Tag Archives: Finland

Semper Fi.

What makes a person study, research and thereby devote their life to the worst of humanity?

To trying to comprehend, dissect, analyse, and therewith make known and ensure it’ll never be forgotten – the most horrendous choices mankind has made?

And what, then, makes a white girl Savo gal study slavery and the incomparable work of art, literature, music and encoded ingenious that it withholds and produced, not from more than necessity and determination? Why them?

Empathy? Sympathy? Guilt of white privilege?

However, racism does not define itself by colour solely. Racism is the white skinned jew persecuted for a faith older than recognised humanity, racism and prejudice is putting that extra step between you and the slightly Arabic looking man, racism and prejudice and suspicion based on hearsay is thinking the Ukrainian, the Serb, the Czech, the Russian, the Slightly Different Looking than My Majority (anyone) without the obviousness of root of the basic of the German, the Scandinavian or, at the moment though– in comparison– this is a relatively new phenomenon, of the American origin. None them actual being just one or the other. All of them being more.

How many (of us, they, you, her, he, she, co, ne, ve, spivak, ze, xe, that one over there)  have been judged based on their skin, hair, accent, education, gender, birth vs recognised gender, number of tattoos or piercings, choice of a job, being a stay at home mom/dad, disability of body or mind, their lineage of family, expectations rules rigours rebellion? All of them.

Prejudice does not end in colour. It does not end in religion. It does not end in gender. And it is not one man or woman, one nation or a news channel. Its them. We all contribute, in tiny ways. We might not want to, but we are – impacted, influenced, imparted with and programmed to see, hear, repeat, regurgitate, and learn things in a manner convalescent of the majority around us. We don’t always get to make the choices best for us. Our inner selves. It takes time. Being different. It takes time. To break off a mould planned and designated. It takes courage to make that change, alteration, challenge, admission, recognition, acceptance and profession of our each one’s uniqueness.

And it’s not overnight, it’s not easy – but it is necessary and it is unavoidable.

So, why does a white privileged Finnish gal, with both jewish and gypsy heritage, from Savo area of Finland, living in Scotland, an expatriate and an immigrant with Crohn’s disease and ADHD, gets herself neck deep in studies on inequality, race, gender and privilege? Because she has been prejudiced against, because she has guilt, because she hopes, plans, educates, challenges and prays there is a way for her to make a crack at it. From them. Because reading Sojourner Truth, Frederick Douglass, Claudia Rankine, Toni Morrison, To Kill a Mockingbird, The Handmaid’s Tale, Boy Meets Boy, Rock Hudson, Mary Wollstonecraft, Marsha P. Johnson. And my friends, new and old. etc et al ad infinitum. For them. Semper et in perpeetum.

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Christmas in the Oksman House

DSCN4612It is Christmas. This is one of those gushing, love of the written word and love the print book writings that I could not help but to write, after having been stuffed with food and warm drinks, after having opened the sweet presents, and as the tradition follows, having come home to myDSCN4644 mother’s house, where books are everywhere – by the last count 1750 counted for books cover the walls of mother’s Belgian home’s and Finland‘s summerhouse walls, books that I have admired and some that I have read, books that have been read to me and books I hope to one day add to my own slowly growing collection. Books everywhere.

Christmas is all about books for us as well; traditionally Santa brings us both bundles of books – this year I got to add Charlotte Brontë’s Villette in my collection, together with Shakespeare Unbound and a book on coffee and pasta! My mother found from her stocking a Booker price shortlister, another one for her Anne Donovan collection, the first of Simon’s Cat series as well a trip to memory lane with the orginal of an old favourite, one she had only ever read in translation before.

On top of adding to my collection I have a new “hobby” – I’m lucky to get to read slush for a publishing house, which keeps me busy on quiet moments (I do not fare well with nothing to do – keeping busy keeps happy). Having just finished one manuscript that I DSCN4592was happily surprised with, I have moved on to read a proof of another publishing house‘s upcoming book, and find myself immersed to the rich language and story. Reading for work at a holiday – mad some say. But I don’t find my work that worky, to be honest. I enjoy every bit of the reading, planning, imagining and then the tasks that will follow afterwards. My internships are a treat for me, a proof for me that I am in the right field. I love to read, I love the feel of a book in my hand, I love having grown up with the smell of books and having been read to aloud since I was a few weeks old. A tradition that still follows in our family, with my brother reading to his gorgeous girls.

Although, each of Stirling University‘s guests this semester and previously, as well as the professors, have all emphasised how love of books is not enough but publishing is a business, and should be treated as such. Sure. After Christmas. Now where’s my book…

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World’s Weirdest Hotels and Why You Should Spend a Night

My Social Passport by Aija Oksman


Have you ever thought of doing something completely different when you travel? To try out something that would push your own limits and allow you to experience something than no one else can even describe? Of course you have. We all have. But have you ever thought of combining those mind-blowing experiences with spending your nights in a mind-blowing environment?

Firstly, how about some northern lights, snow, vastness of the Finnish mid-winter darkness and whilst enjoying the whole show nature provides you with, then to actually spend your nights in an actual igloo? The Igloo hotel in Finland offers travellers and experience seekers the opportunity of spending a night or few in an actual igloo – albeit it might be built of glass, it is the closest thing to amazing you can get. And besides, if you were in a real igloo of snow, you couldn’t see through and have the whole universe above you dancing in all the colours of polar lights.

Salt hotel in Palacio del Sal in Bolivia
You probably never thought of sleeping in salt. Can’t believe anyone has. Situated at the edge of the largest salt flat, Salt Hotel in Palacio del Sal will offer something rather different as a sleeping experience. Uyuni, the closest large city, is bit ways away but an overnight train will get you there in a jiffy, so you have the opportunity to enjoy both the hotel’s healthy environs as well as the pleasures of a city. But wait! It’s not just the hotel that’s made of salt, also the dining table, the chairs and the pool is built of salt. That should keep you afloat. Do bring with you lots of water. And don’t lick the walls – the staff has strict policies against that.

Ice hotel in Jukkasjärvi in Sweden
Shifting from solid frozen to a free flowing river, the Icehotel at Jukkasjärvi is constantly moving. Throughout the building process (from December onwards), a new part is added to the hotel, which ensures the ongoing surprise element as well as unique surroundings for those seeking for a truly exceptional experience. And the hotel promises to “develop and offer sensuous, inspiring and unique experiences within art, nature, accommodation and gastronomy”. And all of this whilst you enjoy one of nature’s most beautiful shows; the polar lights dancing right outside your windows. Oh my, now that’s definitely something different.

Osaka Capsule Inn in Japan
How about a bit of sci-fi effect? Designed like jet airplane’s cockpit, the Osaka Capsule Inn offers travellers a rather different place to sleep. Situated in Osaka, the Capsule Inn will provide the travellers with a calm space for rest as well as all the amenities of Osaka city. Though it may be a cramped space, at least you can’t complain your significant other stealing your side of the bed.

Hobbit Motel in New Zealand
As the latest Peter Jackson triumph, and the story afore Lord the Rings is finally coming to big screens in December, what could be better than book your trip closest to a Shire you can hope for, in Waitomo, New Zealand. The hotel offers a real agriexperience, complete with a Kiwi Culture Show, sheep shearing and any other typical farm hands-on experience you might have a burning desire for. Return to the roots, find that ring and relax with a pipe by your doorstep – hobbit style.

Jules’ Underwater Lodge in Key Largo, Florida
Starting out as a research laboratory in the 1970s, Jules’ Underwater Lodge is probably the most eccentric experiences one can hope for. Being dipped into the deep parts of the ocean, to see sea life in natural habitat floating, swimming, by your windows is something only dreams are made of, or Jules Verne’s novels. Being claustrophobic could hinder the experience but surely any apprehensions are swept away by the natural beauty of the mangrove lagoon, tipped with the scuba gear provided for that personal touch with the sea life.


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