Maiju’s Teacup 21.4.2018 – Nostalgy

Last night a very old friend came to my counter. I last saw him at high school graduation 16 years ago.

High school was rough for me but not in the way American teen series depict it. I was bullied in primary and secondary schools but when I started high school, I felt I was finally safe.

In Finland we have compulsory education until we’re 16. After that kids go to either high school or a vocational school.

All of my friends from secondary school went to vocational school to become practical nurses. Each and every one of them. I was the only one who went to high school. There were four of them in the town: a Finnish one for people who wanted to do a double certificate (high school and vocational), a Finnish one that required higher grades from compulsory education, a Swedish one and an International Baccalaureate high school.

I went to the second mentioned. And I suddenly had all new friends. I mean, there were a few prior acquaintances and friends from confirmation school (which almost all Finns take at 15 during the summer) but they weren’t in my group.

I made friends immediately. Friends who loved music and reading and studying. Such friends as I’d never had before. I loved them with the fervour one loves as a teenager, thinking we’d be friends forever. We’d re-write lyrics, make up songs, write letters and enjoy literature together until we were old and grey. And they thought so too.

During the second year of high school everything changed again. These friends found their first boy/girlfriends and all but disappeared. I didn’t get it. And I felt abandoned. The girls who started dating bonded together and I was left out. The guys who started dating couldn’t hang out with me anymore (who knows why…). This was also a time when a lot of my friends took the exams for the music school graduation so even if they didn’t start dating, they weren’t there. And yet others started frequenting bars and night clubs after we were 18. Which I wasn’t really into.

I had read a lot up till then. But that year I slid into the world of books and escaped the hurt I felt. I borrowed a book from the town library after school or during lunch, I then read it during the afternoon classes and in the evening. And then I slept a while(4-6hrs) and finished the book in the morning or during forenoon classes. And then I did it again. And again.

I started from the crappy end of romance (sorry Harlequin and Barbara Cartland), proceeded to Jude Deveraux and Judith McNaught and such and then dove into Jane Austen and the Brontës. I reread Alcott and Montgomery and just about anything. And this was during work week. In the weekends I was living in Narnia and Earthsea and Osten Ard and just about anywhere else than the real world. I reread The Lord of the Rings.

The only person still sticking with me was this friend. The one I met again yesterday. I didn’t realise it at the time, nor did he, but he kept me somewhat tethered to reality. He called me out on my shit and I’d probably have failed all my classes had I not paid attention to them because he was there, pulling me out of whichever world I was in.

So I associate this person both with some of my favourite literature (I could rave about it to him endlessly and he didn’t mind) and being there when no one else was. No wonder I got emotional and nostalgic last night after I got off work. Never mind he was probably around because the girls he had crushes on never wanted to date him. He was there.

After graduation we went our separate ways. This was 16 years ago and he wasn’t into cell phones the last I saw him😂 I guess I always thought I’d meet him around town at some point. I never did. Our friendship never got the chance of dying a natural death in the way many others do. It was just cut.

During my deepest depression I went through past events and people of influence in my life and finally realised what a friend I’d had. And I decided I’d tell him and thank him the next we met. Which of course I couldn’t do at the shop counter.

So yeah. Some people are irreplaceable and you realise it only afterwards. I hope I’ll bump into him again sooner than in 16 years.

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Maiju’s Teacup 20/11/2017 – Monday


I’m feeling a bit frazzled today. 

I usually start my day with a bottle of water while still sitting in bed, but today I forgot. Then I wandered around the kitchen, confused as to what to do next in order to make tea. Every small thing seemed to require extra brain power. Or rather, every routine required some thought.

I’m not sure if it’s NaNoWriMo’ing and working, or my period on top of that, or just a general Monday(though it feels like Wed/Thu bc I worked the weekend an will be off in Wednesday). 

But now I can’t even remember what I was going to write in this post… 

I guess I just wanted to exorcise this feeling. Writing about it (whatever it is) usually cures all ails. I guess we’ll see if that works with this.

*

Oh yeah! The photo reminded me of the small twinge of disappointment I felt when I realised there wasn’t a last sip of tea left in my cup. I was probably going to post something very deep and lame about it. Maybe a poem.

Let’s try it…

~

Last sip of morning tea has disappeared from my mind

Like I forgot 

how to make tea 

in which order to act to feed the cat

where I keep my journal (in the middle of the table, in plain sight)

what I thought this poem was about

~

Yeah. It needs some work. Or rather, a matchstick… I may need to write it again on paper in order to burn it.

See. This is a perfect example of this morning. I’ve now wasted 15 mins writing a blog post even I don’t want to read again…

Maiju’s Teacup 28/9/2017 – The Truth About Pumpkins

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So, I know this must shock some of you, but when I think about Autumn, I do not automatically think about pumpkins.

I hear you gasp. It’s true. When I think about Autumn, I think of lingonberries and mushrooms and rain. And the creeping darkness that quickly stops creeping and, after the first proper windstorm has carried away all the bright leaves, takes over the scenery and continues until the snows come.

The halloween-pumpkin-bat-autumn combination has arrived in Finland during my adulthood, so obviously, my mind wanders into the forests and bogs covered with lingonberry and cranberry tussocks when the leaves turn yellow.

An Instagram friend recently asked, when is the peak Autumn here. ‘Syyskuu’ is September in Finnish and it literally translates to ‘Autumn month’. So we are at the end of the period now (though this year the whole year has been off-kilter and all the trees are not yet yellow). October is ‘lokakuu’ which literally translates to ‘sleet or mud month’, which is pretty accurate. It’s getting darker and darker and before the snow arrives (closer to Yule, if we’re lucky), it’s going to be dark and cold and miserable. Each day is shorter than the next.

This is, of course, the perfect excuse to huddle up under a blanket and drink tea. And on the weekends, to pack a few rye sandwiches (with pickled cucumber, for some reason) and a thermos of hot cocoa, and head to the forest with a bucket and a berry-picking rake. Afterwards you can make your own juices and jams. And when the yard-raking bee comes around, there will be lingonberry pie for all.

That’s another Finnish thing, though not only restricted to Autumn. A friend in Australia told me that they have similar things, and there they’re called communal bees. It’s basically a weekend or one day of the weekend, when everyone living in the same yard or building takes part in raking the yard of leaves and tidying up the surroundings. The people who don’t have time or the energy to do the work will usually bring something to eat. The communal bee is usually a whole day or a weekend, and you can take part whenever you have time. And afterwards, everyone goes to sauna.

So, though I’ve grown partial to chili-butternut squash soup in the recent years and would consider a toast without zucchini jam a lost opportunity, if someone presented me with a pumpkin, I wouldn’t know what to do about it (though I’d know who to ask 😉 ).

And in the photo at the head of this post is a bowl of vispipuuro, whipped berry porridge. An immovable part of Autumn cuisine. It’s made of berries, farina and sugar. Before the word meaning the colour purple was brought into Finnish, it was called berry porridge colour.

This is just a snippet of the Finnish Autumn for you!

Maiju’s Teacup 25/9/2017 – Stealing a Street

I have been drinking tea. Lots of it. But except for a trip to a friend’s place, my teahabits of late have been dull dull dull… This photo is from Teeleidi teahouse I visited with said friend and the pictured brew was a delicious Oolong Tie Kuan Yin.
I’m lying in bed and for some reason started to think about a story on Readers Digest that I read many years ago. Soooo many years, because the Reader’s Digest was at my grandmother’s and she died over 20 years ago.

The story was about a thief or a group of thieves who stole the cobbles off a whole street in the night. I can only remember it was somewhere in Germany,  maybe.

I’ve no idea why I’m thinking about it just now. I really can’t even remember reading a Reader’s Digest ever since. Tried to figure some kind of symbolism that would have brought in to my mind but can’t come up with anything.  Unless it’s a suggestion for a career move.

Maybe it’s something as dull as “you can do anything if you put your mind to it”. Blehh….

Going to sleep now.

Maiju’s Teacup 22/8/2017 – Gravity 

Those days are the worst. The days when gravity just grabs hold of me and even getting up to drink a glass of water seems like a Herculean task. 

And the worst part isn’t that helplessness. The worst part is the fear that I might not be able to shake the feeling for – oh I don’t know – the next few years.

I count myself as lucky that my depression was caused by the circumstances that were piling up in my life. And that there was something concrete that I could do, once I’d recovered enough to have the strength to do it.

The last year has been pretty amazing. I remember lying on the sofa in my living room one day, reading a book and chuckling at it one day. Laughter by yourself is such an underrated luxury. It’s only when I thought it lost that I could appreciate it. But laugh I did.

Yesterday was not good. The sunk feeling is so recognisable still that I was afraid my brain was returning to the old pattern and I could do nothing about it. That those neural paths were stuck again, and I wasn’t sure if I had the strength to dig myself out this time.

Today is better. I can only guess why I felt like that again yesterday. Maybe it was as simple as leaving the island for the summer (the photo is my last cup of tea on the terrace on Sunday). Or maybe something else. But realising that I somehow don’t feel like that today makes me feel even stronger.

Maiju’s Teacup 3/8/2017 – Another Island

I’m staying at my uncle’s place for a few days in South Western Finland. I’m on an island, again, but there are landbridges to this one.

I’m looking after my aunt and uncle’s two dogs. One of the is old and sick. The other one is in his prime and we went for a run.


So the scenery isn’t too bad. There are fields and woods and huge rock formations and big houses, even a manor house.

 I drank a cup of my night time tea and now I’m very drowsy and forgot what I was going to write…

Maiju’s Teacup 30/6/2017

This June hasn’t really been very interesting tea-wise.  I’m on One Stone Island, a tiny strip of rocks in the Vaasa Archipelago aka Kvarken and I’m drinking Darjeeling First Flush for breakfast and then Clipper’s Assam in the afternoon. The island has no running water  (or electricity) so I try to minimise the need for washing teapots  (the seawater is cold).

My reading has been more interesting. I read 8 of Jaqueline Winspear’s Maisie Dobbs novels. I got addicted to them and struggled to take a break. Today I finished reading Ben Aaronovich’s Rivers of London. I’ve read the first two books several years ago but I have to admit I remembered only bits and pieces on the second read. I have 4 books of the series now and the library might have more.

The treat I’ve been waiting for has been Tad Williams’ The Heart of what was Lost. I requested the book from the library already several months ago, but didn’t have time to read it then. Also,  I was a bit apprehensive. I first finished reading the Memory, Sorrow and Thorn series (omg) over 20 years ago (omg omg). How would it feel to step back into Often Ard  again? I have re-read the books after that but I still associate it with my teenage years as it was the second long fantasy series I ever read (first one was LotR).

It is kinda weird but only because a few weeks have passed in Osten Ard  while I’ve turned from a teenage dreamer to a mid-thirties woman. I’m getting teary eyed every time Simon or Miriamele or anyone at all that was in the first series is mentioned, let alone steps on the page. I have such vivid memories of reading the series for the first time.

And now I will remember how the rowan blooms snowed around me when I sat on the terrace, reading. Older, still a dreamer.