Archive for June 2009

Summer Cottage!

hey everyone. So, for the past eleven(?) days or so I've been at the family's summer cottage, as shown below:

Actually the part you see here is only half of it- they built a new one right next to it, but the idea is the same. Here's a view of the dock at sunset.

The entire experience was absolutely amazing, but tonight, I am far too tired and I've been on this computer way to long (responding to all the lovely emails, and waiting for the computer to stop hating me and freezing up) so I'll just show you some pictures. There's about a million more, though, but it's midnight....
Anything you daydream up from these pictures about my lovely time there is probably true, but not quite as lovely as it actually was.
This is Yoko, Sari's father. He'y my HERO and he's completely won the title of 'The Man'
in my book.

And here is Sari's mother, who spoke no English whatsoever but was convinced that I spoke Finnish, so we 'talked' a lot anyway.
Actually we understood eachother pretty well. For example, if she offered me to eat some Watermelon, she put it in my mouth.
There you go.

The first day we were there was Midsummer, a Finnish holiday celebrating the middle of summer (go figure!)
We picked flowers...
and made vihta out of birch branches to smack ourselves with in the sauna...

I became a man, too.

Not, really, but in a bat mitzvah kind of way.

I caught a fish!!!

(Esa said I couldn't do it. But he didn't know that I have dumb luck...)

And I chopped down a tree!

We visited our rich friend's cottage,

And I was a very happy person.

The end.

love, rudi

(I'm still waiting for the computer to stop hating me...)

summer cottage!!

Sorry I haven't been posting poop lately, but really there's not been much poop to post.

Except I went to Helsinki again yesterday and bought a jacket. Which was probably way too expensive...

Today I go to the summer cottage for a week, and we'll be swimming and sauna-ing to our hearts content.
I'm going fishing, too, for hours and hours on our little boat and i am

See you all, later.

love, rudi

Tallin, Estonia

Estonia is a very small and often forgotten country (by Americans at least), but Tallin was absolutely a dream. Everything was like a movie set- I expected to see Cinderella around every corner.

We got there by boat, and I can remember one thing, really, about that:
It was loud, it was bad, and completely hilarious.

Here's me on the ship:

Our hotel was amazing, the Bern, and it was right in the middle of the Old Town, which we explored during our stay.

This isn't the hotel, but the view from outside it.
I forgot to take a picture of the hotel itself...

Here's some photos of the town itself.

This was taken in the town square. We ate lunch here the first day.

the town square. We shopped at this market, and on Saturday there was a festival where everyone was in traditional Estonian clothes and danced and sang. It was really interesting, and I tried elk sausage.

Friday night we walked outside the Old Town to eat a cafe, and that was a great experience.
The cafe had only been open 3 days, and we ended up spending 2 hours there because it was so slow. So we hada lot of time to talk and giggle.
I felt awesome and really smart talking about housing prices with Esa.
We all talked about 'bunnies'. Apparently Sari had looked up the plural word for 'buns' in her dictionary and found it to be 'bunnies', so the family called sweets 'bunnies', and therefore I did too. When they found out that bunnies were actually rabbits, we all could's stop giggling.
I think maybe that story is one of those 'you should have been there' things, but it was really great, and that along with several other stories like it made the evening completely amazing.

But more pictures!
sari in a tallin hat:

me in a tallin hat

A beautiful russian orthodox church at the top of a hill.

Up the street from it is this church:

which I completely love. If I ever get married, I want everything to go down there.

FAFA and Petry!!! I am MEANT to live in Tallin!!!

Here's me in a shop door. They had the neatest shops, many of them were in little basements and under staircases and stuff. This one was filled with gorgeous and expensive hats.

Here's a photo of a little cellar coffeehouse. You can't tell very well, but the ceiling is rounded, and the couch is gorgeous. The whole place was like the inside of a hobbit house. I was trying some of Esa's tea, which tasted like marzipan.
and speaking of marzipan, we went to a marzipan shop, and saw these amazing displays, all made of marzipan.

Although the Old Town was gorgeous, the rest of Tallin was very different. It displays a lot of modern russian architecture, which is really like big cement blocks.
We stopped at an outdoor farmer's market-like place, and bought some Polish strawberries.
Good job, Poland, you have the best strawberries I've ever eaten.

We went to an outlet store for ribbons, yarn, and beads. What a wonderland....

(I looked for some rad beads, Val, but didn't find anything totally amazing. Sorry!!)

So, walked around a bunch, saw some pretty amazing sights, and I felt like a princess.
That pretty much sums up my experience in Estonia.

Just quickly.

What I had for desert last night:

Mämmi, a Easter Finnish treat. It's actually not completely as gross as it looks.
But it's close....

Who I hung out with today:

Meet Noora, the three year old next door who is afraid of the weird way I talk.
Her voice sounds like Shirley Temple.

love, rudi


not much time, and way too much to say

We visited an old town today, about 45 minutes away, and I was so delighted of what I saw.

This will have to be very brief, though, because I do nöt want to waste away on the computer!

But...look where I went today.

Porvoo, one of Finland's Old Towns.

This is some Runeberg cake, a Finnish holiday cake. They only eat it in February, but this cafe has it all the time because it originated in Povoo.
It's a writer's wife's recipe, and it tastes like a super sweet cornbread with almond paste and,
of course, jam.

Esa, my host dad. He has a really nice accent.

The coolest church decoration I've ever seen...

Mona met a 70s rockstar- I'll find a 'wideow' later.

not much time, and way too much to say

We visited an old town today, about 45 minutes away, and I was so delighted of what I saw.

This will have to be very brief, though, because I don nöt want to waste away on the computer!

So, just another nice day in Suomi...

love, rudi

big update!!

Where to start, where to start?

I think it's been a few adys since I've put anything up, but I don't really remember. I completely loose track of time here...

But a few days ago, Mona showed me Hyvinkää, our little town. It's pretty cute and we bike everywhere. I've become a frequent at Corner Coffee, yesterday Mona, Niko and I had tea and sandwiches, as seen below...

I've also had some brief encounters with finnish ice cream, which is quite a dream....

I had the classic Jättis, which is similar to a drumstick, but no nuts, no caramel, and jam in the center.

BTW: the Finns put jam on everything.

Except pizza, thank god, which I had last night.
Turkish pizza, actually, and I don't exactly know what to say about it except

it was disgusting it was wonderful

and we each had our own.

and they're huge. I had Venetsia, olives, ham, feta cheese, tomatoe, and mozzarella.
Mona and I cut out pizzas in half and swapped halves, so I had half of mine and half of my favorite, pineapple & ham.

The restaurant itself was great. Here's a good example of the decor:

You can imagine the rest.

I have a new favorite TV show, Madventures. This video pretty much sums it up.

I also saw them swallow beating cobra hearts, hang out with Myanmarian headhunters, eat virgin pig uterus (with a "sweet, virginey taste,"), and participate in some Indonesian religious ceremony where they completely reinact Jesus' crucifixion.

OH! and on the way to the restaurant we discovered the most amazing and rare of Suomi creatures...


Apparently they're quite rare, and the Finnish equivalent to our Jehovah's Witnesses.

I played paparazzi with them, hiding in the car while they marched on to save some souls.

meet Muumi.

He's everywhere. I mean, everywhere. He's like spongebob and minkey mouse and miley all combined into one little plush hippo or pig or whatever he is.
He has a whole family, including this creepy little thing,

The brown thing is the dog. And the little redheaded girl bites people when she's sad.

They're on cups, notebooks, expensive silverware, TV, stamps, jewelry, signs around town, clothes, everything.

Here a terribly photo of the Muumi soda I tried with my turkish pizza.
The boy is Henrii (I think), one of the sons of the family we ate with last night. He's going to give me a tour of the jewelry factory sometime next week. It should be funny because he's very nervous about speaking English.

sooo that's about all,

excpet I have a new hobby!!

Mona taught me how to knit, and I can't get my hands away from the needle.
It's so addicting. We both just sit and watch Finnish music videos (which are more or less awesome, I'll try to find some to share...) and knit.

I miss you all,
See you soon!

love, rudi

p.s. i love finnish keyboards. They have a button entirely for the ½ sign.