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Today’s ear worm

May 24, 2016

Here is your EAR WORM for the day!

This is why I need to immerse myself more into the Finnish music scene. The Little Miss knew that this song was Finnish (she was walking around singing “Pekka, Pekka, Pekka” all the time) – and it was played ALL the time at the recent World Hockey Championships in Russia.

It’s a song about the Finnish hockey player Pekka Saravo who plays for the (2016) Finnish championship team Tappara of Tampere, coincidentally also Patrik Laine‘s current club.

A new watery world: Espoonjoki

May 20, 2016

We acquired a canoe a few weeks ago and we didn’t hesitate to put it in the water. After having lived in Espoo for nearly 14 years, it’s a real pleasure to have had the chance to explore the waters of the lower part of Espoonjoki.

We took the opportunity to explore on two different days. The timing was good because the water level has been dropping (with the end of winter and the recent lack of rain) and the grasses and shrubs have been filling in water space rather quickly in recent days!

A good starting point is the old cathedral near Espoon Keskus because there is a parking lot right beside the river. We decided to go up river first and that was intriguing because normally you can’t actually see much of the waterway once you cross under Turunväylä near IKEA (the motorway between Helsinki and Turku). Seeing it from a canoe was neat! We also met a man in a kayak and he said it was really nice to see other people out exploring. We went as far as we could without having to get out. Our barrier was a foot bridge that makes up a part of the “kuntorata” that winds its way through Espoo. The water was deep enough on this section of the river and we didn’t have to worry about rocks or sunken logs. The current was strong, but we were still able to make our way up without any significant effort.

A week later we headed downstream to Espoonlahti. It was a good thing I went and scouted things out ahead of time (by bike). It is pretty rocky through Kaukalahti and the water is moving fast enough that you have to pay attention to what you’re doing. Our canoe is sporting a few new scratches, but we made it through no problem. After we paddled through Lasilaakso we saw a few people fishing along the banks of the river.

Our next exploration challenge is the river right next door, Mankkijoki – now is the time because the weather is good!

If you want to know more about Espoonjoki take a look at Petri and Niklas Suominen’s (father and son) five-part series (in Finnish) on Espoonjoki, which was made in 2015. You can see it on YouTube.

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Picture of the Day

May 18, 2016

Hi ho!

Been busy lately again and the weather is so nice that thoughts of writing are just not in my head at the moment.

Anyways, I have added a new category of entries to my blog: New places. As part of life in Finland, my goal is to document and photograph new and interesting places!

A couple weeks ago, I was in the Lappeenranta region playing in the TiPa Open, an annual ringette tournament held at the Saimaa Holiday Club in Rauha, which is actually closer to Imatra than it is to Lappeenranta.

The tournament was a blast and the weather outside was fantastic. This view on Saturday morning was well worth the trip to the tournament.:)


May Day! May Day! Vappu is coming!

April 29, 2016

The official kick-off to spring will be celebrated in Finland this weekend – Vappu, or Labour Day. The Mr. went shopping yesterday and said the store was a zoo, so I can image it will be the same today as people go and pick up all sorts of goodies for the weekend.

And since Vappu falls on a weekend this year, it means people will probably start celebrating today as soon as the workday is over. I just overheard someone here at work telling a visitor that Vappu is a pretty student-centred event. Asked whether the visitor would venture into the (Helsinki) city centre, he responded, “No maybe not.” Maybe not, indeed. If you do not like large crowds – then do not go into Helsinki on the weekend! I can assure you that there will be plenty of people out and about celebrating. You’ll also likely find a lot of people out and about taking part in outdoors activities over the weekend too. Now is the time to get outside!

The weather forecast is looking good with drier weather moving in on the weekend, although the chnace of showers still exists in many areas. Temperatures in many areas will be in the double digits.

So, enjoy the weather, enjoy the weekend, eat good food, have fun and most of all – don’t drink and drive and arrive alive!


The war on litter: cigarette butts

April 13, 2016

I’ve long been picking up litter while out and about in public, but I have recently become rather fed up with how many cigarette butts there are out there. It’s down right shocking!

We got a dog last year, so we spend a lot of time walking. Since I poop and scoop anyways, I have also decided to start picking up cigarette butts at the same time. Since that time (just in the last few weeks since the snow melted here in Espoo), I have picked up hundreds of them.


I wonder what smokers would do if they realized just how toxic the effects their littering are. It is purported by several sources that cigarette butts are the most littered item on earth, with some 4.5 TRILLION discarded by people around the world every year.

This is something that has just caught my attention, so it is new topic for me. I’m investigating what the issue is in Finland, whether there are any statistics on cigarette butt pollution and if there are any groups specifically taking aim at it. I’ll try and follow-up when I can. I have to find the right vocabulary to search for information in Finnish. If you can help, let me know!

We should all do our piece. If you see litter and a garbage can nearby, please do the environment a favour and pick it up.

I hope this will be the only time I will “preach” at people. We can do better, really. We’re litterally (spelling mistake intentional) killing ourselves with garbage.

Picture of the Day

April 7, 2016

Yesterday I found myself in downtown Helsinki for the first time in a long time. I hopped on the metro and got off at Helsinki University (formerly known as Kaisaniemi) and headed up the escalator. This was too good to pass up as a photo op!


Structural changes to recycling services in Finland

March 27, 2016

A fresh study on waste management in Europe showed that Finns throw out an average of 482kg of waste per year, which is slightly more than the European average of 475kg. In Finland 18 percent of waster is recycled (EU 28%), 17 ends up in a landfill (EU 28 %), 50 percent is incinerated (EU 27%) and 15 percent is composted (EU 16%). So with that here is some food for thought on the current state of recycling in Finland.

Some big changes have come into effect with regards to recycling in Finland this year. I haven’t taken much time up until this point to discover what the changes really mean for my household, except that we do not have to collect so-called “energy waste” anymore.

It is also against the law to discard organic biowaste into landfills as of the beginning of 2016 under the new Waste Act. Yet the media reports that people appear to remain skeptical about sorting their waste because they often believe it was all just end up at the landfill anyways.

Plastic recycling, however, will take on a different tone and be collected at the same recycling points as other recyclables like paper, carton (cardboard and tetra paks), glass and metal.

Despite the change, plastic recycling has yet to be deployed widely in the capital region and apparently will only be done on a trial basis. So far I have only found location for plastic recycling that is relatively convenient. So it means lugging our recycling around, but it is not too much of a headache fortunately.

We drop a lot of our stuff off at receptacles like these.

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So what happens to the rest of the household waste we produce if it is not recycled?

When I tried to get answers from Helsinki Regional via Facebook in asking questions about the changes to recycling (in English), they basically copied and pasted their answers from the web pages. So a couple questions remain:

  • What happens when people just throw everything in the garbage (including problem waster like PVC (number 3) plastic, which is not supposed to be burned, or pressure treated wood, batteries…?
  • How about garbage from public places like parks and bus stops – what happens to that?

The bottom line is, the onus is still on us as consumers, communities and individuals to sort our waste properly.

But how much of our waste is still ending up in the landfill? I’m skeptical that everything is being burned or recycled properly…

Think about it, we can do better!

P.S. Here is a sobering statistic: Did you know that Finns throw out / discard an estimated 70 million kilograms of clothing every year??

P.S.S Did you know that every year the bigger retail chains (Kesko and S-group) run a recycling campaign for old frying pans and pots? Every February, you can bring in old pots and pans to the stores that participate in the campaign and get a discount on the purchase of a new one. I think this is a fabulous idea and the fact that it is run year after year is probably a testament to its popularity.

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