27 February 2009

you don't bring me flowers

you don't say you need me
you don't sing me love songs
you don't bring me flowers anymore

[turku, finland]

15 February 2009

a break from studying

gingerbread cookies, anyone?

13 February 2009

the house that second-hand shops built

Today, I placed the finishing touch on my room - a 5-euro rug I bought from UFF.

It's hard decorating your room when you're on a student budget, especially when you know you'll be moving out in four months. Luckily, the Finnish -- never one to let anything go to waste -- have it all figured out. For roughly a hundred euros, I was able to deck out my room quite comfortably, with rentals from TYS and the Student Union (some furniture + a starting package of curtains, a duvet, a pillow, & some kitchenware), things scrounged from second-hand shops (a mattress, a rug & a drying line) and an assortment of items from the dirt-cheap IKEA. (A full-sized pillow for 95 cents? Outrageous!) Probably the most expensive thing I bought was a new heater, and that was only after I shivered in my room for a week and finally decided I couldn't wait until a heater turned up at the second-hand store. Hehe. Leave it to me to splurge on shoes but scrimp on things like that.

I live in a student housing complex in Halinen called Haliskylä, where I share a three-bedroom apartment with Johanna, a Swedish-speaking Finn, and Katri from Estonia. Student housing in Finland is excellent, a far cry from the French nightmare called Residence de Cuques. Everything is convenient and well-planned -- the Halinen landscape is almost rural with a forest and Halistenkoski rapids nearby, yet there is a commercial complex across the street and school is a 10-minute bus ride away.

glugging some glögi

It's Valentine's Day tomorrow, and here I am sipping a giant cup of warm glögi.

Glögi (also called glögg or gløgg in other Nordic languages) is a mulled wine that's normally served during the holiday season here in Scandinavia. It's made from spices such as cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, sugar or molasses, and mixed with red wine, vodka or brandy. It's then heated and served warm with raisins, almond slivers, and gingerbread cookies. Now, imagine yourself sipping that cup in front of a fireplace in the winter wonderland called Finland...

I know Christmas is two months gone, but Valentines is a holiday too, no? It's red, so glögi still counts as part of my Valentines Day celebrations. Besides, being a poor student like me, now is the perfect time to get addicted to glögi because supermarkets are selling off their remaining stocks for one euro! (Thanks to my "official" Finnish friend, Annika, for the tip!)

Happy Valentines Day to you all, wherever in the world you may be!

09 February 2009


It's not every day that something reminds me of home. So when something, no matter how small, comes to me, I grasp at it.

I am thankful that even here, halfway around the world, I know there is still a place called home.

the old manilla factory,
which is now a center for arts and culture
[turku, finland]

did you know...

...that there's a walk of fame somewhere in turku?

it's buried under the snow most of the time, but it's there, somewhere along linnankatu.
(thanks to ansku for pointing them out to me!)

08 February 2009


could it be the world's gone colder?
maybe, i'm a losing soul
the more i try it just gets harder
and my pain is getting old
- The Rain Don't Last, Hope

another snowy night on aurakatu
[turku, finland]

06 February 2009

how do you dress for -40 degree weather?

I've just signed up for a student tour to Lappi, or the Finnish Lapland. For the uninitiated, it's the vast wilderness in northern Finland above the Arctic Circle.

I get to cross the Arctic Circle -- how cool is that? Or rather, how cold is that?

-40 degrees Celsius, apparently.

Freezing to death and roughing it up in a cabin in the woods with ten strangers is not exactly my idea of fun, but then again, the trip promises a chance to visit a snow castle, go ice fishing, build an igloo, go reindeer sledding, and maybe even see the Northern Lights. It's an opportunity I just couldn't miss.

But somehow this still feels a bit too Survivor-ish for me.

I'll tell you all about it when I come back a popsicle. :/

*Winter dressing instructions taken from www.visitfinland.com

05 February 2009

runeberg tortes

February 5 marks Runeberg Day in Finland, the birthday of their national poet J.L. Runeberg. This also means runeberg tortes season -- named after the poet, of course, and his favorite pastry.

Here's some runeberg tortes from Aschan, a bakery here in Turku.

02 February 2009


That's Finnish for 25.

And here are 25 random things about me, cross-posted from my Facebook account -- because I am one of those self-involved types who absolutely loved doing this. Enjoy!

25 Random Things About Sheila
  1. For most of my life, I had short hair in an afro, just because I couldnt be bothered to comb my hair.
  2. I need 12 hours of sleep. Anything less than that and I am a zombie.
  3. I am the quietest person girl in my family. (Changed that since my sister says my dad is the quietest one.)
  4. I was once asked out by a waiter.
  5. I was once asked out by a grocer.
  6. I was once stalked by a bellboy.
  7. I was once mistaken for a hooker.
  8. Which leads me to conclude... I am very attractive to men in the service industry.
  9. I do not watch/listen/read the news. I didn't even know about the US elections until someone told me. I recently installed the CNN ticker in the hopes of being more informed, but so far I only know about stupid things like this goat being held in a jail in Nigeria for trying to steal a car, and that cows can produce more milk if you give them a name. Teehee.
  10. I am always mistaken for a Latina. Case in point: In Paris, a street vendor chased after me shouting: "Mexican lady! Mexican laaaaddddyyyy!!!!"
  11. I cannot go more than one hour without peeing.
  12. I have a built-in hot girl sensor. I always check out hot girls.
  13. I have swum in a pool filled with old naked women....
  14. ... and got scolded for having my clothes on.
  15. I cannot sleep without taking a shower first.
  16. I saw Enchanted being shot in Central Park, and thought "Which idiots would want to watch a B-movie like this?!!?" I watched the movie. McDreamy is hot.
  17. I can go for days without leaving my room. I am very good at keeping myself entertained, even when I actually have nothing to do.
  18. Someone once told me that I can be very funny, except I was sad most of the time. That made me sad. Hahaha.
  19. I cannot dance. I dread dancing more than going to the dentist.
  20. I have a hole in my heart.
  21. I used to be so shy, I was scared to order from waiters.
  22. I believe I was haunted by an evil spirit that followed me home from Montreal. I had nightmares for a week.
  23. I absolutely despise waking up early. When I was younger, my parents, our maids, our driver, our dog, etc., etc. had to drag me out of bed and shove me in the shower to make me go to school.
  24. I hate it when other people sit on my bed. My bed is my sacred place!
  25. I am looking for an internship this summer. If you can give me one or know anywhere I can do one, please let me know!