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Cycling – sometimes at your own risk

August 14, 2015

On the afternoon of August 12 in Helsinki a cyclist and a motorist apparently exchanged words and insults and when all was said and done, the cyclist was dead.

I heard about this story from the Mr. yesterday and I was shocked when he told me that the cyclist had been intentionally run down. The driver of the car was apparently so angry that witnesses stated he intentionally hit the cyclist, who suffered serious head injuries. He later died of his injuries in hospital. The driver fled the scene, but was arrested by police. He now faces charges of serious traffic offences and aggravated manslaughter. (I personally hope he never has the privilege of driving ever again.) The police have indicated that an incident such as this is very rare in Finland and remain tight-lipped about the circumstances of the incident.

A large group of cyclists held a “ghost bike” memorial for the cyclist yesterday in Helsinki.

PatrickWikblad

Photo by Patrick Wikblad.

The Mr. took the opportunity to remind me to keep a grip on my nerves when riding = don’t flip the bird (aka – showing the middle finger) while riding. I told him that in fact I would never do that, but I do yell when when I get really displeased with a motorist.

Just the other day I was on my bike waiting to cross the road where there was a double-lane for oncoming traffic. Finnish driving law stipulates that if a driver in one lane stops for a pedestrian, drivers in the neighbouring lane must also stop. The driver in the right lane stopped – I waited – because three more cars blew by him (!!!)… When the fourth driver stopped, she basically slammed on her brakes. I waved to the driver who had first stopped for me and proceeded. Honest and true, the only person you can trust is yourself.

I find that cyclists overall are getting a little better on the roads, more riders are signalling to other riders what they’re doing (i.e turning) and thank drivers who stop for them with a wave. The drivers wave back. :)

There are still some rude folks out there, however. Some cyclist barked at the Little Miss to get out of the way a few weeks ago… <sigh>

The actions of the motorist in Helsinki on August 12 resulted in the needless death of another person – and for what? If you find yourself infuriated by a cyclist or motorist or a pedestrian – breathe and count to 10!

Just ride safe, be aware and give young kids a break – it takes time for them to learn!

On Sunday, August 16, there will be a ride to raise awareness of road rage and protest against it.

RIP to the cyclist who needlessly lost his life in Helsinki. He was someones’ friend and family member.

The recent tourist, part II

August 5, 2015

Back in July we took a holiday in the southwest archipelago in here Finland. This was a part of our “discover” series, that when we are in Finland in the summer, we go somewhere we have never been before. So, we were in Iniö. We stayed in a cabin on the island of Jumo for a week and was lucky enough to have found it through the wildly popular Airbnb.

In fact Helsinki Times featured an article about the Iniö region earlier this year, have a read.

The visitor harbour at Iniö was completely redone and opened in 2013 with the assistance of the EU. (And what timing, the Mr. subscribes to Vene Lehti, the magazine for boaters and there was a feature article about Iniö!)

We keep an old version of Lonely Planet Finland in our car (the very guide that was my survival package when I came here the first time in 1997) and it described Iniö as such, “The isolated island world of Iniö, a municipality of 250 inhabitants, offers some of the most desolate archipelago scenery. At Norrby, the main settlement on the main island, you’ll find a stone church from 1801. You can overnight in a guesthouse at the harbour.

Needless to say that description is very inaccurate today – isolation and quiet is what we wanted on this holiday and we got it. We thoroughly enjoyed our time in and around Iniö. Finland’s best pizza is found at Leonella’s Cafe in Iniö – I absolutely guarantee it! :) We also explored the islands of Jumo, Iniö (did a little hike) and Keistiö. When we left to head home, it was the Mr.’s idea to complete the Archipelogo Road, since we were already on it. Travelling here means being attentive to the ferry schedules and planning, especially if you’re on a tight schedule! See more on the FinFerries web site.

The Archipelago Road, which is about 250km in total, is wildly popular with tourists (cyclists, motorcyclists, carvaners and drivers alike), so be prepared for line-ups especially if you enter the archipelago from the Parainen end. We decided to have a Saturday to Saturday trip knowing full well it would be an absolute zoo on a Sunday. When we got off the boat in Korppo there was a crush of vehicles waiting to get on boats going to both Ahvenanmaa and to Houtskari. I am so glad we got off the ferry before the bus did because we would have been stuck behind it.

The Archipelago Road is a good day trip, but if you really want to enjoy it, take your time!

http://www.visitarchipelago.com

In any case, the pictures speak more than words do, so enjoy!

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P.S. Janne Gröning takes fantastic pictures, check out his work.

Picture of the day

August 3, 2015

I went strawberry picking last week, and while the berries were kinda bad (moldy and raw berries on the same plants – amazing) – the weather was nice and I snapped this pic on my way out of the fields.

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Here we go again: Immigration politics

July 27, 2015

Word of warning: I reserve the right to remove any nasty, racist comments that come up on this post or any other post in this blog. I will not tolerate hate speech or threats in this blog – period. Carmen P.

It is 2015. It is beyond me how elected members of parliament in Finland can get away with words like this!

The Finns member of Parliament from Oulu, Olli Immonen wrote this on his Facebook page the other day:

“I’m dreaming of a strong, brave nation that will defeat this nightmare called multiculturalism. This ugly bubble that our enemies live in, will soon enough burst into a million little pieces. Our lives are entwined in a very harsh times. These are the days, that will forever leave a mark on our nations future. I have strong belief in my fellow fighters. We will fight until the end for our homeland and one true Finnish nation. The victory will be ours.”

What is mind-boggling is how many freaking people agreed with him… What bullshit!

As an immigrant to this country I am so sick of being labelled as a threat – an ENEMY. You want to fight against me??

I’m sorry, but these so-called defensive arguments of “Oh, I don’t mean you.” or “Oh no, but you’re white and you come from Canada.” or “Oh, but you’re educated…” do nothing to play down the fact that we (= all immigrants to Finland) are being painted with the same brush.

Evidently Olli Immonen and other facets of the Finns Party and other political movements in Finland figure that us working, tax paying immigrants have no place here. Shove off and get over it! Quit rocking the bloody boat!

MR. SOINI – have you nothing to say about this?

What the hell is going on with all of these “Take back” movements – like the one currently happening in Australia too? Take back what?

<scratching my head>

As a taxpayer, I am paying your bloody salary Mr. Immonen – so suck it up! I, the Canadian-born, multicultural, Finnish-rooted, naturalized Finnish citizen, IMMIGRANT am not going anywhere.

One other thing to add: The issue I also have with Mr. Immonen’s words is how they affect the FINNISH-born children of immigrants. What do you have to fight for then Mr. Immonen? Are the children of immigrants and international families in Finland a threat to you too? My Finnish-Canadian child is not good enough for you? I’d like to hear an answer to that.

How about those refugee families that have settled and integrated into life in Finland – are they a threat? Would you really say those words to my Afghan friends who have gone through the school system, the army and are now contributing to society by working? They have no intention of going anywhere, Finland is their home.

Helan Abdulla aka Helly Luv has a message for ISIS

July 22, 2015

Helan Abdulla, aka Helly Luv, is an ethnic Kurdish 20-something immigrant to Finland. By the sounds of it she had a hard time as a child, enduring relentless bullying in Lahti where she was raised. When she was 18 she left Finland and went to the US determined to make a career in music. And she has, setting down tracks that speak to a wide audience in the Middle East. The Finnish media loves to claim her as their own, but she doesn’t even have a home here anymore, so she is Finnish in citizenship only it seems.

Her recently released video Revolution is full of violence. To me this only speaks to the people of the Middle East who experience this on a daily basis. I understand and applaud her efforts to give ISIS the middle finger (because they’re all a bunch of crazy extremists anyways), but the guns, fire and violence in her video turn me off. Apparently ISIS has a price on her head…

She is very fortunate to have made it to Finland and later to the US to pursue her dreams, She has clearly connected with the audience she is trying to reach with her music, and with over 107,000 followers on Twitter and nearly 1.4 million followers on Facebook, I think she’s there.

Unfortunately, she doesn’t speak to me, in spite of our common country.

Stay safe Helly.

 

 

Please help us find Mika Sepponen!

July 18, 2015

UPDATE (JULY 22, 2015): Mika was located yesterday and he is safe. Many thanks to everyone who took the time to read and share this post.

This is probably the first (and maybe last) time I will ever issue a personal appeal for help in this blog, please forgive me.

Mike Sepponen (aged 41) is a childhood friend of the Mr.’s (my husband) and he was reported missing on July 13, 2015 to the Kuopio Police. Mika’s disappearance was reported in the tabloid paper Iltasanomat and also in Savon Sanomat, the local daily paper in the Kuopio region.

After this much time, we know as much as anyone knows, Mika’s disappearance is a complete mystery and at this point the police do not suspect criminal activity is involved. Mika was last seen at the CityMarket grocery store in Kolmisoppi in Kuopio on early Monday afternoon on July 13. He was known to be driving a white Skoda Octavia with the Finnish licence plate number RRZ 131. Mika is about 180 cm tall, has a shaved head and was wearing jeans, a black wind jacket and running shoes. He wears glasses.

It has been six days and his family and his friends are worried sick about him. I consider Mika a friend of mine and I want him to be found. He is an incredibly kind fellow and loves his family. Please, if you have Finnish friends, share this around and find Mika!

Carmen P.

MikaSepponen

Picture(s) of the day

July 17, 2015

(Wow, I have lots to share and write about!)

The City of Espoo puts up these cool temporary art exhibits every summer in Espoon Keksus, I found a couple of them yesterday when I took my dog for a walk. Now I have to find the rest of them!

Eastern Strength by Barbara Tieaho

Eastern Strength by Barbara Tieaho

X marks the spot by Anssi Kasitonni

X marks the spot by Anssi Kasitonni

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