Thursday, January 27, 2011

Room Tour

I should have made this video 3 weeks ago when I first arrived but here goes! A simple tour around my apartment (: Ignore the bad video taking skills!

Will be heading to Lapland for the weekend and hopefully see the northern lights(:

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Laid back

If there's one country to sit back and relax, it's definitely Finland. The banking system here is really not efficient at all!

Fact 1- You need to make an appointment with the bank just to open your account. Appointment as in you come another day (3-4days later) to complete a 15 minute procedure.

Fact 2- For a foreign cheque, it takes 5-6 weeks to clear. I brought a bank draft here and I thought it takes 3 working days to clear but I was clearly wrong.

Fact 3- Once your foreign cheque has been cleared, they take 30 euros from you for waiting so patiently. How awesome is that!

Fact 4- You neeed to activate and verify your Visa for internet banking. This alone takes 2 weeks T.T

Hello Finland, by the time all this is done, i'll be back in Singapore already!!

On the other hand, if you are working here, you will benefit tremendously (: I must say their waiting time is way more frustrating that the Malaysian government agencies. What has Singapore turned me into? A monster who wants things quick and efficient?

World Peace! ^.^

Wednesday, January 19, 2011


Kiasu-ism. That's how I survived in Singapore that's what is going to keep me alive in Finland as well. Today there was an open house in my university where companies come and display their company info, it's more of a career fair in short.

Well of course I know they won't possibly hire me because I'll be here for 6 months and also I've got a dreadful bond with the Sg gov *cough cough, have to watch my words* but all I wanted was the goodies they offered(:

Me: Moi! So does your company offer any opportunities for a student majoring in Mathematics?
Company: Oh, * long pause* Mathematics? i'm sorry we are more on application based
Me: * pretends to look dejected* :( oh, Kiitos, means thank you

*walks away and grab a handful of candies*

Half of my bounty (: which the rest I distributed to my friends.

Btw, i think i know what I'm going to get for souvenirs, Fazer Chocolates. Local chocolates which taste so good!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011


I'm still wondering why do Finnish people sleep so early? Is it because they have nothing to do hence sleep, or is it just that they are lazy? I'm not stereotyping here.I think i do sleep a lot but still feel tired, maybe it's the lack of sunlight over here.

And oh yea, it still feels really weird to strike up a conversation whenever I'm on the bus.It always goes like this:

Stranger: *smiles* Moi,means Hello, China?
Me :Oh no, Singapore (:
Stranger: Japan?
Me: No, Singapore!
Stranger: Oh Singapore, nice place, nice place! You exchange student here?
Me: Yeap! (:
Stranger: Good good, hope you enjoy Finland!

Yea, roughly goes like that. I guess every Asian thinks a white man is from the States whereas the Europeans think every Chinese is from China.

Oh,it's 12am i better sleep xD

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Simple Pleasures of Life

It's too good to be true that life is stress free for me at the moment. Maybe the only thing that stresses me right now is thinking of what to cook for the next meal. It's really strange that I can have so much time to myself as compared to a few months back.

I must admit, i'm getting addicted the saunas. It really makes my world go round! Maybe it is signs of aging where night clubs and parties aren't my thing anymore. I don't really look forward to getting squashed by tonnes of bodies and splashing on alcohol (never been my habit).

Yea, i really know what I want for my birthday already, a sauna in my house (:

Today is a historical day for me, baked my first ever cake and played with frozen eggs (:

Frozen eggs!!

My historical cake(:

My muscular-Moomin :p

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Lectures and Tutorials

Last Friday was my first ever lecture in Finland but it turned out to be a surprise. Over here, lectures and tutorials start 15 minutes later than the designated time. For example, if it's at 10 am, then the professor will be in there at 10.15am. For myself, I obviously went to class 5 minutes before 10 and waited there like a dungu. The worst part was I only found out that class was cancelled after waiting for 30 minutes because some kind soul told me.

The empty lecture hall

Guess it's the Finnish culture! (; Sometimes being too relaxed here gives me a certain degree of stress. I'm constantly wondering why time passes so slow over here! The sun rises at 10am and sets by 3pm which also means that the working hours are cut short too. I really wonder what do the Finns do at night!

I'm starting to think like a housewife already. Everyday when I wake up I wonder what I will be cooking for dinner. Maybe one day I'll become a famous char kuey teow seller! Anyone has ideas on what to cook for dinner? (:

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Nestle Snowflakes

Yesterday was my first time experiencing such heavy snow storms.
A few things I noticed :-
1) Getting hit by snow in the face/any body part is painful
2) Snowflakes are really hexagonal in shape! More info can be found here

Snowflakes on my window, will try to get a clearer up-closed photo!

3) Snow is salty!

More pics on Pyynikki tower soon!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

When Left is Right and Right is Left

I'm still adapting to the pace of life in Finland. People here are more carefree,relaxed and helpful. Being new to this small town, it is really easy to get lost and I had to ask for directions many of times.

I remember having trouble looking for my apartment and I approached this guy on the street. He started to speak in Finnish with loads of hand gestures and obviously I could not understand what he was saying. He then grabbed my 20kg luggage and dragged it all the way to my destination. Maybe being Asian in a small town full of whites has it benefits (:

Since my arrival, many concerned friends and family members asked me if I could adapt to the horrendous weather conditions here. Surprisingly it's okay except sometimes I do get up in the middle of the night because it's too cold!

Also it makes me wonder why are the beds, chairs, tables and sinks so short over here! I have to bend almost ninety degrees just to switch on the tab to brush my teeth. I always thought that in the European countries things would be taller and bigger considering their huge frame.

Besides that, I'm yet to get used to the left hand drive system over here. Everytime I cross a road, I will tend to look left first then right which is disastrous as the car will come from the right. Haha! The switches are also one the left side instead of the right.

The pace of life here is too slow for a kiasu kid like me. I need to find something to kill off the boredom, any great suggestions besides travelling? (:

The cheapest buffet ever, 2.50 euros and I get it everyday for lunch! (:

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

How to make new friends

It is indeed true that a friend in need is a friend in deed.

Let me narrate how I made some random friends during my first days.

Scenario 1,
Two people, a guy and a girl, were dragging their heavy luggage through the snow. The girl was clearly struggling with her bag and bam, here's where I offered my great help to carry the bag. The next thing I knew I had a place to store my heavy luggage before collecting my keys to my apartment.

Scenario 2,
Two girls stuck at the airport looking rather lost and the first word that came out from me was "Are you on exchange as well?" There you go, add two friends on facebook.

Scenario 3,
This was definitely the most random one! All you need is a cool thermo flask and you'll make 5 new friends.

French guy: Wow, do you actually bring your bottle everywhere you go?
Me : Ermm yea, why?
French guy: We don't do that in France, that's something new!
Me : Oh, cool! O.O

Thanks Mum and those who chipped in to get me the cool bottle (:

Moral of the story: Listen to mum and carry your water everywhere!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Identity Crisis

Question: So where are you from?
Me : Erm, Singapore!

So apparently I'm the ambassador for Singapore, PM Lee better be kiasu and give me more benefits! Thanks!

Checked into my accommodation today and I must say it's worth every penny I paid for. For 220 euros per month, I get a super huge single room,which I can invited my friends over to bunk in (HINT HINT) kitchen, shared toilets and a beautiful balcony with a scenic view of Tampere town.

The pace of life here seems so relaxed and everyone in the city is especially nice to me. They somehow don't converse in English but I could tell from their body language and chatter in Suomi that they are genuinely helpful people. I wanted so badly to take out my camera and take photos of the town covered in snow but was too afraid to expose my fingers to the crazy weather here. It's really beautiful here!(;

Monday, January 3, 2011

Good Samaritans

Today I was very fortunate to bump into two good Samaritans.

The first was the air stewardess during my flight from Singapore to Amsterdam. She somehow knew I was having some trouble with my nose (yes I have sensitive nose) coupled with the fluctuating pressure in the cabin, she paid 'extra' attention to me during the whole flight (: Maybe she could sense that I was a noob traveler, considering I was practically the only Asian on board. She kept asking how was I feeling and also gave me some tips on how to battle the freezing temperatures in Finland. She then surprised me with some nasal spray to help clear my block nose. haha!

The second was a Russian men named Mr. Surgay (I think)

My initial plan of sleeping over at the airport backfired when I found out that it does not open 24 hours. Tampere is a small town hence people tend to be more slack here? I don't know but for some weird reason, they do not operate 24 hours.

And so my heroic moment was downsized to a desperate kid looking for shelter for a night. I tried going to the online hostels in Tampere but it was all fully booked for the night. Even went to the extend to borrow a handphone to make a reservation but failed. With all hopes dashed, I thought I was going to heed my brother's great plan,to lock mysel
f in the toilet.

Not wanting to follow his crazy idea, I tried asking the lady at the information counter again to help me. This time, I was blessed! This Russian guy had actually booked 2 rooms at a nearby hotel and wanted to know how to get there. I quickly asked him if he could help me book an extra room at the same hotel and thankfully he
was very willing. He even offered to drive him to the hotel! (:

Now 65 euros poorer for trying to be mahco but definitely worth every penny of what I went through today (:

Blessed kid for the night (: