Tuesday, December 11, 2007
I don't really know what any of it means. All i know is that this is one step closer to my dream of living in Finland. It actually seems possible now. And that's a good thing.
::Edit: And what was my first act as a college grad? Well, i went and had a cigarette and now i'm catching up on my LOLcats and this is where i'm going to be for a while.
Wednesday, December 5, 2007
Tuesday, November 27, 2007
All this started because i was on Saila's blog and one of her friends made a joke about Nuorgam, which i had no clue until i checked wikipedia, is the northern most point of Finland. I love learning! Here are some other things i learned about today.
- The Islands of Tristan da Cunha - A group of remote British Islands in the way south Atlantic with a little under 300 people who all speak English. They also have a very informative (if not a little outdated) website here. They also just got TV in 2001.
- Svalbard - The northern most part of the Kingdom of Norway, it's an archipeligo about 700 miles away from the North Pole (that's not very far). Home of the World's most northern ATM machine.
- Bouvet Island - The southern most part of the Kingdom of Norway, which is 1400 miles away from Tristan da Cunha TO THE SOUTH. It's like almost to Antarctica! Norway's badass.
- Anything on The World's Most Northern page of Wikipedia.
- Olavinlinna in Savonlinna, Finland - A medieval castle that's thr home of the Savonlinna Opera Festival every summer. I want to go!
- Kaffeklubben Island (The Coffee Club Island) - The most northerly piece of land (pretty much) on Earth has to do with coffee! Awesome!
- Finlandization - def: "the influence that one powerful country may have on the policies of a smaller neighboring country"
I'd post more, but it's 5 and that's closing time here at the slide library, so i'm going home.
Sunday, November 18, 2007
Just thought i'd share this with you. I'm such a nerd when it comes to Finland, my Halo 3 character has a Finnish flag on its shoulder. Obviously, the flag could be more of a latin cross than a greek cross, but that's the best i could do. It's good right?! I think it's great. I know, i'm kind of a loser....
Thursday, November 15, 2007
Wednesday, November 14, 2007
So i'd gotten a million dollars so, of course, i moved to Finland. However, even though i had a million dollars, i didn't get my own place. Instead i was staying on Saila's couch in her new apartment. I was casually looking for jobs, but not really trying hard, because i didn't really have to work. And that's all i remember.
Overall, very pleasant, but very weird. I hope in my dream i was at least helping Saila pay bills. That's kind of freeloading of me...
*sigh* I miss Finland.
Sunday, November 11, 2007
Step 1 of the instructions on the packet say, "Get a bottle of water and take a swig!" (Their exclamation point, not mine.) So i got a bottled water and took a swig. Right before i started to read step 2 (which is "Pour entire contents of packet into bottle."), i saw a section of the instructions that said "Choose Your Strength Level." Apparently a 16.9 oz. bottle is 'Safe', which is what we had. That's no good, if we're truly going to experience the RoBOOSTo then we don't want to do it half assed. A 12 oz. bottle is 'Strong', but we need the maximum, which according to the packet is an 8 oz. bottle, which is......'Intense'. We don't have an 8 oz. bottle water, but we DO have 10 oz. Ginger Ale bottles.
In my excitement, i dumped the Ginger Ale bottle down the drain. As i was pouring it down the sink Jason said, "I would have drank that." Kind of wasteful of me. I felt bad...
Anyways, i rinsed out the Ginger Ale bottle well and poured the bottled water into it leaving a significant amount of room. In my mind i saw it as 8 ounces minus a swig. Well, whether it was or not....
it wasn't enough room for the RoBOOSTo podwer. Jason got a funnel and everything, and we still had overflow problems. My conclusion, if you're going to go the 'Intense' route on the RoBOOSTo, take about 3 swigs out of an 8 oz. bottle, and that should leave you enough room. But as i'm pretty sure we're never going to do this again, that conclusion is pointless.
After i finally got most of the contents of the packet into the bottle, i proceeded to step 3, "Shake bottle well, drink and get Boosted!" (Their exclamation point, not mine.) While i was shaking the hell out of this bottle for a good 5 minutes, M'lissa thought it would be funny to make lines out of the RoBOOSTo powder that had spilled everywhere. I agreed with M'lissa that it was funny, however, we both decided it would not be funny to snort the lines............... and the thought of that just made me twitch.
As shot glasses are the perfect sampling cup for this kind of thing, we poured some of the 'Intense' RoBOOSTo mixture into 5 shot glasses for M'lissa, Jason, and I, and also Larisa and Erin, who were in the kitchen.
While we were drinking out of shot glasses, we didn't shoot it, we sipped on it. This would have been brutal to shoot, or so we thought. Both Larisa and i got nice chunks of powder in our first sips, which needless to say, was gross.
In all honesty, though, the general consensus was two things: 1) While it wasn't good, it wasn't as horrible as we thought it was going to be, and 2) for being 'Intense' it was pretty non-intense. It tasted like watered down Coffee Coolant (which is Octane blended coffee beverage), not "the Flavor of a Traditional Italian Coffee Latte" as was advertised. Overall, pretty anti-climactic. However, it was a fun little experiment. And my curiosity is satisfied finally.
As M'lissa said, which sums up everything quite nicely, "I feel RoBUSTed."
Saturday, November 3, 2007
I say all this to say that while i admit i have a great deal to learn about coffee and i'm always looking for ways to improve, at the same time i know what i'm doing. I know how to make a pretty decent espresso drink. I'm pretty confident 2nd place in the SERBC doesn't happen by a fluke.
The thing about working in a coffee shop, though, is that a lot of people don't care if you've won an award. Don't get me wrong, a lot of people do, and Octane's customers, especially our regulars, are some of the best customers in the world and we love them all, and nothing makes me happier than working hard to make them an awesome drink. But a lot people just aren't that into it their coffee, which is totally okay. That's not my job. My job is to make them a drink that they like.
The story behind this whole post is that on Halloween, i was working with Gavin, and a very nice gentleman came in and ordered and espresso and said he also wanted something else. He looked at the menu and ordered and macchiato, which at Octane (and traditionally) is espresso with a little bit of steamed milk on top. I politely made sure that's what he wanted, as i was confused why he would want an espresso AND macchiato. Anyways, i made him his espresso first, as i assumed he would want to sip on it while i made him his other drink. I made the espresso, set it down in front of him. He smiled and then waited for me to finish his other drink. After i made it, he took both outside.
Now espresso starts to go bad pretty quickly after it's made. I always get a little nervous when people don't drink it right away. As it turns out, the reason he waited was because it was for someone else. The reason i know this is because about 2 minutes after he went outside a woman came back inside, set the espresso down, and proceed to very aggressively tell me how horrible the espresso was and if she could get something else. Now i've dealt with my fair share of upset customers in my day, but the thing that was different about this particular one was her complaint. She was upset specifically at the TASTE of an ESPRESSO. There's no milk or syrup to change flavors in an espresso. You're skill is exposed, there's nothing to hide behind. I proceed to ask her what was wrong with it and if it was too bitter or something, so i could fix it. She said, and i quote, "Bitter doesn't even begin to describe it."
Wow. At this point, i'm absolutely mortified. I tell her i must have made some mistake and practically beg her to let me make her another espresso. Sensing how badly my feelings are hurt, she proceeds to blame the beans and that she'll just have a macchiato. I make her another espresso really wanting to make things right, but she doesn't even touch it. After i make her macchiato, she takes it outside, and i receive no more feedback.
I tried the espresso i made her, since she didn't touch it. It wasn't the "God shot" but it was fine. First off, the espresso she got sat for a way too long because the guy didn't know any better. Second, it was the Toscano blend, and it can have those high notes it. Third, it was still really fresh and had some gasiness to it. Fourth, i think she was in a bad mood and felt the need to be really dramatic.
Anyways, even though there was a logical explanation for it all, my confidence was significantly weakened. When something that i had a little bit of pride in was so brutally spoken of, part of me wanted to say something to effect of, "Look, lady, you're being irrational. LOOK AT THE TROPHIES. I know what i'm doing!" but thankfully i didn't. That would have done way more harm than good, obviously.
And thanks to few compliments i received yesterday, my confidence is back.
The moral of this story is that being a barista isn't as easy as it looks in the movies...
Friday, November 2, 2007
I remember there was one where i had a piece of wood that turned into a guitar. But it had plastic strings and the base somehow had a screen on it. I don't know where the pickups were supposed to be.
I remember also i had the sweetest espresso i've ever had. It wasn't warm, which was weird, but there was absolutely no remote hint of bitterness. I don't remember if i was the one to make it or not. I remember thinking how awesome it was that this espresso was so sweet without any sugar being added to it, but then i also remember thinking i could have really used some more brightness to it. It was a little too sweet.
I also had a Finland dream in there too. It was one of the more blurry ones. Somehow it involved a Finnish flag. I think Saila and Sini may have been in it too.... i can't remember....
Dream are weird...
Sunday, October 28, 2007
I realized recently that for someone who wants to get into the coffee industry, i don't talk about it much. I'm going to change that! From here on out "My Heart is in Helsinki" is about Finland AND Coffee! Hooray! I even changed my banner a little!
It was either that, or start a new blog, and i really don't want to be "that guy".
(And yes, i did do the 'Metal Latte'. But that picture's from a while ago, and i stole the idea from a magazine and Danielle...)
Tuesday, October 16, 2007
This past Saturday, some friends (Maria, Madison, and Chris) and i went to the Scandinavian Festival at Oglethorpe University, and let me tell you.... It. Was. Awesome.
Well, like i said before, even if i saw only one Finnish flag, it was going to be worth it. And i saw one, so i was pretty stoked. When we first got there, we walked by some booths and got some food tickets, and just checked out what our options were.
On the main stage, for the most of the time we were there, there was the "Georgia Brass Band" which was playing a lot of Austin Powers and Star Wars.... not sure what's Scandinavian about that.... then again there was a later act that sounded like Irish folk music (i think it actually was Irish), so maybe they didn't care about getting some Scandinavian music going. In any case, we didn't hang out by the main stage much.
Pretty early on, Maria and Madison decided they wanted Finnish Pancakes. (They were only $3, not $5!) I had never actually heard of Finnish Pancakes before and despite the novelty of them being Finnish, i didn't get one, although i tried some of Maria's, and it was pretty good. The line for Finnish Pancakes was REALLY long. Definitely the longest in the whole festival, so "Hyvää Suomi!" (Did i spell that right, Saila?)
While Finland was representin' in the pancakes department, else where..... not so much. In fact, except for the Icelanders (which had virtually nothing but a 5x5 section in the tourism section), Finland was the least represented. Denmark and Sweden had tons of booths like this one....
And by tons, i mean 3 or so. Finland had one really small booth with a couple of Fazer things, some Marimekko napkins (Really? Napkins? Of all the cool Marimekko stuff there is?), and a few Iittala glasses. Kind of lame.
In the tourism section though, the Finns had a little more going on. Most of it was really cheesy things like a video tape that was probably 10 years old about how great Finland was (in English), but i still loved it. I talked to this very nice old Finnish woman, and when she found out i was moving to Finland she couldn't stop smiling! She called me "a wonderful young man" and was very enthusiastic about me moving. We talked about the weather in Finland, and i told her that Kari Lehtonen (goalie for the Atlanta Thrashers) needed to be on the "Finnish Athletes" wall. I also learned from her that Tampere is "the Manchester of Finland" (i guess Helsinki is London). I also briefly talked with another nice old Finnish woman who runs a Finnish language school in Atlanta. I asked about classes for adults, and she said they used to have them, but don't anymore, because everyone drops out after only a couple weeks! Ouch... But she gave me her card, and said i could e-mail if i had any questions anyways.
Even though some aspects were kind of disappointing, the Scandinavian Festival was still awesome in my eyes. The highlight of the my day (possibly week) was when a woman waiting in line for Finnish Pancakes said, "Are they selling those here?" while pointing to my 'Suomi' hoodie. I told her i didn't think so, to which she asked "Where did you get it?" I got a huge grin on my face and just said, "In Finland." *sigh*
Oh, i almost forgot. Here's some Norwegian trolls.
Friday, October 12, 2007
Tomorrow i'm going to rock the "Suomi" hoodie at the Atlanta Scandinavian Festival with my friend Maria (who's half-Swedish and shares my love for Scandinavia) and we're going to have a blast. Don't worry, i'll take lots of pictures and do a big post tomorrow or Sunday. It will probably be cheesy, but we're such huge dorks we'll love it even if it's lame. If i see one Finnish flag (which i will) it will be worth it.
Thursday, September 20, 2007
So yesterday i posted about receiving a package from friends in Finland which included some newspaper clippings. Part of Saila's note said, "I've also enclosed a little article to help you learn Finnish and see what the fabulous Gregorius looks like now (he's a library employee)." Being the dense person i am, i totally thought Saila was being weird and funny and sending me some random article about a library employee just for fun and to practice my Finnish on.
WELL, Saila commented on the post from yesterday informing me that the guy in the article is the guy from the Finnish YMCA video. I'm an idiot. For some reason Gregorius didn't register in my brain, even though it flashes "Gregorius" in the middle of the video. Anyways, all of sudden, i understood the article a lot better. I still have a lot of translating to do, but at least i know what it's about now. I feel really stupid for not putting the pieces together quicker, but in my defense, i didn't look super closely at the article until after Saila told me who it was.
Wednesday, September 19, 2007
A couple days ago i received the much anticipated Eurovision DVD in the mail that Saila and Sini's dad made for me. I haven't watched it yet, but i'm extremely excited. (Thanks, Mr. Savolainen!) Much to my surprise, also included were notes from Saila and Sini with newspaper clippings!
Saila's newspaper clipping (the first image) is to help me with my Finnish. For practice purposes. All i've got so far is that the dude in the picture either did something or had something done to him 600,000 times. I'm still working on it...
Sini's newspaper clipping (second image) has the English meanings of a bunch of towns around Helsinki and Espoo. Pretty hilarious stuff. Again, also good Finnish practice. Hilariously enough, on the back of Sini's clipping is an add for SINI cleaning products. How amazing is that? I think i actually laughed out loud when i saw that.
Needless to say, i'm definitely feeling the Finnish love from this side of the ocean.
::EDIT!! UPDATE!!:: - According to a comment left by Saila, the dude in the first picture is the guy from the Finnish YMCA video!!!! (scroll down to see the clip) This just took it to a whole new level!!!
Tuesday, September 18, 2007
I'm going to have to snap back to reality here in a few minutes, and it's going to be horrible, but i figured i'd try to preserve the peace for a moment longer.
Tuesday, September 4, 2007
I feel pretty good about the fact that i'm able to pull this off. I'm not sure what it is. I am a little pale. That helps. Maybe i have a bit of that cool Helsinki fashion in me? Well, there's one way to check and see if this is remotely true (i've already decided it's a little true), and that is with the gem of a website known as Hel Looks. Hel Looks is just this little hobby website done by these two photographers who wanted to document the looks of the people of Helsinki, mainly young people. For me, it's hours of entertainment, because soon, these will be my people.
Not only are there lots of cute girls, but there's some bad ass dudes (like Janne, Sami, and Antti) which i'm definitely taken mental notes from for style ideas.
Now once you've looked around on that site for a while, you'll realize that not everyone is so progressive. There's definitely the goth scene and metal scene going pretty strong, but overall, this site makes Finland look awesome (and makes up for the "The Finnish YMCA", right, Sini?).
And besides, who wouldn't want to live in a place where they produce dudes like Roberto?!
Thursday, August 23, 2007
Wednesday, August 22, 2007
Wednesday, August 15, 2007
At first i thought, "Well, that's understandable. Finnish is kind of an obscure language." But then i found the languages they do offer. Along with the major ones, they have Welsh, Pashto, and Tagalog!??!?!?! Are you serious?!?! (Although, Welsh would be cool.) The Finns have been shafted... Well, people who want to be Finns are being shafted i should say. I'm content with my Teach Yourself Finnish book and CD's, but i still thought that was screwed up.
On a side note, i named my new iPod (that i got for free when i purchased my new MacBook) "Anteeksi, en ymmärrä" which means "Sorry, I don't understand" which i find HILARIOUS.
On an additional side note, Saila's dad is mailing me a DVD of this years Eurovision, which is so sweet, i almost cried. I love the Savolainens!
Tuesday, August 7, 2007
If there's one thing i can't wait for, it's the crisp, clean Finnish air. It's delicious. And that's yet another reason why i'm looking forward to moving.
Monday, July 30, 2007
I was informed of something i didn't know existed called a "working-holiday visa" which is easier to get than a straight up working visa and lasts a year in some cases. In my preliminary investigating, however, i found Americans aren't eligible for this. Suck. After more investigating and screwing around on the Directorate of Immigration website for Finland, i looks like in order to work in Finland, i need a residence permit. Now i'm confused. I don't think a residence permit is the same as a visa, but at the same time i wonder...
There's a Finnish consulate here in Atlanta that i just need to go to and figure everything out, but i've been putting it off, because i'm scared they're going to hate me and make sure i can't get into their country ever again. I realize this is an irrational fear, but it's very real in my mind. Hopefully i'll summon up the courage soon, but i really should get the ball rolling on this thing.
That reminds me, i need to renew my passport...
Wednesday, July 25, 2007
A couple weeks ago i received my Teach Yourself Finnish book and CD's along with my Finnish-English pocket dictionary from Amazon. I don't have any delusion in my mind that it's going to take me forever to learn this language, but i still can't help but be optimistic.
I've been practicing along with the CD's in my car, and i think i'm getting pretty good. My favorite phrase i've learned so far is "silloin tällöin" which means "now and then". It's my favorite because it sounds really cool. I also like "hyvää päivää" a lot also. That means "good day".
The thing that's taking the most getting used to is the vowels. They're 8, and there's short and long forms. The trickiest is "y" because it's doesn't sound anything close what it sounds like in English, so i'm not going to even try to type it out phonetically. I think i've got it down now though.
Speaking of which, i think i'm going to practice now...