the highlight of 2015

after a dark period in my life in spring/summer 2015, something came up that cheered me up and made me look forward to it. you know how you get excited when there’s something good to look forward to? it gets you going no matter how tough your present day feels like.

this thing is a gift from my mum: a year-end trip to Bali, Indonesia.

before i start, i would just like to say that many people (Indonesian and others) take it for granted that they can be around their families throughout the year. many of the people i know who live outside of their own home countries can visit their home countries & families at least once a year, some even many times a year. those people are quite lucky, and i hope they know it.

the last time i went to Indonesia and met my family was 4,5 years ago. the last time i spent Christmas and new year’s eve with them was 10 years ago. i couldn’t even remember anymore what it feels like to celebrate both events in +30C degrees!

the last time i went to Bali was about 5,5 years ago, and all my life i had only always visited Bali for a maximum 7 day trip. this time, i was there for 2 weeks.

so what all did i do there in 2 weeks, you might wonder. which temples did i go to, did i surf, did i snorkel, did i dive… well, sorry to disappoint you, but both my husband & i had been there as tourists a few times that now we didn’t even do any tourist-y thing. the main point was to just spend as much time with my family as possible, doing everyday stuff that might be boring for some but very precious to me as i can never do it while i’m here and my family is half a world away.

in a true Indonesian style, to be honest we had some mishaps in our trip, one of them was my sister getting food poisoning right on Christmas day and ended up in the emergency room. other mishaps included unexpected traffic jams that lasted 2 hours (it was in front of the Monkey Forest in Ubud), the AC in our hotel room being broken (not funny when it was otherwise +35C degrees outside), and… actually, let’s just forget about the other mishaps. :p because the most important thing is, i was with my family! yay!

the highlight of this trip, and probably of my whole 2015, was the new year’s eve. my whole family & i went to stay at a villa in Umalas, and not only the place itself was gorgeous, but what we did was something i hadn’t done in a long time with my family: sitting down together watching TV, playing cards and dominoes, listening to my dad’s choices of music, having lots of laugh… and when midnight came, we watched the fireworks (& flying lanterns) from all around Bali and hugged each other at 12 o’ clock. 🙂 that was simply priceless.

now i am back here in cold Finland (it just turned -20C degrees right on the day we came back here. thanks a lot, mother nature!), and seeing these pics got me teary-eyed again. i don’t think parting with my family will ever get any easier, no matter how many times i have visited my home country and family over the course of my stay abroad.

but anyway, without further ado, here are some pics of my trip.

first, our hotel, which is more like a lodge than a hotel, since it only has 10 rooms. very peaceful & lovely.

next, the sights we saw and things we did when we visited Ubud. unfortunately it rained every day when we were there, and then there were the traffic jams. but like i said, at least we were all together during those days!

after our stay in Ubud, these were all the other things we did, which was fun for us but maybe boring to you… 😀 some were taken in Sanur beach, some were in Batu Bolong beach, and most of them just around our hotel.

and lastly, our new year celebration. 🙂

that’s it for now, and my, what a lengthy post this turned out to be! again, i wish you all a great 2016! may love and happiness always be with us! 🙂

PS. the pictures shown in this blog post were taken by 3 different cameras & people, but most of them were by my husband and my sister. thanks for letting me use them here!

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no title

other than being asked what my religion is, another question that always leaves me thinking “what does it matter to you?” is: what did you study? referring, of course, to what i studied in college or university. some questions are even more specific, what academic title(s) do i have?

yes, i get that a lot, in here and in my home country. when asked here, in Finland, it’s even harder for me to answer because i don’t even think the subject exists in universities here (i haven’t done any research though, since i have no interest in working in that field here). but just for the record, as i’ve said before, currently i work in a field that needs customer service skills, sales skills, and also deep knowledge in textiles.

most of the time i get this kind of question while i’m at work. as this country has the best education in the world (say the surveys from around the world), i’m not that surprised that people want to know where other people went to school or what they studied. most people i know here love going to schools. some of them enroll to university after university every time they finish their previous studies. it’s like there’s no end to their thirst of studying.

i’ve been using the word “them” and not “we”, because i guess i don’t belong in the same category. i love learning new things as well, and there is also no end to my thirst of studying. but i don’t necessarily think universities, colleges, or schools are the only places i can study the things i want to study. academic titles have never been that important to me, and i’m happy with what knowledge i have so far that can get me my current job.

with no academic title but excellent skills, you can get pretty far in my home country. but the bad news is, for people like me, it would be hard to find a job in a place like Finland. i don’t mean just any job, of course, but the ones that you probably have eyes on. for example, even though i have no degrees in fashion, i was once a fashion stylist/editor for a local magazine back in my home country. after i moved here, when i was still learning Finnish language, i tried my luck to be a part of the design team in Marimekko. thinking back now, i must’ve been out of my mind to even think i would stand a chance. i’m pretty sure they threw my CV and portfolio straight to the garbage bin. :p

through a twist of luck (i’m pretty sure that was the only reason), i managed to land a job at my current workplace. well okay, maybe my history of running my own fashion boutique back in Indonesia also played a tiny role, in the sense that i knew about textiles, customer service, and sales well enough, regardless of whether or not i actually have any degree in any of those fields.

though i’m still quite far from my dream (which is to have my own fashion store), but i’m forever grateful for this rare chance my previous boss gave me. by doing this daily job, i learn more and more about the things i am most passionate about, the things that would prepare me in the best way for when i can finally run my dream store in the future.

anyway, to be fair, in Finland those people who asked me where or what i studied were mainly curious because they wanted to know what they should study in order to land a job at my workplace. and i could never answer them properly, because i always felt that i’m an exception, since A: i didn’t go to school in Finland, and B: …okay, here’s the truth, i actually studied Advertising back in my home country. Advertising, as in the Communication field, NOT Graphic Design (though i did also learn a bit of Graphic Design there). whereas my co-workers have always been those who studied textile design, fashion design, business, and handicraft, among others. plus, as i said before, i don’t actually have any academic title, because i took a 3 year diploma program (though it did take place at a university). to get an academic title, i would’ve had to take another year of studying, but i decided not to and jumped right into the working life.

comparing my home country and Finland, i can’t deny that i wish things were a bit different, both there and here. i wish it was less strict here, that people don’t necessarily have to have certain degrees or academic title to get a job, as long as the job in question doesn’t involve people’s life or death, of course (as in doctors or other paramedic fields), or academic teaching. jobs that require creative ideas or designs might work for those with no academical background as long as they can prove that they have it in them. but on the other hand, i wish that it was a bit more strict in Indonesia, that not just anybody can end up being an English teacher (who can’t even pronounce the word “umbrella” correctly –> my English teacher in middle school), a translator (who translated “toilet paper” as “kertas amplas” which means “sandpaper”. ouch), and let’s not even mention the political jobs.

i guess both countries can learn a bit from the other one. if you’re like me, and have no title, don’t worry. you’ll do fine in life!

and i hope one day i have the right answer when someone asks me that question again. opiskelin mainonta, työskennelin muotitoimittajana vähäksi aikaan, olin myös freelance romaanin kääntäjä ja mitäsköhän muuta. :p