This blue marble

– and yet it spins

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My ride

bikeMy brand new Copenhagen ride: a healthy alternative for public transport especially now in coronavirus-times. Heavy and granny-style, in a color what we in Finnish call “poison green” – but just a touch velvety. Hopefully inconspicuous and less attractive for resale, as bike thefts are everyday occurrences here (so common that each home insurance typically has bike theft insurance specifically included).

The problem is, I like my ride a lot already. It will be such a bummer day when it is snatched from me.

(Copenhagen, Denmark; March 2020)

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Around the lakes

lakes-1A rare moment on the lakes: no people. Because it was freaking cold and windy (and beautifully sunny). The Copenhagen lakes have been all over national media these days, as this is where people crowd for walks when the weather is good. As of yesterday, they have signposted one enforced direction of movement: around the clock. Guards in yellow vest maintain the order. And if you gather in groups of 10 or more people, even if nobody knows each other, everybody will be fined.

Why am I among the throngs of city people nearly every day? Because the lakes are just outside of my doorstep and I need a daily dose of sunlight, fresh air, and movement. I hope we all can take the recommendations to heart and follow them to the dot, otherwise we might discover that running in spring sunlight is a liberty lost.lakes-2(Copenhagen, Denmark; March 2020)

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Earlier this week the Danish government shut bars, clubs, sports centers, and shopping centers. Restaurants and cafés are open – for takeaway only. But two weeks ago I still had a Michelin-recommended sandwich lunch at Aamanns. Sild on rugbrød, i.e. pickled herring on wholemeal rye bread.

And the sun was shining, and the water birds were loudly sorting out spring rivalries on the lakes. It could be worse still. It will probably get worse still.

(Copenhagen, Denmark; March 2020)

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Hello Finland

Loviisa-6Despite the business travel ban of my employer, I still managed to squeeze in one trip home to Finland in early March – before Denmark closed its borders. The timing was perfect, and so was the weather. Spring was in full swing, while normally early March means snow cover and alternating melt and blizzard days.

Fingers crossed I can go back for Easter and still return to Denmark afterwards. Finding small green leaves in the trees with Easter would be quite something. Loviisa-3(Loviisa, Finland; March 2020)

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Interlude: in the sudden stillness

Plant-1Now is the time for introspection and silence. For long runs, walks, yoga, and meditation. There is no reason to get to bed late. There is all the reason to focus on thinking, writing, studying, and planning the future.

Thanks to the coronavirus pandemic, my company grounded us all from work travels in the first days of March. One week later most of Europe were told to work from home offices and all face-to-face work-related meetings were forbidden, except for those of clear business-critical nature, for the continuity of the business. I heard we have donated millions of surgical masks and other supplies. Turns out we also started manufacturing hand sanitizer internally so offices and sites could remain open for those who had to come in.

My project is delayed. Meetings are canceled because of children at home and offices evacuated on the spot after somebody tested positive for covid-19. With the excess time I turn to my studies, and to some reading. And to walking around the lakes. Somehow there is still so much to do before 10 pm, every day.

(Copenhagen, Denmark; March 2020)

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Everyday hero

BritaThis everyday hero changed my Copenhagen life. The water here is so hard that one droplet leaves a white ring on any surface when it dries. The soil of the houseplants is turning white after just one month of watering. Tea tastes like clay water and cups need manual scrubbing or 2 dishwasher tablets to clean off. Not to mention the tea kettle which is covered in white sediment just after two weeks’ use.

Enter the Brita filter jug. Now water tastes smooth and almost a little bitter, like rainwater. The tea kettle seems to actually clean itself up slowly. And I bet the rainforest plants like rainwater better than limestone water. The only downside with this little wonder is that it is substantial in size but only filters 600 mL in one go, due to the hefty cartridge size. And the cartridge probably needs to be changed every month thanks to Copenhagen water.

Now if only someone installed something similar in the shower…

(Copenhagen, Denmark; March 2020)

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Ramen? Yes please

RamenBriefly in Helsinki and a ramen lunch at the original Momo Toko near the University main building is a must. This is where I fed my belly and soul between running Saturday errands in town. Alternatively it was a Vietnamese pho joint – but quite often here in this hot, busy little ramen joint usually crowded with Asians.

(Helsinki, Finland; February 2020)

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Where to generally lie-in

Southbank-1In London there once was a General Lying-In Hospital. Sounds like heaven for busy workers. Or those with coronavirus. Yet, Google tells me that “lying-in” actually once meant childbirth. Was the actual mental image of childbirth so sensitive that it had to be referred to indirectly?

Turns out that the actual “lying-in” was the period of two weeks to two months after childbirth that a new mother had to stay in the hospital. For the first few weeks she was not even allowed to get up. Sunday lie-ins turned to days and months. Childbirth was dangerous business.

(London, United Kingdom; February 2020)

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What Florence dreamed of

Nightingale-1Today I discovered that Florence Nightingale loved Nature as a child. She would collect plants and identify every kind of living creature, aided by the books she received from her parents. But in Victorian times, women could not become naturalists unless they were depraved of all close kind, like Mary Kingsley. Or unless they became painters, chasing the jungles in search of exotic flowers, like Marianne North. Becoming a medical doctor (a “surgeon”) was an even more preposterous notion.

So Florence Nightingale became a nurse. Although she probably treated patients like a doctor and commandeered everybody like an army captain.

Being a nurse is difficult, essential, and respect-commanding. But as I wandered through the Florence Nightingale Museum in London I could not help but wonder, what did little Florence once dream of becoming, before gender roles were imposed on her imagination?
Nightingale-2(London, United Kingdom; February 2020)