: 6–12
: 7–12
: 1–6
Sat 31.12.2005 We've been quite busy taking care of all kinds of trip-related things, but today we wanted to have one night off and see the change of the year with our friends. We headed off to Miki's dad's cottage in Ikaalinen and spent a wonderful night (stayed up until 4.30 in the morning).
This will be the last post of the year, and in fact, there will not be more posts for a while here. (But we'll be regularly updating our trip diary at Ball of Dirt!) We will take off on Tuesday 3.1.2005 at 23.50 and follow this route: Singapore - Malaysia - Thailand - Vietnam - Cambodia - Laos - Hong Kong - China - Japan - USA - Mexico - Cuba - Easter Island - Chile - Argentina - Uruguay - Paraguay - Brazil - Finland (back on May 21).
I wish you all a very very happy New Year 2006!!!
Wed 28.12.2005 The tickets arrived!!! My cousin Tero and his fiancée Jonna run a travel agency called Aventura and they helped us book the tickets for our journey round the world. Only 6 nights to go! Unbelievable! (This blog will not be updated when I'm away but you can follow our trail on a special trip diary.)
You need all kinds of drugs and medicine for a trip that long, so we paid a visit to the drugstore and ended up spending 150 euros!!! The pills for Malaria (mefloquine, i.e. Lariam) where unbelievably expensive: 16 pills for 80 euros. We also got 4 different types of antibiotics just in case (Thanks Hansku for prescriptions!), and basic stuff like antiseptic fluid, etc. On top of all the drugs bought today, we have got vaccinations for Tetanus, Hepatitis A+B (Twinrix), Japanese Encephalitis, and Yellow fever.
Fri 23.12.2005 Family Rokala brought their wonderful cat to stay over for Christmas. I am not a big cat fanatic (I used to hate cats) but this particul cat I truly love. I actually missed him during the fall when I was in Boston!
Fri 23.12.2005 We finally decided to buy ourselves engagement rings. We ended up writing "kesä 2005" (= summer 2005) in the rings, as we have no idea about the actual date we agreed on this... :D
By the way, it's Riksu's 30th birthday today! Congratulations!
Wed 21.12.2005 It's the shortest day of the year, the winter solstice. In Helsinki the sun rises today at 9.24 sets at 15.13. In Tampere the day is slightly shorter. In my hometown Oulu it is even shorter: sunrise at 10.29 and sunset at 14.03, so only 3 and a half hours of sunlight. In the northernmost place in Finland in Utsjoki the sun has not risen since November 25, when the day was 1 minute long: sunrise at 11.28 and sunset at 11.29. The next time they will see the sun will be in January 16. (But do realise that it's the exact opposite in the summer: there is no sunset.)
Tue 20.12.2005 Riksu's parents Helena & Antti took us and Riksu's brother Juppe, his wife Riikka, and their little Hilda out for an absolutely superb dinner at Restaurant Näsinneula in the Näsinneula Tower. Riksu and I told Antti and Helena the same thing we had told my Mom and Renne when we were in Oulu: We will get married sometime in summer 2006 after we come back from our RTW trip! :) (We decided on this already in June 2005 but haven't told anybody.)
Mon 19.12.2005 We took the Pendolino back home to Tampere.
Sun 18.12.2005 I went to visit my Dad's grave. It's been 4 months now, but it feels a lot longer. Strange.
Sat 17.12.2005 We had a fun night with friends as we always do when in Oulu. Started off at JP&Jensen's (unfortunately Jensen not home), had one drink at Never Grow Old, and ended up in the famous 45, which is definitely not a surprising end for a night out... :) I still believe that 45 is the best bar in the country!
Sat 17.12.2005 Guess who I popped into when I was taking a walk in the centre of Oulu?!
Fri 16.12.2005 In the afternoon, I took the three-o'clock InterCity from Helsinki to Oulu. (It takes 6 h 49 min.) Riksu hopped on the same train when it stopped in Tampere.
Thu 15.12.2005 My grand-aunt Tetti made one of my favourite dishes in the evening: nettle crêpes. (They go very well with lingonberries.)
Thu 15.12.2005 In the morning I took the metro to Kulosaari because I needed to find the Embassy of the People's Republic of China in order to apply for a visa (both for Riksu and for myself).
I also met with my old friends Hansku and Henna (and their kids) for a cup of coffee. Hansku (being a doctor) gave me 4 prescriptions for antibiotics that might come in need during the spring.
Wed 14.12.2005 It's been a while since I took the train to Helsinki the last time! I needed to pay a visit to my lab at TKK for a change, and I of course wanted to meet my dear grand-aunt Tetti (who I stay with whenever I am in town). In the evening I also visited Kati and Anssi in their new home. I must say it is nice to share a country with Kati after 3 years apart! :)
Mon 12.12.2005 I loooooove being able to have my breakfast as I want it: coffee, rye bread with cheese and cucumber, home-made blackcurrant juice, and listening to the radio and reading Helsingin Sanomat. I have missed this a lot! (More about Finnish rye bread.)
Sun 11.12.2005 I slept only about 1,5 hours on the plane. I have taken a plane from or to Paris several times but not once sat with a Frenchman, always Americans. (I really don't care otherwise, but it would just be nice to practise my French.) I sat with a roughly 50-year-old man who said he was a chemical engineer. He surprised me completely with his question: "Is your country near Soviet Union?" I answered: "Yes, about 15 years ago it was, nowadays we call it Russia." He continued: "So Russia is still a country, right?" What can you really answer to that... I was so glad I was going home.
Sat 10.12.2005 My route: Boston LoganParis Charles de GaulleHelsinki-Vantaa
Sat 10.12.2005 I had a flight at 8 o'clock in the evening so I was able to walk around the city for the last time. The weather was really nice and sunny after the snow storm. Boston sure looks a bit different with all the snow. :)
I also completed my exploration of subway lines by riding the red line to Braintee and the green B to Boston College.
Fri 09.12.2005 Today I finally got to experience a true snow storm! It started of with a regular snowfall but ended up being a storm with thunder and lightnings. After a while my view was not much of a view anymore... See the news.
In the evening I had a very nice dinner (and drinks) with Mane. It's funny how time flies when you are engaged in an interesting discussion! :)
Thu 08.12.2005 Since I will be leaving in a couple of days, I had to pay a visit to ISO to do some paperwork. On my way I passed by Stata Center (by Frank O. Gehry) which is a very exciting building. People tell me though that it is not as exciting to actually work in the building as the design is not necessarily very practical.
Wed 07.12.2005 There was a bit funny column on a not so funny subject in today's Helsingin Sanomat. (Sorry, only in Finnish.)
By the way, tonight I will have dinner with my project partners Uday and Bilal, and their families.
Tue 06.12.2005 My "home" is dressed for Christmas and looks pretty nice in the evening. This evening I spent by the way with Petri, Saul, and their friend Alan for some drinks and a pub dinner here in Brookline. It's a slightly unusual way to spend the night of the independence day, as if back home, I would have been watching the President's Independence Day Reception on TV. At least these people were there this year.
Tue 06.12.2005 Today is the 88th independence day of Finland. Hyvää itsenäisyyspäivää kaikille suomalaisille! (More about Finland in Wikipedia.)
By the way, I'm totally sick of people complaining about the weather. It's hardly under 0 °C but everybody says it's sooo cold. I was waiting for a trolley the other day when somebody started complaining how cold it is now that she has been waiting for 15 mins in this "freezing" – 2 °C (29 F) weather. I suggested she wears actual winter clothes next time instead of high-heel dress shoes and a coatee...
Mon 05.12.2005 Riksu played around with Southpark Studio and made an image he now claims looks like me! Well, I of course had to do the same thing. :D
Sun 04.12.2005 The view from my office at 30 Memorial Dr. has changed a lot during the fall. Take a look at these 6 pictures. (The view is by the way one of the things I will miss, when I leave on Saturday.)
Sun 04.12.2005 My colleague Jehanzeb had invited me for lunch at his house. It was nice to get to taste Pakistani food, which by the way was very good.
Sun 04.12.2005 When I woke up, it was snowing!!! :D I was happy for a while, but when I went out I got mad about the huge amounts of salt that was being thrown around everywhere. Soon the beautiful winter view was destroyed with salt and turned into (pink) sleet. The scene was tragicomic: Cars sliding on their summer tyres and men throwing salt in a panic-like manner everywhere even close to snow. In Finland we use salt only on the biggest roads, never on sidewalks, for example. The view stays nice and clean, and if necessary, we throw a little sand on the ground. And we change to winter tyres! How stupid it is to slide around with summer tyres in a state like Massachusetts, where there clearly is a winter every year...
Fri 02.12.2005 I really needed some SALMIAKKI so in the evening I headed to Cardullo's at Harvard Square.
Thu 01.12.2005 On my way home I passed by Copley Square and had a cup of coffee. This really is one of my favourite spots in Boston. It's nice to sit down on a park bench, sip coffee, watch people, and listen to the city sounds. I think I will try to get there once more before I leave. And I will leave in 8 days!!! It's really hard to understand how fast the time has gone. The weather in Boston still looks like September/October in Finland. The Copley Christmas tree at least reminded me of December.
BTW, the first Finnish Big Brother ended tonight. My favourite candidat Tiina came second! I have been following the show throughout the fall via Internet! (How sad is that...)
Thu 01.12.2005 When I woke up, I found a package on my door. Katja's mother-in-law Diane (who apparently regularly reads my blog) had sent me two DVDs! This made me of course really happy, and I now can't wait to see the films. I will try to do that over the weekend.
Wed 30.11.2005 There was an interesting post today in Kvarkeista galakseihin (= the science blog of Helsingin Sanomat). It told about how this article in New Scientist caused a buzz around the Virtual Air Guitar project of TKK. (You know, the annual Air Guitar World Championships take place in my hometown Oulu!)
Tue 29.11.2005 My little brother Juho bragged about taking the 21st place in the game where you need to point cities, towns, and villages on the map of Finland. I of course was not able to beat him but anyway got the 36th place on the list with my score of 904,4 km missing the target. I was excited for a second until I realised it was the best of TODAY and not all time... Make your best shot at Kuntavisa! (Sorry, only in Finnish) Be warned about the great possibility of getting hooked in this.
Sun 27.11.2005 Spent the morning at Beacon Soap Opera. This might just be the last time I did it, since I now have only 13 nights before I leave. How can this be?! It feels like I've been here for 1 month no more...
Sat 26.11.2005 After beginning the day by speaking for almost 2 hours with Riksu over Skype, I ran for breakfast. I wanted to go somewhere new, and went randomly walking on the Columbus Avenue. I found Charlie's Sandwich Shoppe, which turned out to be a superb (and cheap) place. Had the most delicious cranberry toast (a plate of toast covered with cranberries = a lot of toast) and coffee. As I was alone, they sat me with three other people. We ended up having a long and interesting discussion, and in the end the three even offered to pay for my breakfast! :) After breakfast continued towards completing my goal of riding all subway lines till the end by taking the green C, D and the orange line to Cleveland Circle, Riverside, and Oak Grove.
Fri 25.11.2005 If you have not yet heard about Star Wreck: In the Pirkinning, start hearing: Wikipedia, IMDb, City.fi, Yahoo, Google... If you're not ready to download the whole thing, at least check out the trailer.
Fri 25.11.2005 I have found a new addiction: dried cranberries.
Thu 24.11.2005 Katja and Kevin invited me to their home in Taunton for Thanksgiving. I would say that the American Thanksgiving dinner must taste the same for Finns than a Finnish Christmas dinner must taste for an American.
Wed 23.11.2005 Riikka borrowed her dual-voltage hairdryer for me to use in the US. Sadly today appeared to be the last day of the life of this hairdryer. I had to run to the nearest store to get a new one. Unfortunately the only two dual-voltage dryers they had were bigger than Riikka's.
Mon 21.11.2005 When I got home, I had something that made me think of home.
Mon 21.11.2005 Monday was a looooong day. I spent a good 13 hours at MIT, since on top of a regular day Uday, Bilal, and I had to meet in order to get something done with our branding project.
Sun 20.11.2005 We left the West Side YMCA already at 8 o'clock, so that we maximize the time we have left in New York City. We walked around Central Park, SoHo, did some shopping, and in the end took the Fung Wah Bus back to Boston.
Sat 19.11.2005 Saul had also recommended we visit the Top of the Rock that re-opened a short time ago. You can't see Chrysler Building (in my opinion the most beautiful building on the island) from there as well as from Empire State Building, but thanks to their special ticketing system, you don't have to stand in line for hours either. And on the other hand you get to see Empire State Building for a change. :) (Especially check out picture number 4!)
Sat 19.11.2005 Saul (a friend of Petri's) had recommended we walk over Brooklyn Bridge, and so we did. We spent perhaps one hour on the bridge, since it was so beautiful and actually pretty long too (and as I said, the weather was not bad either).
Sat 19.11.2005 I love riding on all kinds of trains, trolleys, trams, and subways. I especially like to watch people and try to figure out their stories, where they're coming from and where going to. It's also interesting how you get a totally different feeling out of the subway systems of different cities. Here are some pictures that try to communicate the mood of the MTA subway.
Sat 19.11.2005 We walked around New York from 9 to 23. The weather was perfect (about + 7 °C and sunshine) so it was not difficult to keep going.
Fri 18.11.2005 Since we wanted to make it as cheap as possible, we stayed at West Side YMCA. It was cheap (80 dollars per night for a double-room) but very nicely located on West 63rd Street. I can't really say the room was that much different from a prison cell, but are you really going to spend a lot of time there if you are in a city like New York City? I don't think so. On our first night in the city we saw a friend of mine Brent and a bunch of his friends.
Fri 18.11.2005 We took the Chinatown bus to New York City. The name comes from the idea that the bus goes from Chinatown to Chinatown. In Boston the bus no more departs from Chinatown but from South Station the same way the "normal" buses do. On Manhattan it however drops you off in the heart of Chinatown. We took Lucky Star bus and paid only 15 dollars for the ride that takes 4–5 hours depending on the traffic. The quality of a Chinatown bus is pretty much equal to a regular Greyhound bus. I think it's a good deal!
Thu 17.11.2005 My office mate Jehanzeb, Katja, and I went for a drink to Top of the Hub in order the catch the beautiful sunset view over Boston.
Thu 17.11.2005 The view from my office keeps changing.
Thu 17.11.2005 I noticed a story on HIM in today's Metro. (The whole paper can be downloaded here.) It made me of course think of home. By the way, Ville Valo was systematically written "Ville Vallo"... :D
Wed 16.11.2005 Deciding what to wear has been tricky throughout November. The weather in Boston changes a lot from day to day and also within one day. I basically need to take under consideration four temperatures: morning temperature, evening temperature, and the possible high and low in my office! According to my observations, the outside temperature has been varying between – 2 °C and + 17 °C, and the office temperature between
+ 17 °C and + 35 °C... (By the way, my friend Katja comes today for a visit!)
I am nerdier than 84% of all people. Are you nerdier? Click here to find out! Tue 15.11.2005 I saw this link on Mane's blog (he scored 91!) and of course had to take a shot at it right away. And it turned out that I'm a High-Level Nerd with my 84! What's your score?
Tue 15.11.2005 My Finnish colleagues had brought me Helsingin Sanomat. I really miss being able to have a good breakfast, read the newspaper, and listen to the radio. And do all that AT HOME. I miss my Finnish mornings!!!!
For lunch I had something I would never have in Finland: pizza and coke. No wonder why there are so many obese people here, if they eat like this all the time! This was the second time I had any kind of cola since I arrived in Boston.
Mon 14.11.2005 On my way home, I had a great meal at Pho Pasteur in Chinatown. I have no comparison for Vietnamese food, but this at least tastes real good. (I'll know more about Vietnamese food in January!)
Mon 14.11.2005 What a morning... I wake up and the power's out. I manage to take a shower and find clothes in the dark, so I head to school. And what do I find in my office: the most disgusting creature in the world! Yööööök!!! The only good thing is that it was dead.
Sun 13.11.2005 On the plane from Helsinki to Boston somebody told me that I should go visit Gloucester. Well today I did! I read my LP New England on the commuter rail on my way there and realised that Gloucester was the town in the movie called the Perfect Storm. So I seem to visit towns where movies have been shot... But this time it was an accident! By the way, Gloucester is America's oldest fishing port, est. 1623.
Sat 12.11.2005 When I came back home, there was a package for me from Riksu's mom Helena. It made my day!!!! :)
Sat 12.11.2005 I find it interesting how people so openly show their political views around here. It's pretty normal to see stickers and flags on houses and cars.
Sat 12.11.2005 The Arnold Arboretum is really nice! There's a huge selection of trees from around the world. I spent about 1,5 hours just walking around and enjoying the weather. Since I enjoy walking I decided to walk through Jamaica Plain to Heath street and catch the green E. On my way I passed by Sweet Finnish (here) and bought 3 pullas.
Sat 12.11.2005 The weather was unbelievably beautiful: about + 13 °C and sunny. I decided to continue my exploration on the T and took the orange line to Forest Hills. Then I realised that the Arnold Arboretum is near by, so I walked there. But once again I noticed the bad condition of roads and especially the pavements. In an individualistic society like this, where nobody wants to invest on anything else than on himself, this is what happens. I must say that in any European city this size you never see bumps and holes on the roads like what I've seen here.
Fri 11.11.2005 There were not many people in the office today as it was Veterans Day. In the afternoon I met with my colleagues and showed them a bit more around the city.
Wed 09.11.2005 After the day at the conference my colleagues and I had a superb dinner at Giacomo's in North End. (Reviews here.)
Wed 09.11.2005 I spent the whole day in 2005 Innovations in Product Development Conference.
Tue 08.11.2005 My colleagues from TKK (Product Design Research) and UIAH are visiting MIT this week, in order to attend a conference. Today I showed them around the campus where there are in fact a few buildings designed by Finnish architects!
Sun 06.11.2005 In the evening it started raining in Brookline. And then there was a thunder! I will never get used to these sudden climate changes... Thunder on the 6th of November!
Sun 06.11.2005 I have wanted to visit Camden since I saw the movie In the Bedroom about one year ago. First of all I thought it was a great movie (I gave 4 stars on my list) but I also thought that Camden looked unbelievably beautiful! And now that I live only 4,5 hours away, I had to see it myself. There are only about 5000 inhabitants of which pretty many appeared in the movie! I was told that there were only 5 professional actors and the rest were locals. People were very friendly and informed me that Peyton Place too had been shot in Camden. I was also told that there are several interesting people living in this small town. More about that in Wikipedia.
Too bad we had to get the bus in the afternoon. I really would have wanted to stay longer. Well, that means only that I need to go back some day! (By the way, I can recommend Towne Motel.)
Sat 05.11.2005 Portland's nice! (Note: We are not talking about Portland, OR but Portland, ME. See the map.) The Metrobus (no. 5) took us from Portland Transportation Center to the heart of the city. Most of our time we spent walking around Old Port. At 19.15 we departed the PTC again but this time on Concord Trailways. It takes 2 h 30 min on a bus to get to Camden where we had a room reserved at Towne Motel.
Sat 05.11.2005 This is the weekend trip I have been thinking about since I arrived in Boston. Marita (whom I met at U.S. Embassy in Helsinki when interviewed for the J-1 visa) accompanied me as she was equally interested in visiting Maine. The Green line took us to North Station and the Downeaster took as to Portland.
Fri 04.11.2005 Another Finn Petri, who I met a couple of weeks ago, told me about this shop near Harvard Square that sells all kinds of imported food. So in the evening I took the T to Harvard, more specifically to Cardullo's. It was heaven! I could have bought a lot of things but I restrained myself. What I just had to have was two bags of salmiakki. I paid 3 times what I would pay in Finland but it was worth every penny. Later in the evening I noticed that there's an actual service you can use to order Finnish goodies: Finnish Food Network.
Thu 03.11.2005 Reading other people's blogs is starting to be a hobby. Tonight I ended up in one I'd never seen before: Elokuvia ja Valokuvia. There were a couple of notes that got my attention. First of all, this Million Dollar Homepage must be one of the best business ideas I've come accross for a long time. Another thing that caught my eye was cameratoss i.e. kameranheitto, which I of course had to try out right away! Since I value my IXY 500 dearly, I did as the guy in the blog, that is, didn't let go of the strap. While tossing, I heard a tune (some random TV show was on) that brought me back more than 15 years in a flash: Listen to your heart by Roxette.
(For a very good selection of Finnish blogs, go to blogilista.fi)
Thu 03.11.2005 I almost went blind when I saw the monstrous thing built on top of a perfectly nice building. If you want to see it yourself, go to 862 Beacon Street.
In the evening I went to have my hair cut for the first time ever in the US! Katja recommended Giacomo & Rondi on Kenmore Square. Anna has been cutting my hair for more than 4 years (I have followed her through three different salons!), so it was a little scary to let somebody else cut it now. But it turned out nice, so I might even go back before I leave. :)
Wed 02.11.2005 I need to stop taking photographs from the window of my office or else I will not get anything done... But the view over Boston is just pretty beautiful!
Wed 02.11.2005 I got an interesting book today from Oleg, who I met this week on a class. I am not sure if it will cure the problems I have with this country (over production of trash, favouring cars over public transportation, gun law, etc.) but it might help me understand America a little bit better than I do now.
Tue 01.11.2005 There was a note in Mane's blog today about something Ilana had written in her blog: She wrote about the happiest days and moments of her life, and told about being surprised to realise that she does not know what the best times of her parents' lives have been. Reading her note brought tears into my eyes... I have no idea what the best times of my father's life were. And now I am not able to ask him anymore.
Sun 30.10.2005 I ended up in Boston Common in the center of Boston where the reenact of Martin Luther King, Jr.'s historic march was taking place.
Sun 30.10.2005 There were two major attractions on my route: Jamaica Pond and Reservoir Park.
Sun 30.10.2005 Unbelievable but true: Saturday – 2 °C (29 F), Sunday + 16 °C (61 F). Since it was such a beautiful day, I took a three-hour walk around Boston, Brookline, and Jamaica Plain. I visited Sweet Finnish and got to eat good old Finnish pulla and korvapuusti. That was sooo good!
Sat 29.10.2005 I took the day to visit my friend and colleague Katja (NOT this Katja) in the city of Taunton. I also got to be part of something I had never tried before: We made pumpkin pie! Even though it sounds horrible in Finnish ("kurpitsapiirakka"), it is delicious! Today was a special day also because of the fact that WE GOT SNOW!!!
Fri 28.10.2005 We are FINALLY seeing some autumn colours here in Boston. Check out what has happened in a month!
Fri 28.10.2005 In order to receive a social security number I needed to visit the social security office. (I need the social security number to file my taxes for income I do not have... This is required because I have a J-1 visa.) It's too bad it is illegal to take photographs in a government office, since I really would have wanted to take a picture of the hilarious sign that was placed on every wall in the office: a picture of a gun with a cross over it and a text saying: "Firearms and weapons prohibited". Well, I need to remember next time I visit the office not to take my gun with me... (By the way, I added a commenting tool!)
Thu 27.10.2005 As I live in Anthony's Town House I don't have a kitchen, but there is a shared fridge on my floor. That's enough to make my evening: brie cheese and red wine. :)
Yesterday I got to see Prof. Eric von Hippel give an inspiring lecture on "Developing Ideas for Breakthrough Products and Services". It was the first time I met him. During my master's thesis work I learned about the lead user methodology he has developed, so I was of course psyched!
Sun 23.10.2005 I have decided to ride all subway lines from end to end before I leave. Today I took the red line till Ashmont. It goes on surface after Andrew so I got to see something too and not just sit in the dark. I saw somebody with Target bags get on at Andrew. On my way back I decided to get off and go visit Target as I have never been to one before. I ended up in South Bay Shopping Center which in my vocabulary will from now on be the synonym for hell.
In the evening I went to see North Country, which I will probably give 3 or 4 stars on my list. It was quite good. And if it will not bring tears into your eyes at any point, you are made of stone!
Added Wed 26.10.2005: At least somebody seems to read this blog! Check out cross-reference in Ansku's blog.
Sat 22.10.2005 Before attending Ilana's party where Mane took me, I spent the afternoon walking around the city. (I should probably ban Boylston street for a while, since I seem to spend 80 % of my walking time on it...)
Fri 21.10.2005 Copley Square is one of my favourite place in Boston. Sometimes on my way home in the evening I get myself a cup of coffee and enjoy it sitting on one of the benches at Copley Square. It is pretty relaxing to sip coffee and listen to the sounds of the city around you.
Fri 21.10.2005 All kinds of hacks have been done around MIT. (Equivalent in Finland would be teekkarijäynä mastered by Finnish technology students a.k.a. teekkarit.) Building 54 (Green Building) was the place for one of the best hacks ever. Green Building Tetris would be taking it to the next level.
Thu 20.10.2005 This is the best idea for ages: I got myself a library card to Boston Public Library (Thanks Katja for the hint!!!). This way I will be able to borrow DVDs and watch them on my laptop at home! The funny thing is that I seem to be registered at BPL under the name "Pia Annikki-Aljisa Hannukainen"... :D
Mon 17.10.2005 I had a flight back to Boston at 18.30, so we had time to visit the Silverthorne outlets on our way to Denver airport. The plan was we would have time to see the city too, but we ended up spending 4 hours(!) in Silverthorne and therefore didn't make it. But being able to spend a careless day with Katja was just wonderful. Nowadays we see each other just 1 or 2 times a year, so being able to just shop together was great. :)
One thing I must say about our return to Denver airport: Interstate 70 is SCAAARY!
Sun 16.10.2005 We decided to take it easy on Sunday. Katja and I drove to Vail which is just 9 km away from their home. Vail might be great for skiing but the town itself is really nothing special. (Unless your goal in life is to walk around buying new fur accessories or imported watches and eat expensive food while enjoying the mountain view...)
In the evening we had a relaxing home dinner and watched a movie. The Station Agent was as good as it was the last time I saw it. Katja hadn't seen it but as I liked it a lot, I was willing to watch it again. I've actually given it 4 stars on my list. :)
Sat 15.10.2005 The highlight of the day was the Linkins Lake Trail we took. It is not long but for somebody who had just come from sea level, it was rough...
Sat 15.10.2005 Leadville is located higher than any other town in the whole US at 3094 m (10152 ft). There was not too much there in the city, but I must say they have a great view!
Sat 15.10.2005 Red Cliff is a small town of 300 inhabitants at 2643 m (8674 ft). See the map.
Sat 15.10.2005 Katja and her husband Ara drove me around the Rocky Mountains. We stopped here and there to see the magnificant views. It is by the way pretty hard to come from sea level to higher than 2300 m (7500 ft) in one day. Just walking makes you go out of breath! Take a look at the map for our route:
Eagle-Vail (Deer Blvd), Red Cliff, Leadville Linkins Lake Trail, Aspen, Glenwood Springs, and back to Eagle-Vail.
Fri 14.10.2005 I flew from Boston to Denver (I changed flights in Pittsburgh) to see my friend Katja and her husband Ara. They came to pick me up. It takes 2 hours to drive to Eagle-Vail where they live.
On the plane I realised it's now been 2 months since I lost my father. Only 2 months. I wonder if he now knows where I am... I didn't see him from the airplane – it was dark though.
Wed 12.10.2005 Today I met with a fellow Finn Matti Kinnunen. I must be a real nerd to be meeting new people this way, but I came across his blog at blogilista.fi (I'm listed there too), and as it sounded interesting (and as it's always cool to meet a Finn in here), I sent him an e-mail. We ended up discussing the differences of cultures, politics, and life in general for 2,5 hours, which was nice.
Today I also found an American equivalent to Novelle sparkling water that I'm addicted to.
Tue 11.10.2005 Morning was foggy and a bit rainy too. It's funny that some taller buildings actually touch the clouds! For the evening it all cleared out.
Mon 10.10.2005 The bus took me to South Station. By that time I was really hungry, so I had a nice meal in Chinatown.
Mon 10.10.2005 There were no clases on Columbus Day, so I decided to take the last ferry of the season to Provincetown. Boston Harbor Cruises had the best deal, so I went for it. After 15 minutes I started feeling sea-sick. I ended up sitting on an outside deck staring at the horizon holding a white paper bag. At least I kept the staff busy, as they kept giving me new bags and taking the used ones away... After having sat outside in 13 ºC (55 F) in a light rain and a lot of wind for 2 hours, I was really cold. There was no chance I could have taken the same trip back to Boston so I took the bus.
According to my Lonely Planet Boston guide Provincetown is the "gay mecca" of New England. It sure seemed to be just that: Rainbow flags outnumbered American flags, I saw more short-haired women in one day than all I've seen so far in the US, and every good-looking man walked together with an equally good-looking man. :D
Sun 09.10.2005 There are emergency phones everywhere! I don't remember seeing one in Finland at least for 10 years. They must all be extinct because of the high rate of mobile phones (see here).
Sat 08.10.2005 I am a frequent user of the MBTA services. The green C is my line.
Fri 07.10.2005 Two RISD students and two MIT students will be taking the Product development project course at Department of Machine Design in TKK this year. I'm helping them out as well as I can. Today we visited RISD in Providence, RI. On our way back we were stuck in traffic for quite some while. I need to go visit Providence at another time in order to get a closer look at the city. (The train from Boston takes only 40 minutes.)
Wed 05.10.2005 The weather was beautiful so I decided to take a long walk by the Charles River.
Wed 05.10.2005 I usually grab my breakfast from au bon pain on campus. (A Finnish equivalent would be Picnic.)
Tue 04.10.2005 Downtown Boston can feel a bit like Manhattan.
Mon 03.10.2005 I did my laundry for the first time! I must say the washing machines look a lot different than back home in Finland...
Mon 03.10.2005 I really like my morning walks to school. It takes me 45 minutes to walk from Anthony's Town House in Brookline to MIT in Cambridge.
Sun 02.10.2005 Why is everything wrapped in so many layers of plastic and paper? When I went for grocery shopping I got 3 different bags inside each other! It is really difficult not to produce a lot of waste when it is like this...
Fri 30.09.2005 I ran around the campus for registration and so on and finally got the cards I needed.
Thu 29.09.2005 Now I'm all set in my office. I will need to concentrate on working and not just staring at the view...
Wed 28.09.2005 Before I got back "home" to Anthony's Town House, I went to get myself a local cell phone number. Now I am able to receive calls without going bankrupt.
Wed 28.09.2005 Today was my first day at MIT, although I was not able to do that much as I do not yet have an MIT ID, so I'm not able to log onto my computer. I hope I will be able to start the actual work tomorrow.
Tue 27.09.2005 It took me 18 hours to get from my home in Tampere to Helsinki-Vantaa airport, to Charles de Gaulle airport, to Boston Logan airport, and finally to Anthony's Town House in Brookline.
Sat 24.09.2005 Our washing machine has been broken for a while now, so we have to use the laundry room.
Fri 23.09.2005 My Mom got me Nokia 6230i for a graduation present. It was about time to equip myself with a new phone – what I had was a 6110 from 1998! I of course had to take a set of test pictures right away... :)
Thu 22.09.2005 My passport containing the US visa had arrived when I was in Oulu. Finally I know for sure that I can leave on the 27th!
Wed 21.09.2005 I took the train back home to Tampere.
Wed 21.09.2005 I went to visit my Dad's grave.
Mon 19.09.2005 After my interview at the U.S. Embassy (index fingers still in perfect condition after the crayfish party) I went to pick up my Master of Science in Technology diploma. Yippee!!! (Master's thesis available here.)
In the evening I took the train to Oulu, as I still need to take care of some things before I leave for Boston next week.
Sat 17.09.2005 We were at our friends' in Espoo for the weekend since it was time for the annual crayfish party.
Fri 16.09.2005 I've been waiting to receive DS 2019 Certificate of Eligibility for weeks now. I've postponed my visa interview three times and my plane tickets once. Finally today DHL delivered the goods. In order to be ready for my interview on Monday, I still need to pay the SEVIS I-901 fee. And to be able to do that, I need to find a working printer, since mine has trouble swallowing pdfs and I don't want to take any chanches, as the instructions say "You cannot return to the page and print the coupon or payment receipt at a later time". I should probably also protect my index fingers for the weekend to be sure they will pass the fingerprint scan: "Please note that applicants with cuts, blisters, or other temporary injuries to the index fingers may not be issued visas until their skin has healed." I bet it will not take too long they will start scanning your poop too...
Thu 08.09.2005 Autumn has arrived in Tampere. I spotted my first red maple this year.
Wed 07.09.2005 I stayed over at my aunt Tupu's in Riihikallio (Tuusula). They have a couple of big apple trees, so in the morning Tupu gave me a bag of apples.
Tue 06.09.2005 I had to go back to work for couple of days. I am sick and tired of taking the train between Tampere and Helsinki. I am soooooo tired.
Sat 03.09.2005 We decided to put the obituary both in the nationwide Helsingin Sanomat and in Kaleva of Oulu.
Thu 01.09.2005 I've been staring at the sky a lot lately. Tonight it was quite beautiful.
Thu 01.09.2005 Back to work. Fortunately emptying the house will not take many days anymore.
Wed 31.08.2005 At 3 PM we had the funeral. It was very nice and intimate. It happens only once in your life that you attend the funeral of your own father.
Wed 31.08.2005 There is a lot of building going on in the heart of Oulu. Watching the cranes kept my mind from wondering too much.
Tue 30.08.2005 Back in Oulu. I was having my breakfast when I looked out and got to see how they put up cranes.
Sat 27.08.2005 I'm back home in Tampere! For eight years I've lived apart from my piano. I've been waiting for that spacious home where I could finally fit it. Now that I'm forced to take it, as my father's home is not there anymore, it miraculously fits our current appartment. I can't say it's perfect but at least it is not in the middle of the living room. I'm quite happy it's here.
Fri 26.08.2005 There are so many things I need to take care of that it almost makes me sick. I never knew that death becomes a full-time job for them who stay alive. And at the same time I try to do my actual work, but I can't say I'm doing too well. I am sooo tired.
Thu 25.08.2005 I had to go take back one book to one of University of Helsinki Libraries. The library had moved since I loaned the book. Taking it back felt a bit funny as the library is now there where the Department of Physical Sciences used to be still in 1997, when I started studying.
Sun 21.08.2005 I took the train back to Tampere. I need to go back to Helsinki and continue taking care of things there. I should really go back to work for couple of days too...
Sat 20.08.2005 Another day of packing up the house. Being busy keeps me together.
Thu 18.08.2005 People die, flowers are sent.
Tue 16.08.2005 My father Taisto Hannukainen a.k.a. Tasi died two days ago on Sunday. Today I am emptying his house that used to be my home too for 10 years. So this is how it feels then...
Wed 10.08.2005 I paid a visit to the Student Health Service today, in order to get shots for our RTW trip that we'll be taking next spring. I got one for yellow fever and one (of three) for Japanese encephalitis. (I already had polio, diphtheria, tetanus, and hepatitis A+B covered.) I also received a prescription for malaria pills. We'll be leaving in the beginning of 2006 but I have to do all this now, before I leave for Boston for the fall. On my way, I passed by my old building. It felt strange to think that someone else is now living in MY HOME! And now my arm hurts too...
Tue 09.08.2005 May I introduce the best cookies money can buy: Mireille!!! It's a chocolate cookie with apricot filling that I just loooove. :) (Pirkka is a Finnish equivalent to Great Value or Best Choice in the US, or Champion in France, but I really don't care as long as it is delicious.)
Tue 09.08.2005 Restaurant Vltava in the center of Helsinki applied a rather funny method for alluring people to pop in for a beer.
Fri 05.08.2005 You can't really miss the World Championships if you work on the campus of Helsinki University of Technology, since the the Athletes' Village is there too. It's strange to pop into athletes and see race walkers walking around Otaniemi. Couple of days ago I saw Olympic gold medalist Shawn Crawford with his girlfriend and team mate Moushaumi Robinson!
Thu 04.08.2005 Today I went to watter my brother Juho's plants as he is away.
Sat 30.07.2005 I was taking a relaxing walk in the centre of Helsinki as I was interrupted by something almost shocking: Howcome in the 1960's people thought it is a good thing to build ugly box-like buildings beside beautiful old buildings???
Fri 29.07.2005 It was a rather lazy afternoon at work. A bee-like insect flew on the window ledge and decided to stay put for 15 minutes, while I decided to check out the close-up features of my Canon IXY500.
Wed 27.07.2005 I went to my brother's place in Töölö to water his plants now that he's away on his Trans-Siberian + North-Korean(!) trip. When I was walking back to my place I saw an unusual note on a café's front door.
Sun 24.07.2005 When I came back to the centre I went to see A Lot Like Love, since I had one free cinema ticket that would not be valid in a few days. Nothing else even close to watchable was on in that theatre, so I went for it. It was OK, but certainly not more than 2 stars on my scale. BUT: After the film I went to see Ismo Alanko who was playing at this free concert organised by the city in Kaivopuisto. I love him!
Sun 24.07.2005 I decided go check out Itäkeskus shopping center, since I had not been there for at least a year. During summertime shops can be open on Sunday, otherwise not. I am against all that regulation. In my opinion a shop keeper should be able to decide what hours are best for his/her own business. And why can I not choose myself which day to devote for resting? For my own rythm Saturday would be a much better "Sunday".
Sat 23.07.2005 I just noticed today that the view from the living room window is somewhat Mediterranean. There's a red Vespa(?) that makes me think of Italy right away!
Sat 23.07.2005 Today was a great day. I truly love spending a whole day just by myself not having to meet anybody or arrange anything with anybody. I went out on the town to take care of some things, and I also went to an early movie in the afternoon. 5x2 of François Ozon turned out to be a very good film! Check out the stars and the reviews on my cinema page.
Fri 22.07.2005 I have not had a Friday night just for myself for ages! (I'm staying in Helsinki by myself for the next two weekends.) I stayed up until 4 o'clock just reading newspapers, listening to radio, updating my site at
Kuvat Kavereille / Photos to Friends service, and just puttering around. I also saw the break of dawn. :)
Wed 20.07.2005 I went back to work yesterday but was not feeling good. Today I stayed at home now that the cold really kicked in. Good fun is though listening to KLF 100 MHz that plays all the great and not so great songs from early 90's. I feel like I was still in upper secondary school in Pohjankartanon yläaste! (Thanks for the tip, Juho!)
Thu 14.07.2005 As it was Tammerfest, we went out with friends. It was pretty nice to sit outside on a very warm evening and sip unbelievably inexpencive sparkling wine. Only 9,90 euros per bottle! (This offer is available only in S-group restaurants in Tampere region.)
Wed 13.07.2005 Besides the main house, there's a separate house for guests. In the evening Eki took us to the bus station in the centre of Virrat and we took the bus back home to Tampere.
Wed 13.07.2005 It was nice to sit on the veranda out of direct sun light.
Tue 12.07.2005 And this is the cottage. The weather continues to be hot, so I'm real glad to be able to swim as much as I like!
Tue 12.07.2005 This house might be small but still so essential: the outhouse.
Mon 11.07.2005 Riksu and I decided to go visit Tetti and Eki (my grand-aunt and her partner) at their summer cottage in Virrat. I am staying in their appartment in Helsinki for the summer.
Sun 10.07.2005 It was absolutely necessary to go swimming on such a hot day (+ 28 °C), so we headed to Rauhaniemi beach by Näsijärvi lake, which is one of the nicest beaches in Tampere.
Sun 10.07.2005 My favourite cat is once again visiting us, as his family has flown abroad for the holidays.
Thu 07.07.2005 It's my last day in Oulu. I decided to go swimming in Oulujoki river for the last time before I took the train home to Tampere.
Wed 06.07.2005 The centre of Oulu has been cleaned up and renovated a lot during the 8 years I've been living elsewhere. Tonight was the first time I put my foot on the Elba island.
Wed 06.07.2005 Howcome Oulu looks nicer and nicer every time I come visit? The best part of the summer must be the endless light. I really miss this.
Wed 06.07.2005 In some parts of Oulu it is like there was snow on the ground! The "snow" is actually caused by poplar trees.
Tue 05.07.2005 Katja and I decided to spend the day in Hailuoto. First we drove about 20 km from Oulu to Oulunsalo, and then took the 30-minute ferry to Hailuoto. (See the map.)
Mon 04.07.2005 The great weather continues! I desperately wanted to go swimming so I took my mom's bike and visited Tuiran uimaranta beach by Oulujoki river. Even the river water was nice and warm to swim in.
Sun 03.07.2005 What a great weather! I went swimming with Katja to Valkiaisjärvi beach.
Sat 02.07.2005 I had some friends over (at my mom's place) for a nice evening. Around midnight we headed to 45, the best bar in Oulu. I love the bright northern nights!
Fri 01.07.2005 First day of summer holiday here in Oulu! I visited Katja's parents now that Katja is in Oulu too.