-- This blog will not be updated anymore and comments are closed. Thanks for reading and please visit cybette.com --

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Genetic map of Europe

genetic-map-europe.jpg

Article here. It's about how the different European populations are related genetically. Interesting thing is Finland is waaay apart from the rest...

Scientific proof that Finns are antisocial? Actually i don't think Finns are antisocial at all. (Initially) shy maybe...

Love my Friends in Finland!!

cybette wrote this at 11:49 PM ... Comments (3)

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Nokia Summer Party

My first Nokia summer party! It was last Friday (6/6). Have heard about these parties being great fun (in Finland) and it sure was, except that I wasn't feeling my best that day (woke up with a terrible headache and was coming down with something...). Still had a wonderful time with my co-workers and just seeing everyone in a relaxed mood. Weather was great, hot even. The band Lauri Tähkä ja Elonkerjuu performed, as well as a couple of Nokia bands.

Some pics here. Also for occasional pics from my life in Tampere, check this out (and subscribe to the feed! :))

Had a few cold drinks at the party, since it was so hot (I even put on sunblock just in case). When we finally decided to eat (didn't do that earlier because the food queue was too long), there was no food left! So a bunch of us (I think 7-8) ended up having our dinner at Hesburger (Finnish McDonald's). Of all places, yeah... well, goes with the cheap beers we had earlier that afternoon I suppose ;) We didn't feel like going to the official afterparty, so we went to Saha terrace for some drinks. Ok, I had one, and I was dozing off. Kinda rude to my co-workers I thought, so I decided to leave early. Got home, got sick. Really sick... high fever and chills through the night, waking up every half hour feeling either too hot or too cold. Throat hurt like hell, and overall just miserable. Went to the doctor on Monday, got some antibiotics and 3-day sick leave. Now feeling better, almost recovered, so no worries.

Anyway, looking forward to next year's summer party. Hope I'll be at 100% energy level then so I can party through the night :D

cybette wrote this at 01:45 AM ... Comments (1)

Friday, May 02, 2008

Vappu 2008

My first Vappu celebration, and what a great one it was! Gorgeous weather, wonderful friends that gathered for a picnic in the park, ate yummy food and drank sima, watched the teekkarikaste (sorry, Finnish link), played with balloons, saw an unusual sight of Tampere city center packed with people... all in all a day to remember.

Wished I took more pics, but I guess I was having too much fun :)

And this Teekkari Vocabulary might help explain why the students were dipped in the Tammerkoski rapid (teekkarikaste mentioned above), as well as the student cap (teekkarilakki) you see people wearing in the pictures.

cybette wrote this at 09:44 PM ... Comments (1)

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Pullea pupu (chubby bunny)

Well actually, since moving to Finland, I've lost some weight. But before any of you get overly concerned that I'm not eating well enough etc. (especially when I have no cooking skills to speak of), let me assure you that the weight loss is from being more active (walking to and from work, climbing stairs instead of taking the elevator, but not going to the gym or anything like that) and eating healthier. Cafeteria food is decent and provides plenty of nutrition. Eating out is a bit more expensive than in the States but I still allow myself that treat once or twice a week.

Escargot at La Bussola Tiramisu at La Bussola

The above were from La Bussola, where I went with a friend to celebrate his birthday. Previously I've only had escargot once in Paris, and I recall it being quite good, but this one was really really good. Dripping in oil, I don't know how authentic it is, but I was definitely sighing with pleasure (and perhaps just a little guilt). The tiramisu was heavenly as well, it was so fluffy and melted readily in my mouth. When I first saw the size I didn't think I could finish it (being already very full from the main course), but it was gone in a flash. I had some pasta dish for the main course and it was nice, but I think my appetizer and dessert were the winners of the night.

My favorite chinese restaurant in Tampere is Lotus Garden. I've heard that Shanghai Ren Jia is better but I have yet to try it, so we shall see. Favorite thai place is Thai Na Khon. Most people only know the restaurant Thai & Laos but that's just above average. For a good hearty steak I like The Grill or Coyote, and for a nice sausage feast accompanied by some great beer I'd head over to Plevna.

Honorary mentions go to a couple of spanish restaurants, Bodega Salud (I want to try their Rocky Mountain Oysters -- hint: they are not really oysters) and Sevilla; as well as viking restaurant Harald.

But right now, I suddenly have the urge to have some Jiao Zi! Maybe I should check if they have some in the asian supermarket. That's one of the few things which I can actually cook. And prepare a dip of soy sauce, sesame oil and vinegar mix. Mmmm....

Update: A jaiku discussion about some great (and expensive) restaurants in Tampere. Most of which I've not been to. Guess I'm staying in Tampere for a while longer! :D

cybette wrote this at 11:27 PM ... Comments (2)

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Snow storm in Tampere

(I started writing this 2 weeks ago, just never got around to finishing it. It's now finally being wrapped up. But i'll keep the start date as the entry date.)

Today it snowed. No, I mean, it REALLY SNOWED. Like this, but for the whole day. And throughout the day at work I was feeling weird, pensive perhaps, and on the verge of something... I was expecting an emotional outburst when i got home. But instead I was constipated. Nothing came out. Not even dry heaving.

Maybe because I didn't come home immediately after work. I had a great time at dinner with Minna. That might have something to do with it? I don't know... I actually wanted to have a good cry. Like REALLY CRY, not because of anything or anyone, but for myself. I'm not even sad, I just needed a release of some sort, a catharsis. Although I might have a mini emotional storm within me, with both positive and negative feelings... and crying certainly won't help straighten things out or clear the entangled web, but I longed for it. And yet I was denied.

Why am I afraid to let my emotions go, even in the comfort and privacy of my own apartment? Maybe I dare not actually face them to begin with. Which will explain why I haven't really blogged for a while, because whenever I write, I tend to pause and think and dig within myself and a lot of shit will come out. The recent entries, when I did get around to try to put something out, seem to reflect this wall I've put up -- how the heart's cold with no more love or just simply no more heart at all. It was comfortable. It was safe.

I love how it snowed so much today that my boots sink right in the fallen snow on the ground black, and white when I pull them out. So easy to cover something. Easy to put on a mask. A cold mask of snow. It did come off briefly about a month ago, but before that I can't even remember when was the last time I really cried. Not that I want to do it every day, but it feels good once in a while. Just as I wouldn't want it to snow everyday, but when it really snows, I'm reminded that there is blood pumping through my veins and tears in my tear ducts, the latter of which however wouldn't cooperate today.

Update: For better or worse, the release happened 4 + 7 days later after the snow storm. Teared..tired. Itkin..väsyn. 淚了..累了.

cybette wrote this at 11:17 PM ... Comments (1)

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Anteeksi, could I borrow your phone?

Some of you might have already read about my adventure on Jaiku, but here it is again for those who haven't:

I was walking home just now and this young lad approached me, asking to borrow my phone to send a text message to his dad, telling him where to pick him up. Nothing wrong with that I thought (although someone without a cell phone in Finland? hmm...)

So anyway he took a while, seemingly having trouble with the english interface, but finally passed my E90 back to me and said thank you several times. Out of curiosity I looked at my logs, there was one outgoing text, one incoming text followed by another outgoing text. He actually deleted the incoming text but I guess he didn't realize I have saving of sent items turned on.

First sent item was "cash5" to 16200. That looked really suspicious. Next I guess was a forward of the incoming message (which he deleted) and it contained a code of some sort and a mention of €5.00. Turns out that he basically charged 5€ to my account, and get free 5€ credit for himself. (I asked a friend to translate the note to confirm.)

Kicking myself now and not knowing whether to laugh or cry. It's not the 5€ I'm worried about (although i hope i don't get into trouble since it's nokia account), but I can't believe someone will do that and that I'll fall for it!

I should have been suspicious when I asked him whether he wanted to call his dad instead and he said no no no he wanted to text. But then again i know most Finns prefer text to voice so....

Of course I still trust Finns in general, but I'd be a bit more cautious in future. I'll also email kapula.fi (16200) and see if they'll cancel his account or something. Hopefully he won't go around scamming more people!

cybette wrote this at 08:37 PM ... Comments (1)

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Closing the Pandora's Box

Our eyes met across the crowded platform... I felt your presence just a split second before that. I was truly happy to see you, greeting you with my widest smile, yet the hurt in my eyes did not escape your attention. I couldn't hide anything from you, not that I wanted to...

And you, you were like an angel that came down from heaven to take my pain away. We hugged, and your comfort enveloped me. Looking into your eyes as you held my hand and gently stroked my hair, I could only breath a deep sigh of contentment. You made me feel so much better, but at the same time so so lost.

Was I a fool, falling for my guardian angel? How could an angel be with a mere mortal anyway? Of course you had to leave, and I had to let go. As you took off, you turned around and our gazes locked once more. If only I could freeze frame that moment for eternity.

But, were those all that I'm left with, memories for eternity? The memory of your soft kiss lingering on my lips, your warm hugs scorching my body, your intense gaze forever etched in my mind? I felt something leave my body as your silhouette faded away from my sight. It left me cold... I shuddered involuntarily even though it was warm in the station.

I knew you weren't going far, you were my guardian angel after all, and that you could feel it whenever I thought of you. You were like the stars in the sky, so beautiful, always watching over me, yet totally unreachable.

Were those tears? I found myself blinking away something, and as my vision became clearer I was staring at an unfamiliar ceiling. It was a hotel room with a nice king sized bed that I was lying in... was that just a dream? If so, how come it felt so real? I reached out and touched the pillow, it was damp. I fought to remember those feelings, although I didn't have to try too hard, as they were so strong, and still are.

However, the floodgates have been opened and too much has escaped. Was there good along with the bad that came out of this? I believe so, but still the lid needed to be closed, for now. At least Hope has remained in the box, I "hope"...

你是我的守護天使; sä oot mun suojelusenkeli

cybette wrote this at 08:30 AM ... Comments (2)

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

A White Christmas. My First.

(placeholder for entry about my trip to Rovaniemi. it was a very special and meaningful trip, maybe having more meaning than i even imagined to begin with.

i micro-blogged it along the way, here's the jaiku (tripku) for it.

more to come. hopefully soon.)

cybette wrote this at 07:19 PM ... Comments (1)

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Not enough vacation days

(Transferring a couple of journal entries from hard copy to soft.)

20th October 2007

Four weeks in Finland. I can't say I'm feeling at "home" here yet, but I'm a lot more comfortable. Right now I'm on a train to Helsinki for the weekend. Second time in four weeks. A Dallas co-worker is there for 10 days on a business trip, and it's nice to ... (pen ran out of ink at this point)

19th November 2007

This journal thing isn't working, is it? Oh well, while it's nice to write things down sometimes, I'm really more of a typing person (horrible handwriting + able to type around 100 wpm). Maybe I'll still use the journal on actual trips where I won't have a laptop with me (again, rather rare, coz I usually bring at least one, sometimes even two; plus, now I have an E90 with qwerty...).

Back to trips. Was really hoping to travel more around Europe. From Finland it'll be easier, cheaper and faster than from U.S. However, I didn't anticipate the vacation days problem. While employees in Finland do get more vacation days than their U.S. counterparts in general, in Finland one has to wait for them to be "accumulated" before using them. Back in U.S., when I started working in Nokia, I could use my vacation days from day 1. And because I signed on in 3Q04, I got half year's worth of vacation days, but they were for 04, that year. What happens here? In the first year I don't get any at all. I have to accumulate them, 2 days per month (2.5 days during the second year onwards). What I have accumulated this year, I can only use in the next. And because I signed on here in Sept 07, and the "vacation year" begins in April iirc, so I'd have only collected about half-year's worth of vacation days by then. So from Apr 08 to Apr 09, I only have half the vacation time compared to most people. So for the first 1.5 years here, I can only have about 0.5 years (worth) of some R&R time. Whereas in the U.S. I would have my whole 1.5 years worth.

This really sucks much more than the pay cut. I'm so used to planning several trips a year (leisure, not business, although I enjoy travelling for work as well). I think for the past few years I've averaged about 5 a year? But for the next couple of years I'd have to cut back and ration the few miserable off-days that I may have over maybe 2-3 trips. I need at least one to Taiwan, one to Dallas, and one around Europe. Sigh, not sure how well this will work out for me.

Anyway, I do have an upcoming trip to London (short one, over the weekend, making up for the days with overtime). And most probably one to Taiwan during the Chinese New Year period (i.e. Feb 08). Need to go back to Dallas and take care of some stuff, but don't know when is good. Can I fast forward to Summer 2009 now?

cybette wrote this at 06:59 AM ... Comments (4)

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Week 1 in Tampere

Wow, it's already been a week? Well, I think I've got a lot achieved in the past week but there's still a lot more to be done. It's been really tiring.... not so much due to the jet lag but just having to deal with tons of new info, new people, new emotions, new stimuli, new environment, ..... weather being the least of my worries. And to think that I declared weather to be my biggest challenge before I left. I know, I know, the "best" is yet to come (-30C. Yikes.) I should be glad I don't have to deal with looking for my freezed-off ass on top of everything else right now.

Tampere is a really nice city, I think I'm going to like it here. The area that my office is at is called Hervanta, and the flat I found is also in the same area. It's about 15 minutes to walk to work, and if it gets too cold to walk I can always take the bus (I think 3 stops).

Hervanta is developing quite nicely too, everything I need within walking distance - banks, post office, library, doctors and dentist, some restaurants, and a brand new shopping center called DUO. There isn't really a need to go to the city center except maybe for the occasional night out / party. The Tampere University of Technology is right across the street from work, really convenient for when I'm ready to continue my studies and finish up my PhD!!

Oh, and my flat is along Insinöörinkatu (engineer street). How fitting. Love it, love it, <3.

Tampere city center is pretty much the same as how I remembered it from my previous trips, perhaps except for the colours. I've been here in winter and summer, and now, the gorgeous fall colours are upon the city. Orange. Red. Yellow. And gentle breezes carrying the multi-coloured leaves from their branches to the ground. If only it stays this picturesque all year round. But maybe because it's so short-lived do we find it extra beautiful.

This time I flew direct into Tampere instead of flying into Helsinki and then taking a train like the previous 3 trips. What a sight as I looked out my window when the plane was approaching Tampere. The gorgeous colours mentioned above notwithstanding, it was a stunning sight of lakes and trees and forests. So much natural beauty. Now, I have to say that I'm not really a "nature" person, but I welcome the change in scenery. I think it'll do me a lot of good. Plus, if I get the craving for some city life, Helsinki is just a train ride away (in fact, I will be going there next weekend). And many cool European cities are just a short flight away as well. Can't wait to do more exploration!!

cybette wrote this at 10:25 AM ... Comments (3)

Saturday, September 22, 2007

One way ticket

(These entries were handwritten in a travel journal my friend Flor gave me before I left. I'm putting them under the Finnish category for now...)

Travel Journal. But I'm not on a regular trip. I'm on my way to a new life. Better life? Who knows... But one thing for sure - it'll be a hell lot different than the current life that I've been leading in Dallas.

Why the change? It's hard to summarize all the various reasons in a few words, or even in a couple of paragraphs. But perhaps the reasons aren't that important. I think I've become complacent, kinda stuck in a rut, for a while. I need something to make me feel alive again. A drastic change such as this might just do the trick....

The plane is pushing away from the gate now. That initial jerk, albeit slight, sets it in motion. Similarly, the initial thought of working in Finland, almost as a joke to myself, made this happen. That was three months ago. It took a while for everything to fall into place (interviews, paperwork, packing etc.) and I'm still not in Finland yet, but I'm on the plane that's leaving Dallas. A one-way ticket to Tampere (well, ok, passing through Frankfurt and Copenhagen). What will it be like living there, not just visiting on a business trip? To be honest, I'm a little scared. But just a little. The excitement and anticipation are almost wearing me out.

Here comes my favorite part... the takeoff. That moment where the plane leaves the ground - a sense of freedom and promise of adventures to come. I really need to look into flying lessons soon instead of just talking about it.

( zzzz )

I'm now on the flight from Frankfurt to Copenhagen. The previous flight was quite pleasant. Long flights (10+ hrs) don't even bother me anymore, I usually just sleep through them. Slight turbulence can only help to rock me into deeper slumber. Heavier turbulence can be fun too, but I think it bothers the other passengers. Oh well.

This is a short flight. We're almost there. There's a couple of noisy teenagers next to me (I think they are siblings from the way they're bickering with each other). On the first flight (DFW - FRA) I had the pleasure of being seated next to a Swedish guy who incidentally works for Ericsson (as a sourcing manager). We had a nice chat, a little bit about our companies but mostly about living and experiences in different countries (he's lived in North Carolina for several years before).

Ooh, smooth landing. Almost didn't notice it. Continue later.....

Copenhagen airport is lovely. Not so sure about Frankfurt airport as most of it just whizzed by me as I tried to make my connecting flight with only an hour of layover time. I actually had time to shop around a little on this second layover. Many shops filled with designer (read: expensive) goods. Didn't make any purchases. I've already got too much stuff. While packing my things to be shipped the last few days, I came across tons of useless junk that I paid money for and never fully utilized. Kinda depressing.

Food. Travel. A good winter coat/jacket. That's what I'll spend on in Finland. Oh and some basic pieces of furniture (bed, table, chair) to get started in my apartment. From complications and excess to simplicity and minimalism. Can I make the change?

cybette wrote this at 02:33 AM ... Comments (2)

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Minun ensi-kirjaaminen suomessa

(My first entry in Finnish)

Minä olen opettelee suomea. Minun nimi on Carol. Minä olin kotoisin Taiwanista, mutta olen Singaporelainen. Minä asun Dallasissa. Puhun englantia, kiinaa, ja vähän suomea. Siellä on uusi kategoria blogilla. Se on "suomi". Mikä se tehdä? En tiedä. Laadin höpöhöpö. Pikainen ruskea kettu hyppää yli laiska koira.

(I am learning Finnish. My name is Carol. I was orignally from Taiwan, but I'm Singaporean. I live in Dallas. I speak English, Chinese, and a little Finnish. There is a new category on the blog. It is "Finnish". What does it do? I don't know. I am writing nonsense. The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog.)

cybette wrote this at 02:14 AM ... Comments (8)