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Category: Finland

Cycling routes around Helsinki area

If you cycle as often as I do, you may find the following tips helpful:

  • Checking cycling paths: You can also export the paths to GPX or KML files.
  • You can import routes in KML to Google Maps.
  • You can use Google Maps to navigate when you’re not sure where you’re going to.
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Nokia: How low can you go?

I bought some Nokia shares a few months ago thinking at that time that the share price was really low, and it wouldn’t go lower than that. However, Nokia proved me wrong again and again. In April Nokia shares dropped more than 30%. And it has kept that trend ever since. Today it dropped again — around 20%. Now I’m losing more than 50%… Well, I guess there are reasons why some financial analysis institutes cut NOK as Junk… It’s just difficult for newbie investors to understand. Now I’ve witnessed how one company can screw up, and not surprised any more if it may go further down.

If Microsoft is to take over Nokia, it is certainly doing an excellent job…

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Department Picnic

We had our NomadicLab picnic day yesterday, and it was nice experience. The sky started a bit gloomy in the morning and everyone was worried it will rain during the day — which is said to be a tradition that many picnic days in previous years enjoyed raining weather. A colleague put his sunglasses on to pretend it’s sunny. And that helped. After some official workshop sessions when we walked outside, the sky was bright blue and sunny.

We brought the food and drinks to somewhere close to the sea and started the picnic under a huge cannon. People started eating and drinking and after one sandwich I went playing football. I got tired after a while and after some rest we played a Swedish game “Kubb“. It took us a long time to finnish just one round, but in the end my team won the game. After that we started volleyball. And that really hurt my arms and hands.

When we were heading back, someone was too drunk to walk already. A colleague asked me how it feels to be sober when others are drinking. “Normal”, I replied. It was an honest answer. As long as nobody is forcing me to drink, I feel completely comfortable. Besides, it feels more natural when alcohol makes Finns more talkative.

People went to a restaurant and later to a bar, but I didn’t go for no good reasons. Maybe I was just too tired. I came back with red and burning face (and probably also red neck). When bathing my nose was also bleeding — too much sunshine, I guess. After got up this morning my legs are sour,  my arms hurting. But it was nice, at least I had time to be with colleagues not just talking about work, but also personal things.

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Mi casa es su casa

Yesterday we had dinner at a colleague’s house. He has a house similar to my parents used to have: a two story building with both front yard and backyard. “Mi casa es su casa”, he says. And we acted like that. We sat in his sofa and played with his Playstation. I even played. Although I know I suck at games, but it doesn’t stop me enjoying having fun with friends. When we were playing Guitar Hero, I tried the drums, simply because I had some limited experience with them when I was in primary school 15 years ago. But it turned out too difficult for me; I was missing literally every note — either too fast or too slow. I guess previous experiences didn’t help much…

While we were playing video games, three ladies were busy preparing dinner. It might not be something to be bragged about, but it indeed felt great. It’s like staying at home and I never need to cook, someone always keep my stomach full. Same thing happened yesterday — we almost exploded… Also after dinner no one needs to wash the dishes, there’s a machine for that!

After dinner and a little bit rest we headed home, and a colleague drove us back home although he lives in the oposite direction. It’s very nice to have such awesome colleagues and friends. “We should do this often, or even everyday”, I proposed to the colleague who cooked. She looked happy and said “I’m very happy you like it; I like cooking very much!”

I know it’s impossible to do it often; but I’m still quite surprised that there is actually someone who loves cooking in this world.

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Right to vote

Today I found a mail lying in my mailbox, and it turned out that I have the right to vote! Believe it or not:

Well, I’m also from a republic country — at least that’s what they say — but I’ve never had the chance to vote. It seems that one should not believe what one government claims. And now I feel quite upside about Finland: how can you let a foreigner vote? I’m not a citizen, I don’t even have a permanent residence permit! Isn’t Finland afraid of people overthrowing one government? Well, I just think they are wild! Now what should I do? Just discard it? But this’s my first opportunity! But whom I should vote? No one never taught me how!

I didn’t realize I’ve been in Finland for almost two years now. It’s been a long time. It’s been nice to study, work and live here. But there’s still something missing, however I don’t really know what’s missing. I suppose I was born a nomad; I’m one that never wants to settle. When is the time to move on? And where I’d go? What should I go after?

I don’t have answers to any of them. But I guess it’s good this way, at least for now.

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Living in town and working in countryside

This morning I had to go to Helsinki city center to pick up some office equipment, and once I got on the bus I noticed something different from my daily routine: I couldn’t find a seat that no one was sitting beside, which is quite rare when I go to/back from work. Before this I had always thought that there isn’t enough people in Finland even to fill a bus… It became more obvious when the bus in driving away from the highway and begin entering the city center: there was roughly one km queue of traffic waiting, I thought only big cities have this kind of problems. Turned out I was wrong.

One hour later when I was going back to work from Helsinki center, I got onto a bus in which I was the only passenger — for more than 10km. After that there were three of us all the way to my workplace. And after we got off, the bus was empty again — of course the driver was still there… Living inside ring one and working outside ring three certainly has some benefits: one never needs to worry about crowded public transportation.

Things become quite different when you take them for granted, isn’t it?

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Nothing is useless

Spring is already in Helsinki; I shot these beautiful flowers on the bus when going to work:

At work Aimmy invites us to have some cake during afternoon coffee break. The cake was very delicious and she’s really good at cooking yummy food. She has already made muffins twice before this; and we are all expected to taste some original Thai food, probably next week.

Yesterday I volunteered to set up a website for the project I’m currently working on. It seems that even my PHP skills will be useful for my career. Some skills developed from hobbies come quite handy when doing serious business. Everything, any experience or lessons are likely to be used sometime later…

I moved my desk to a different position in the room and now I’m enjoying the new layout. Last night I watched Hangover from my bed instead of siting in my uncomfortable chair, thanks to the new layout. 27 inch display looks OK and wireless keyboard acts as remote — a real big remote. Now off to watch Hangover 2. 🙂

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Finnish Christmas Food

One colleague said that he felt lucky because they don’t have to eat the traditional Christmas food any more. But I think the food is not that bad, at least the salad is quite good. Especially the salty and sour and sweet herings, they taste delicious.



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A walk on the sea

Just took a walk literally “ON” the sea since the water was completely frozen.

It was my third time walking on ice.

The first time was in Kiruna, a small town in the arctic circle in northern Sweden. We were walking on a lake and the guide told us to keep a distance from each other, so as not to break the ice and get ourselves frozen in the lake. It made us all nervous but in the
end I found him to be kidding. You can even drive trucks on that. On the way back the guide drove the van onto a lake and showed us how it was like to drift on ice.

The second time I was walking on the shore around Otaniemi and found many Finns skiing or ice fishing on the sea. So I walked on it with great care, and found out it was quite safe to walk there.

This morning I was originally planning to take a walk along the coast line. But then again I found some guys
playing on the sea. So I stepped out on it. At first I was a bit afraid, after all we were getting positive temperatures in the past few days. But after a while I was sure that there was nothing to be afraid of. I jumped on the sea and nothing happened. Besides, walking on the sea is much easier than walking on the road. Walking on the sea is like struggling in a swamp, as snow could be very thick at some points; while walking on the road was like dancing Waltz on a mirror, because the roads
are covered with ice and a very thin layer of fresh snow. And this time I used GPS to track my location and ended up with the following trail.


The whole trail is 7 kilometers and my average speed was 4.39 km/h. But the top speed was 13.36 km/h because I was chasing by a shark. LOL.

Another picture:

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Take a break

Only three months to go before I have to deliver my thesis. It’s supposed to be 9-month work but I have to complete in less than five months; otherwise I’ll have to pay expensive tuition and enroll for the next academic year. When you receive something you need to give away some at the same time.

We have EU founding to support our studies; in return we have to stick with one study program and
complete the study in time. For these kinds of programs there’s not so much flexibility compared with other self-founding programs. At KTH I had the most boring courses in my life. All I had to do there is to configure routers. It would be fun when you have one of these courses; but having more than half of the curriculum trying to teach you to design a network was like forcing soldiers to stay in lecture halls listening to all kinds of theories all day long. It’s sick; it’s not what
you are expecting.

But anyhow technical stuff in school life should not be the most important. It’s a whole new world and I wouldn’t force myself into something one can learn anywhere. Apart from the boring studies, life in Sweden and Finland is better than anyone could expect. There’s beautiful nature, multicultural environment and nice folks everywhere. One of the most important reasons I love here is how people enjoy life. No one seems to be pushing you
forward; no one tries to persuade you into doing something;
 you don’t have much pressure saving money in order to buy an apartment; you are away from people’s nagging of what you should do and what you shouldn’t. It is just comfortable, cozy and easy to have a life as such.

Eat when you are hungry; drink when thirsty; rest when tired. Simple rules often work best. Seize the day.

I don’t need to worry about anything since I know somehow
I’ll finish the thesis in time. And I even don’t care how exactly I’m gonna do that. But I will.

Enjoy as much as possible, even if you are doing research. 🙂



Beautiful world

Now we are starting to have positive temperatures here. The weather is just gorgeous everyday. The breeze is fresh; the sky is clear; the sun is shining. You feel warm inside out. You can clearly see how people are smiling: their brows flying upward and eyes narrowed — that’s how you smile under the sunshine, isn’t it? You could even see reflection of bright teeth once in a while. It’s just as cozy
as one could possibly imagine.

The snow starts to melt but the roads are still slippery and reflexive. Even so it doesn’t stop people coming out doing exercises and enjoying life. All kinds of people, old or young, chubby or skinny, are jogging or doing Nordic walking in tights. Though at times you can notice white steam coming out of people’s mouths, it doesn’t make you feel chilly. Instead you get a burning feeling as if you have joint them doing exercises; it’s like
there’s a flow of energy inside you trying very hard to burst out.

The French guy across the corridor has already started wearing shorts. The first thing he said when he saw me was: “Its hot!” As a matter of fact, it is, since inside the office it was around 30 degrees. And as the sunshine flows inside, you feel it’s already summer time.

I opened the window, fresh air pours in. Closing my eyes, I could feel the cool air moving from my cheek to the neck. It’s just

All of a sudden you hear birds singing; they are not owls; it’s like canaries’ chirps up from paradise. I looked out trying to figure out where the little spirits were, but with no success. Maybe they are in paradise; you never know. I’ll just leave them alone, enjoying their divine melodies with a grateful heart.

What a wonderful world. 

P.S. I have to admit it’s damn hard to write a descriptive essay; this is the best I could come up
with right now.

P.S.2. I love Louis Armstrong’s “What a wonderful world”.

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