Tuesday, 28 March 2017

university of coimbra

 Denim shirt&body - 2nd hand
Skirt - Bershka
Shoes - Vagabond
Sunglasses - Citymarket

I am so glad to be attending the University of Coimbra for this spring semester. It isn't on the UNESCO World Heritage List for nothing, because the buildings from the 12th century onwards are just so fantastic and so full of history. Traditional Portuguese things, Roman influences, and all the prettiness. Despite the fact that you can't take pictures inside most of the buildings, I have no lack of photos. As a student there's no entrance fee for me (hooray!), but it is totally worth paying for as well to see the whole university. I certainly would (but getting told it's free was a pleasant surprise as well). My favourite is the Biblioteca Joanina. Again; no pictures, but it is stunning. And most recently it has been used as inspiration for the library in the new Beauty and the Beast film, if that's something you're into. Other than that, I've also enjoyed learning a bit more about Portuguese history, which has not been and still isn't my area of expertise. For example, before getting here, I certainly did not know that Coimbra used to be the capital! Or that its university is the oldest academic institution in the Portuguese-speaking world. All in all, it's such a cool place for anyone to see and visit. The only thing I'm struggling with is walking up the university hill pretty much on a daily basis, haha..

Sunday, 26 March 2017

church and arson, a year later

This one's a bit of different one, and I feel like this is a bit of a sad post, but I wanted to share these photos anyway. Even if you don't fancy reading this since it's not something that most/all of you will feel, at least the photos turned out pretty great! It's taken me some time to get around to this too, and for once not merely because I tend to be a lazy blogger/person. I just wasn't sure what to write and whether I wanted to write anything or not. But I suppose I do. Mostly this was just a wee cathartic writing experience, without any answers or hidden epiphanies. I'd also just like to add that I wrote most of this a year ago, but still wanted to post it today. In the grand scheme of things this was something quite small, and worse things have definitely happened since. This is also a classic case of caring more about things that hit closer to home, which I wish I wasn't as guilty of as I am. But perhaps, I'll start talking about more pressing matters as well.

The end of April and beginning of May last year I visited Ylivieska (Finland) and for me a big part of the trip was visiting the remains of the church there. (And another part was the funeral I briefly mentioned a year ago as well, so what a fun trip!) The church was burnt down just before Easter, exactly a year ago today, and still in April/May (2016) it felt strange that it wasn't there. My mum and her family are from Ylivieska and while everyone in Finland was talking about the arson, it didn't feel as if it meant that much to most people. And, really, it doesn't, it was only a building. Yet, I felt so much more affected by it all than I ever thought I would. I wasn't home when I heard the news, so my first reaction was just disbelief, but as soon as I got home I literally felt like crying. And I say that as someone who doesn't cry all that much and definitely wouldn't admit to it even if I had cried (Spoiler alert, I did cry.).

I might say that I'm a church-going person (which I don't really talk about that much on the blog or in real life..), but that wasn't really why the events saddened me. As far as I've understood it wasn't even a hate crime in that way, although those happen far too often and are always sad/enraging no matter who they are committed against. I had only been to the church in Ylivieska a handful of times. But those times I'd been there with my grandparents (and mum). I knew the exact spot my grandpa used to sit at when he was a wee boy and literally everyone would feel obliged to attend church. And it was to this church we did one of our last outings with my grandma after grandpa died and before she was moved into a nursing home for the short period of time she lived there. Little things like that just made - and still make - it feel like links to the past and my memories have been taken away from me to some extent. Like there's less and less places to remind me of my grandparents and heritage, especially since my grandparents' house and farm aren't somewhere we ever go after they died. So to me it was closely linked to all those feelings. Not to mention how grieved and annoyed I am when any kind of building, monument or thing of historical value is destroyed.

I find it hard to express what the church and it burning meant to me and how I felt, not least because I felt a lot of emotions (and because it happened a few months back/a year from writing this). More than anything, I think I was tired. It definitely made me have one of those moments when I realize how hateful a place the world can be and how incredibly awful humans are towards each other, themselves and the environment around them. More than anything, it made me dislike and distrust everyone and everything a bit more. And even though the world is amazing and people can be too, it's sometimes just so tiring that things like this and worse things happen far too often for us to remember that the world is beautiful and that people can be good.

Thursday, 23 March 2017

thursday thoughts pt. 45

When asked to pick a favourite season, I usually say summer, but it might actually be spring. I love spring. And it truly is a time for plans and projects - whether that be work, school or personal life related. It's a good time to reorganize your life a bit, maybe check up on those resolutions if you made any for the year, plan for the rest of the year, do a spring cleaning. Whatever suits you. Currently most of my plans a still travel related and most of my projects involve uni work. Usually spring would also be full of exciting plant planting plans and gardening projects, but as I'm not staying in one place for long enough at the moment, I'm not doing any of that this year. Instead I've tried to put some of that left over energy into planning this wee blog space a bit more. But still, travel plans and uni are defnitely my number one priorities right now.

Let me know if you've any exciting spring plans, I'd love to hear them!

Tuesday, 21 March 2017

mother's day cheesecake

It's Mother's Day this Sunday (I'm sure you know), and as my mum and I are in different countries once again, we won't get to spend any time together. (I have sent her a card and a little something, though!) If you can, you should try and see your mum, though, so why not show your appreciation in the form of this excellent cake! I made this for the first time for my birthday in 2015 and have since baked this a few times. Which is saying a lot: no matter how good something I bake is, I rarely do the same thing more than once as I like trying new recipes. But this is one of those recipes that have made it into my repertoire, and it really is good! This is also the first baked cheesecake that I've both baked and tasted. While it wasn't perhaps life-changing, this cake can be capable of producing an eye roll of pleasure.


For the base
125g butter
1½dl sugar
1 egg
2½dl plain flour
1dl potato flour
½tsp baking powder

For the filling
600g cream cheese
1½dl sugar
1tbs vanilla sugar
3 eggs
1dl double cream
1dl corn starch
5dl berries of your choice (I usually use raspberries and blueberries!)

I. Whisk the butter and the sugar into a foam and add the egg. Mix the dry ingredients together, and add into the foam through a sieve. Mix until smooth.

II. Cover the bottom of a springform pan with greaseproof paper and butter the edges. Pat the dough into the pan.

III. Add the sugar and the vanilla sugar into the cream cheese. Add eggs, cream, corn starch, and mix until smooth. Carefully mix the berries into the mixture. Pour onto the dough inside the pan.

IV. Bake in a 175°C oven, on a lower level, for approximately 45 minutes. Turn the oven off and leave the cake inside the oven for 30 more minutes. Let it cool, remove from pan and enjoy!

Sunday, 19 March 2017

"you alone have brought me to bath"

For me, when I think about Bath, I also think about Jane Austen. Naturally, visiting The Jane Austen Centre was a must, and it was really good. Lots of Jane Austen (re)learning, and lots of hat wearing. Other places I saw and loved were the Pulteney Bridge (so pretty and only four of its kind in the world!), the Holburne Museum (which was unfortunately closed at the time, but I did get to have a wee walk in the Sydney gardens), and The Circus (that alongside with the Royal Crescent has some intereting symbolism. Not a 100% sure of the truth of this, but I was told the three sections of the Circus symbolize the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit and from most angles the Circus looks like a circle - the Holy Trinity together. And also an aerial view looks like a key, that some think is a Masonic symbol and some see it as "the key to heaven". There seemed to be lots of threes and other little symbolism as well, and I am very into these kind of hidden meanings and what not!). It's quite fascinating thinking that most of these things, places and buildings have been there when Jane Austen (or anyone else of her time) wandered the streets of Bath, and people are still experiencing them but in different ways. For my next visit - whenever it might be - I might go on a full-on Jane Austen's Bath exploration and time it so that I can catch the Jane Austen festival. Hope you've also enjoyed the Bath-themed Austen quotes in these posts this week. Has it been clear that I like her a bit, yet?

More posts from this Bath week (haha!) can be found herehere and here. Would you look at me posting this frequently!