That big “A” April 26th, 2012

Remember that trip to Australia that I have been planning? Well..

Flights & hostels have been booked and plans have been made! As you probably remember from my previous posts, I’m planning to hit the land down under in August. I’ll start my adventure from Cairns and end up in Melbourne in September – and fly back to Finland from there. As I said before, it would be nice to meet some of you Aussie bloggers – if there’s time – and just have a cup of coffee or something. I’ll be in Sydney too, for 10 days sometime mid August.

So, with you lovely Australians; we could keep in touch via e-mail or FB (ask) and then see if our schedules match when the time comes.

I’ve got about 3 months until I leave. And currently I am completely absorbed in my masters thesis (I’m doing a study about website usability, related to my computer science studies). It’s slowly coming together and should be finished next month *knocks on wood*. It’s sort of scary to think that I might graduate soon and.. then what? A full time job. A whole new responsibility? No more long school holidays or free afternoons. Actually I’m sort of glad that school will be over, but I also have this big whole “blank” of a future staring at me. I don’t know where I will be in 6 months. I don’t know where I will be in a year. There’s no more “oh, well I’m going to be a junior, or a freshman, or…” It’ll be freedom, but in a completely different form.
...is a journey
But, as much as a control freak I am. Life just can’t be planned. Come what may. Whatever happens, happens. I’m learning to live in the moment and not to worry too much about the future. Things will work themselves out. I’m just happy that it’s spring and the days are getting warmer. I’m happy that my friend moved close to me and that we go out for walks during the early hours of the morning. I’m happy about little things like that. Things are good!

So how have you been? Are you waiting for summer/winter holidays?

ps. You can now find me on instragram too (username: theshiri). Hit me up with yours if you have one and I’ll follow you!

How was Japan? March 12th, 2012

I came back from Japan exactly a week ago. I was visiting a friend there for 5 days. For me it was my first time ever traveling completely alone. Also it was my first time traveling outside of Europe (and first time in Japan, naturally).

My japanese friend and I have known each other for 10 years now. We found each other from a website for international penpals and begun writing snailmail letters to each other when we were about 15 years old. Now a decade later we still write snailmail letters, aswell as chat on facebook and KakaoTalk. We had seen each other only once before now – when she came to visit me in Finland a few years ago. It’s amazing how close you can be (and get along so well) even when not seeing each other face-to-face very often.

We visited lot of beautiful japanese temples in Kyoto and Nara. We also fed the deer in Nara (there’s these little stands that sell ‘deer cookies’ which you can then feed to the deer). The deer were so nice & sweet. Though when they found out you have food for them.. they might nibble on your clothes and fingers a bit.

I also got the opportunity to have a “Maiko experience”. Which means that people who actually knew what they were doing, put on the white Maiko make-up & wig for me, aswell as dressed me in the traditional kimono. There’s ton of fabric and padding that you have to put on – and it’s all tightened with strings (felt like wearing a corset, sort of difficult to breathe). Beauty is pain ;)! It took a long time to get ready and also long time to take off the make-up once finished. You can’t wash it off with water but you have to use baby oil.

We also visited the Universal Studios in Osaka. And, everyday, had the most delicious meals & treats. For me this trip was the perfect combination of “tourist vacation” and “just hanging out with friends”. The sights were amazing but I also really enjoyed just hanging out with my friend and spending time in shopping malls – wandering around and stopping by for an ice cream or donut every now and then.

Japan felt like home. I will definately visit again!

Helsinki to Osaka to Sydney January 29th, 2012

After my one week of positivity followed the 2 weeks of great difficulty. Isn’t it usually so that when you’re happy on one day, the next day feels less than ok. Such as when you go back to work after a relaxing vacation.

Today, however, I feel good again. Small nice things have made my day wonderful. And perhaps because I’ve recently been focusing on being a shoulder to cry on for my friends with their own life issues – it’s easy to forget your own problems when trying to help with the problems of others.

It’s the 29th of January. In a month I’ll be flying to Osaka, Japan to meet a friend of mine. She and I have been penpals for 10 years. Yes, we begun writing letter when we were in junior high. Now we both have graduated from college (well, I’m still working on my masters thesis) and have begun a working life. We’re adults now, which feels weird. We’ve grown up together – regardless of the distance and cultural differences. I’ve never been to Japan and it’s great that I get to stay with her for a couple of days. We’ve got every day planned already. But more about the trip later!

from: http://weheartit.com/

Also, bunch of you are from Australia. So I might aswell open up about my plans about traveling there. After I graduate I feel like I want to do something before.. well, becoming a responsible adult, I guess. So I’m planning to take advantage of the lovely working holiday visa and travel around Australia at least for a few months (up to ½ year or so) starting on August 2012. I’ve been thinking about which city would be the best for me to begin my lonesome journey from. I feel like Queensland (Brisbane, Gold Coast) is more for me than..well Melbourne for example. But it seems like Sydney would be a good place to start. Lot of great hostels, sights to see, people to greet. So, if you’re around New South Wales, maybe we can go & grab a cup of coffee sometime then. Or at least I’d love to hear what places you think I should visit while traveling.

Nothing more to say for today. Do you have any travel plans or which places would you like to visit (if you could) one day?