This blue marble

– and yet it spins


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Interlude: women in business

cityhallDinner and networking at the Helsinki City Council. One woman wore red, I wore blue, and the rest wore dark. Mostly men in suits. This is what it is like to be a “woman in business”.

I work mainly with men in suits older or far older than I. Yet most of the time I am the one in a power position, because of my job. It was odd at first, especially to challenge team leads in beards and gray hair when I was barely 30 years old. Today I barely think of it. And if I do, it is to use it to my advantage: a younger woman often obtains information and influence easier, because she is perceived to not be a threat. And I seldom pay for my drinks.

But I still feel uncomfortable. In particular, in the airline lounge on a Monday morning, when I am one of the handful of women in there, and usually the only one in jeans. I gave my sister a give-away elite tier card. After her first visit to the lounge alone, on a workday morning, she looked at me with huge eyes and proclaimed she had felt like she was being exhibited. This is also what it is like to be a “woman in business”. Even here in relatively gender-equal Finland.

It is not always about the pay. It mostly is about the mundane, minor things. Because these are the subconscious, left-unseen signals that give away the conditioning of our minds.

I do not aspire to become a man – quite the contrary. I was very happy I was not wearing a dark suit at that dinner party. I only hope I will never feel that I am expected to become a man in order to get along better.

(Helsinki, Finland; March 2017)


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Interlude: family dinners

blackcallaOne dark, cold Sunday night it was bright and beautiful inside. Lots of delicacies, lots of laughter. Some wine, too. And talks about pigeons’ quantum physics compasses, refugee policy, and age-old toys in the attic.

Families are unique. Mine can devour a significant hunk of camembert in minutes, while debating over why the universe is like the surface of a balloon. Questions are sufficient. The point is never to become any wiser.

(Helsinki, Finland; November 2016)


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Dark & cold

snowwelliesStill a few long, dark months ahead. With climate change there is no consistent winter in Helsinki region anymore, has not been for quite some years. So one day I can go to the office in rain, wearing my rubber wellies, and walk back home in snow. Thank goodness I had the mind to slip on boot liner fleece socks or I’d have no toes left.

(Helsinki, Finland; November 2016)