This blue marble

– and yet it spins

Leave a comment

Anywhere in Scandinavia

forestplaneGood morning, endless spruce forests just outside of the capital region. Good morning, endless islands stretching into the sea like somebody spilled a bag of breadcrumbs on the water. Good morning, any Scandinavian country – you all look the same. Except for maybe Denmark which lost its trees because of the farmers.

Today it is good morning, Stockholm.

(Stockholm, Sweden; April 2015)


Hold on, Nepal

maju-deval-before-NYT maju-deval-after-NYTNepal, I have no words for you today. Or rather, I have all words for you, but I cannot choose the right ones to use. And none of the words will truly help you today. I am relieved my friends and the social business staff are spared, and I worry about what happened to the orphan children we have supported. I worry about the lack of water and the cold nights. About people buried in the houses gone to shambles. About the villages that cannot be reached because roads and vehicles have been wiped out. I am stunned by the destruction of your beautiful temples on the Durbar squares. Of the main Monkey temple building still standing, among the wreckage of shrines.

You are inhabited by a sturdy lot of people, used to extreme conditions. This was too extreme even for them and recovery will take a long time. I hope people will find it in their hearts to help you in any way they can. And I hope that six months from now they will still remember to help, even if media discussion may have moved on.

(Images courtesy of New York Times (Anna Nadgrodkiewicz and Narendra Shrestha/European Pressphoto Agency) . Maju Deval temple, before and after)

(Kathmandu, Nepal; and Helsinki, Finland; April 2015)

Leave a comment

Jet age

aviationmuseum-3It was the time of the future. It was the time of exploration. It was the time when the world shrank. When you could fly from Helsinki to Paris, only stopping for refueling in Hamburg and Amsterdam. And it was the time of unpressurized cabins and flying without weather radar. aviationmuseum-4It was the time of hope. It was the time of independence for women. When an airline stewardess visiting her home town was an exotic breeze from the great modern world out there. And it was the time of another female norm: when those who exceeded the limit at weigh-in were grounded. When wearing a ring and a husband’s name meant goodbye stewardess career.

aviationmuseum-1It was the time of savoring luxury. It was the time of flying stylishly in hats, suits, and dresses. When a cocktail was on the menu between Amsterdam and Hamburg. And it was the time when air stewardesses were required to wear stiletto heels that sometimes pierced through the aluminum cabin floor.

It was the Jet Age. Right before the Space Age. When our world opened up for us. Before all the trouble with oil resources and carbon dioxide emissions. When one could simply leave the things that weigh one down behind on the tarmac, lift the nose up, and hightail full throttle ahead into the skies and a new tomorrow.

aviationmuseum-2(Commercial aviation retrospective at the Avation Museum, Vantaa, Finland; April 2015)

Leave a comment

From behind the scenes

IMG_6683Hello you lovely readers,

Thank you so much for continuing to like and follow This Blue Marble. While I prefer to share less about myself and more about our wonderful world, along with the thoughts I have when I see what I end up photographing, I wanted to show you another angle. Instead of talking about the lovely features of Vilnius, I would like to share that the photo above was taken in a freezing hail storm after a long day of meetings and networking, when my feet ached and before we almost missed the flights back home.

Backing up 20 hours when we were whisked over to Vilnius from Stockholm one Thursday night. 10 seconds time to observe the lovely gift box of chocolates on my bed and the lovely book crossing shelf in my room. 2 more seconds to observe there were 2 functioning power plugs for my 4 devices. Defeating the exhaustion in an attempt to see at least one block of the city we ventured down to the city hall square and in to a bar which treated us to hugging couches, tolerable wine, and drunk wrestling Norwegians. Afterwards more work on my presentation, lights out at 1 am, and on again at 7 am.

8.30 am to 3.30 pm was presentations, meetings, lunch networking, and more meetings in two locations. A splendidly set up day by our lovely hostess. No time for anything else except for focusing on the present moment. At 3 pm my head was beginning to get soft. I kept losing my belongings. We called it a day, took photos, and had a refreshing walk and a pleasant conversation with our hostess in the cold, with alternating rain and hail.

And then there were no taxis to take us to the airport. None in all of Vilnius. A ride was wonderfully offered. But all Vilnius was one traffic jam – hence, apparently, no taxis. We almost missed our flights – at least I thought so until mine ended up being delayed.

At the airport in Helsinki a random taxi cab pulled up, the driver got out, grabbed my suitcase, and said “Hello! To Lauttasaari, was it?” As we drove home I wondered whether it is a good thing or a bad thing that I am personally recognized by a handful of the 1,400 taxi drivers in Helsinki.

Lovely readers, this time I chose to tell you about my day instead of just my thoughts, with a pretty photo. Do tell me if you would like more personal content from time to time. And if you read all the way to here and only want to read about Vilnius, here you go.

(Vilnius, Lithuania; April 2015)

Leave a comment

And yet the world spins – for now

IMG_6682 One time, long ago, my grandfather was a shipbuilder who spent much time managing Soviet business relations. Today we scour through photo albums to find images of the stories he used to tell.

One time, long ago, my grandmother used to dance folk dances up in her birthtown. Today all I have is a pair of dancing shoes from the ’40s, which I love to slip on for a special day.

One time, Guest house Pooki in my grandparents’ hometown used to be a bank. Today it serves sushi.

As I walked to the shore where we once moored the boat to the summer island, I pondered on the fleetingness of it all. If nothing is constant, why do we create lives as if the opposite were true? If everything is bound to change, why do we resist? And what is the difference between sticking to past times and preserving our past for the future?

Looking out over the sea, I thought about how one time, long ago, the planet Mars had vast oceans. Today we spend millions on seeking traces of condensed water on the barren surface. Perhaps the difference between unhealthy resisting and positive preserving lies in the impact on future generations? Perhaps, instead of understanding space and planets we should understand the impact our little lives has on the future of our world. Perhaps instead of trying to understand the universe I should focus on how my grandfather’s tales and my grandmother’s dancing shoes unnoticeably directed my life.

And yet, at least our world keeps spinning. For the moment.IMG_0164(Uusikaupunki, Finland; April 2015)

Leave a comment

The Bridge

bridgeThe bridge begins in Sweden, where it stretches a long sparkly spine over the blue strait. Cars flow back and forth like pearls on an abacus. Underneath the car deck, Swedish and Danish trains sweep back and forth, easily switching voltage and sides of traffic as they cross the border.

Suddenly, in the middle of the brightest blue, cars and trains and everything dive into the water and underneath the sea floor. Space must be made for ships and landing jetplanes. In the distance, back on the Swedish side in Malmö city, a tower building slowly revolves around its axis.

No, this is not the imagined future of the 1960s. It is also not our imagined future in 20 years’ time. This is the Öresund strait today. This is a region where languages and cultures are intertwined and mutually understood. This is the Nordics, practically borderless for 60 years and counting. Take that, European Union.

(Öresund Bridge, between Sweden and Denmark; April 2015)