Sunday, 27 February 2011

Finland artwork

When I wrote about visiting the Wäinö Aaltosen Museo here I included a picture of one piece I saw, Harro Koskinen's "Tahrainen Suomi". I mentioned that I was inspired by the piece and wanted to do something similar myself, and today I did. I felt ridiculous buying a flag from a tourist shop, but I guess it was worth it.
I felt that Koskinen's work had some negative connotations, possibly just because it was included in an exhibition themed on death. I wanted to give this work a more positive feeling, so I used a variety of colours, including some bright tones. I also included an outline of Finland, as it felt like otherwise the work was a bit lost and meaningless.
I'm pleased with it, but it was quite physical work as the flag is large, and I had to move around constantly. Now I'm exhausted. If anyone would like to purchase it, it is currently available for sale from my Etsy shop, for €25, plus postage. You can find a link to it on the "Who am I?" page.

Saturday, 26 February 2011

Frozen in Norway?

I've booked my flights to go to Norway! I'm going at the end of April and I'm really excited. It'll be great to go to a new country, visit two new cities (Oslo and Bergen), and of course, to see one of my English friends. I'm really looking forward to it.
I'm now thinking about travelling to some other places I maybe wouldn't bother with if I was still in England. For example, from Turku airport it's possible to fly to Gdansk in Northern Poland, which looks like a beautiful city, and it can be as cheap as £20, so why wouldn't I go there? Emmi mentioned it to me before and it sounds like a good idea. Obviously, going to Stockholm is also a priority because it's so cheap and easy from here, and it would make an ideal daytrip or weekend away.
I'd like to visit other places in Finland too, as I've only been to Turku, Helsinki, Espoo and Naantali, but I'm not sure where to go.

Last night

Last night was a really good end to a bit of a rubbish week. I was talking with two of the girls I live with and I said that, due to losing my keys, I couldn't go out at night because I couldn't wake everyone up to let me in at 2am, so we concluded the best solution was to go out drinking together! It was a good night, nothing too heavy, but it certainly cheered me up.
I'm really happy that we can start to become friends, rather than just being a bunch of people who live in the same flat. When I moved in I was told that it wasn't a sociable household and that the people here don't hang out together, but I think it's only that one person who has that attitude, the other two girls are equally keen for everyone to be more friendly. Apart from living with Jussi, I've always lived with friends, so it's normal to me to be on friendly terms with your flatmates and to spend time together.
One person also said she wants to have a housewarming party with her friends, and then we came up with the idea of everyone in the house agreeing on a date and having a bigger party where everyone can invite their friends all at once. It would probably also avoid arguments with the less sociable people about too many parties going on. I don't know when we'll be doing that but it sounds fun.
When we went out we went to a bar I'd never heard of before, but it turned out to be great. It's called El Gringo, it's tiny, and they serve really tasty tortilla wraps. That's the main reason we went there but we had a drink too. It was one of the smallest bars I've ever seen - it wasn't much bigger than my bedroom - but it seemed like a popular place to go. It was very cheap too - the food was €3 and a beer was €2.50. The atmosphere was nice, and as we'd been drinking at home already, a snack was a really good idea. I'd definitely recommend it to people in Turku.
The other exciting thing is that I'm looking into flights to visit my friend Selina, who's studying abroad in Norway for a year. I can go there for a little under £40 each way, so it seems like a genius idea. She lives in Bergen, and to go directly there would still be less than £80, but I think going to Oslo and getting a train saves a bit of money. I'm really excited about doing that though, it's another new experience I might not have if I was in England, and going to a new country is always fun. Even though none of my problems have magically disappeared I feel a lot more positive and happy today.

Friday, 25 February 2011

Pervs and British things

Continuing with how thorough the Finnish medical profession are, they decided I needed to be swabbed for bacteria because I spent a day in an English hospital last summer. I had to do this twice, and let's just say that some of the swabs were...invasive. As if a very thorough internal examination wasn't enough. I'll leave it at that.
In addition to Kunto magazine, in Anttila yesterday I noticed a magazine, seemingly aimed at tweenieboppers entitled "Fani." It translates as "fan" but I still laughed. But then, I have to stifle a giggle whenever someone in a shop asks me if I want a bag. For English speakers, that's because the Finnish word for bag is a rather unpleasant word you might use as a name for female genitalia...or to refer to your cat.
This week has also been good for finding British products. I was craving cheese toasties, made with proper cheddar, which is hard to come by here. I'd heard that K-Supermarket sells Cathedral City, which I wouldn't normally buy, but I made a special trip anyway. I don't normally shop there but it was so worth it. I finished the whole block in one evening. That's probably not something to be proud of. This week I've also been reading British Glamour, Cosmopolitan and Marie Claire. It's really nice to have those magazines. Wicklund has a surprisingly large selection of foreign magazines, including various British ones. It's been a nice treat to have all this stuff available to me. In England I'm constantly reading magazines, so it's nice to have the chance to do that here. Especially as I'm madly stressed from losing both my keys and glasses, and having so many obstacles come up that the Kela stuff still hasn't been dealt with. I feel completely useless this week but I really hope to start getting my shit together from now on. My problem is that I let other people get in the way of what I'm doing, and don't prioritise myself enough. I've really learned that recently, and it has to stop. I need to start working harder on getting what I want and need, even if other people don't want me to.
It feels like there's not enough hours in the day, which is hardly a surprise when someone else promises to help you and then insists on making you watch tv with them all day, ignoring your pleas to go outside and get stuff done. I can't let anyone hold me back or drag me down for a day longer. I'm fed up with promises that don't quite stick, and my time being wasted as a result. From now on I'm sticking with the people who genuinely will help me, not put their desire to stay in bed over my need to get stuff done.

Monday, 21 February 2011

Finnish healthcare

Previously I complained about the healthcare system here, but I have now changed my mind completely. Today I had an appointment with a doctor, for a problem I have had before in England, and the treatment I received here was far superior to what was available in England.
I'm not saying that the doctors in England were uncaring or did a bad job; I had no reason to complain at the time and I still do not think they did anything bad. The difference is that the Finnish medical staff and procedures seem to be much more thorough than in England. When the same problem came up in England, although I was treated very well, my appointment consisted of a bit of chat, a prescription, and that's about it. The doctor I met today examined me much more thoroughly, both physically and through talking, gave me a prescription and also immediately referred me to the clinic next door for blood and urine tests to make sure everything was ok. All the staff I saw today had to speak to me in English, and although I know that many doctors working in England are from other countries (my last GP was Turkish), they are surely much more used to speaking English than the staff in Finland, seeing as they live in an English speaking country, and yet everybody today worked very hard to ensure I understood everything and knew exactly what was going on. I also like the fact that in England if you take a urine sample you usually have to wander around finding someone to give it to, which is a bit embarrassing, but here the toilet in the clinic has a cupboard to put your sample into. Very clever, and much more discreet.
In comparison to a blood test I had in the summer in Enfield, this was a much better experience. It was pretty much painless, whereas in Enfield my arm was in a lot of pain. Maybe that was just the luck of which nurse took the sample though. Another positive is that the doctor took her time - sometimes in England it feels like they want you in and out as quickly as possible, probably because the doctors are overworked and have too many patients to see.
All in all, I'm very impressed with the system here. I'm not best pleased that I'm obliged to pay for this, but as it's only €13 it's hardly going to break the bank. I also think they ought to have some provisions for emergency GP appointments, as they do in England if you're from another country, or even only outside of your local area. I would have really needed to see someone in December, but I was refused an appointment and not given any other help or advice about where I could go, purely because at the time I did not have a social security number. To be honest, if I'd been able to get some assistance then I wouldn't have needed to see a doctor today. At least the treatment I did receive was of a very high quality, and I would not be worried if I needed to see a doctor again in this country.

Saturday, 19 February 2011

House things

In addition to the list of stuff I need here, I've realised I probably need a rug. This room is insanely cold, probably because the window doesn't seem to lock properly, and the bare floor isn't very nice. Also, if anyone can suggest somewhere to get a really cheap proper bed I'd like to know. I don't want to go to Ikea because I wouldn't be keeping it when I eventually go home. At the moment I'm using someone's sofa bed, which is obviously better than nothing, but ideally I'd like something a bit bigger and more comfortable. A few people have offered me various items that I need, and hopefully my new debit card will arrive soon, meaning that I have access to money and can buy some new things.
I actually like this flat very much, and the location is ideal, but it doesn't seem to be very well maintained. The owner lives in Helsinki, and she doesn't seem to care very much about keeping the flat in good condition. I was talking to someone else who lives here, and we think we ought to make a list of all the problems and demand that they all get sorted out. We've been without an oven for a week now, and microwaving every meal is quite depressing. I'd love to cook something properly, rather than eating soggy baked potatoes all the time. The bathroom ceiling is in a horrible state because builders had to remove a lot of it due to damp, the buzzer doesn't work apparently, some rooms are too hot and others are too's a bit of a shambles. With some proper care it would be such a lovely place to live. I can cope with most of these problems though, if only we had a proper oven! Apparently a new one should be coming in the next few days, but it's very frustrating. If only I could afford to have Hesburger every day!
I know I sound like I'm just moaning but I do actually like the flat, it's nice and big, and I'm in a much more secure, stable position than I was previously. I'm sure that once the various problems are sorted out, and I have all the stuff I need there won't be anything to complain about.

Thursday, 17 February 2011

Parade of teenagers

Today there was a parade of teenagers on trucks celebrating going on study leave for exams. There seemed to be a truck for every school and they drove around the center of Turku making noise and throwing sweets to everyone. It was so cute watching younger children running up the street after them because they wanted the sweets. Seeing a cheeky policeman, who was probably supposed to be keeping order, picking up all the sweets and eating them was also a highlight.
I think it's a very nice tradition because they all seemed so happy, and all the pedestrians were happy to watch them pass. They held up all the buses, were very noisy, and it was a very cheerful morning. Nice one teenagers.
When I was their age my school had a tradition of allowing the ones about to go on study leave to pull pranks, dress up, and generally be a bit cheeky. I think that officially the practice was banned the year it was our turn, because previous years had got a bit out of hand, although I remember there were still a few stink bombs and some interesting interpretations of the school uniform. It's a shame because when I was about 13 I'd already planned that when it was my turn I was going to put condoms over the exhaust pipes on the teacher's cars...never got the chance, unfortunately.
I thought this was a nice one though because lots of schools were involved, they all had colourful banners (including one with Gollum on it...), and it was all good-natured and fun. They were all waving and singing songs, and people in the street seemed to enjoy seeing them. Walking to the supermarket was a bit difficult because the kids had attracted a pretty big crowd. Good for them. I don't think this kind of thing really goes on in England but it was a nice thing to watch.

Tuesday, 15 February 2011

Back onto the weather

The temperature at the moment is ridiculous in my opinion! Someone told me that the clocks in market square were reading -20 degrees this morning! Even one of my new flatmates said that the past few days have been exceptionally cold, and that this isn't quite normal. Apart from at Christmas, which was around -24, this is the coldest I've felt it here, and I'm definitely more comfortable in low temperatures now than when I first arrived. It's actually painful to be outside at the moment, and earlier I managed to walk down the street in relative comfort with 4 layers, a coat, and a scarf. Even then I was a bit too cold, and even with gloves my hands were numb. This reminds me of when I first came to this country; I found the climate completely overwhelming. Luckily the weather is still bright and beautiful, which at least means that it's not completely depressing.
I still haven't managed to get to Kela - there were some complications yesterday, including trying to see a doctor and discovering that my social security number isn't in the system. They set up an appointment for me anyway, and told me to just go and complain to Maistraati. Which I did today, and thankfully it was a simple, and easily solved, problem. The address on file for me is from when I was staying with Emma and Tommi, and it was listed as only valid until January 2nd. Now I have my own house I just need to go to the police station to register as a resident of Finland, which apparently will not be that difficult, and then I should become a real person again. Although if the temperature doesn't rise dramatically tomorrow I'll be getting the bus - there is no way in hell I'm walking all the way down Erikinkatu whilst feeling that cold.
I've got so much to do at the moment that it's getting a bit overwhelming, but I'm sure things will be manageable if I just take it one thing at a time. This is clearly not going to be the most relaxing week of my life though. Plus the oven in my flat is now completely broken - everyone seems to be living on microwaved food and fruit, which isn't ideal with such cold weather.

Sunday, 13 February 2011

English people talk about the weather

I've been enjoying the weather for the past couple of days. Unfortunately it's been bitter and cold, which isn't so nice, even though I'm more used to it now, but it's been brighter and sunnier than I've ever seen it in Turku. There's still a lot of snow on the ground, but I really like how bright sunshine makes it sparkle, like someone poured silver glitter all over it. The sky has been really clear and blue; all weekend we've been lucky with lovely weather.
Another good thing is that it's staying lighter for longer now. On Friday and Saturday I saw the sun going down around 5.30, and the sky looked so lovely. There was so much colour, and it's much nicer than all the days that have been dark, grey, and depressing, and so much better than when it's dark really early. The weather here does tend to be a bit depressing, especially for someone who's not used to it. Everyone thinks of my country as being very grey and miserable, but they should see winter in Finland. We're definitely nowhere near the end of winter but I'm happy that the weather seems to be brighter and lighter. Maybe I'm appreciating it more because I'm going out and doing more things than I have for the past few weeks.
Tomorrow will be a busy day - Emmi and I are going to attempt to sort out some benefits/jobs and financial stuff for me from työvoimatoimisto and kela. I've been warned that this could be a stressful and lengthy process, but for now I'm choosing to remain optimistic...

Saturday, 12 February 2011

Lots of news

I'm very pleased to announce that, after one of the most stressful and overly complicated weeks of my life, I am in my own home! Yes, I have a key and everything. It's absolutely huge, but I'm sharing it with a few other girls. They all seem nice enough, but one girl admitted that they don't have a very sociable household so I'm glad I'm making more and more friends these days, I don't want to end up really isolated and lonely.
I now understand why a flat that's so central was dirt cheap - the oven doesn't work, it's freezing cold, the bathroom lock is broken, apparently there's an occasional ant infestation, and the bathroom ceiling was riddled with damp until a couple of weeks ago. I think it could be much worse though. I have the smallest room, but it doesn't matter because I have hardly any stuff. In fact being here has made me realise how little I brought with me. The room is a decent size though, and even with some more stuff in here I'd still have room for visitors from England to sleep. On the subject of stuff, I need a few things, some of which I'd rather not pay money for because I wouldn't be taking it back to England when I leave. There's a charity shop down the street which I know sells decent furniture and kitchen stuff quite cheaply, and I've already had some things donated to me, but if anyone has any of the following that they can give away or sell very cheaply, please let me know.
I need:
Clothes hangers
Coffee machine
Oven gloves
General kitchen stuff (I only have a frying pan that I bought when I came here. I don't need anything fancy, just basic stuff like saucepans, knives etc)
Crockery and cutlery
A table/desk
A chair
Bookcase/shelving unit
Plug socket extention lead (European sockets only)

If anyone does have these things going spare I'd be really grateful. You can even have it back when I leave if necessary.
I hate that new house feeling where it doesn't feel like it's yours, things aren't exactly how you want them, and you have hardly any entertainment. I'm so glad that today I was able to borrow a laptop and dongle because I was so bored last night! The feelings are even worse when you move somewhere that already has people living there. You feel so intrusive, like you shouldn't be there at all, or you're a guest. It's all so new - on my way home today I actually walked straight past my own front door!
Today I had a really lovely day. I went to meet a new friend, who's been reading this blog, and her children. I was excited that she has met Jasper Pääkkönen. Apparently he's very nice, and on his birthday he bought hot dogs for everyone! She showed me a couple of places where I can get a pretty good selection of English magazines (although none of the trash I usually like), and showed me somewhere to buy art materials. I was really impressed because everything there was Windsor & Newton, all decent stuff, and there was a really good product range. Then, at her house, I got to meet her cat! It's been way too long since I got to cuddle a cat.
This week has been pretty horrific overall but today was the silver lining. It was really nice to be able to do what I want for a change, and not have to panic about what someone else's reaction is going to be. I think that things are starting to fall into place a bit more. I've still got a couple of worries, but hopefully those things will also turn out ok, and I can really get things back on track. I'm optimistic now.

Tuesday, 8 February 2011


In some very strange twist of fate I've got a house to go to! It's actually the one I was planning to move to in January, and then backed out of for financial reasons. The estate agents seemed to think it was mine all along, never mind the bit where I agreed to go back to them with a deposit and they never saw me again...
But in a couple of days I'll be there. It's a good thing student loans accidentally gave me money. I know I shouldn't really be spending it, but I think somewhere to live is a legitimate reason to use it. I'm not just going on holiday or a shopping trip. Based on all the information I've been given it seems that Kela ought to be able to help me financially whilst my job is still irregular, and that already having a house means they're more inclined to do something for me.
I'm extremely relieved, and I'm glad that I won't need to pay for some nights in a hotel on top of a deposit. As I recall it was a very nice flat, the kitchen and living room are furnished, the bathroom was nice and the bedroom was pretty big. I'll have plenty of room to paint and make a mess. There are a few other girls living there, who probably have been there for a while already, but I'm sure I'll be ok. Plus it's very central, about 5 minutes walk to market square, maybe two minutes to the river, and when I do go to work the walking distance won't be any longer than before. It may even be quicker.
I was very stressed this morning, and now I feel a lot calmer. Tomorrow I'm going to deal with the deposit, and then the practical side of things should be ok, I just need to get over all the emotional trouble. I'm making plans for the weekend and I feel like I'm finally getting what I want. I still need to work on furniture, and if possible, claiming an old computer from someone; I threw mine away when I left England because it was so broken. All of this can be dealt with later on though, the most important thing is that things are working themselves out now, and I'm very pleased. This must be some good luck or karma, because I was expecting this process to be much longer and more difficult.

Moving forward

I'm currently looking into finding my own place to live, which would be really nice to have, but it looks like for a few days I'll be staying in a hostel or hotel, because someone (haha guess who) is making things difficult again. I realise a lot of people will think it's ridiculous, and I have questioned why I'm prepared to go through so much hassle to stay here. I'm sure that if my mother knew about all of this she'd be dragging me back to England herself, and I expect a few other people would share the sentiment. I know why I'm doing this. For a long time I've had my entire life controlled by another person, someone who even admits that I deserve better, and yet makes no attempt to change. So although it might be easier to just leave I'm feeling too defiant to do that. Some of my friends would rather I came home, my father has been of that opinion since day one, and a couple of times I've even wondered what the hell I'm thinking. I'm angry, and I'm refusing to let anyone tell me what is best for me. I've had 18 months of being told what was best for me, but it was never my best interests at heart. I'm going to do exactly what I want, even if it's more difficult, expensive, or risky. I just don't care.
Coming here in the first place was a risk, but obviously I had no idea that things would turn out in such an unfortunate way. Now I want to be here, and the fact that a couple of people want me to come home, even though I'm sure their opinions are based on concern for me and nothing else, makes me more determined and defiant. Also, the easiest way is not necessarily the best way. I'd rather be happy, and ending up living with my parents until autumn would not make me happy. I'd be fucking miserable. This is where I want to be, not forever, but for now at least. I came here, and it doesn't matter why, when or how, what matters to me is that I should get something out of this experience. It's a huge opportunity, and why would I give that up to go work a bullshit temporary job in England? There's so much I want to do. I want to conquer this language one way or another, I want to go to Norway to visit one of my friends who's studying in Bergen for a year, I want to go to Muumimaailma, I want to go to Stockholm, I want to see some other places in Finland...there's a lot of things that would be worth staying for.
Someone told me that if they'd had to put up with the crap I've experienced in the past few months they would have run home crying to their mother long ago. This was not said in a disrespectful way - I think they were trying to say that I was strong for getting through it. I don't think that at all, I think I'm too stubborn for my own good sometimes, and that's the only reason why I haven't done the same thing. Being stubborn and determined is the root of this. Why the hell should I give up just because things didn't go exactly to plan? Plus it's about time I got to do something purely for myself, and not allow anyone else's thoughts to sway me. The time to leave is when I feel ready to and I genuinely want to, not when someone else tells me I should. I'm a bit scared, but that doesn't mean I should give up. The inconvenience of it all annoys me, but hell, life is pretty inconvenient at times. I'm used to inconvenience. I don't expect everyone to agree with me on this but I hope that my friends continue to support and encourage me.
I'm sorry, I'm exhausted, angry and I've had too many bottles of ED.

Monday, 7 February 2011


Directly opposite my window there is a school. For some reason it got me thinking...

I see you sitting
Near the ceiling,
Below me, but
I remember being you.
Staring out, I saw
A river of glitter
Running through a field,
Or thought I did,
But was it real?
Have you seen
What you may not believe?
I hope it never
Happens to any of you.
If I were you
I'd be so far away,
Inventing a game.
I miss those days.

Saturday, 5 February 2011


Positive: A couple of days ago I sold my second painting ever! It's not for a lot of money but it's a start. I'm very pleased about that.
Also two very nice ladies in Turku have contacted me after reading this blog to make friends, which is also very nice. One is English, the other is Finnish but previously lived in London and wants to meet someone she can speak to in English. Sounds like my kinda people.

Negative: Those two points aside, the past few days have been absolutely brutal. It's looking more and more likely that I should just go home. In fact, I have a plane ticket, the question is whether or not to use it. If I can stay here then it's possible to just change the date of my flight to a later time, and use it for a holiday or something.
The root of the problem comes from having nowhere to stay. My friends here all seem to have their own problems and priorities right now, which I do understand and am not blaming them for, but as a result no one is able or willing to help me. I'm really disappointed, but I do understand that other people are not sitting around all day waiting, just in case I have a problem that needs solving. It's very annoying that at the moment I could easily afford a deposit for a house, mainly because the UK student loans company messed up and accidentally paid me a new loan installment. However, they've made it clear that they want it back, and I've already spent a fair amount, not realising why there was so much money available to me. At first I thought the bank had made a mistake. With the new suggestions I've had regarding benefits money, as well as my own ideas for making money, there's a chance something could get sorted out to cover rent, but I don't want to make any commitments before finding out for sure.
I'd be miserable if I ended up back in England already, because I feel like I'll be missing out on opportunities here. That was the point of being in this country anyway. As I'd be unable to return to university at this time I'd end up living a pretty boring life with some dead end, short term job, living with my parents in a city I hate. Vantaa suddenly got a lot more appealing, but that plan is also flawed. When things in Turku are steady I'm very happy, and although some people will consider this foolish, I think that being happy is more important. It looks like I have a few days to work out how to stay put. I feel that some kind of miracle would be my only hope, because I think I've exhausted my options.
My personal life is getting really screwed up too, and I keep wondering if all of this would have happened if we'd remained in London. I have no intention of explaining that stuff here though, so unless you know me you'll just have to make up your own version of that story. I will say that this week I realised that my personal situation is holding me back, and I think I'd be capable of doing some big and interesting things if it weren't for that. A small example is my language class - it's a simple thing I'm doing to better myself and to make life a bit easier here, and another person should not be preventing me from going; and due to the problems I'm having, I'm not really in a position to argue with that. I wish my friends and my mother were around, but not to the point that I'd choose to go home. I just need a hug.

Any thoughts?

Wednesday, 2 February 2011

Being productive and feeling better

I'm feeling much better about my problems because I've had so many supportive messages from my friends, and also complete strangers, both Finnish and foreign people in Finland, sympathising with me and offering some welcome advice. I'm very grateful to everyone for their encouragement.
Last night I set up an Etsy shop to sell artwork on, and I'm hoping that something will get sold to help me out, even if it's only a short term solution. This morning I've been working on a new painting to go in there, which I'm very satisfied with so far, replying to all these kind messages and thinking of some other potential projects. Plus I've done the laundry, only had a few hours sleep, and it's only 11am. Most days I wouldn't even be out of bed for another hour or so! I probably need some more coffee though.
In a way I'm really glad that I now have the motivation to work on these things. One of my personal aims for this year was to develop myself further as an artist and writer. Through this blog I've definitely devoted more time to writing, but without the influence of uni I felt like art was falling by the wayside a bit. I've really been lacking discipline, and I'm very happy to have now got back into the habit of working and developing ideas.
All the advice and good wishes have given me a new perspective on things. Yesterday I felt like I almost had no choice but to give up, yet now I feel like it's not over unless I decide it's over. I don't want that yet. They'll have to drag me kicking and screaming to the airport right now. I feel much more determined, and I think I'd miss out on a lot of cool stuff if I left now. I don't know exactly what is going to happen but I'm prepared to just do my best and let things unfold as they should.
So, the current plan is:
1. Work on some more small paintings to go on Etsy.
2. Make a digital portfolio to take to galleries. (If no one in Turku wants it, perhaps go further afield to Naantali and Salo)
3. Visit the employment agency to ask about proper jobs.

If anyone has any other suggestions or recommendations please contact me. And again, thank you all for being so supportive.

Tuesday, 1 February 2011

Voi Vittu

I feel like I'm just a bit screwed. I called the stamp shop today and my boss won't have any work for me until March. Finding another job is proving to be very difficult, due to my poor Finnish ability. I've contacted two English language pre-schools, Little Britannia, The Castle, cleaning jobs, and plenty of independent people looking for English speaking au peres or babysitters and nothing is coming up yet. A lot of the jobs that don't require Finnish are based in the capital. It doesn't help that all of my previous employment has been customer service based, which would be near impossible here. I couldn't even work in a supermarket. I can't survive on thin air, and now I'm really starting to think it's about time I admitted that things didn't go to plan here and I should go home.
Obviously I'd much rather be able to continue my life here but without an income that's not really possible. I have plenty of free time but I can rarely go and do something enjoyable without any money. Everything feels very empty in my life.
I have a couple of ideas that I could still try: printing adverts in Finnish for an art/English tutor, which I'd be quite keen to do anyway, possibly printing another advert as a cleaner or babysitter, trying to sell some artwork, and this is a very long shot, but making a portfolio on a USB and going to some small independent galleries I've seen to try to convince them they want my work. The commercial galleries here seem to be less exclusive than the London ones - aside from one particular gallery they all seem to have lots of different works by different artists crammed together, rather than focussing on one practitioner or theme. Even if that was a successful venture it wouldn't necessarily guarantee money, but I'm at the point that I need to try anything. I'm thinking I should set up an Etsy account too. If something doesn't come up very soon I'm probably going to have to call it a day on this one. I knew my prospects in this country weren't that great, and I've always been realistic about what's possible for me here, but I honestly didn't realise it would be so hard. Tomorrow I should probably go to the employment agency and see if they can help, but previously their only suggestions were cleaning ferries, which I applied for, and working for Nokia, although the Nokia website now says that speaking Finnish is a requirement, so maybe their rules have changed.
If anyone has any suggestions, however outlandish, of potential jobs or ways to earn money I'm willing to listen, and probably give it a shot. With the exception of prostitution, my standards are pretty low right now so I'll do anything. I don't care if it's weird, or even just irregular, because a number of irregular jobs might add up to something worthwhile. I would be extremely grateful for some help from any source.