Last month, Alex and I headed to Helsinki for a super long weekend. Before my trip to Finland, I knew only a few Finnish things, primarily the Moomins and Ivana Helsinki. I still don’t know that much more, but I’ve come away wanting to explore more of Finland (and everywhere else in the world, for that matter).
If you’re ever find yourself in Helsinki, here are a few things I recommend: enjoying a cinnamon bun & the emperors bride tea at Cafe Regatta, exploring the basement of the Arkadia International Bookshop (see the snake, the huge variety of books and plenty of places to sit and rest), see the Sibelius Monument, visit the City Museum for free and simply just wander round the city – Helsinki is a very walkable city. And remember the essential Finnish – “Hei” and “Kiitos”.
So London, visiting my friend there came at a strange time. The beginning of January has been tumultuous. Things have begun and ended, sometimes leading me to get a little lost along the way. However, at the same time, its put everything into perspective for me. When you’re put outside your comfort zone it makes you realise the things you really want and need. So, here’s to the hope of better times! :)
One of the things I wanted to do this year was explore new places, lucky for me I’ve been able to go to both Brecon Beacons and Birmingham before the first week of 2015 was out. Birmingham is a lovely city with a good mix of traditional and modern buildings, from The Bullring shopping centre and library to the central Museum. My highlights included visiting the independent shops found in The Custard Factory, dining at Topokki (mmm, takoyaki curry), watching Birdman at The Electric Cinema (this Portlandia sketch anyone?) and admiring all the artwork in Birmingham’s Museum & Art Gallery.
So… I’m over a week late saying goodbye to 2014. But here goes, Goodbye 2014 and Hello 2015! So what am I hoping to achieve this year? Well apart from my continued goals of learning Japanese, finding a creative job, procrastinating less and spending time with loved ones… I really want to improve my artistic output. This means blogging more, working on personal projects, collaborating with other creative people and trying something new as often as I can. Because if there’s one thing I’ve learned from last year, its that just sitting around and doing nothing really isn’t all its cracked up to be.
I’m trying my upmost to rekindle my wonder for exploring places, its difficult when you’re in a place where you’ve lived for almost half your life. But don’t assume by any means that I dislike Cardiff, perhaps there are a few things I would like to improve (*ahem*public transport*ahem*), but on the whole there have been many exciting and fun things happening round here recently.
Everyone needs one, a survival kit to pack for a long arduous journey. My journey in particular happened in August, when I made my way with my family to the Outer Hebrides, to where my grandfather was born, Stornoway. My last trip to Scotland had been a bitterly cold October, so it was a surprise to be greeted by white sandy beaches and blue skies. Wild heather carpeted everywhere, as I watched it rush past the car window, accompanied by the occasional sheep, empty bus stop or sheep in bus stops. As tiring as it was to travel there, I couldn’t have been more enamoured with such a beautiful place. The landscape took me back to when I visited Iceland in May, both have such raw beauty to them.
At the beginning of last month I returned to my family home in rainy Wales. It’d been the longest I’d ever been away from my immediate family, without visiting. I can’t deny that the significant distance between here and Vancouver factored into my return. But now I’m restless. Being in a place I’m so familiar with, has taken away my curiosity. When I visit new places, I want to walk about everywhere (which is in constant battle with my natural nature of “couch potato”). I’d like to regain that feeling of wonder for my environment, so I’ve decided that starting next month – I will try and get out of the house and explore. I also hope it will rekindle my interest for sharing the daily grind on here, as I’ve been terribly inattentive for a while.