checking out Czech

well, okay, Prague to be exact.

neither my husband nor i have ever been there, so this was our first time ever. and my verdict is: love the city, hate the tourists! 😀 (i guess that includes us, LOL!)

i’m too tired to put descriptions in the pics, so here’s the short(er) story of the whole trip.

upon arriving, i immediately noticed something in the air that was quite familiar. it was very hot and damp that night, so that already brought me back to Indonesia, but the air was filled with incense scent. and i mean like everywhere! this of course brought my mind back to Bali, where they have incense-scented offerings everywhere on the street. i had no idea why there was an abundant smell of incense in the whole city, but when i heard church bells near our hotel, then i thought maybe the reason was that there is plenty of these churches in Prague, and perhaps they use incense in there? i didn’t hang around in churches to find out, so i guess i’ll never know.

if you are an honest and naive tourist like me, you might want to be extra careful where you buy your groceries. :p i learned it the hard way there when on our first night, since it was hot and we were tired, we only managed to go to a nearby mini-mart to get some water bottles. we had a small idea of how tourist stores ( = any store in a tourist-y area) mark up their prices, but it wasn’t until we got back to our hotel that we found out how badly ripped off we were. 11€ for 2 big bottles and 1 small bottle of water is NOT normal, i can tell u that. 😀 the next day we found a bigger mini-mart and paid 1,50€ for 2 small bottles of water. go figure.

if you’re an anti-tourist like me, avoid Charles bridge at all cost! LOL. i put a picture i took from there just to show you how many people there were at that time… and remember, this was not even a peak season yet, and the temperature was somewhere between 30-32C degrees. it was blazing hot, and tourists with their selfie sticks were just taking pictures upon pictures with every effin’ step they made, people walking behind them would just have to wait patiently because, well, the crowds were everywhere…. unbelievable.

there are soooo many castles in Prague, and soooooooo many beautiful gardens to come with those castles. so they said. we tried to see just the gardens (because, well, the castles would be filled with tourists… again), and since we’re so used to free gardens in Finland, we were taken aback with the fact that we had to pay tickets to view the gardens of the castles in Prague. 😀 and since apparently they really don’t want to let people view it for free, they had to make walls around the gardens as well. no castles and no gardens, then! 😀

we did go to the Alphonse Mucha museum, for my sake. it was small and non air-conditioned, but whatever. i’m glad it wasn’t as famous and hence full of tourists, so that was nice! no pictures are allowed in there, that’s why i don’t have any.

i got this tip from a colleague of mine, and apparently it’s true: you can only buy stamps in Prague in the post office. 😀 in Finland (and i think even in Indonesia) you can buy stamps from kiosks and mini-marts, but when i asked a souvenir store in Prague if they sell stamps… their answer is: no, but the post office is right there on the main street. so off i went there, took a queue number from the machine (in case you’re wondering, it’s “other services>selling stamps and other products”!) and went to the cashier just to get 1 stamp for a postcard! wow. and then there’s the matter of figuring out how to work out the mailbox. there are plenty of them around the city, but the instructions (or whatever they are) are all in Czech. hmm. i hope my postcard arrives to where i’m sending it to! 😀

you will find many places offering Trdelnik aka chimney cake, for various prices. however, after the water bottle incident, i was quite careful about spending money there. i remember seeing a place selling traditional Trdelnik for as cheap as 20 Kr, but since it was far away and i was too tired to go back there, i decided to go to the one nearest to our hotel that offered it for 50 Kr. i tried the cinnamon one, and boy, was it good! i wish i had tried the one filled with ice cream, but maybe i’ll do it some other time!

another thing worth mentioning is the dogs of Prague. i can’t tell for sure if they are local or tourist dogs, but i found many dogs were let loose in Prague (as in, not bound on a leash) and yet they didn’t run away! ❀ the first one i saw was a cute dachshund on the loose and i had to fight back the urge not to pick it up and bring it home! 😀 another one i saw was inside a small souvenir shop, with no leash of course, just looking out of the store as if it’s the owner of the store, looking for new customers. i managed to take a candid picture of 1 dog i saw that was just sooooo sooooo sweet, i couldn’t resist it…. if you’re the owner of that dog, i’m sorry i had to steal a picture of your doggy! good thing you put a leash on it! 😀

lastly, just a few pics of the hotel we stayed at, called Blue Oak.

it was such a lovely place! we were looking for a place with air conditioning (not all hotels in Prague have them, we knew there would be this heatwave coming when we were looking for the place) and possibly a microwave. and wow, we didn’t even expect the room to be so big, but it was! on the last day of our trip, there was a big thunderstorm with lots of hail and we got to view it from our bedroom window. just like in a tropical place, it only lasted for a short time, and made the weather much more bearable afterwards.

and there you have it, Prague from my very small & short point of view! 😀 i highly recommend it if you appreciate architecture… and beer, obviously, LOL. but if the larger-than-life tourist thing bothers you, you might want to go there when it’s really a very low peak season instead. 😉

a memory and a hope

our minds work in a funny way, don’t you agree? one second i was looking at the snow, feeling the cold, the next second i was thinking of my old hometown and how i used to take the sun’s heat for granted. and next i thought about what my friend said one day, how most Indonesian people do take it for granted–including herself, as well–and usually say to foreigners how great life must be in the foreigner’s country, not thinking of how hard life might be there in some other aspects (going to the supermarket on foot in winter is i’m sure something that rarely crosses their minds). and then the next second, i thought about the people in Jakarta, living under the bridges & flyovers, thanking their stars for not having to suffer through winter, especially being homeless and shirtless.

and then the next second, my mind arrived to an old acquaintance i had when i was going to the university, back in my old hometown.

it arrived there, because he was one of those homeless people. how i became acquainted to him was something i don’t think i ever mentioned to anyone before.

i used to live in the south part of Jakarta, and my university was just outside of Jakarta, in Depok. my everyday commuting life back then was taking 2 bus rides, which took about 1,5 hour in total, for one direction (that made 3 hours of commuting daily). it wasn’t that it was so far away (well, it was far, but that’s not the reason it took so long), but it’s because my transfer from one bus to the other took place in one of the busiest traditional marketplace in South Jakarta, called Pasar Minggu. the buses went through the small gaps, woven between the abundance of marketplace sellers & their tarmacs full of fresh produces, and since we’re talking about Jakarta that had no clear traffic system, there were always at least dozens of different buses queuing in this area at the same time before they could finally be ‘free’ to go to their own routes. so, you can probably imagine the length of time i spent waiting and frying inside these buses everyday (my buses weren’t air conditioned, of course).

every day, as i waited in the bus, there would be street singers hopping on and off my bus. when i had extra coin or small bank note, i would give them what i could, but most of the time my budget was just enough for the day, so i couldn’t help them even if i wanted to. some of them sang just so that their bosses could see that they were ‘working’, some of them actually sang with their hearts. usually, i would wait until i found those that sang with their hearts to give what small amount of money i could to them instead of the other group.

among these street singers, one of them was a man, probably around the same age as i was back then, maybe slightly older. he was probably the only one easy for me to remember, because of his appearance. he had very dark skin, big eyes, long curly hair which was always ‘half’ bleached no matter what time of the year it was, so that it was deep black from the roots to halfway the total length and very blonde from then on to the ends. he always carried a guitar and was one of those who sang with his heart.

the first couple of times i ‘met’ him in my bus, i was running short on my money that i couldn’t give anything to him. but, he always smiled. some time after that, i finally did have extra, so i was already planning to give it to him the next time i saw him. when that time finally came, and he finished singing and started walking around the bus to collect the money in the aluminum foil bag he was holding, i was putting my money to the bag when he suddenly said to me, “hep, no, no, that’s okay, miss!” and i was baffled. he didn’t want my money.

after he completed his round, he came to sit next to me, which happened to be empty. and i, as somebody who had always disliked talking to strangers even before moving to Finland, was wary of this. oh dear, i thought, he did not want my money but wanted my company? darn it. usually if some stranger who sat next to me in the bus started to talk to me, i would pretend not to hear what they’re saying (yes, i was cruel). but i couldn’t see my way out of this one because i would still be stuck there in my transfer point for a while.

and so, he started, “are you going to school, miss?” i said, shortly, “yes”. he asked where i went to school, and i told him my university name (and cursed myself why i had to be so honest. what if he was a stalker?). he was amazed by my answer, i guess it’s because my university name does bear good quality. then he started talking about himself, mostly, i guess because he could see i was being careful and only gave him short answers. he told me that he, too, wished he could go to the university, but could only sing in buses so far. the first time he sang, he did not even have a guitar, so he had to go with others who had musical instruments, saved money until he could buy a guitar, and finally, now, he could sing alone.

the bus began to move forward and he quickly bid his goodbye, but before he left, he asked my name. i told him a fake name, because my brain was still telling me to be cautious, and that was the end of our first conversation.

that happened during my first year of college. i still had 2 more years, so you can imagine how many more times i met him in my bus. it wasn’t daily, but there were a lot of times. i gradually saw that he didn’t mean anything bad, and if he was a stalker i would already be stalked by then. i started having quite ‘okay’ conversations with him, but most of the time, just like the first time, it was him who did the talking. he told me that he was now saving up for new shoes, and showed me that the only pair of shoes he had had holes in them. and every time i offered him what little money i could, he never took it. i think at one point i told him that i had shoes i didn’t use, and if he would like them. he asked my shoe size and when he heard it, he laughed because my shoe size was a lot bigger than his! he even joked that i must be one of the ‘mountain people’, who genetically have big feet. needless to say, my offer was turned down.

sometimes he did the singing with a group of his other friends, and when his friends came near to me to collect money, he would tell them, “no, not her! she’s my friend.” pretty soon, even his friends would recognize me when he wasn’t around, and also did not want my money.

one day, i went to the university as usual and i was the one who spotted him first before i got on to my bus. i tapped his shoulder (because even then, after many of our conversations, i still didn’t know his name) and said hi. he was friendly as usual, but i told him my news: this was my last time going through this route, because i had graduated. he was so happy for me, congratulated me, and told me good luck with my life. i wished him the same, and we parted.

that really was the last time i saw him, even though i still lived in Jakarta for many years afterwards. never once did he cross my mind, until now.

i wonder if he is still around, and again, thank the heavens that he never has to feel the bitter cold of winter in his old & hole-y shoes. i wish i could have helped him more, and hope that he is doing okay. i hope he knows, that even when it may not seem so, he was actually blessed in his life, to have what he had.

remembering him makes me want to listen to this song, a song so popular among street singers in Jakarta. maybe it’s because it’s about them, the suppressed people, living in Jakarta. maybe it’s to tell each other, the street singers and beggars, to not lose hope, stay strong and be thankful for life as it is.

let’s talk about prejudice

i think i can say that i don’t easily get offended by comments from other people that has to do with how i look (= Asian, among Caucasians). since i’m not yet familiar with the Finnish slang words, i doubt i would even understand it if anyone were to offend me with any racist words. 😀 it’s useful to be deaf sometimes.

but i must admit that there are times when the “hidden” meanings annoy me even more than plain racist comments. and here are some that i’ve encountered more than once, and not just towards me here in Finland, but also towards my husband in Indonesia (again, as a reminder, prejudice/racism/discrimination does not only happen in the western world; it happens everywhere).

–“you must like working here!” said some stranger to me while i was at work. at first i didn’t think much of it, and just said something like, “sure, it’s a nice place to work at.” but then she went on to say how it’s great that “somebody like me” can have a job, because she was sure that i would not have the same opportunity in my home country. this was said before she even asked where i came from, and we were talking in the same language. i wondered then if my Finnish was just so bad that i immediately seem ‘foreign’ to her, but then i quickly remembered that i talk the same way to other strangers and they never react the same way as this person. so, i figured, the problem was not with my Finnish, it’s with this particular stranger i was talking with.

and then, as usual, the conversation would went on to this other person asking me if i live here with my family, which would usually mean my parents, my siblings, etc. to which of course i said, no. first of all, it’s really none of anyone’s business who i live with. second of all, upon seeing someone with different skin colour and different eye shapes, of course she would automatically think that i came here with my whole family for a better living. bring the whole neighbourhood to this rich country, steal the native people’s workplace & live happily ever after!

because–and this is an even worse thought–if i had married a Finn, i can’t possibly be working, right? i must be just a stay-at-home mum or shopping-all-the-time wife. the fact that i “like working here” when i wouldn’t otherwise have a job in my home country surely indicates that my whole Asian family is here and i have to work hard to make money for them.

this is just one example, though, and it incidentally happened here in Finland. but rest assured that i’ve seen and heard it many times as well in Indonesia, the ‘locals’ or ‘natives’ being defensive towards ‘foreigners’, thinking that they only want to steal their jobs, steal their land (still traumatized by colonial times, maybe?), etc. and in both countries, people can make these thoughts or beliefs hidden in seemingly polite words.

–a stranger starts talking to you in the assumed ‘native’ language. some (Caucasian) people have tried talking to me in: Thai, Cantonese, Mandarin, Japanese, Indian, Chinese. if they were genuinely thinking that i came from one of those countries and wanted to make some kind of conversation to me, i can still laugh about it… though for the life of me, i can’t understand why they did it before asking where i come from. i mean, what if i was born in Finland and have grown up only knowing Finnish language?

anyway, what annoys me is when somebody just say, “ni hao!” or “konnichiwa!” or whatever else just as a way to ‘greet’ me when we pass by each other on the street.

also, making a stereotypical-rhetorical comment/question towards somebody who looks like he/she might come from a specific country falls into the same category. i once sat down next to a guy i didn’t know at the cafetaria of my language course. he wasn’t originally Finnish, and was also a student, just like me. i was being polite and asked if i could sit there since there was nowhere else to sit, and he said yes. and then the next thing he said, before anything else (asking my name or where i was from), upon seeing my lunch for the day (rice), was, “why do Chinese like to eat rice?”

and it wasn’t meant to be a joke, either. i think i only replied, “i don’t know, why don’t you ask a Chinese if you want to know?” with as cold of a tone as possible and ate my lunch as quickly as possible to get the hell away from him.

–“i’m not a racist, because i work with people from all around the world, of all kinds of skin colour, etc.” making a point of saying it to somebody who looks like a ‘foreigner’ does NOT make it sound genuine. i mean, honestly, why bring up the subject in the first place if you really are NOT a racist?

believe it or not, this came out from the same stranger as the one i mentioned at point #1. 😀 i felt like laughing inside when she suddenly said that. of course, when you spell it out like that, it must be really true.

rather than saying it, it would be much more believable if you would act it. talk to me without seeing my skin colour or my eye shape. 90% of the other strangers i meet everyday can do this, so why can’t you?

and to be honest, if you are just curious, i would feel a lot better if you just plainly ask. i never get hurt if someone asks me where i’m originally from, how long i’ve been here, and sometimes even why i came here. straight-forward questions like those are much better than prejudiced statements.

selvisin!

at first i was afraid, i was petrified…

se alkoi kun saimme liput yhteen teatteritapahtumaan mun mieheni isoisĂ€ltĂ€. hĂ€n sanoi samalla, “nyt (minĂ€) voit samalla harjoitella suomen kieltĂ€!”. aivan, teatteriesitys onkin kokonaan suomen kielellĂ€.

rakastan kaikkea teatteri-, ooppera-, musikaali-, tanssiesitystÀ. mutta en ollut koskaan aikaisemmin kÀynyt missÀÀn teatterissa tÀÀllÀ Suomessa, missÀ esitetÀÀn suomen kielellÀ. mun suurin pelko on se, ettÀ en ymmÀrtÀisi mitÀ ne puhuvat, enkÀ nauraisi vitsejÀ. nÀin on mennyt 9,5 vuotta elÀmÀni tÀÀllÀ. ehkÀ nyt olisi aika.

menin sinne mieheni kanssa ja kun saapuimme, musta tuntuu ettĂ€ kaikki silmĂ€t katsoivat minua kohti (varmaankin vain kuvittelin niin, mutta…). ensinnĂ€kin olimme luultavasti ainoa “nuori” pariskunta kun kaikki muut olivat n. +60v. 😀 ja se ettĂ€ en nĂ€ytĂ€ perinteiseltĂ€ suomalaiselta oli varmaan toinen syy. voin melkein kuulla mitĂ€ he ajattelivat: onko hĂ€n (= minĂ€) vÀÀrĂ€ssĂ€ paikassa? miten hĂ€n voisi nauttia tĂ€stĂ€ esityksestĂ€ kun ei ymmĂ€rtĂ€isi suomea? kyllĂ€ jĂ€nnitti. mutta, the show must go on!

kun esitys alkoi… hei, minĂ€hĂ€n ymmĂ€rsin mitĂ€ tuo sanoi. ja tuo, ja hĂ€n, ja se. ja hei, se oli hauskaa! hahaha, ja nauroinkin vitsejĂ€, vaikka ne olivat kaikki suomen kielellĂ€! enkĂ€ teeskennellyt, vaan oikeasti ymmĂ€rsin kaiken! yes, i did it! selvisin sen! aivan mahtava fiilis tuli sen jĂ€lkeen! 🙂

kyse oli siis komedia esitys, jonka nimi on Kaktuksen Kukka (perustuu 60-luvun samannimiseen ranskalaiskomediaan, Cactus Flower / Fleur de cactus). siinĂ€ esiintyy mm. Santeri Kinnunen, Satu Silvo, ja Eija Vilpas. Silvo oli mun suosikki, hĂ€n on niin hyvĂ€ nĂ€yttelijĂ€! rooli sopii hĂ€nelle tĂ€ydellisesti. tykkĂ€sin myös Vilpaksen toiminta (vinkki: jos olet menossa katsomaan tĂ€tĂ€, etsipĂ€s hĂ€nen 2 muuta ‘salaroolia’ siinĂ€).

venue oli Areena, ‘pieni’ teatterisali Hakaniemen kauppahallin edessĂ€. se muistuttaa mua erÀÀn teatterisaliin Jakartassa joka veikkaan on yhtĂ€ vanhaa ja pientĂ€ (mutta just sopiva koko). lavaste ja rekvisiitta oli tosi hyvĂ€ ja toimiva, sillĂ€ kun kohtaus vaihtuu nekin vaihtuvat samalla nopeasti ja vaihto oli saumaton.

suosittelen tĂ€mĂ€ esitys lĂ€mpimĂ€sti kaikille joka haluaa hyvÀÀ fiilistĂ€, varsinkin kun ulkona on nĂ€in kylmÀÀ ja muutenkin masentavaa. huomasin vain yksi juttu kun olin lĂ€hdössĂ€ pois teatterilta silloin: kaikilla oli rento, kukaan ei lĂ€htenyt huonolla mielellĂ€ vaan jokaisessa kasvoissa oli vĂ€hintÀÀn iso hymy. jopa miehenikin sanoi ettĂ€ se oli hauskaa, eikĂ€ hĂ€n muistanut milloin hĂ€nellĂ€ oli niin paljon hauskaa missÀÀn esityksessĂ€ tĂ€tĂ€ ennen. olen samaa mieltĂ€. 🙂

lue lisÀÀ esityksestÀ tÀssÀ.

in short: for the first time ever in my life, i went to see a comedy play which was performed completely in Finnish. and i understood everything! i even laughed at the jokes, yay! thanks to my husband’s granddad who gave us the tickets and hinted that this would be the perfect way to brush up my Finnish. he was right, and i had so much fun! (hence i felt compelled to write the story in Finnish.)

PS. i know there must be plenty of mistakes in my Finnish writings, anteeksi vaan. well, practice makes perfect! 😉

makin’ whoopee

if you ask me what my most favourite Finnish bun is, i would say, without a doubt: shrove bun! (laskiaispulla in Suomi.)

here’s a little fact about it. Shrove Tuesday, or laskiainen in Suomi, is a day in February or March preceding Ash Wednesday, and people in other countries might celebrate it by consuming pancakes, which is why its other name is Pancake day. it’s supposedly the last day of gorging/eating till you just can’t eat anymore, so we are all allowed to gain an undisclosed amount of fat. 😀

well, that’s what the shrove bun is all about: FAT.

up to this year’s Shrove Tuesday, i’ve always only bought ready-made shrove buns from the supermarkets & cafes. they’re always rather pricey, so i could usually only afford 2, which means one for me and one for my husband. in a way i guess it’s good because we don’t get too much fat. :p

but this year, when i was talking about getting some shrove buns, my co-worker J said that i should just make my own. remembering how well i’ve managed to make cinnamon buns aka korvapuusti, i decided to accept the challenge!

so basically i did the same mix of ingredients as what i used for the cinnamon buns, minus the cinnamon powder.

laskiaispulla1

there, the buns are done! after letting it cool down, it’s time to part each bun to two, and add the fat! the most common shrove buns here are usually filled with either raspberry jam or almond paste (plus whipped cream). my fave is the raspberry jam version, so that’s what i added.

laskiaispulla2

ahem, yes, i might have added a little bit too much of the jam. my husband said “that’s the most raspberry jam i’ve ever eaten–EVER–in a bun!”. well, but i don’t think he minded eating them. 😉

for the whipped cream, i used whipping cream (kuohukerma) and had my husband help me to whip it. this was my very first time seeing how it’s done (yes, you heard me right, i had never whipped creams before, nor have i seen it done, live), and i have to tell you… it’s like MAGIC! first it’s all liquidy and then you add a small amount of sugar and whip it… and ta-daaah! it’s suddenly all puffy and solid (well, almost) and it doesn’t turn back into its liquidy form! amazing!

back to the buns. after the filling, it’s time to put the heads back on and sprinkle the sugar for topping. usually people use sugar crystals for it, but i like icing sugar better. plus it’s the only one i had at home, so icing sugar it was!

laskiaispulla3

now tell me how fatty those buns look? VERY. yep. time to eat them!

laskiaispulla4

three days after i made them, they were all gone. all 16 buns of them! phew. i think i can live without shrove buns for a while now. that is, until my craving for fat comes kicking in.

feeling festive

hinditop1

self-made top, second hand skirt from Pasar Senen – Jakarta, earrings from Oasap.com, bracelet given as a gift from my tabla teacher’s wife, bindi & nose-ring from some Indian store in Jakarta.

i bought this fabric some weeks ago, already thinking i could make a simple top with it since the print is already a bit… much. this fabric is actually an African wax cotton, but when i finished making the top it reminded me so much of Indian choli, which was why i decided to channel my long-forgotten Indian side. this fabric was about the only colourful one among my other fabric finds lately, and boy, am i glad to see other colours than black, white, and grey in this gloomy season!

i used the same pattern as the one for this simple top, and this time i added a tiny bit of soft tulle for the sleeves.

 

for the neckline & closure, i used bias tape + small button. i don’t know if you can see it, but there are glitters on the gold part of the print = the main reason i bought this fabric. 😀

hinditop3

there was only about 80 cm of the fabric, and it was about 110 cm wide. the print, as you can see, is very bold, so placement is everything when i cut the fabric.

hinditop4

i think i pretty much nailed it, hehe. putting on this top & the “complete” make up made me miss my Indian moments. not that i’ve actually been there, but you know…

… i meant those moments when i played tablas with the rest of my classmates from JNICC Jakarta. (since these are all old pics, i’m hoping no one would mind me posting them… didn’t really ask anyone’s permissions, sorry!) oh, those days! every time we were going to perform somewhere, i was nervous for the tabla playing but at the same time so excited for all the blingy Indian clothes i got to wear!

now i unfortunately don’t have my tablas anymore (nor do i have the flexibility in my fingers), and i also left all of my sarees behind when i moved here.

hinditop2

so i hope you can understand why i went all out for this photo shoot. luckily i have a few bindis here with me, and my nose-ring is still intact. after all of this gold, glitter, and colour therapy, i couldn’t help feeling festive.

chin up, celebrate life, and don’t forget to add some colours to it! 🙂

music is universal…

… or is it?

i wonder how many of you like songs with lyrics you can’t understand (because you don’t understand the language). and if you do, how many songs like these do you like?

i had always thought it was like that: good music would sound good to my ears, no matter what language the lyrics use. because if the melodies hit the right notes in my ears, they would resonate in my heart as well, causing me to like the music.

the first album i ever bought after i was done listening to kids songs (probably when i was about 10 years old) was from a band called Smokey Mountain. it’s a Filipino band, and though the song that made me bought the album was sung in English, the album was full of songs sung in Tagalog. and since i listened to it back and forth, i actually memorized all the lyrics, even the Tagalog ones. did i like the songs? definitely. did i understand Tagalog language? not at all.

and then when i was in middle school, i got addicted to seeing Chinese kung-fu TV series. one of my biggest addiction was the White Snake Legend, which was also a musical. of course i bought the album when it came out. like i did with the Smokey Mountain’s album, i played it dozens of times a day & i memorized the lyrics… which was naturally in Chinese. don’t ask me what Chinese language specifically, i still can’t tell the difference and i did not know a single meaning of those words. but i loved the songs, and that was enough.

next came the Japanese craze. blame those J-drama series they showed on the national TV channels, but i began by liking the opening songs of these series. and finally found several J-rock bands which completely rocked my world (L’arc~en~Ciel was my most fave of all). in this case, i don’t know if having a super hot singer (=Hyde!!) helped me to like the songs, but the truth is that first i came to like these songs without understanding the lyrics, and partly because of that i then decided to learn Japanese language.

afterwards, it was time for me to be introduced to Indian music. it started when i learned how to play tabla, and our teacher became sort of a family friend, and suddenly we started listening to Indian music & songs in our car whenever we went out (not Bollywood, though). i didn’t get to memorize the lyrics this time, haha… but i did remember the melodies and i can truly say that i enjoyed and liked these songs in foreign language.

after all of this, i moved to Finland. i learned the language first, before anything else, and i seemed to forget about music.

it took me a loooong while to finally be able to say that “i like this (Finnish) band/singer”. and this makes me wonder, if music really is that universal after all?

i must admit, the difference between my life here and in Jakarta was more than just the language. for example, i did not have TV for a while here in Finland, and so i was not exposed to music videos like i was back in Jakarta. the malls or shopping centers that i go to in Finland always play songs in English, and very few of them play songs in Suomi. after a while, it became a habit for me to just forget about Finnish songs, and instead i always listen to radios that play familiar songs in English.

only lately did i finally give it a chance again. i was tired of listening to my same old playlist over and over again, and also the radio that always play English songs seemed to not have moved forward with their song list. so i forced myself to listen to some other radio station, one that plays pop music in English and also Suomi. almost every day i did this, and when i one day woke up with one of the Suomi songs ringing in my head, i knew that it had worked. 😀

some of these Suomi songs i fell in love with the lyrics. some of them i fell in love with the melodies. when i realized these, i was like, hey… there are actually some really good tunes here, and Suomi language sounds more beautiful to me than ever. and then i became thankful that i can actually understand what the lyrics mean this time, it really does resonate even more with my heart when i know the meanings.