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Hello Ringo

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Library Cafe in Finland

It has been more than three months since the date I backed to Finland – the funland you can imagine 😉 To get straight to the point, one thing in Finland I always find close to my heart is that Finland is a country for coffee lovers. Here, nearly every one drinks coffee, and people can drink coffee anytime anywhere. I love the coffee culture in Finland, and I will keep writing about the coffee culture here 🙂

But first, I want to talk about the cafe in places that are not specially designed for coffee. When I was in Vietnam, coffee is a big culture there as well. However, in Vietnam, we talk more about cafe and places that sell coffee. We don’t think about cafe in library and schools : ) But in Finland, I love the cafe in universities and libraries. The cafe in universities, libraries and museums here are designed with so much personalities and elegance to create a lovely, comfortable environment for reading books and enjoying coffee. Oh one more note, books in city libraries here are free to borrow and the selection is profound and huge.(love love)

To me, there’s nothing more enjoyable than borrowing novels and enjoy the books right in the cafe inside library. Good, affordable coffee and free good books = a perfect combination.

My current quest is to explore the cafe in the libraries in Helsinki city. The cafe I often visit is Itakeskus library, which is so close to my apartment. The cafe in this library is STOA cafe , which has a lovely , funky tone in design:) If you happen to visit Helsinki and you are a bookworm, why you don’t have a library-cafe tour ?;) You will be amazed how wonderful the interior design of the cafes in these libraries.

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Will update soon about other cafe’ in Helsinki:)

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I come back!!!

It has been 9 months since my last post. Wow, seriously! I felt very terrible for letting my blog collect cyberdust for the past 9 months. However, for the past 9 months, I have been under a lot of ups and downs (financially and emotionally):) I hope that’s a good excuse. Just in the last 6 months of 2015, my life was more ‘interesting’ than the 6 years before that combining lol.

+) I quit job , then I enrolled a chocolate-making school to learn how to make chocolate treats. Yummy. It was a great time for me to play around with chocolate. After the class and practice, I know that  chocolate is a difficult pal but once you manage to handle it, the outcome worths all your effort. Everyone thought that I was crazy, but I never regretted spending money and time in experimenting with something that new and interesting as chocolate 😉

+) I quit a long-term relationship. 6 years for a relationship is not either too long nor too short; however, for relationship, time is relative, right?:)  Our relationship ended and it just happened. Every one pitied me because he was a big cheater. And I told everyone, it’s life and it happens. I don’t want to say this but deep down, I was so glad about the ending. I felt like I had been emotional hostage to my ex-partner in the past 6 years haha, and now I am free:) I was glad to end  a relationship that has nothing great and nothing wrong.

+) I left my home country again. After months of working on my business project on chocolate to find out that I’m not ready for it, I took a pause to leave everything behind (relationship, business etc.). I needed to clear my mind. I went to Dalat, Highland of Vietnam, to have a getaway trip. Traveling alone helped me realise one thing: no matter where we go, we can never run away from our thoughts and heavy soul. I paused and thought about all the past memories, and it hit me: I wanted to back to Finland – the country that my ex partner asked me to leave with him while I didn’t want. I wanted to go back to Finland where I used to find myself so comfortable and calm there. And now I’m in Finland again:) This time, I may not feel as calm and peaceful as I used to, but I still find myself comfortable in this land. I want to say that it’s not necessary to define your home country as a place you feel belonging to. For me, it’s Finland for now. In future? Let’s see it then. Life is in a constant change that we are just live in it:)

To sum up, I don’t QUIT my blog. I still see that my posts; especially the post “Top Japanese food movies”, are still visited by many people around the world. So glad about that. I will continue my blogging soon:) How’s about writing about this Funland?;) The featured image is taken when I was on my way to visit my cousin in Pori : )

 

 

Is that blonde has magical power?

Lately, I have been always thinking about one thing on women body: the hair. I have started to think more about people perceptions on the hair color. Is that the blond hair that a big deal? In my country Vietnam, we are all in black hair so I didn’t know about different perceptions regarding hair colors before. We may care about long hair, short hair straight hair, curly hair, silky hair or dry hair etc. It could be that in Vietnam, hair color is still homogenous. When we mention about any hair color apart from the black color, we know that we are mentioning ‘unnatural hair color’, and from the way people talk, I can see the less-admiration shown because people know that this is not natural hair color and you can get that color so easily after a on-day trip in salon. When they compliment ‘your brown color is so beautiful’, in other words, that sentence means ‘the hair salon you went is seriously good.’ When I was younger, all the girls around me comment about straight hair, curly hair, or boys like long hair rather than short hair (still true for today. Sigh). Until I went to Finland, I started to see a different land of hair color. Yellow, brown, slightly red, and then… light yellow like straw. As one of very few Asian students in my class (back to 2008 , 2009), my black hair seemed to be the odd one out. But to be honest, comparing to other Western countries, hair colors in Finland are still homogenous, only better than in Asia.

In my university in Finland, I started to hear about more comments about hair colors. “Hey, Pekka has the lightest hair color in the class. I can’t see his eyebrows,” said my friend kiddingly when seeing that guy. Or, another girl would say ‘ I have to dye my hair more often to get a better blond hair’. That’s when I realize how the hair color matters to people around me. Blonde and brunet are the types of girls that people normally mention. And yes, the blond color seems to be remarkable and noticeable. When I went to Tokyo with two other Finnish girls for our exchange program, I backed to the land of black heads and I felt less odded out. In Tokyo, I would see girls with black to slight brow, or slight red hair colors. And in Tokyo, I saw the magic power of blond hair again!

The thing is Asian people are obsessed with Western looks, and … WE (yes, including me) perceive the Western looks as highest examples of beauty and royalty. Asian people try to impress that we value our beauty the most: small feet, small waist, porcelain skins, and silky black hair. However, the obvious truth is we are always get amazed by the Western beauty. Western fever. Is it a correct term?

One time, I asked my Finnish friend about her first morning commuting trip to school, she said in her embarrassment with a hint of pride “ Well, it’s so awkward in the train. The people in the train kept looking at me and my flatmate (another yellow-haired Finn). Two blond girls.” [Sigh, and smile] That’s the time I came to my sense again. In Finland, I was the odd one out, the subdue one of all, because I was the minority. However, when my friend came to the land where her hair was the minority, she became the noticed one, a drop dead gorgeous blond girl. In the parties of Tokyo that we went or sometimes even on streets, some Japanese girls rushed out to us and asked her “Your hair is so beautiful. You look like a princess. May I take a photo with you?” I’m sure they were fans of Tokyo Disneyland! Of course, my Finn friend would smile shyly and accept the request.I was always the cameraman. Like the fan meeting a celeb on streets.  I felt like I was a bodyguard to a celebrity (in Hollywood), or the maid to princess (Austria, mid-18th century). Oh, don’t get me wrong. I was not jealous of her. Not an inch. It’s just that hair color used to be the last thing I noticed on people behaviors. The boys get hype up on a pair of big boobs, or the endlessly long legs, or the round, juicy butt. Or they would whisper with each other about a pretty face, big round eyes. Not hair color. And now thanks to her, I started to observe more on what people think about hair color, esp blond color.

1920's Maybelline Ads 004 (From the picture of PhyllisHarver. She was famous for “Her hair is a curly mass of golden corn silk. Her eyes are cerulean blue. Her teeth are perfect pearls. ”   Continue reading “Is that blonde has magical power?”

Being Happy Alone

Thinking back to the days when I enjoyed lazing around on the Mikkelei’s lake without anyone around, wanderring alone in crowded streets of Tokyo, hopping on random trains alone and off to random station for random stroll, or trying food in strange diners alone, now I realise that during those days I did learn one thing (but now I forget): being able to be happy alone.Some people say I’m anti-social. It’s not really like that. It’s just that I  don’t want to get emotionally dependent. Today -after two years I backed to my homecountry – I then find out that I have forgotten how to be happy alone and then become emotionally dependent. When I am in bad mood, I have crazy urge to find friends to trash my upset or dissappointment. We need jokes and bitching sessions to move on, and to live by. When it comes to sharing either upset or joy, I need several persons to share as one for me is not enough anymore. I’m emotionally dependent on a larger scale than I expected.

They say that sharing is caring. However, it’s only true for some occasions and for some specific types of people around us. In recent days, when I share something good about my life,  I have sense that I would get implicit/ explicit jealousy or doubts from the sharees. When I share my upset about my life, I have felt paranoid that I would get more dissapointment in return for being a whiner, or overly serious life lectures like I’m living my life too stupid. That’s how pathetic to be an emotional dependant.

Life is only to be living, like I’m just travelling on the passage of time. I realise that sometimes I don’t like what I did, or my dreams, my decisions at some points in the past , but sometimes I find that my younger self in the past did lead a wiser , problem-proof life than my current self. Being able to be happy alone is what my younger self did better than my current self. And it’s not about entirely being alone, it’s about being able to enjoy being happy alone and don’t expose myself to “too many people”. Simple as that.

#New Year Resolution ?

When I started creating this hello-ringo blog, there’s one question that my friends ask and I keep mulling over in my mind:  what kind of blog I write about? Should Hello-Ringo be a food blog where I write about food recipes (which I horribly suck at ) or restaurants and such? I seriously don’t know. Should my blog become a place full of though-provoking, and inspiring (yet sound cliche to me) talks ? I seriously don’t know either, and I’m no way designed to be a life coach. So, I better rule out the second option then. People say that you should lead a themed blog so you can keep up your stable audienes. I struggle with consistency and I easily get bored when I have to write up every post related to one thing or another. I don’t know whether this blog is for me or for something else.

And then it just came to me : I dont’t  have to write blog for others to read; I just write for me to read. To please myself, to start with. And that’s the reason behind Hello-Ringo: a place for me to jot down all my stories, my feelings and such. It would be awesome if I have viewers because it means that there are some people interested in my gibberish talking. I love to write stories; I will write stories from fiction to non-fiction. I don’t want to be anyone’s life coach or lecturer, or the inspiration source ; I will never advise you to do or not to do anything. I’m a kid inside, and I will always be. Be foolish and confused. 🙂

I want to write about my life like a journey, a chronicle of life-time experiences. That’s my goal for this blog. This blog will be a place for me to look back in the next 5 years or 10 years, and then I could feel that I didn’t really waste my youth at all.

Happy new year 2015 to Hello-Ringo 🙂

Tuesday and being a good nitpicker

Working as a copywriter has taught me a lot in picking errors and things for improvements. I’m no way near being a perfectionist, but my profession requires me to be a nitpicker, and I have to admit that I still fail at that. Sometimes, at my office, the graphic designers moan out of desperation for my comments. “Why do you love commenting a lot?”. No, I don’t enjoy criticising other people. I just want to point out things we can do to improve before sending anything to clients. Still, I’m no way a perfectionist. My stuff still has a lot of flaws teehehhee, and I’m working on my flaws.

But recently, I have seen that my habit of raising comments and feedbacks has some good returns back to me instead of the frowns or moaning!!! Days ago, I sent my email to Skillshare, an online global learning community,to raise my comments on how difficult for me to load the new version of their site. And the web layout seemed to be a little bit more distracting than the older version. This is my professional talk after time of working with the user interface and web content. I just sent them the email just on a whim, expecting nothing back as I know that they would say thank you for your feedbacks or ignore my email. Instead, I received a very friendly, down-to-earth and sincere email from their staff –Megan, thanking me for the feedbacks and explaining their process of working on the lag. And she sent me a small token, which is one free month to be added to me premium membership. Whooho!!!! One month membership of 9.9$ is not such a big deal to me, but I’m happy to receive a gift for my feedbacks. Not the usual impersonal, corporate emails “Thank you for your feedback bla bla, we will come back to you soon” and with no follow-up emails. I’m happy about the personal touch from Skillshare, the website that I have used a lot in recent months.

I normally use Skillshare for learning creative writing, and graphic design. I attended the courses in graphic design just for knowledge only, not for hard-core techniques. I just wanted to understand better about the graphic design, so I can discuss with the graphic designers in my work more easily. So they can’t fool me !!:D I can’t draw, but I still can talk, babe!! For creative writing, I joined courses in the creative nonfiction writing, hosted by Susan Orlean (the staff writer of The New Yorker magazine). The course was extremely helpful for me, and I loved Susan’s lecture. I did attend one writing course before, as my company paid me to learn that course. However, that $350 Australian Writing course was not as good as this $9.9 course by Susan Orlean. Well, just my personal opinion, okay? Because everyone has different style of learning and understanding, I found myself helpless with audio-only lectures like the ones in the Australian Writing course. I prefer illustrative lectures, where the lecturers talk and illustrate ideas in compelling ways. It’s like I sucks at audiobooks. I would rather sit with the hundreds-page books doing nothing else than driving with 2-hours audio book. I would either crash into the lightpoles or remember nothing from the audio.

Today is not a happy day at work for me, but the email did really lighten up my afternoon (after a sleepy heavy lunch~ ~).Anyway, it’s my time for me to make a hot cup of coffee, and back to work.

Happy Thursday, Everyone!

(It’s ironic to see the feature image and the text together lolz)

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