Rocking the beach in Helsinki

+28℃, it's an extremely sunny day in Helsinki. Just perfect for catching a few rays! I thought it couldn't get any better, but boy how wrong I was. Oh, did I mention there was a rock festival? Quite smart actually to combine the beach and the music! This is what made the day so memorable.

The location
Two big stages on the beach, right by the water. Hietaniemi is a perfect place! Just a jump into the sea and everything's okay until the next performance. Alot of gente loca running to and fro the stages, making the sand spread into our eyes. Not such a good thing with contact lenses, ouch.

© Lotta Miettinen

Great live music
Played so loudly and showed on so big screens, you could feel the music right from the front to the back row. Billy Talent, All Time Low and Gaslight the Anthem were pretty good even from the far behind.

Green Day
Needn't say no more. One of my absolute favourite bands. The toilet paper gun, shooting GD t-shirts and all the clowning around and those heeey-ohhs, I bet you'd love their show!

The atmosphere
Relaxed, happy people feeling the freedom. Everyone forgets about their troubles. Small bruises and make-up smudges don't matter a bit. Once in a while it starts to rain, but not many seem to care. Suddenly the area teems with tons of pink, disposable raincoats. My friend and I decide to be without them. #yolo

I've got to thank the organizers and staff of Rock the beach-festival. All the little things like the toilets, water points and stalls functioned really well. Thank you, thank you, thank you for making it possible! Hopefully next year it'll be as awesome!

Ughh, there was some technical glitch and my blog's template went all crazy. I already fixed it mostly, but it might look slightly weird:(


Delicious ratatouille

So I'm back from the countryside! As I said, I was going to do some French food so here's what I did! A food originated from Nice, France. Ratatouille is a healthy and delicious food. It's actually perfect for the summer since it isn't very heavy. And it's suitable for vegetarians! Just keep reading and you'll see the recipe and the original link for this dish.

I talked to my host mama for the first time ever on the phone! Oh my gosh it was scary. She was really friendly and understanding even though she had to repeat words many times. I got about 75% of what she said so it could have been worse. Ironically, the longest sentence I said was "J'étudie français depuis sept ans et je ne sais pas le parler" meaning I've studied French for seven years and I can't speak it. Even though I just did. Hmm...

On Wednesday I'll be heading off to Helsinki to see one of the greatest bands alive - Green Day! The second time in my life already, I feel so blessed! But now I'm off to sleep, here's the recipe:)

Ratatouille - vegetable stew with pasta

What you'll need:

2 large aubergines

3 small courgettes

1 red pepper

1 yellow pepper

4 large ripe tomatoes

4 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed

2 yellow onions

350g penne pasta

1 tsp sugar

olive oil

red wine vinegar

fresh basil

salt & pepper

garlic salt

  1. Cut the aubergines into 1.5cm chunks. Cut off the courgettes ends, then across into 1.5cm slices. Cut off the stem of the pepper, cut away any membrane, then chop into bite-size chunks.
  2. Score a small cross on the base of each tomato, then put them into a heatproof bowl. Pour boiling water over the tomatoes, leave for 20 secs, then remove. Pour the water away, replace the tomatoes and cover with cold water. Leave to cool, then peel the skin away. Quarter the tomatoes, scrape away the seeds with a spoon, then roughly chop the flesh.
  3. Set a pan over medium heat and when hot, pour in olive oil. Brown the aubergines on each side until the pieces are soft. Set them aside and fry the courgettes in oil until golden on both sides. Repeat with the peppers. Don’t overcook the vegetables at this stage, as they have some more cooking left in the next step.
  4. Tear up the basil leaves and set aside. Fill a saucepan with water and when it boils, add the pasta into it. Cook the onion in the pan until they get some colour. Be careful not to scorch them! Add the garlic and fry for a further min. Stir in the vinegar and sugar, then tip in the tomatoes and half the basil.
  5. Return the vegetables to the pan with some salt and pepper and cook for 5 mins. Pour out the water from the pasta through a colander. Sprinkle garlic salt over the pasta. Serve with basil. Ready!

http://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/2903/ratatouille released in Good Food magazine, September 2006.
Recipe in my blog slightly modified and shortened.


Host family info and flowers

In two weeks I'll be having awkward conversations with my host mama in France! I am so relieved that I finally got to know the family I'm staying with! There's a Swedish girl living with me so I won't even have to be alone:) Apparently my host parent is an elder woman living in Frèjus, just 4.4 kilometers from our school.

Full of enthusiasm, I already picked up some free brochures of Kuopio for the family. After living 10 years in Kuopio, it was a bit weird to ask for these leaflets but, oh well! I was thinking of giving coffee, salty liquorice and rye bread as a souvenir but I'm not sure if I'm allowed to bring these foodstuffs out of Finland. Anyway, Finnish chocolate is a must!

Then I met boredom and decided to test dad's camera:

Yeah, I know I'm no photographer, but I think this is a good start. I really need to know how to use the camera when I'm in France. It'd be a shame to lose good photographing opportunities just because of my poor photographing skills on the digital SLR camera.

I'm going to celebrate the Midsummer next weekend, so I won't be posting anymore this week. Next week I'll be cooking French food and doing a post about it. I won't reveal which dish, vous verrez!


Learning languages

It's been unbelievably cold in Finland during the last few days! I feel like a real mythbuster, but yeah there isn't any snow here during the summer. Nevertheless, it shouldn't be 13 °C degrees (~55F) in June, for goodness' sake! Three weeks ago when I still had school, a "too-tired-to-do-anything" heat wave had taken over the whole Finland - where did it go?

I feel like I maybe should be studying French for the language course. Maybe. Instead I'm hanging out with my friends and my laptop! Hahah. To avoid school vibes, I tried to find alternative fun ways to learn a language.

Learn it!

1. Read books and magazines
Libraries often offer a good selection of books in different languages.

2. Listen to the radio
You can download Tune In radio for free on your smartphone. It's probably the best ever, because it has radio stations from all over the world! The pros of listening to the radio is that songs can be quite catchy with easy phrases and the presenters usually have an everyday chitchat going on - that is if they don't talk too fast.

3. Watch movies and TV series
Alternate putting on foreign subtitles with focusing listening to the spoken language.

4. Get someone to chat to
This is really effective when it comes to small, useful phrases. Sometimes when you study a language you might not even realise to learn (or you've already forgotten...) easy phrases like "Really? Tell me more!", "See you later!" or "Yeah, I agree"

5. Try creative writing
Especially if you are linguistically talented, try producing texts in other languages - it could be easier than you had expected when you get used to it! Stories, poems, blogging, keeping a diary... just to mention a few!

 I am loving this book even though it's for kids! Really hope I wont be all like "pas d'argent" after some days in France...


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Let it begin!

Hey, welcome to my blog! Here I'll mainly be babbling about travelling, food, and friends. Whatever really comes to mind. The most important thing in the short run will definitely be my three week language course to St. Raphaël, France. I'm so nervous, but happy that I'm finally going there!

© 2011 Jennika Lilja

     Firstly, as most of you don't know me, I thought I'd tell a bit about myself:
  1. I'm sixteen years old and go to upper secondary school.
  2. I live in Finland, in a decent-sized city called Kuopio.
  3. I spent my early childhood years living in England.
  4. I hate mornings! There's so much more inspiration going on when the sun goes down.
  5. My favourite subjects at school are languages, maths, psychology, and philosophy.
  6. I love fashion, theatre, writing and reading.
  7. I study English, French, Swedish and Spanish.
  8. My friends are the best, but I do like to be alone as well.
  9. I hate Finland's super cold winter! Autumn's got to be the best time of the year.
  10. A dream come true would be to study abroad after I graduate from high school.
My language course starts on the 3rd of July. Ever since I started studying French - seven years ago - I've always wanted to go on a language course alone and make new friends. Still I'll probably be panicking about it so much! Luckily I have something else planned before the trip: I'm seeing Green Day at Rock the beach-festival in the end of June. Yay!