Lutheran Church. It's the most photographed site in Finland. I'm just doing my part.
Since my last post, Matt has started working (finally, the bum) and is feeling much better about finishing the assignment now that it's actually started. So far he's worked one 12 hour day, followed by one 26 hour shift for sulfiding, and then he went in this morning around 11:00 to "finish up". Or so we thought. Apparently shortly after he left work yesterday the plant shut down because they had a leak. Matt went in to inspect it today and he said there is a "huge hole" in one of the pipes, which he can't believe they didn't see during turnaround. Ahh, such is refinery life. I asked him if he has ever encountered a refinery that does everything perfectly all the time... he laughed in my face.
This boat is from Porvoo. I read it on the back.
Anyway, nothing much doing for me here. I've been shopping but not buying, reading but not writing, and exploring without actually finding anything new in town. I knew this 2 weeks of no work was gonna bite me in the ass! Matt and I already did everything together, which leaves me with nothing to do on my own! Don't worry; I'm resilient and I can entertain myself... kind of. Sunday I went to two different malls to go shopping and get groceries, not realizing it was Mother's Day and EVERYTHING in the city was closed... with the exception of supermarkets, restaurants and flower shops, of course. Never fear - I window-shopped instead and mapped out my plan of attack for Monday when things were open. Monday I went back to the same two malls and browsed my little heart out, my favorite store being one with all imported goods from (wait for it:) India! I never said they didn't have cool stuff in India... though I may have said I didn't want to go back to find it all (and if I haven't said that before, I'm saying it now). Though I didn't buy anything at Indiska (that might just be the Finnish word for India... it's not. I just looked it up.) it did give me a much-needed enthusiasm boost to return to India to shop. After all, if Matt's working hard for his money, he probably doesn't have time to spend it... I can remedy that for him.
I don't know who this is, but he's on top of the Lutheran Church, so he's probably important. I'm really just trying to showcase the power of my zoom lens.
After two days of shopping (kind of) I needed a cultural boost and set off to find the Helsinki City Museum, one of the few free museums in the area. While I did find the building, and while the sign on the door did say "Open" (in three different languages), when I tried the door it wouldn't budge. I pushed and pulled for a few minutes, but a few minutes shaking and yelling at a door is all it took for me to get embarrassed, and so I moved on. That museum is probably lame anyway. From there I went across the street to the Lutheran Church, and this time I actually went inside! Apart from the pretty amazing domes on the inside and the huge organ, it was pretty plain, and thus I took no pictures inside (also, I'm nervous to take pictures inside a church... you may have been noticing this pattern for some time. I've been yelled at a lot for not seeing the "no pictures" signs so now I'm pretty cautious.). I did take some other pictures around town, though, which I will scatter at random throughout this post, as is my custom.
Everyone was taking a picture at this intersection, so, not to be outdone, I did too.
I walked around some more and then settled on sitting on a park bench to read. (Side note: we finally got a mail packet yesterday with about a month's worth of mail, including but not limited to four People Magazines which Matt's Grammie got me a subscription to for Christmas. Amazing.) I was deeply engrossed in a Justin Bieber article (don't worry, I didn't know who he was either) when this guy walks up and asks if he can sit on the bench I was currently occupying. Why, sure, stranger! I honestly (and yes, naively) thought he just wanted a place to sit and wouldn't bother me. After all, I had a People Magazine! You don't mess with that. Apparently Finnish people don't know that, however, for the young gentleman proceeded to try to start up a conversation by telling me his name, to which I responded (without giving him my own name) "Nice to meet you". To which he responded "Thanks," which I found kind of odd. Then he asked if I was waiting for someone, and I said no, but I had to go get my husband soon. He said "You have a husband?" Affirmative. After this little exchange he decided to try his luck with "Well, I saw you before and I had to come talk to you." I hit him back with an "Oh okay. Um, I have to go get my husband now. Nice meeting you." And then I left. What is the world coming to when a girl can't sit outside on a blustery day in a weak shaft of sunlight reading an article about a teen heartthrob and not get harassed? Also, I was wearing this silly little dress/pants combo (it's the warmest thing I have here) and I was feeling kind of self-conscious about how stupid I looked, and he made it worse. Thanks, guy. On to today: the weather has been really nice all day, so I took my second of four Peoples and set out for a nice long walk. I was sitting by a large pond/small lake reading when I was approached by some older lady shoving a Finnish magazine in my hands. What is up with interrupting someone while they're reading celebrity gossip? It's a sacred time. Anyway, after I explained to the lady I only speak English, she laughed in my face and then walked off. Another successful day.
Uspenski Cathedral. It's up on a hill so I didn't bother going in.
That about wraps up my week (so far) in review. I don't know when Matt will finish with work, nor do I know if we'll be coming back to the usa (I've taken to calling it usa, pronounced like you-sa, these days. Don't worry, it'll catch on.) between assignments or not. Well, I know I will be coming back, but I can't speak for my little engineer. More on my Finnish journey later. I'll try to do something more interesting before I blog again... but I make no promises.
The Art Deco Helsinki train station. I really love these guys on the sides. Look at their pecs.