This blue marble

– and yet it spins


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The red lounge

redloungeWhen one walks up the steps to the Atelier Relaxium lounge at Copenhagen airport there is an entire explanation of how the colors work: choose a space according to your energy level and needs. The explanation is needed to blunt the colors that hit the visitor at entry. All the food and most comfortable chairs are in the Red space, which is seriously RED. Hurting-my-eyes red. Actually, so is the yellow and the orange. After my initial shock I went looking for calming blue and green – and noticed that instead of calming down on a couch or chaise longue I would need to sit up straight on a blue or green dining room chair. Not much Relaxium going on there. Whoever painted this lounge did not quite get the intuitive effects of colors on people.

The Apartment lounge which Finnair uses is closed for renovation, so they shunt us here.  My brain, used to the bland Nordic minimalistic color world, can’t cope with these uber-enthusiastic colors. Especially not after a busy day. Thank goodness there is a Yo Sushi at Copenhagen airport. I much prefer that as a lounge, even if I have to pay for the food and drinks.

(Copenhagen airport, Denmark; January 2018)


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A room of one’s own

loviisa-1In this charming, century-old country house there is not a room of one’s own for one person, but for three. The house belonged to my paternal grandfather, who might smile knowing that it now contains the desk and chair of my maternal grandfather. loviisa-2Three rooms, three colors, one wallpaper pattern. In the cold winter light the ambiance in each is different. Which one is your favorite?loviisa-3(Loviisa, Finland; January 2018)


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A cake surprise

cakesOne of the perks when staying in the same hotels long enough: you begin to find surprises in your room. Or upgrades in your room booking. The petit fours were absolutely lovely, but did not beat the Valentine’s Day present I once got in a hotel in Stockholm: a rose, a hand-written note, and raspberry jelly boats.

(London, United Kingdom; December 2017)


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Where we come from

tartudec-4Over Finland: nightless night, coffee, and bears. Over Russia: beautiful ladies, Putinistan, and terrible drivers. And over the Arctic Ocean: polar bears. This is the world we live in, according to ourselves and foreigners to our country. A world of stereotypes and perceptions – many of which we struggle to ignore.

Where I come from is Finland. Indeed, nightless nights, but also cold, dark winters, introverts, silence in conversation, very little physical touching or hugging, and definitely very little expression of emotions. For Americans, “I love you” is an everyday word, quickly dropped to a life partner or daughter or friend when passing out of the door. In Finland, “I love you” is like a fabled unicorn. A phrase so rare it is a legend. Even on television, “I love you” is always translated in Finnish to “you are dear (to me)”. Because it is too intense, too monumental to be used.

But I digress. How did I get to “I love you” from a map of stereotypical perceptions of countries? Not sure. Yet please note that above I said “I come from Finland”, not “I feel like a Finn”. I wonder if anyone truly identifies with the stereotype of one’s country people?

(Tartu University Museum, Tartu, Estonia; December 2017)


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Slush

slushAl Gore and President Niinistö opened the Slush conference in Helsinki in November for a full house: 20,000 people. They were cheered by Prince William, Prince Daniel of Sweden, and the CEO of Supercell. No security checks anywhere. Only in Finland.

(I hope this will never change.)

(Helsinki, Finland; November 2017)