Wednesday, July 30

Some of the things I missed about China...And forgot that I disliked

Living in China has it's good and bad sides. If we first look at the pros: 
  1. You meet people who sort of have the same mindset like you. Something also made them come here and for some reason, they ALSO stayed here. 
  2. Everything is ALWAYS open! It doesn't matter if you want a beer, massage of dinner at 2 am. They have it!
  3. Summers are long and warm. This could also be a bit of downside because it's been 30-36 degrees here everyday and HUMID. Let's just compare it with the short summer in Scandinavia and say it's a good thing
  4. Variety! You can find anything here. Food, electronics, people, opportunities, well just name it
  5. Work! The economy is still booming here, not as much as before but tenfold faster than back home
  6. Learning a new language and improving it daily, it feels great to be able to speak and read Chinese! Love it! 
  7. Price, everything IS cheaper here! (except for luxury goods and some imported foreign stuff) You can have a 2 hour massage for 8 euros, get a huge bag of fruit for just a few euros, drink a beer in a local Chinese restaurant for 1 euro each
  8. Easy to fly around all over Asia, cheap and shorts flight to all kinds of cool diving places and beaches! 
Now for the cons:
  1. Pollution! It's better here in Shanghai than Beijing but still a factor that is there
  2. Food safety. You never know what you eat OR drink. There are loads of extra chemicals, fake stuff, spoiled things. It's best not to think about it so much....
  3. Chaos. Why? Well we can start from traffic, nothing really works as it should, red lights are more of a guidance than actual law. People honk like it was a honking competition and no car ever watches out for pedestrians, you better watch yourself in traffic. The subway is packed with people, I mean REALLY packed. People don't stand in line and wait for you to come out first, everyone is pushing and pulling in and out randomly. What is order? 
  4. Corruption, in normal daily situations I have not had any problems with this but if I was local and lived here it would pose quite a few annoying things. I'm not gonna go deeper into this now.
  5. Tapwater! I miss the clean tasty tapwater home! Here you need to order purified water in big barrels. And hope that it is actually purified water and not just something someone took from the tap elsewhere and sold it to you....
  6. Miss your friends home....but then again I miss the friends in China when I'm home. 
  7. Internet. It's slow and it's blocked to a very extensively. Google, Youtube, Facebook, Twitter, My blog, Some foreign news websites are accessible without a VPN client.  

The PXP trio, was an awesome reunion guys. 
 Indonesian restaurant in the heart of Jing An park 
 Love the night taxi driving on a hot summer night in the city. Just look at all those elevated highways! 
 It was raining outside, not even a 5 star hotel here is build well enough to hold water out, hah! 

 Wagas, to be honest the best pasta I had so far ever. Strange to find in China from all places...
 Massage! Cheap and one of the best ways to relax after a long day at work....or hangover :)
 Street food! All the colours of the rainbow. Some of the stuff here you really don't even wanna touch with a 5 foot pole but the chicken meat is great! 
 Noodles of all sorts! Yummy soup and rich with flavour. Always at Ajisen
 Shopping, when all the seafood is alive. Hey, it's just keeping it "fresh" 
 Drink prices, gin tonics still go for 15rmb at Windows. IT'S a bargain! Or 2 beers for 25rmb

Tuesday, July 29

First day in Shanghai

For some reason I skipped jetlag totally by taking a nap after the trip and then going to sleep quite early in the evening. Feel great! First day to check out the new office, fix my phone, start looking for an apartment and meet up with old friends! This city hasn't changed much, it's still busy and buzzing! After a nice breakfast in the hotel it was work, meet the new people at the office and then go to meet Kari and take a set at the gym.

Got cheese? These guys sure did, every morning there was a massive parmesan cheese by the breakfast buffee, just dig in! 
 Yum yum yum
Some fresh croissants or danish ?
 Some DimSum lunch with the people from the office. I've really become a sucker for Asian food. Didn't even like it when I first moved to China. One of those things that start growing on you.
 Beautiful day! This is my office view, welcome to the concrete jungle! 
 Suzhou Creek, Karis place. Better City, Better Life. Shanghais slogan for the World Expo 2010. Still going strong...

Monday, July 28


Wow, it's amazing to be back in this city that never sleeps! Stayed in a hotel the first week while I was looking for an apartment. When I landed I knew it was gonna be warm. But had no idea it was gonna be this scorching HOT! The quicksilver got up to 36 degrees! And the humidity is intense here! It's like constantly being in a sauna, you only want to go outside in very light clothes or they immediately get soaking wet. Don't see how your supposed to wear a suit at this time of the year. Then again it's China and everything is casual :)

After the airport I went straight to the medical checkup, it is mandatory for the visa. You go to the reception and give 5 passport photos and fill in a form. After that you wait for about 1 hour and then they shout your name. You go through many rooms with different test like height, EKG, blood, eyes, x-ray, ultrasound (but why?) and a few things that I'm not even really sure what they were. My appointment time was at 10 am and my flight landed at 7.40 but I made it even though it was on the other side of the town. Thanks for the car ride Chloe! After coming to the hotel I just crashed in bed for a few hours. The heat, jetlag, health check and a 10 hour flight was enough to put me to bed for the day.
Nanjing East road, the "famous" walking street. It's full of shops and restaurant. As a white looking tourist you will get a lot of massage and sexy girl invitations by random people who try to lure you into places where they rip you off. Heard about a Finnish guy who went for it and they charged his Visa card for 3000 euros. What a dork. 
Rooftop terrace, if you can handle the +40 degree heat in the sun. Not too crowded here...
Some chinglish is mandatory here 
 How would you like some chicken-feet? or maybe some pig skin? yum yum
 Driving a taxi can be a though job, so why not take a nap in the red lights? 
 Can someone tell me what this abnormality is that I got at the health checkup? They also noticed that I was colour-blind

Sunday, July 27

How I feel every time I come home....

The hardest part of traveling no one ever talks about or understands....

When being away from home: 

You see the world, try new things, meet new people, fall in love, visit amazing places, learn about other cultures – then it’s all over. People always talk about leaving, but what about coming home?

We talk about the hard parts while we’re away – finding jobs, making real friends, staying safe, learning social norms, misreading people you think you can trust – but these are all parts you get through. All of these lows are erased by the complete highs you experience. The goodbyes are difficult but you know they are coming, especially when you take the final step of purchasing your plane ticket home. All of these sad goodbyes are bolstered by the reunion with your family and friends you have pictured in your head since leaving in the first place.

Then you return home, have your reunions, spend your first two weeks meeting with family and friends, catch up, tell stories, reminisce, etc. You’re Hollywood for the first few weeks back and it’s all new and exciting. And then it all just…goes away. Everyone gets used to you being home, you’re not the new shiny object anymore and the questions start coming: So do you have a job yet? What’s your plan? Are you dating anyone? 

But the sad part is once you’ve done your obligatory visits for being away for a year; you’re sitting in your childhood bedroom and realize nothing has changed. You’re glad everyone is happy and healthy and yes, people have gotten new jobs, boyfriends, engagements, etc., but part of you is screaming don’t you understand how much I have changed? And I don’t mean hair, weight, dress or anything else that has to do with appearance. I mean what’s going on inside of your head. The way your dreams have changed, they way you perceive people differently, the habits you’re happy you lost, the new things that are important to you. You want everyone to recognize this and you want to share and discuss it, but there’s no way to describe the way your spirit evolves when you leave everything you know behind and force yourself to use your brain in a real capacity, not on a written test in school. You know you’re thinking differently because you experience it every second of every day inside your head, but how do you communicate that to others?

You feel angry. You feel lost. You have moments where you feel like it wasn’t worth it because nothing has changed but then you feel like it’s the only thing you’ve done that is important because it changed everything. What is the solution to this side of traveling? It’s like learning a foreign language that no one around you speaks so there is no way to communicate to them how you really feel.

This is why once you’ve traveled for the first time all you want to do is leave again. They call it the travel bug, but really it’s the effort to return to a place where you are surrounded by people who speak the same language as you. Not English or Spanish or Mandarin or Portuguese, but that language where others know what it’s like to leave, change, grow, experience, learn, then go home again and feel more lost in your hometown then you did in the most foreign place you visited.
This is the hardest part about traveling, and it’s the very reason why we all run away again. 

And so again, I have moved to Shanghai now. 

Tuesday, July 22

Last week in Finland

Wow, haven't lived in China since December the 12th last year. Such a loooooong time in the "civilised" world. Been a lot of fun and chance to detox lungs, liver and the whole system! After this is will be back to the always so busy Shanghai. It's on!! Last week in Helsinki was great, will miss you all! It feels a bit strange to leave all this behind and move back to something so different. Anyone is more than welcome to welcome for a visit, there will be an extra guest room in my new flat!

Boat packed, Bob the builder. Pellinge needs some new stuff! 
 Selfie check 
Awwww, grattis pappa Koli! 
 Evening jogging at Soukka always as beautiful! 

 Paint paint! Hope you have most of the job by now Laakso, sorry I didn't have more time to help than 2 days :(  
 A quick trip to grannys cottage with Mikko

Inhale the last moments of calm
 Birds decided to make a nest in the door 

 Berries! Wild blueberries in the forrest are one of the best things with the summer

 Keep Calm and all will be fine, had to teach the city kid how to row a boat :D 
Gathered most of these rocks here, about 20 years ago...
 How to "hang" your bike to prevent thieves. Out with Valtsu to Kaiku, one of the underground clubs in Helsinki that plays awesome techno

 Will miss this little baby, speed monster! 
 I actually flew to Shanghai but this was for Mikko because he went to Beijing the same day. Delayed! 
 The last supper, international lounge was cool, build like your "own" living room

 Bye bye Finland! See you at X-Mas!

Monday, July 21

A weekend in St. Petersburg

Russia is so close to Finland but very few Finns have ever been there. One reason is the hassel with the visa but also the prejudice against Russians. We don't have the best past with them in Finland the last 100 years...The boat we took was alright but don't expect any amazing food served on it. Beers were cheap though, 4 euros on the deck with amazing sunshine!

Pre dinner before the boat, and also my last dinner in Finland for a long long time...After this It's time to move to Shanghai!! 
Helsinki west port
Sunshine, ice cold beer, new destination ahead and with best of friends. This day was pretty perfect

Very 80ties decoration 
Found this in the Tax-Free. Schwip Schwap? That's like the best name you came up for a soda?? Lol 
This place was really dead
Please always follow the safety instructions. Remember to place your child on the rails at the 8th floor. 
Sunset by Suursaari was amazing, the sky was red! There is no extra filter added to picture below. 

Suursaari, one of the areas Russia took from Finland after the war

We took a city sightseeing car that tok us around all the main attraction places. The also fixed us around the que for the State Ermitage so we didn't have to wait 2 hours for tickets. That place is was packed on a weekend! There are so many treasures and piece of art at it that it would take 8 years if you looked at every object there for 1 minute.

St. Petersburg was a nice city but would need much more time than 1 day to explore it! People were nice and the level of english was ok as well. Should have studied some Russian when I was younger, dumb.

 A Sfinx from Egypt, nice loot guys 

 They come in any color you want, comrade 
 Aurora Cruiser
 St. Isaacs Catherdral
 Inside the Ermitage 
 One of Leonardo Da Vinci's paintings 
 The biggest crowns I ever seen

Nice use of seashells. This place was really amazing! 
The "onion" or The also known as the church of spilled blood. One Tsar was killed outside it and it got it's name of spilled blood after that. 
 Nevsky Prospect 
 Last dinner before running back to the boat
 REAL borch soup
 Add the cream fresh to the soup 
 The terminal building was really cool, very USSR-ish 
 Mother Russia
 The port was really random, there are just miles and miles of factories, junkyard, old buildings and schacks on the way into the city. It really looked like something from the Soviet Union times. 
 Metal scrap
 Anyone wanna translate what this is?