keskiviikko 14. joulukuuta 2016

Crispy Mornings & New Adventures



Huhh. I have had some intense couple of days over here. I got on Monday an order from a course friend to make her four crochet hats for Christmas. I was so happy and excited, but only problem was that Tuesday would be the last day of course and later this week I'm off to Finland! So I got fixated on finishing all four hats in one evening...*face palm*. I finished three until at 1 am I was losing my will to live and then carried on enjoying 5 hours of sleep until catching the train again to go to school. I finished the fourth hat during the course. I had to get this order out of the way because I haven't even finished all of my Christmas gift knits. When I was anxious about it this morning, my husband was like: "We will be spending this weekend one day on train and two days on a boat! What do you imagine you'll do with all the free time you'll have??" He has got a valid point there...


Yesterday was one of those days where everything feels more serious than it really is, because you just haven't had your 8 hours of sleep. I was so cranky already and then we had a meeting with the administrative staff that is taking care of the kind of courses that I had. The number of infuriating things in that meeting was just way too high. I was biting my teeth together all the way to not open my mouth and get carried away. I seem to have always this burning desire to fight for justice and speak when others are too indifferent or scared to do it. I did speak my mind of some things, but it was just the tip of the iceberg of what was going on in my mind. But the bottom line is that I'm finished with my course!! Yaaay!

I went to bed at half past seven and basically just passed out from the tiredness :D Today will also be a busy day since in the evening we will be hosting a dinner party and our house needs some serious cleaning before that. Also, I have to go see my boss in Avignon and take care of other errands.

Can't believe I will be in Finland next Monday.

sunnuntai 11. joulukuuta 2016

Just Expat Things

Bonjour!

Enjoy the set of memes I made for all expats out there. Few are especially for those in France.





torstai 8. joulukuuta 2016

Casual OOTD

Kukkuu! 



I realize more and more painfully how bad my phone's camera is. It's quite scandalous, but I'm seriously so broke now (especially as all the bureaucracy crap has left me with no income) that just have to make do with what I have. Eteenpäin! Huusi mummo lumessa. As we say in Finland: Onwards! Yelled the granny in the snow.

This was my today's comfy, but girly outfit to go run some errands in the village. No makeup and chunky hat covers messy hair. I have never seen anybody wear mittens here in the South of France even though it gets very chilly during the winter months. The ones I was wearing today are the only ones I haven't yet lost that my Grandma has made. She passed away last august so these are very precious to me now.

Walking around with my knitted hat, mittens, woolen socks and skirt I really stand out from the crowd. It is obvious I'm a foreigner. The french girls rarely wear skirts or dresses on a daily basis. They stick to jeans, but if they wear a dress it is a bodycon or other with sex appeal, haha! Yeah, so I'm the unsexy "grandma style" finnish girl :D



keskiviikko 7. joulukuuta 2016

Crochet hat X 2



Of course I lost the yellow hat I had knitted as soon as I had worn it first time out of the house. I started looking for quick crochet hat tutorials to have something to keep my head warm. I found this awesome video by Alexis Middleton and I made not only one but two crochet hats in the past two days. I couldn't find as chunky yarn as she uses in the tutorial so mine are not really that slouchy.

My hook was too small and I used the thickest yarn (still not thick enough) I could buy and even tripled it! I modified the pattern to suit my yarn and hook size. On the second hat I made a flower decoration instead of a pompom. I wore the grey one today and got tons of compliments ^^

Our teacher thought our course continues next week so as they didn't have a plan B, we are off until told otherwise. The weekend I'll be working, but until then it's crochet time!


sunnuntai 4. joulukuuta 2016

The Internship, Crocheting And Cats



No matter what, time has to move on. My internship ended officially last Friday and I couldn't be more relieved. The following night I kept waking up and every time I was so happy to realize that next morning I wouldn't be going back. Don't get me wrong though. The internship went very well. They even gave me recommendations for a job that I have been dreaming of applying for. They also offered me a contract to help them out during the busy periods. But oh boy, during these last three weeks I have been under more pressure than in a long while. Many badly slept nights, skipped meals, cups of coffee drank and too many cigarettes smoked.

I am still proud of what I have accomplished. Just few months ago I was starting this formation. Trembling, almost crying, because I had to practice taking a hotel reservation in french in front of a classroom full of people. And now for three weeks I have been serving clients in french language in a local hotel and my bosses were actually satisfied with my work! This is a great accomplishment. I almost feel that if I continued working there I could really get comfortable there.

But the last day was hard! Difficult phone calls, missing reservations and lost customers. According to my colleague it was a typical Friday evening. I wouldn't have minded that much though if I could have been more at ease on the phone to help the lost customer or assure better the one whose reservation we couldn't find. There's still room for improvement. When dealing with customers, I too often leave things unsaid just because I don't want to sound stupid. I almost feel like it is an insult to try to serve them with my broken french. In reality most of my customers have been very understanding and kind to me. They don't really mind as long as the message gets through.


Despite of all the big changes and challenges going on I have been carrying on with crocheting. My furry sons have been very interested in my doings and can't resist testing the  comfort of my creations. There's always someone on top of my t-shirt yarn or half finished work.

Finished this t-shirt yarn doily rug that will be a Christmas gift. 

Manu guarding Mama's crocheting stuffs.
These crochet doily rugs are so fun and fast to make that I couldn't resist buying this faded purple/violet yarn to make yet another one. It turned out so nice that I put it on our kitchen table. As you can see, Manu is finding my rug very comfortable. My next mission is to find some chunky wool yarn to crochet more Christmas gifts!







tiistai 22. marraskuuta 2016

Recent creative stuff!



Yesterday evening I finished my bonnet that I started some days ago. It's only the second one I have ever made. The pattern and everything was just improvised as I went on. But it turned out quite fine (the color is perfect also!) even though it wouldn't pass a closer examination hihih..



Also, yesterday was all the way just a day for being lazy and doing artsy, inspiring stuff. I was playing with my watercolors and came to the conclusion I really need to practice more often!



I promised to make a crocheted doily rug as a Christmas present for one of my family members. Never have I ever made one either hah! But always wanted to so I took on the challenge. I was surprised how satisfying it is to crochet that stretchy t-shirt tricot. I'm so hooked. I want to make millions of these in all colors and other stuff from chunky yarn!

sunnuntai 20. marraskuuta 2016

What's Been Going On



To be honest, writing the title of this post made the words of Donald Trump pop up on my mind: "...until we know what the hell is going on!!" Well, the rest of this has nothing to do with Donald.

Just a quick Sunday evening update written from under a warm blanket. Firstly, my internship is going sooo much better now. I know the jazz now so no problems. I have been doing all the evening shifts. Taking reservations, welcoming the arriving clients, verifying rooms and so on. Only thing that bugs me is that my French skills still make me nervous and shy in front of the clients at times. It's just something to live with and that's all. I learn everyday to speak just a little bit better. I did get compliments on my pretty accent though! Yaay.

What else...I have been battling with the French bureaucracy for eight months now. The unemployment services particularly. Even though my husband works, we are really struggling with money. I have done everything by the book ever since the beginning, but I haven't received any of the money I was supposed to get for my French course and this one of a receptionist. Well, long story short: last Friday I went to their office, got the usual shit service, made a scene and marched out. I gave up all my hopes and decided to survive without their money. And I found peace! Now, if they in the years to come will finally get their shit together, it will be just a great surprise. It would be just a way too long post to describe the utter, complete, maddening incompetence of the employees in the French social security and unemployment services. If you are a fellow expat in France though, you will know what I'm talking about.

Our hotel will be closed for a week now for renovations, which means holidays for me! Will be knitting and sleeping.

maanantai 14. marraskuuta 2016

A Quiet Monday



Wrapped in my huge warm scarf, eating breakfast all day, knitting while watching silly videos on youtube.

That's the Monday I need right now. Time to let go of everything for a moment and let things quietly fall in place. We all have these ideologies and inspirational quotes hanged on our walls or pinned on our pinterest boards, but why is it so hard to live by them? You know. Not giving a shit and finding the peace in the moment. The first thought on my mind this morning was about work and I wasn't feeling that great, but now I can say that I'm starting to feel normal again. Not all confused and frazzled, but really starting to see things in a brighter light. This afternoon and evening I will work on the stuff I need to handle in order to manage in my internship. I will just give my 100 percent of effort and if I fail, well, then I can really say I goddamn it gave it my best shot. Yes. That's the spirit I will commit to from now on.

I started a new knitting project today that I intend to be a quite short one. I bought this lovely rustic orange/yellow yarn the other day and plan to make myself a bonnet. I already actually finished one scarf I was crocheting and a knitted hat for my hubby, but without a proper camera I have been postponing posting pictures of them on the blog. I guess I'll just have to snap some photos with my iphone4 and deal with it. I really intend to start posting more and better quality photos as soon as I get a real camera in use.

sunnuntai 13. marraskuuta 2016

The Internship Begins


It's Sunday evening and two days into my internship. I find it hard to just lie down and let my mind and body relax. I feel emotionally and physically compressed by all the pressure. I know I'm such a fool to take on this stress. I'm a goddamn adult. I should know how to put things in proportion by now. But well, I am a highly sensitive person. It is a biological fact that I do not like to fail, changes stress me and too much stimulation overwhelms my body. Yet it is always me who seeks out these challenges.

Elaine Aron always talks about the  HSPs having to stop living like the rest, the 80 percent, of the people. This means arranging your life so that you are not exposed to exhausting amounts of stimuli on a daily basis. This is really easier said than done in my case since I have the constant need to prove to myself that I can do exactly the same things as everybody else. Time after time I end up finding myself in places where I wish I would fit, but which are really the worst environments for someone like me. At least in the beginning. In the end I have always come out of the thing as a winner. But the problem is that I'm not used to fail and the thought of maybe not making it feels excruciatingly shameful. 

Being an expat means really playing life on the hard mode. Especially in a country like France, where you can't rely on your English language skills almost ever. In Finland you can for example find a job as a foreigner and never have to learn any Finnish. Everybody will speak English in the work community for you. I'm not saying that I want people to speak English to me here to make my life easier. It would just be nice to have the option to clarify things in a language that I'm capable of perfectly understanding. Like few first days at work have been so challenging since all the information was given to me in french. My brain was working so hard both trying to understand the message and memorize the information given. I work constantly on improving my French skills, but it's so frustrating to feel like a complete fool on a regular basis when I know that in English or in my native language I would do my job perfectly. But here I am repeating over and over the phraces that I need to master for the job.

I have two days off now, but I will be spending them training my french and trying to learn all the important details on the hotel. So much information to process, so much new to learn.

keskiviikko 2. marraskuuta 2016

5 Things I Love About France



1. The coffee


Finns are known to consume the most coffee in the world. But what kind of coffee do we consume? It is not rare to be served a cup of coffee in a restaurant or a coffee house that has been stirring in the pot for more than few hours. The coffee has turned brown and tastes bitter. The point is not the quality, but to just have the cup of coffee. In France I have learned to appreciate the freshness and good quality of this black gold. If the coffee is bad, it's a scandal. And I have learned it is also not the quantity that matters. When the taste is on point, a little goes a long way. And in France coffee equals expresso. If you want it the Finnish way, make a point of asking for café long.

2. The restaurants


The first time I cried for food was in Paris. It was so delicious I felt my brain tickling. Afterwards I have been time after time spoiled by amazing culinary experiences. And you know what? In completely ordinary French restaurants. No five star stuff, but prepared with care from fresh, seasonal ingredients. I also love how the French manage to make their restaurants so effortlessly casual and comfy. I'm yet to find a Finnish restaurant that would combine real casualness and good food (and reasonable prices).

3. The history


History is everywhere in France. I never imagined that a country could have so many well preserved medieval castles and villages and even monuments from the Roman times. One of our favorite past times with my husband is to hop in our car and go discover a new cute historical village. We walk the narrow medieval streets, visit the tiny church and have a coffee in the local bar. We love to visit the numerous museums that the South of France has to offer. 

4. The people


I will make a more in depth post on the French people very soon, but let me just say that the French are one of the most undeserving of their bad reputation. They have often a strong sense of righteousness and compassion. They are lovers of history and the arts and they are always curious to learn new things. They are also very passionate and incredibly annoying at times, but once you get the hang of it, you will casually yell your lungs out at them over your own beliefs just like they do.

5. The Bread


Oh, the French baguette. France has changed the way I feel about bread forever. It has to be fresh and crispy, but yet soft and airy inside. One of the most French things to do is stop by the boulangerie on the way home from work. On the way to your car you can't resist breaking a small piece of the fresh
 baguette to snack on.

maanantai 31. lokakuuta 2016

Why you should always be careful

I  can say that my life has turned to be a bit more dramatic than I would like since I moved to France. 

I wish my life was so boring that this blog could be about cute french streets, pictures of croissants and dreamy lavender fields. But here I am with a story of how I was harassed in the middle of a day by a strange man and now I carry a half illegal protection in my bag at all times.

It happened last week when I was on my way back to the school after my lunch break. A man had seen me walking by the road and had deliberately pulled over to talk to me (and in his mind to do much more). I turned around a corner and there he was. At the time the area happened to be also very deserted since it was the school holidays. He said he just wanted to see me because I looked so hot etc. and he wanted to get my phone number. When I told him I'm married it started to really get scary for me...he stood so close to me and wanted to know if I have ever slept with a man from his country (yeah, he wasn't french). I felt the fear squeezing my insides as I realized the seriousness of my situation. If I did any wrong move, it could escalate the situation into something horrible. Stifly but calmly I managed to say I really had to go. He admitted if I just gave him cheek kisses before. Terrified, I agreed and then walked away as fast as I could without looking back or starting to run. Luckily the whole thing happened just 300 meters from the school gates where I already saw people and was safe.

This was the third time something like this happened to me. Two other times were in Japan, but there were always other people not far away. But this time I was really terrified by my own helplessness there in the middle of a quiet street with that man than made my insides freeze with fear. It did change my feeling of security and it has taken some days to process what happened. For a few nights it was even hard to sleep. But we bought me a little something for my protection which has really given me more peace of mind.

sunnuntai 23. lokakuuta 2016

Lately

I have been doing better. 




After the first shock of starting the training of a receptionist, things have started running more smoothly. My french skills have been improving so much since this course is meant for the native french speakers. I have been having some intense french language training sessions with my husband  to gain even more confidence. Because of all this I have been so tired after each day and each week. Last weekend I slept 12 hours each night to recover.


In my last post I was not in a very good place, but as I predicted: first the suffering, then the success. Just few days later I went to the city of Avignon with my CVs and motivation letters in hopes to find a hotel that would take me in for an internship. I had it clear on my mind what I was searching: something small and cozy, preferably on a small street. My intuition directed me on a narrow street right next to the main one. I asked in two little two star hotels and answer was no since they would be closing for the winter. We left the alley with my husband and after 500 meters someone was calling out to us and asking if I was looking for an internship. Oh yes! It was the receptionist of a hotel that was on the very same street where we had just been. She had seen me asking around and decided to come after me since her place was looking for an intern. I gave my CV and motivation letter and I got myself an interview. And I got in! So far I'm also one of the only two people who have managed to find an internship in our course. I thank the universe for my luck. By no means I expect this internship to be easy though. It will be very challenging (mainly for working in french language), but I will do my best to raise up to the level needed.



We also finally booked our train and ship tickets to go to Finland for the Christmas. We both hate flying so we decided that why not go by land then. It takes longer, but I really love to see the landscapes while traveling. It also reminds me of the road trips we used to take with my family to southern Europe when I was a kid. Like this we get to have some adventures on the way and even spend a night in the beautiful Strasbourg.


I have been carrying on with learning to crochet and knit again. I finished one waaarm and heavy scarf already and more is on the way. The courses have also ignited my desire to doodle again of which examples on this post. My most artistic times seem to be when I'm bored haha...



maanantai 10. lokakuuta 2016

Blood, Sweat, Tears



The first week of my course is now behind and a new began today. In the last week I have challenged myself more than in a long long time. I went from hiding in my house, in my little comfort zone, to facing a class room of French people and a full time professional training course all by myself with my barely B2 level French. The course is five days a week, 8 hours a day and a two and a half months in total long. That includes a three weeks training period in an enterprise.

During the last seven days I have fallen from my high hopes to the bottom of the pit and slowly crawled my way back up. 

The first day wasn't bad at all since we were starting off slowly by just going through the program and so on. The day went fast without any bigger problems although I was silently the whole time very nervous and tense in the new situation. The nice thing was that the teacher spoke slowly so I thought I was doing well to understand most of what was going on in the class. It was extremely tiring to listen all day such high level French and try to keep up with all the others.

If the first day was just tiring and made me nervous, the second was much worse. The thin fragile ground under my feet cracked and I fell. We were doing a dialog exercise in front of the class in pairs and due to my nervousness I couldn't manage to understand anything my pair tried to tell me. I froze, though managing the best I could. I was so ashamed for my failure and scared I couldn't ever manage to finish the full course. I held the rest of the day my tears back. I felt like a lost child full of fear and panic. I made it through the day with a hot face, bloodshot eyes and an aching body. It was only when I was in the car safe with my husband that I couldn't stop crying.

But you know what? My dear little fellow expat on the other side of this screen. It does get better. It gets just worse before.

I cried all the heaviness of my heart out and then I went to have an ice cream with my husband. 
Next morning I opened my eyes to the new day with fear freezing my chest.

But it was a better day than the one before. My body had been tired for all the efforts it had been putting into adapting to the new things. I had cried because I had to do my worst to realize I could take failure. And as I had failed as hard I could and survive until the next day, I was able to relax. And as I stopped stressing I was able to perform better and have little victories.


It's amazing how powerful our minds and bodies are in the terms of adaptation. When faced with the absolute need to survive, it does what it has to. And we are made of much stronger stuff than we even know. May that be the thought that gives me faith to this new week of challenges.

torstai 29. syyskuuta 2016

The Challenges Of An Expat





I know this blog has started quite heavily with stuff about cats, but today I want to talk about being an expat.

It's not the first time that I'm living out of my own country. I did an exchange year in Japan in high school so I do have some experience of the challenges of living abroad. This time still does feel like a completely different case for me. 

In Japan I had a clear purpose and plan laid out for me for my year. I had a school to go to and people helping me to navigate my way in the new culture. It is still one of the hardest things I have ever done, but I did manage really well to integrate, feel at home and learn the language in Japan. Even though I had support, I was essentially alone there. This put me the very heavy but helpful pressure to give my absolute best to fit in. I simply could not fail since I would have been sent home if I wasn't doing well enough. Also I did have more chances to put myself out there since the school environment offered plenty of them. I started the japanese archery (kyudo) and it played a great part in my integration and in making friends.


In France it has from the beginning been different since I have my husband to rely on at all times. Also, this time it is not for a year but for years that I need to find my place here. This is not a vacation; I need to be able to work. This means the need to acquire a considerably better level in the local language than in Japan. And so far french has proven to be much harder for me than japanese. For a finn even learning the proper pronunciation is a big challenge. If you asked any french person I know if I can speak french, they would tell you that I do speak very well. But I'm not perfect and I am insecure. When I get nervous, I make mistakes and it's hard to pronounce properly. There's times when I speak seemingly effortlessly and times when I question everything and I end up speaking like a total beginner. I was expecting to learn the language much faster since in Japan my progress had been so extremely fast. I know it is amazing that I do understand and speak french without ever really learning it from book, but the length of the process is still frustrating when your life is on hold meanwhile. 

I have the need to be needed, to have my own friends. From what I have done research on the subject, it seems to be typical for the expats to have the need to meet people but at the same time have the fear of rejection which makes the matter much more complex and painful. I have been in France now about half a year and I have tried to connect with people, but no solid friendships have been born from those efforts. Some of the people have been expats themselves, but for whatever reasons I haven't been able to befriend anybody. One of the reasons is that I do not want to insist if the person her/himself doesn't seem interested. Maybe I should insist, but I prefer to try to guard the little self confidence I have left. Because a fact is that, when you enter a country and its culture as a total stranger, you end up feeling insecure, lost, out of place. Expressions are different, people laugh at different jokes and you need to master language well to be fast enough to take part in conversations. People don't understand you and you feel like nobody understands you. Being here as a married person with no job makes my situation different from those who are here for example for erasmus. They have their group of erasmus students to share their experience with. I haven't been able to find someone who would be in the same situation as me and would like to talk about it. You know, have a coffee and talk about things. I'm a person who looks for depth in people so I'm a difficult one as I don' want just the first person who I meet as my friend.


Then there is the aspect of finding a job. Working keeps the mind healthy and so on. Being the whole day at home with nobody needing your skills is not healthy. I have been in a slow process of getting there, but it is all too easy to get impatient. The first step I took was to contact the local employment services who got me an intensive french language course. Next step was to get me more experience and competence in the job that I wanted to pursue. I succeeded in getting accepted to a receptionist course which includes a three week training in a local hotel. The course starts next Monday and at least it will make me feel more purposeful and give a chance to meet people.





Fleas



I'm sitting in our kitchen/living room with Noki on my lap. Our couch is naked without its cushion. Our front yard is full of plastic bags with our clothes in them. Yes. We have fleas. The drama started yesterday morning when I was petting Noki who had been shivering strangely for a while. I caught a glimpse of a small light brown bug swimming through his forehead hair. So started the googling to check exactly what kind of bastard we are dealing with. Instructions were to clean everything  the cat has ever touched. Carpets, clothes, cushions etc.

Of course one of the first things to do was take care of our cats. Noki was starting to get less and less active, shivering and breathing rapidly. We treated both cats with a special flea repellent and especially Noki is feeling so much better today. Last night I was sobbing next to him to my husband that he's gonna die before the morning if we don't do something more. All animal clinics were closed so we couldn't do but wait for the morning and then go to vet if needed. Luckily Noki was more energetic already this morning and I had been overreacting.

The product we used kills all the fleas that come in touch with the cat. This makes the cats our number one weapon against these little assholes since they are attracted to the animals. If you let the treated cat walk all around the house, it will end up attracting and terminating a great amount of the bugs. Then again, I wish they had a similar product for us humans. I can tell you I'm putting a considerable amount of will power into staying calm despite of paranoidly scratching my head...

keskiviikko 21. syyskuuta 2016

The Calm Returns


After two badly slept nights caused by our newest family member, things seem to be getting more normal now. All in all our new baby kitten has been much easier than Manu was when we first got him. We have also named our kitten "Noki" now that we know it's a male! The first two days Manu was hiding around the house and at the sight of Noki he just made low growling noises. Today was a turning point though as both Manu and Noki vanished under the kitchen cabin. We could only hear Manu's growling and note Noki's silence. We went meanwhile to do some groceries (since the vet had assured us that a grown cat would not hurt a kitten). When we came back, both cats had emerged from hiding and the atmosphere felt immediately more relaxed in the house. They had apparently managed to settle their things and now we are able to have them both roaming around the house!

On the video you see our Noki doing what he loves most: eating hair :D


             

maanantai 19. syyskuuta 2016

New member of the family has arrived!

My mother-in-law is a woman of many connections. Whatever you need, she has the right person to help you. The idea of a little brother or sister for many has been warming up in our minds for a while now and  it seems that when the time is right, things happen. My husband's mother's friend had a big surprise when her cat one day introduced her six newborn all black kittens! Did we want one? Oh yes.

Yesterday we packed ourselves in our little Skoda in order to go get our new baby home. We had already seen the kittens for the first time a bit over a week ago, but they were still just barely 8 weeks old so we decided to give it more time. We are still not sure of the actual age of the kittens, but my guess is maximum 10 weeks judging from the size. They were born in the countryside and lived mostly outside so the owners weren't sure of the actual time of birth.

Since we already have Manu, we wanted to make sure to pick a good match for him. Male or female - didn't matter much since we plan to get the cat castrated. We needed someone that is sociable without being too dominant. We also looked for cautiousness in the kittens. We live next to a road so a cat that is too brave would have been a big risk. There was one kitten in the litter who always came first from hiding to eat and wasn't scared of cars. We ended up getting the third kitten that came out from hiding. We still don't actually even know if it is a male or female :D We didn't want to traumatize it by trying to analyze its lady or man parts. We will know next week at the vet. Makes it a little hard to figure out names though!

How did Manu react to the newcomer? We could immediately tell when we came home with the kitten that he was puzzled and feeling even a bit betrayed that we would come home with an other cat. Manu is a special cat in the way that he is not really strongly territorial except for me and my husband. For Manu his home is where we are so we will have to try to be super careful to show him as much love as we can. He is not used to sharing his mama and papa and he kept coming for cuddles all yesterday evening. He was sitting behind the door of the room where we put the kitten and he kept coming to me to get reassurance that everything is okay. Poor Manu, as of the moment he has placed himself in the safe under the kitchen cabin...

I was also fairly sure that the stress would manifest itself by Manu peeing around the house. As usually, it anyway happened when we least expected it. We were in all tranquility enjoying a little evening drink on our couch when my husband said he pretty much smells pee from somewhere. Well yes, he was pretty much sitting on top of a pool of it. We made a MacGyver inspired solution to protect the couch from more damage for the night.


I'm pretty sure cats actually train you for being an efficient parent :D



tiistai 13. syyskuuta 2016

The Palatossut


Salut!

I have finally finished my first knitted socks for this coming winter (I don't say autumn because it's still 35 degrees in the South of France...). I learnt to knit at school, but I'm really a total beginner since after junior high school I have done just one knitting work per year. I started easy and cheap (my yarn was 100 percent acrylic) to minimize the pressure and financial losses :D You gotta start somewhere!



In finnish these are called "palatossut" which loosely translates to piece socks. As the name suggests they are normally made of 8 garter stitch squares that are just knitted together in a certain way. I made my socks by just knitting already all the squares together and then just stitched the sides of squares together according to this guide. You can use as many colors as you wish for the squares. I used only one color because my first try on these ended up as...grhm.. failure and I ran out of my blue yarn. So of the first pair I have now just one sock, which is actually waay too big for me. My feet are size 37 and in the guide they instruct you to create 19 stitches for a size 38-39 sock. Well, I was hasty and thought size 38 would fit me just fiiine...but nope. Lesson learned and I did my next socks with just 16 stitches and they turned out better! Just wish I had had some pretty colored yarn to combine with my mixed light color one. Anyway, these are quick to make and make a great christmas present. I will be making them for my family in different colors and with better quality yarn this time.

The second sock from my first attempt turned out like this. It is so big though I'll give it to my mother in law after making a proper pair.

My history's teacher back in high school used to comfort us with this phrase: "You have the ability to learn." You are a human being and you learn even if you don't want to! Want evidence? 


My first sock looked like this...


The only way from here is up hahha! I bought some cotton yarn yesterday to try out some crocheting this evening now that my socks are done. Will report the results soon!

PS. Sorry for crap quality pictures. I have to use my age old ipod for the moment until I get a better camera in use.

maanantai 12. syyskuuta 2016

On Commence!

Hello, bonjour & moi!

This is Madame Manumus opening the connection out to the world. You are in for a lot of random blabber, second class handicrafts, cat pictures and mighty Manu knows what else because I don't. I'm a young new wife lost in translation in her new country trying to learn how not to stress and just breath, trying to build my life and find the right path by exploring absolutely everything that happens to spark even the tiniest bit of passion in my heart. This blog is most of all for me to put down thoughts, moments and inspirational things. It will be a scrapbook without rules, filled with everything that means something to me.

Let's get started with the introductions!


I have landed on France from Finland and I'm in the process of adapting myself to my new world. One might ask why I write in english, but I will actually be writing probably both in finnish and english in this blog. English is very close to me now as it has for years been my way of communication in my everyday life. Sometimes I miss the beauty and funny words of finnish so then I just switch!

This blog will hopefully work as a motivator for me to dig back up my artistic side that I have neglected for some years now. I have started knitting and crocheting again as well as painting with my little water colors. It has been typical for me in the past to get interested in something, try to compete in quality with all those more advanced and then give up because I wasn't good enough for myself. Well, I have now decided that failure is the mother of progress and I will keep doing whatever seems pleasurable for me no matter the results! Right now I'm overall very excited about all things diy. I will be sharing some of my first projects soon.

I appreciate the little things in our ordinary everyday life. Having a good cup of coffee, reading good books, the embrace of my cat and finding a good new song. I look for beauty everywhere and eventually I will be sharing photos and maybe even my outfits etc.

Some other interests of the moment: photographing, crocheted bralettes, making videos, getting fit through healthy eating and exercise, second hand clothes



And this is Manu! The black cat so black it's almost impossible to photograph him...

I never used to like cats much until I met in Japan the kindest and most loving black cat called Hanzo. Ever since there has been a special place in my heart for these little black creatures! A year and a half ago me and my husband made a three hour trip to the French Alps to get our baby cat. He is a solid part of our little family as he has in his little short life been through many adventures with his Mama and Papa! He has been in airplanes, trains, busses, in Parisian cafes and hotels. He has been to Finland and back, this little adventurer. He has imprinted on his two humans stronger than any other cat I have seen. He meows when he hears our footsteps approaching the house and he runs the curved stairs down to give his salutations. He is the real star of the family.

So that's it for the first introductions! By the way: I got a lot of inspiration and support from Daft Punk's song "Giorgio by Moroder" to start this blog. The song has these lines: "Once you want to free your mind about a concept of harmony and of music being correct, you can do whatever you want. So nobody told me what to do and there was no preconception of what to do." That goes for everything in life. Let's forget about being correct and just do what feels right to us. That is the only way to be truly original and happy.