 weeks = 80-120 euros.

You are left with 25-65 euros. There is also the phone to pay, I have a cheap operator so I pay around 10 euros per month. What’s left? 15-55 euros per month.
And here I didn’t include: products of personal hygiene, clothing items, kitchenware, books, office supplies, bus card, medicine, electronics and other items that one uses in their everyday life.

So I wonder, where do these people get the idea that 460 euros is enough to go clubbing and get drunk? This sum is barely enough to survive if parents don’t help you and if you don’t have any job. Many students do work during the summer if they are fortunate enough to find a job and save money for the school year. That was also what I did.

Of course, I’ve heard the ones who blame young people that they don’t take blue collar jobs because they are lazy and entitled. My observations show exactly the opposite but unfortunately not even these jobs are enough for everybody. It’s not that we are lazy and entitled – it’s just that even these jobs are hard to find and get. But that’s another story for another time.

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I thought i needed to see my friend who is also my neighbour from the dormitory campus and have a nice walk near the lake in the chilly afternoon weather and between yellow trees in the park. It was refreshing to talk with her about our problems which are more or less common. I had quite a harsh time in the last months because of these people who make unwelcome assumptions about my personal life and because i’m a sensitive person as my mom always seems to put it, it hurts me a lot. I can’t write here all the nasty remarks i have heard because i would burst into tears if i put them down and be forced to read them.

Sometimes it hurts me so bad i want to take the heart out of my chest and rip it off. It hurts when you hear all the time that you are not a person. It hurts when you hear all the time that your value as a human being is reduced to a organ which if taken out of your body wouldn’t make any difference because it’s not a vital organ. It simply hurts.

It hurts that when i find my balance and happiness somebody has to come and throw with shit in all that i have achieved. All my aspirations and hopes are hurled in the back and i feel small and insignificant. My friend told me what i have heard so many times: i’m too sensitive and i need to grow a thick skin. They tell me that but they don’t tell me how.

It felt nice to watch the nature fading. My pain is fading with it. And i feel happy afterwards. It is though weird how people dictate me how i should feel. It is not enough for them to dictate me what i should do but they feel the need to dictate me how to think, how to feel. The world tries to turn me into another ruined copy of itself.

But the autumn is fading. And with it there agressors who just melt into a moaning and muddy mass. And silence remains afterwards. I’m cured.

It’s autumn.

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Sometimes people are amazed when i make my statements clear and imposing. When i know what i want. Some are really puzzled at my self determidness, some are doubtful, some are envious. I am the only one who is none of that. I have always regarded the choices in my life as natural ones which just came along. I did not have to think so much about them. I just let them be. It feel sometimes as an outer force is guiding my life, as somebody else is making choices for me. And is so creepy that they are the right ones. As if there is permanent guiding for me, i – a clueless person.

It happened the same when i started to think what would i like to do later in life. What would i like to be when i grow up? I had not a clear idea but i always looked at the signs and namely what it fascinated me. I couldn’t just take a career just because of the money or just because it was popular or any other reason. I chose it because i just felt like doing it. Like it was meant for me. It didn’t matter other circumstances. Because i know i can be good only in what i like to do not in what i am supposed to do. It is one of the most difficult tasks to choose what you want to do later. Most of the people never know what they want. I think i was just lucky. I followed my childhood fascination with the past. It was like a charm layed upon me and i just submitted it. It sometimes feels like i was chosen to do something. It is the temptation to think that it might have been just a childhood phase but fortunately it wasn’t. It made me more confident with the other choices in life because now i am sure they are not just phases.

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As i remember i started learning my first foreign language at the age of 5-6 and since then it came as a natural thing to add one more as i went on. I am supposed to know 8 languages by now. But that is not to praise my language aquisition talent (which i don’t have) but to reflect upon the hardships of a person which considers learning languages quite a boring and time consuming activity. Maybe because i did it for so many years, i got bored of it and now i just do not have the necessary patience anymore especially when you start studying a completely different field than the previous and you focus all your energy on it. But as former language freak and maybe i still have it i can definitely draw some simple guidelines for the ones who want to venture in this.

In the first place folks keep this in mind: a language takes time to learn. Unless you have a weird brain damage or a divine gift. But forget that and think realistically. No course, however promising, for example learn Spanish in 10 days, will make wonders. Beacuse they don’t. Learning a language takes time. And lots of dedication. Do not expect you will be fluent over the night.

Each of us has their own learning rhythm. One might learn faster, another slower. Stop comparing yourself with the others and see your on business. Now depends also on the environment. One thing is to learn a language in its native country and another in your native country. It makes a difference. Also, many other factors are involved.

But now, let’s just pass to my favourite part: the bugs. I mean the ones who discourage you whatever you do. I won’t talk in general but i will just tell you my own experience with such individuals. Let’s take learning Finnish which i successfully managed for one year and a half. Well…as i know myself the spoken part comes very hard for me not because of the language itself but because of my mental barrier when it comes to communication. I simply can’t communicate easily with people and when it comes speaking a new language it gets very nasty and i fall into a complete silence. Mental blocking. Usually i heard the remarks that “our language is so difficult”. In the first place i would like to say: your language is common, any language is difficult. The fact that you say that to discourage me tells how  Debbie Downer you are and moreover, frustrated. They will always try to discourage you even from your first attempt.Fuck them, move on. You will meet plenty on the way, focus the energy constructive, not on idiots.

While the learning goes on and you try to get into small conversation with natives, most of them will just start focusing on your mistakes and silly accent. Invite them politely to start learning your own language or try to make them talk a language you know very well and if they do mistakes start making fun of them. It is evil but it always works!

And now the ones i totally love….they do not give me too much credit and they always underestimate my language skills. Well, well….regarding this kind i would always say that ignorance works or prove them the contrary but as they mean nothing to me i won’t bother to prove them anything. I just prove to myself. Sometimes, it pisses me off when i ask somebody to talk in Finnish with me and they continue in English. But as i said above: make fun of their English, they will switch automatically on Finnish. At least that is what i do.

Fortunately, i try to avoid such depressive, negative mind setters and join people who really understand that the medium of communication is not something to laugh about and always appreciate a person who is learning a new language. Because learning a language is not a skill, it’s a talent.

 

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I always envied those people whose career plans matched perfectly the market requirements and their wishes. I mean what more can you possibly want? Your dream job will get you money and it is such a demanded one. I think they are the ones at peace with their aspirations. But the thing is what about the rest of us, the mortals who struggle between passion and demand? The ones who have to choose between what they really want to do and what they are required to do? And i am sure there are plenty of us in the same pot out there. I say us because i am one of them, too. And there are even more who just stepped on their passion and chose the demand. These cases i have met they are not really fortunate i can say.

Probably i have mentioned before that i am very interested in working in the cultural heritage industry, i have always been since i was a child. I would say a very determined one. But of course the first ones who slap you and wake you up to reality are the parents who, of course, want something else for you, something better because they know better. And obviously it clashes with your own life aspirations. In my case, i was supposed to work in a bank or to become a doctor. Since my stuborness was so high that i had very bad results in the subjects supposed to help me in this pragmatical career my parents have just embraced the idea that i might well become a loser who studies humanities. But not any kind, at least foreign languages, they have demand on the market, DO THAT BECAUSE WE KNOW BETTER!

This is one of the classical examples. And you know very well that on one hand they are right but on the other how can you force yourself to study something you don’t like or it is at least indifferent to you just to have material satisfaction? Can you live just with the material satisfaction? Won’t you get to a certain stage of frustration later on? I am not really fit to talk about the material satisfaction since my future job won’t be a top paid one but i never wanted that. I never wanted to swim in money like a sad uncle Scrooge. I met some of the persons who just did what they had to do just for the money thing, i talked with them and i noticed that some have just reached that state of planitude where they just got used to the situation. They are not crazy about their jobs but they just go on because that is life. And the other kind who are just frustrated with their choice and try to find satisfaction in what they were supposed to do as a hobby. I don’t condemn any of them, it is their choice and they live with it. But just this question of choice makes me go insane sometimes. Now when i reached a certain level of education i can say that my choice has been somehow made and i am going with it. Somehow for me it is quite scary to say: this is it, i have made my choice and i am going this way because everyday i meet so many undecided persons and at one point i feel myself inflicted with doubt. Did i made the right decision? What if…? Questions which should not be there.

Looking at things from an adult point of view i can say that there were some mistakes which my family has done and i have done regarding personal choices. The problem is that my parents were even more confused than me at that time and i believe that they should just have let me make my choices. Afterall, we never know if what we choose is right or wrong. This is the great mystery and challenge of choices. We just never know.

From my humble life experience i can say that passion for a certian profession has played a great role in my choices. Because i have tried to do things which i did not like because i had to. And i got to no result, it was just fail. I can’t say the same about the things i love, there is that flame which keeps it going and whatever you do from passion is the best thing done in my case. And i also noticed that with the people around me. I can see immediately the ones who love what they do and the ones who don’t. The great things in this world came from us, the ones who enjoy what we do. The rest are just trying to keep the pace.

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I should have written this post long ago when i was still puzzled by a discussion with a person about happiness. I usually avoid getting into philosophical discussions because they mainly lead to no conclusions but spinning around in circles just for the sake of conversation. It is interesting to discuss though these matters if you have a witty conversation partner and there is time to talk just for the sake of talking. But leaving aside the general idea of these small chats i was puzzled by a thing which actually made me write this article. The controversial question…are you satisfied in general with your life? reached at a point in our discussions, the answer and the conclusions made me wonder a lot about certain aspects. I answered simply that at this present moment i am happy and satisfied with my life. My conversation partner had a weird reaction and he replied something of the kind that i must be so plain and dead. I got a quite inner shock upon hearing that. It was that kind of person always unhappy and complaining about something and of course a first thought would be go and get laid … but getting over these childish thought i figured out there was much more besides those thoughts. The person just assumed that the state of happiness is just a plain state of being that makes you wish for nothing more and you get into a linear state which closes down your life…like living inside a box and being satisfied with limitation.

The happiness issue is so wide that it will never be fully explained but i was just talking about his statement about me. It quite disturbed me because he does not know whom i really am and the fact that i am happy does not mean that i do not have further plans or dreams. It is just that i am happy of the present situation, a good state which helps me a lot to proceeed to the next state. Frustration and unaccomplishment in a present state of mind would lead to a catastrophe in my case. And if i were to make a comparison with my life one year ago i can say i reached a state of zen. If i am to go back in the past there would be tragedy, darkness. The implication of being dead just because you are happy has absolutely nothing to do with that feeling of self-accomplishment. And yes, conversation partner i have dreams, i have plans and i haven’t reached what i am wishing for but that can be done with a smile not with a grin of frustration and whining. And i totaly disliked the preconception about my life when you barely know me, it’s just that annoying part when people label you which i loathe. Happiness is just a state of mind you reach through mind education and own will and it is not an easy one. I have my own moments of depression but get over it fast because if i am not the one who keep my morals up and move on then who else can do it in my place?

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life is a journey, not a destination

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life is a journey, not a destination