Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Moving day

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Stockholm commuting

Living in the outskirts of Stockholm means a whole lot of metro, train and bus rides on a daily basis. 

Even though these daily trips to and from work might take long they provide a perfect opportunity for loads of headphones and music. And occasional naps. Yes, naps. Naps are always good.

So the distance isn't all too bad. Plus when you get bored you can always take photos. Even though they're only captured on your worn-out phone.


Thursday, January 30, 2014

Believing in elves

Throughout my years of living abroad I've had many discussions about cultures and traditions. By this time, there are few questions about Icelandic culture that I haven't heard or don´t know how to respond to. However, there's one recurring question that I've never quite known how to answer properly.

Do you believe in elves?

Now, I've never really known what to say to that. My answer has never been no. But a simple yes doesn't quite cut it because if you tell people that yes, you are a highly educated and rationally thinking adult who really does believe in magical people living in rocks, it usually requires some follow-up explanations and proof that a) you're not on drugs or  b) you don't suffer from illusions caused by mental illness.

I've always found this follow-up part to be a bit tricky and I'm very sure that I'm not the only person I know who feels that way. But I think I've finally managed to put my belief into words, something that makes sense and proves to me that my belief is actually pretty rational (or at least as rational as I can make it).

First, if you don't know much about elves, here's a little crash course with the basics:

Elves are also known as huldufólk or hidden people. They mostly live in rocks but are also known to live in cliffs and hills. Their homes have played a large role in Icelandic culture for the past centuries as elf dwellings should not be disturbed or damaged in any way. Why? Because even though elves are fascinating and beautiful creatures and can prove very helpful at the times of need, they are also known for their severe temper if angered or betrayed. Icelandic folklore has countless accounts of individuals who came across elves and made promises they couldn't keep or angered elves in others way. What would happen to these people? They would, and in some instances even their descendants, be cursed and suffer from severe losses, insanity, or even death. Now don't get me wrong. We like elves, a lot. We truly do. They're just not to be angered, that's it (When I think about it this sort of seems like a really weird case of codependency).

There have been several instances of altered construction works in Iceland throughout the years just because of elves. Plans have either been altered to avoid disturbing large rocks believed to be elf dwellings (Preventive measures = lets be really careful not to make them mad) or halted, and eventually changed, due to sudden and repeated equipment malfunction believed to be caused by elves (Reactive measures = that's it, they're pissed. Let's pack up).

So, do I believe this?

Here's the thing. Yes, I believe in elves but my belief is more of a matter of symbolism. There are three things I see in elves.




And to me these three words crystallize nature.

Nature, just like elves, is incredibly beautiful and mesmerizing. It can steal your breath, give you energy you didn't know you possessed and make you forget all your troubles for a while.  Secondly, it's a matter of power. Just like elves, nature is incredibly powerful, something which becomes rather evident when living on a windy, volcanic rock in the middle of the North-Atlantic, a place where nature either makes or breaks you. But the most important aspect of it all is that just like elves, nature, with all its beauty and power, should be respected. Fail to respect nature and the consequences will be dire, not only for you, but - yeah you guessed it - your descendants as well. 

There you have it, my two cents on elves. 

They kinda make sense now, right? 


Thursday, January 09, 2014

Landing landscapes

One of my favorite parts about travelling by plane is the landing. I love being able to have an increasingly closer look at the landscape below- whether it's composed of fields, lakes, ships, roads or buildings- and watch it come closer and closer, and yeah, bigger and bigger.

That's why I always hope for daylight and no rain at landing whenever I'm on a flight heading back home. Daylight and dry weather seem like two rather simple things but nonetheless they both happen to be rather scarce during Icelandic winter days. This Christmas flight I was in luck though. The sky was clear and the ground was covered in beautiful snow, creating a mix of sea, black shore and white fields.

Then I landed, walked out of the airport and was welcomed, if welcomed is the right word, with the near chronic +10 m/sec wind of my hometown, something I had completely forgotten about in all the excitement of finally going home. 

I let the cold wind annoy me for a  few seconds until I realized that I had actually missed it. Not much, no, I'm not that crazy. But a bit. To me the wind is an unmistakable part of home. Coming home during the winter wouldn't be the same without hearing the wind howling outside your window at least once while falling asleep, grateful for a warm cozy bed.

I'm pretty sure I'd think differently if I had to deal with it all year round. At least I have no recollection of loving it when I went through near daily battles with the wind over the control of car doors and flying hats. Once I even had to fight the wind over flying money, and I remember very well that while I was running into my neighbors' yard trying to collect my money from their trees and bushes there was absolutely no love for the wind in my heart. 

But I guess that's one of the perks of living abroad and only visiting home a couple of times a year; I can say that I like the wind... and actually get away with it.


Saturday, November 30, 2013

November captured on the run

I've heard November mentioned as one of these boring months. It's the end of fall but still not really winter. Christmas is on the way but it's still too early to dare to decorate. To sum it up, it's bleh at the end of the year.

I've never seen it that way, I'm a November kid to the fullest. It's usually filled with highly anticipated rendezvous and other events of personal importance. For some reason most of the biggest decisions in my life have usually been taken in November. It's when I can finally start the countdown for Christmas at home, something that usually is just a blur in the distance but finally becomes visible in November. What can I say? It's my month.

This year November has been crazy busy and passed by on full speed. Still, it's been the good kind of crazy. The type where you think back and see that you truly enjoyed it to the fullest despite all the running around and early morning airplane rides. Where you see you did something valuable and you're proud of what you did. Exactly my kind of November.

My camera has been largely absent this month, or more or less replaced by the office camera. So, you'll get a glimpse of November through the next best thing, my phone.

What the past months lead up to

One of the few food items acceptable for instagram

late November and the Christmas countdown starts

Me, the laptop and work camera in Helsinki

I could spend days just looking at Brussels' street art

the smallest aircraft I've ever been on for an international flight

A little moment from a highly anticipated visit 

@work in yet a new country

the nice view captured  for a short moment in the morning, before the running around started


Wednesday, October 02, 2013

Street beauty

I love street art.

There's something about the ability to take plain, dull walls and bring them to life that I just find fascinating. Especially if it includes portraits.

El Mac is one of my favorite artists. I find his talent to be ridiculously amazing, especially as I can hardly draw a normal circle on a piece of paper with a pencil, let alone create gigantic portraits on buildings with spray cans. 

Dia de Muertos en Pomuch- Campeche
(this one just blows my mind)
Pandora- Los Angeles
Southwest Goddess- Phoenix

He has collaborated with Retna who does the backgrounds, the results are breathtaking.
Here are some examples.

Skid Row (Blessed are the Meek)- Los Angeles

Ave Maria- Salt Lake City

RVCA Headquarters- Costa Mesa

The Knight- Los Angeles

Young Scribe- Miami

Yes! Yes! Yes!

People who make the world a more beautiful place with their talent make me happy.
So, thank you :)

You can see more of El Mac's work here.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013


Just a quick little post with some pictures from my little trip to Vaxholm the other day.

I underestimated the weather a bit so my trip can be summed up as:

taking the bus, 
getting off the bus, 
realizing it's a bit too windy for the weather to be sweater-appropriate
walking a little circle around, snapping a few pictures
catching the next warm bus back

Nonetheless, it was worth both the bus ride and the little chill from the wind.