This blue marble

– and yet it spins

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textureThere were silver birches lining the way in. There were slate stone plates for bread and black lava salt to go with the grassy delicious olive oil. There was a wonderful taste journey from Norway to Iceland to France to the UK. And to finish there was the softest creamiest skyr I have tasted, both chilled and frozen. And when we thought the journey was over there were warm, soft pistacchio madeleines, cinnamon truffles, and Fisherman’s Friend macaroons, all tucked into a little moss-covered bowl.

And just as we were about to leave, someone pushed little pouches with more cinnamon truffles into our hands. Oh yes, I think the Icelandic chef of Texture has many new friends in my taste buds.

(Texture, London, United Kingdom; March 2015)

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Stillness, milk oolong tea, and Things that make one’s heart beat faster

asioitaOne stormy March day I am dreaming of cherries in bloom across the globe in Kyoto. I am forgetting place and time while I learn about the mysterious lady-in-waiting Sei Shonagon, the author behind The Pillow Book. I am forgetting my country while I experience Japan through the writing of a Finnish woman who left her job to discover a soul sister who lived 1000 years ago and who loved making lists of things that made her heart beat faster.

And I am trying to imagine that world 1000 years ago, where one’s respect was measured by one’s skill to write poetic verse. Where one’s beauty was measured by how many layers of kimono one carried on top of each other. And where women were never seen in public, and seldom even within their own house. Except for Sei Shonagon, who did not care much about what was thought of her.

(Helsinki, Finland; March 2015)

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The law of Jante

saltholmenGliding over deserted Saltholmen island towards Copenhagen airport I think of how this flat country requires equal flatness of expectations. All peaks of success are evened out – and so are the lows. If you are good student you are expected to help those who are not equally successful. If you become rich you are expected to pay for it. Celebrating success is not encouraged, and neither is standing out as a total failure.

Once upon a time in a Norwegian book there was a Danish little village called Jante. The people of Jante abide by a number of laws which all boil down to one thing: you are not better or worse than anybody else. Do not expect it – nobody else does, either. Just fit in and you will be fine.

In the midst of this competitive world, in the heart of every Dane there lives a little villager from Jante. And not a month passes that I do not wonder whether the Norwegian author mistook the location of the village: the law of Jante ensnares the Finnish spirit, too.

As we float past the Öresund bridge rising from the bottom of the sea I wonder if it would be possible to keep the cake and eat it, too? What if we decided to keep the supportive lifting towards the mean for those who need help, and allow celebrating success and individuality? Why should the mean be the limit when it is possible to reach the stars?

(Copenhagen, Denmark; March 2015)



Why I spend my nights working on a kids’ coloring book 25 years later

coloringbookDid you ever find you never got to do that simplest little thing you always wanted to do? Or how you haven’t got a single step closer to a big dream that always hovers so close but not close enough to do something about catching it?

I always wanted to complete a coloring book from start to finish. The past three years I have been yearning to see the French Riviera in spring. I still have not experienced the (relatively) new Helsinki Music Center, and there are many books my friends have recommended that I still have not read.

Until this spring. This spring I have read all Moomin books, completed a coloring book on horses, gone back to Kathmandu, and seen a concert at the Helsinki Music Center. I also have a trip to Cannes in my calendar, an Indian head massage scheduled, and I have read 3 books out of 20 that my friends recommended to me. All thanks to Day Zero Project. 101 goals in 1001 days.

What an adventure it will be to stay a night in a treehouse, go to St Helena with the Royal Mail liner ship, and learn to make Limoncello. Why not live a little with me? List your goals and live today.

(Helsinki, Finland; March 2015)