Sunday, May 31, 2009

Five Things I love about Finland...

Is a quiz on Facebook. Rather than clicking on images and posting it to my profile, I thought it would be better to write them down.

How do I love Finland? Let me count the ways... ( up to five .)

#5. Public transport. This is one of the most amazing public transport networks that I have ever seen. ( Amsterdam, London and Copenhagen also have very impressive transportation networks.) The buses, trams and trains are on time to a fault. And they are plenty, at least in Helsinki.

#4. Nature. I love the way Finns take care of nature. I love the micro gardens which peep over the balconies of apartments. I love the fact that they do not dump ice into the sea, but have separate areas for doing that.

#3. Work-life balance. I love it that my managers - past & present - trust me enough for me to work from wherever I want to. I love it that they take delight in the fact that I have a life outside of work. I love it that my colleagues - past and present - are well rounded people, people one can look up to and learn from.

#2. Friends. I love it that I have made new friends here. I love it that any given day, they reach out to me in real life or via interwebs. I love it that I have met kind, generous and smart human beings who dance to their own rythms and are cool in their own ways.

#1. Freedom. I love it that I can walk alone in the middle of the night and live alone in by myself in an apartment. I love it that I can go and buy alcohol on my own. I love it that I can go to a club and dance the night away, and the fact that men take a No as a No.

I think I found my summer love and he is called Helsinki.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Alone, but not lonely

I am on a trip to Copenhagen tomorrow, all alone.

My first trip alone was in 2007. I had never traveled to reach a destination where I knew nobody. However, When I was to come to Helsinki for a year ( yeah, right.) I wanted to see as much of Europe as possible. But I was not sure if I would find others whose schedules would match up with me.

Hence, listening to my dormant engineering brain, I did a trial run in Goa. The first three days, I switched off my phone, played PC games on my laptop - finished 1 - read - finished two books - ate when I wanted and slept - in my room. Living my life without the demands of anything or anyone; going where I want and eating what I wanted made me a fan of traveling alone.

My last travel also was by myself. Granted, I did meet up with friends, but I decided on my schedule and what I wanted to see - or not to see. I could sit in a part and read Dorothy L Sayers because it was laid out like an English garden and I was not making anybody late. I went to watch movies alone and became one, even though for a short while, with the people in those theaters.

My first travel in June is with a friend. I am sure that the complete serendipity of traveling alone will not be there - it would be more structured to suit both of us. But I am looking forward to that one too, as traveling with friends help me rediscover them all over again and realize, with a relief, that they have not changed all that much.

But I am looking forward to traveling tomorrow too, as it will help me rediscover the person I love and value the most in the world : me.

And I am really excited to meet her.