Our Top of the Rocks experience

I think you can't leave a city without admiring its lights above a higher place. Especially when we're talking about New York! Before we actually went up to the tower, there was a brief introduction about the building of Rockefeller Center with some comment clips. I immediately got a flashback of a history lesson in middle school. I remembered this black and white photo where a group of lads were casually sitting on a steel pipe high above New York City having lunch.  Apparently, the workers also used to take naps there between working hours. Good to know not all the history lessons were useless!

But back to our experience. We intended to go up to the tower during daytime, but despite our fairly early reservation, we got tickets for 6 pm - and by that time it would be dark. There are a few upsides and downsides for visiting Top of the Rocks when it's dark.

+ The lights look awesome. 
It's almost impossible to get a great photo of you with the lights of New York

Okay, I guess if you're a professional photographer taking photos up there would be a piece of cake. But for us, it was a struggle trying to adjust perfect amount of light and contrast while focusing on our faces. In the end, it wasn't worth the effort. I saw others were experiencing the same problem, desperately trying to add light to their faces with the help of their phone. I don't know if they succeeded better than us.

Then, my little brother came to me and told me they found a cool room on the lower deck. He called it "the gaming room" because it kept making beeping noises just like a Nintendo. On top of that, it had white walls with flashing lights in blue, red, green and yellow. Seemingly, a Finnish guy overheard us while marveling the room and asked if we wanted a picture over there. I don't know why but none of us responded to him. After I realized he had asked again and was waiting for an answer, I quickly said "Yeah, that would be nice" and handed my camera to him. It was just super weird to hear Finnish in that state of mind, especially when it was a stranger talking to you. So, here's a happy family portrait taken in the weird room by a random Finnish guy, who made us speechless simply by talking to us in our native language.


Christmas at Rockefeller center

New York was full of Christmas lights. They even had the famous tree lightning at Rockefeller center when we were there, however we didn't go there because it was totally crowded up to few blocks away from the tree. But we still got to enjoy the great atmosphere with people ice skating, singing Christmas carols and ringing bells while raising money for the salvation army. There was also a light show which was reflected on one of the walls near the tree. Just a tad different than in our little city where I come from.

Anyway, Merry Christmas everyone and enjoy the holidays!


Chicago musical & great dining at Times Square

On our fourth evening in New York, we went to see the Chicago musical. I've always been interested in theater and performing arts, so it was really exciting to see a legendary show in one of the most famous places in the world - Broadway. We didn't book tickets for the first nights just so that we wouldn't doze off during the show... Now that would have been a shame, to miss half of a show you've paid for!

I've got no pictures of the show since photographing was prohibited, which was, of course, comprehensible. Sadly, I have to say the show didn't fully meet my expectations. I had imagined the hall and stage huge, but they were quite small, after all. The first row was only about one meter away from the stage! I think that tells a lot.

But it certainly wasn't the size of the theater that left me feeling empty. I was a bit disappointed with the simple plot, which contained absolutely no turning points or excitement. I expected a bit more glamour. The performance was lacking props too! To be honest, there wasn't any set pieces if we don't count the actors' costumes and a few chairs. A bit too minimalist for  me. But I do praise the actors; they were talented and sang extremely well. The dancing was spectacular also, of course. I'm afraid all these things didn't make up for the dull story - if ever there was one. I think it would have been better to see a Disney musical, such as Aladdin, on Broadway but I this wasn't exactly waste of time either.

Just a New Yorker police on a horse in the middle of Times Square!

After doing some serious shopping, we went dining in a colourful restaurant called Planet Hollywood. It's famous for its decoration which includes authentic set pieces from different movies. For example. there were big aeroplanes hanging above us and a costume from Hangover 3 in a showcase. My brother and I had classic American hamburgers at this place: a ridiculously huge steak with some cheese, bacon and onions. And to finish it off, I ordered an Oreo milkshake for dessert. I had been looking for a good old American milkshake the whole of our trip, so I was more than pleased to get this. It must have been one of the best milkshakes I've tried!


Times Square - the heart of NYC

A jungle of lights. That's what Times Square is. On our first day in New York we casually walked through Times Square during daytime and I was amazed of all the skyscrapers and the quantity of advertisements. I would not have believed the difference of the atmosphere by night if I had not seen it with my own eyes. The dark sky contrasted the millions of flashing lights and it seemed as if more people were going out. Ticket sellers and dressed up Disney characters would bother (or amuse, however you take it) you everywhere you went, but it was part of the fun. There would have been something for everyone. Also Toys’R’Us was open until 1 AM or 2 AM, I’m not sure, but until some ungodly hour anyway.

Compared to London and Paris, New York was different. It lacked old traditional buildings, but instead it had tons of new ones which were simply made of black windows. Just like in the movies!  At Times Square we shopped, ate and saw a musical.I'll tell about a restaurant and Broadway show in the next post just to keep this one short and sweet. By the way, I've been thinking whether I should write in Finnish also. It's hard because I know the majority of you (my followers) are Finns and I would be able to express myself much more freely (and more quickly, for that matter) I would continue in English as well, because this is such a great way to maintain my language skills and because I know people from different countries either read my blog or at least visit it regularly. It would be a shame if they didn't understand anything!

What do you think: would it be good, bad or insignificant if I wrote in two languages? Or should I stick to either of them: Finnish or English?

Have a great day everyone!


A suitcase blunder & our hotel in NYC

view from our 25th floor hotel room
Hey guys! I got back home safely from New York and had a great time in the Big Apple. Now I'm just dying to tell about all the stuff we did over there! One week was sufficient for visiting the greatest attractions and experiencing the hustle and bustle of New York. There were so much people everywhere that I'm more than happy to be home right now.

Our trip, however, didn't start as smoothly as it could have had. When we went to the baggage reclaim, I realised my suitcase was missing the address tag. It was also locked, and I haven't been locking my baggage for a while. Why? Because the lock of my previous suitcase had to be broken in order to open the whole bag. It wasn't a very pleasant way to start off my holiday!

Our bathroom at Hotel Beacon
Anyway, as I was saying, the suitcase I was holding in my hands wasn't at all mine. I felt an unwanted sting inside of me; I was exhausted of all the travelling and only wanted to get to the hotel with my stuff and snuggle on the sofa. We reported the staff about our missing luggage and I left the airport empty-handed. When we finally got into a taxi, I felt so tired with my bloating stomach and a rocking in my head that I didn't care about my disappeared luggage anymore. If I got my bag back by next evening, I would be more than happy. And after buying a little bit of food, everything would be lovely for a while.

happy people? yes, just somewhat jet lag
Amazingly, when we were about to head towards the super market, someone called my father. It was none other than the guy himself who had accidentally taken my bag. I was so relieved when I heard he could bring my suitcase to our hotel straight away! And much to the guys dismay, it took him days to get his own luggage at the airport. This is why it's so important to have your name and address on your suitcase but on the other hand, also checking the suitcase twice to make sure it's really yours isn't a bad idea either! I think I'll buy one of those colourful tags which say MY BAG to avoid these kinds of mix-ups from now on.

I'll get to the actual sightseeing, food and other stuff in the next posts. Be right back! 


What's in my carry-on handbag

Hey everyone! Tomorrow we are leaving for NYC so I've been choosing my clothes and packing up my stuff. I have a little bit of time to do one more post before we leave, and this time it's about what to take with you on a flight.

The necessities are pretty straight forward and therefore don't need any more explanation: passport, boarding ticket, wallet, phone, and medicines.
As for comfort, I like to wear thick warm socks. I guess real flight socks would be a better option in order to avoid embolism, but I just wave my legs once in a while. Another must is a big scarf. You can nicely wrap it around yourself or use it as a light blanket. Having long hair and glasses, it's great to be able to put your hair up and place your glasses in a safe place if you want to rest. That's why a case for eyeglasses and a hairband always travel along with me.

If you've got a long flight ahead, it's essential to bring something entertaining to keep you busy. I usually have a good book, a magazine, some school books and music with me. Since I'll be away from school for one week, teachers have piled on homework. A lot. At least I have something important to do... But this time, I'll also have my laptop with me because I'm really in the mood for playing a little bit of Sims 3, haha.

Regarding cosmetics, I prefer bringing a couple of moisturizing products because my skin dries properly in the aeroplane. I also like to carry small makeup items like a concealer and an eyebrow pencil, so that I would look a bit fresher after the flight.

So that was a quick list of things I'll be taking with me! 
What do you guys usually do during a flight? :)


The avocado berry salad my way

Hey guys! On Monday I had a day off, which is quite rare for me, so I decided to make something good as, for once, I had time. I spotted this recipe on my laptop's MSN application, which pops up on the start screen. It's called the Anti-aging avocado berry salad with mango vinaigrette. The salad inspired me with its cool combination of contrasting flavours, so I modified the recipe just a bit to meet my needs and came up with this delicious salad. It's super easy (well, it is only a salad...) and really tasty!


Moving from England to Finland

I have never talked about the time when we lived in England in my blog, so I believe it's high time I did that. One would think it's been so long that I don't remember anything, but that's not really how it goes. Although, I was only six years old when we moved back to our home town in Finland, I remember exactly how it felt. You know, to leave your friends, school and country behind only to start all over.

I remember being a bit anxious about not getting new friends in Finland. I used to ask my mother: "What if I don't get to know anyone?" My mother would reassure me - just like any good mother would - by saying that I would eventually get friends. Back then, I thought it had been so easy getting to know people in England but it wouldn't be the same in Finland. That six-year-old me was actually half right; it surely wouldn't be the same.


Why you should pay a visit to Camden town

Camden lock
For people who love bits and bobs, this market is paradise. The sellers are so laid back, they keep yelling things to each other in the tightly packed market area. You can easily find anything from clothes to accessories and miscellaneous little objects. Especially a lot of punks and hippies seem to be around, which I also find pretty awesome. Well, these places can be packed with tourists, but I saw more alternative people here than anywhere else in London. Don't you just love these kinds of places?

The streets
Especially if you're into all the alternative stuff, Camden is the place for you. Even if you aren't, it can still be the place for you! These buildings are startling with their pretty little underground clothes, outside decoration and all. On this street you can purchase a pair of Dr. Martens or take a cool tattoo, If that's what you want, of course.

The weirdest shop you'll come across: Cyberdog
Weird-ass techno music blaring out, pole dancers close to the ceiling and neon colours distracting you from each and every corner. That's right, you've just stepped in to Cyberdog. I'm guessing the mainstream doesn't buy much anything here, but this shop's sure worth a visit. And hey, you could still find the weirdest souvenirs over here! Pink plastic dreadlocks with matching tutus, anyone?

The international vibes
My mum had Chinese food and I bought a few slices of Italian pizza. There was surely something for everyone; I probably didn't even see every stall selling food. And once you've bought your snacks, you can go enjoy them on scooters by the river.

//Tomorrow it will be the beginning of my exam week (again, ughh) and after that we'll be off to New York City. What that means is that I have a lot to do during these 10 days! Oh well, it's good to keep yourself active.


Visiting Tallinn on a budget

Getting to Tallinn
I know a lot of you followers behind the screens are Finns, so you've probably been to Tallinn already and know how all the ferries. I noticed that Lindaline is currently the cheapest ferry if you're looking for a transport to the other side of the gulf, not a party yacht. They've also got the shortest travel time by sea! Lindaline is the most reasonable option from Helsinki to Tallinn, if there are no discounts within other companies.

The cheapest flights to Tallinn (within Europe) are operated by Ryanair. They fly from Oslo, Dublin, Manchester, London, Bremen, Dusseldorf and Milan.

If you're coming from Russia, you'll might want to choose the train. At least Moscow and St. Petersburg have fairly quick connections to Tallinn.


Why dishing out your phone number to anyone is not a good idea

There comes a time when you think it's OK to give your telephone number to a stranger you just met a few hours ago. What bad could possibly happen? Then comes a time when you realize what a huge, irreversible mistake you have just made.

Alright, okay, let's not exaggerate this. I'm just itching to tell you what happened to me in Gran Canaria. Fortunately, giving your number to someone who's nice is usually not a problem at all. But as you may know, usually is not a synonym for never.

After spending some time with two local Canarian guys, my friend and I grew tired of their company at some point. I'm not saying they were annoying or boring, we only wanted to do something else and get to know other people as well. That's why I then thought it would be kind to give my number to one of them, so we could meet up another day. I guess this guy still couldn't handle our going very well, because the first thing I noticed the following morning was 50 calls from an unknown number. And I had absolutely no doubt who was behind all these calls.

I answered him in the afternoon while we were having lunch at our patio. He told me he had a special gift for me and wanted to see me again. I thought for real that I could, perhaps, meet him and see what he has in mind. Then I started rethinking the whole situation. He hadn't given me his real number the previous night and kept calling from an unknown one. He had also told me I could call him 'Lado', after having a suspiciously long break when asked for his name. His mystery was definitely not cute, it was annoying and something inside me told this person didn't have a clean slate.

I apologized and told him politely that I wasn't going to come anywhere with him nor did I want to stay in contact.  I suppose that was something you shouldn't have said, since he started nagging and telling me how he loves me. Oh yeah, because those things tend to happen in one day. The calls went on and on and on. Every night he would call me 5-50 times and a few times during the afternoon. I got so full of his behaviour, I had to answer him once and yell at him how horrible a person he was for not leaving me alone.

As you might guess, he still hasn't entirely left me alone. He has actually called me three times and tried to contact me via Whatsapp after we left Gran Canaria in March. Talk about desperate or what? (or maybe bored, who knows) I've just ignored him.

Well, if there was something in it for me, I'll definitely consider to whom I give my number from now on! You can always block someone on facebook, twitter etc. but when someone doesn't call you with their own number, there's nothing you can do about it except change your number. Not very nice, is it!


Secret underground tunnels in Tallinn

Before we left for Tallinn I decided that I definitely want to see Patarei prison, which is full of information about the horrible conditions prisoners were kept in and the executions and the secret tunnels of Kiek in de Kök. Because both attractions needed groups consisting of at least 5 people, we couldn't go to the prison. But I was fine with it, because it meant we would have plenty of time to see these supercool tunnels instead.


Plans for New York City

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.


Eating, sleeping and getting around in Fréjus

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, 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.


10 memorable photos from Gran Canaria

 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!


How to make studying easier

I've been starting to question the accuracy of some longer words in Finnish - my native language! - such as harvinainen (=rare) and näyteikkuna (=display window) 

I guess that is what long summer holidays and a sudden start of school do to you.

Or the fact that you haven't been writing long texts in any other languages than English. Or maybe you've just got too much on your mind. Whoops. At the moment, my timetable is just about full of languages which means that I actually have over 10 hours of English every week and some hours of Spanish and French. But what about the subject that is not a language?

Well, the odd one out is psychology. Which I truly, immensely adore, but for some reason, there has now been a slight decrease in my motivation towards the whole subject. And actually, I wouldn't necessarily talk of a slight decrease... All the famous psychologists and their theories, and especially putting their theories into practice by writing long essays with clarifying examples, which are full of scientific vocabulary, make me feel tired and hopeless. Blurgh. I'm just fed up with it.


Trip to Tallinn Day 3

We still had time to do lots on the last day after checking out of our hostel at noon. Our plan was to roam markets and then visit either Patarei prison or the Bastion tunnels near Kiek in de Kök which we had visited the day before. But first, on our way to a Russian market, we came across this offbeat shop which had the most peculiar old items from the Second World War. Because photographing inside the shop was only allowed after paying one euro, I just settled for a photo taken from outside. And I think this was just foretaste of what we were going to see at the Russian market.