19 October 2014

Plans for New York City

19 October 2014
Hey guys! Sorry for the massive break in my blog posts. It feels as if during summer I was blogging every other day and now the pace is more like every other month. But no worries, I will get a grip of myself, since there are no matriculation exams or other stressful factors in my life, and continue this happy blogging.

I have been excited and looking forward to our trip to New York, which will be my first trip ever to America. Since I don't know when or whether I'll be returning to New York, I decided to listen to my father's advice and plan a little what I'll want to see and do. We are staying for a week, so we'll have to see what we have time to do, of course.

1. Statue of Liberty
2. Broadway
3. Museum of Modern Art
4. Top of the Rock observation deck
5. Hershey's
6. Harlem
7. Bronx + Bronx Zoo
8. Central Park
9. Brooklyn Bridge + Promenade

10. 9/11 Memorial & Museum
11. The High Line
12. Little Italy
13. Grafiti at 5Pointz Aerosol Center
14. Rockefeller Center Christmas tree
15. Times Square 
16. Roosevelt Island Tramway
17. The Cloisters
18. Staten Island Mall

We'll have to see whether we have enough time to do eveything or if we end up doing all of this. Extempore "plans" (not sure if I can call them plans when they aren't planned) are the best that can happen during a trip so making a full timetable isn't really the best idea. Still, I'm hoping to visit a few museums, several boroughs and go shopping and eating great food!
What are your must places in New York?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Statue_of_Liberty_National_Monument http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Broadway_Theatre_(53rd_Street) http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Times_Square,_New_York_City_(HDR).jpg http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Hershey_Company http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Tiger_Bronx_Zoo.JPG http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Brooklyn_Bridge_20080501.JPG http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/4/4a/Littleitaly_worldcup.JPG Aaron Harewood - grafiti http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roosevelt_Island_Tramway

16 September 2014

Eating, sleeping and getting around in Fréjus

16 September 2014
Living in another country makes you accustom yourself to different kinds of things not existing in your homeland. Pretty obvious, right, but it's interesting how distinctively people react to these cultural differences. I thought - although I "lived" in France for only three weeks - that I'd tell about the main ones I came across during the time. Oh, by the way, the reason for my lazing blogging has been the final exams, which are taking up an awful lot of time. Tomorrow at nine o'clock I'll be starting my final exam in English, and I hope it will go alright. If only the essay subjects were interesting! Anyway, back to the differences:

The food & eating
This one deserves its number one place without having to think that much! After all, both the food and the eating situation differed a lot from what I was used to in Finland. A traditional breakfast would include a croissant or pain au chocolat with a coffee, whereas we Finns like to eat bread, porridge and other stuff heavier (generally speaking) Luckily, we had cereals for breakfast, which was a good way to start the day.

Another matter of eating was the dinner. Here we have it usually around 4 o'clock or 5, but the French like to eat late. I guess the dinner was adjusted to fit better in our timetable, so we usually dined at 7 o'clock, which was early for them, but still pretty late for me. And it wasn't only about filling yourself up with food, but it was also a social event. Dinner time was of significant importance to the French, since we all kind of showed respect to each other and gathered around the table at the same time. I think dinner time was one of the only moments when we all sat down and talked in French. It was good for our language skills, as my room mates and I tended to switch into English outside the house.

My last confession would be the food itself. I just loved it and I was so happy to have a host mum who cooked so well! We had different food every day, and from what I can remember we had at least: ratatouille, pancakes filled with ham and cheese, paella, spaghetti bolognese and pizza. On our last evening, we had a huge variety of seafood tapas, such as caviar, tuna fish, prawns, crayfish and salmon with bread. Too bad I didn't take a photo of it; it was exotic!

The public transport
I was fairly satisfied with the transportation on the whole, but some things made me question the functionality. As French people are far lazier with timekeeping than us Finns, we sometimes had to wait for the bus reasonably long, which wasn't ever so agreeable. That happens here quite a lot as well, so I don't think it was much of a cultural difference, though.

But what really annoyed us were the bee buses, in other words, small ecological buses emitting the absolute minimum amount of exhaust fumes. Don't get me wrong, it's particularly important to conserve the nature, but it wasn't exactly an ideal start for the day when some of us didn't fit into this ecological wagon and had to wait for the next bus, thus going late to school. And since I was quite bad at navigating in Fréjus, (thanks to all the roundabouts and winding roads) I always had to be accompanied by a good friend of mine who would know when to get off. Also, it didn't really help that there were several lines which would all leave us on different bus stops.

I'm not really sure where I'm going with this text, but what I meant is that getting around was quite hard. Fortunately, there was always someone near me and when there wasn't, one could just ask for help from the strangers. I won't even go into detail how my room mate and I got lost in the middle of the night walking 4 kilometres back home from the beach, or how I was forced to believe a random Norwegian girl, when I didn't know how to get home from the main bus station. She thought we might possibly live in the same block. I was a bit scared, but luckily she was right and we both got home!

The houses & rooms
In the photo above, you can see a very typical French boulevard with all its rainbow-coloured houses and cute balconies. Truth is that only a fraction of the French live in these houses and even though I also stayed in a flat, it looked completely different from these ones.

I was surprised by the fact that toilets didn't have a sink in which to wash your hands. At least where I stayed, the sink was in the bathroom next to the toilet. Not really that far away, but I just can't help thinking how unhygienic it could be. And sometimes when you simply wanted to wash your hands and realised someone was taking a shower, with the door locked of course, it wasn't very funny.

It also felt weird that there were no glasses in the windows. Instead, there were two 'doors' to keep the window shut and some stretchable blinds on the inside. It was practical, as the heat temperature would rise way above +30°C and the apartment seriously needed ventilation. But coming from Finland where our windows have two thick glasses on top of each other, and opening them happens with the help of a little tool, I think it's alright to feel like this.

Just for comparison, this photo below is the view from my room. Pretty different from the cute streets, right? This housing company must have been pretty big, as the yard was so huge I actually got lost there a couple of times. Naturally, we then had to ask some kids if they knew where our block E was. Well, apparently we mixed up the pronunciation of the letters 'E' and 'I', so instead of getting to know where our home was, we got to know where I was.

30 August 2014

10 memorable photos from Gran Canaria

30 August 2014
 1  This cute cat came sitting on our terrace; the terrace where I loved to have breakfast and little breaks from the sun. The whole resort area was really well-kept as one morning, besides the cat,  there was also a man trimming a palm tree in our garden. Meow.

 2  This is the professional way to dry your jacket abroad. Tuck the sleeve in and insure that it won't fall off five times like mine did. To be used at your own risk! No seriously, I wouldn't recommend this to anybody. I was just really desperate before a dinner.

 3  We went dining in a quiet Chinese restaurant in Playa del Ingles which seemed a bit peculiar, truth be told. When my friend's food appeared, it occurred that we would be cooking it ourselves in the table. I might have been able to understand that with steaks, but this was chicken. Goodness gracious!

 4  Oh no, wait a second. On second thought, I need my sunglasses as it's way too sunny out here and I don't want my eyes to be closed. Go on, take it! No, not yet! #holidayphotoproblems

 5   Yeah, we had a good time reading the menus in Finnish. It's hard to translate the mistakes in English because of the complex grammar, but let's just say every other one is written incorrectly. But it was cute.

 6  The sexy sipping face. Or less sexy. Do I really look like that? This isn't even the only one, I think I have about three of these in my archives!

 7  This was one dried out river in Puerto de Mogan! This bridge itself was beautiful, but this truth lay beneath it.

 8  Absolutely no one at Burger King in Las Palmas! Then we saw a family of three: a mother, a father and a small child probably around 3 years old. And they happened to be.... Finnish! Wow, I just feel sooo much abroad right now. I decided to use Spanish and order an ice cream, which was great, but I couldn't catch what the cashier said. So much for that. Switching to English immediately...

 9  Trying on shoes at Primark. Primark is a shoe and bag paradise. I just love it. But apparently I didn't approve of this moment for photographing. However, I happily left the shop with new sandals, and a few more purchases. Ahem, ahem. I've got to praise the Argan Oil I bought for my hair; if it hadn't been for Primark's cheap little bottles, I wouldn't have ever bought this amazing oil at all. My hair sends love to you, whoever invented the oil!

 10  Last but not least, when taking a "unique" holiday photo like this, make sure your horrid plasters aren't ruining it. The pool looks nice... Oh well. It was the first day at the pool so we were all excited!
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