I know, after 1 usually comes 2. BUT this time around I want to break the chronological order here on my page. Not that I would be the first one to do so in the history of the Universe. Heck, one could argue that George Lucas didn’t know how to count either. Nevertheless, this video is again a glimpse into my trip to Canada. Montréal to be exact. I enjoyed the city and from the start it had a very European feel to it (and not only temperature-wise), being bilingual and all. So without further ado here are my first steps in the City of the Saints.
I’ve lived nearly one fifth of my life in Germany. Crazy how time flies. Oddly enough, on most days it doesn’t even feel like I live in Germany. At work I used English, at home, well, I just speak to myself and most of my friends are non-Germans hence the lingua franca is English when we gather to socialise with each other. But the moments when I do remember I live in Germany (which I’m happy about btw) are the moments to do with Football. Never have I seen a crowd erupt like they did when Germany won the World Cup a few years back (see post) or when a second league team (St. Pauli) scores a goal against a random team in a seemingly meaningless match on September Monday. Moreover, what Hockey is to the finns (debatable yes..) is Football to the Germans.
Last year, one of my best friends invited me to join for a beer at the pub of their football team, THC Franziskaner FC (yes, they have their own pub as an amateur team – how nice is that?) If anyone says Germans can be a bit standoffish, well, they’ve clearly never been to a football pub. Even though, the last time I kicked a ball was probably in High School, I was welcomed with hugs and handshakes, as if by friends who I had known for ages. You can sense the camaraderie, similar to that of what arguably I felt during my hockey times or even in the military.It’s this friendliness that’s made me become a regular at the events of the team.
Yesterday I joined the guys at their game and saw it as an opportunity to also catch a few photos in the mix. The game was played on top of a wholesale store (Wallmart size) and as one can imagine, it was windy up there. There was a good crowd of supporters of the team and also of the opposing “Spartans”, with one heckler amongst them being the loudest, trying the hardest to amuse and also throw the opposition off their game. “Franziskaner THC” chants echoed, as the game went on in true football weather, with sunshine one minute and rain the next. The Game was entertaining (I’m a Finn, so what would I know about Football right? ) and the atmosphere was fun and warm, even if my hands begged to differ by going numb from the chilly wind. I managed to get a few decent pics also during the match, before the fresh autumn weather killed my battery. The Boys in Orange were able to fight off the Spartans for the a good chunk of the game, only during the second half giving up a goal or two, which eventually cost them the game. We often have heard when playing amateur sports, probably from our parents, that winning isn’t everything and if as a kid I merely took those words as just something moms and dads say when you’ve lost a game, now more than ever I felt it was indeed, nearly all the same, whether the guys won or lost on the pitch. It was secondary. Of course, you play to win, but the feeling on the pitch and in the stands was the “win” of the day. Regardless of seeing the ball go into the net or not, everyone had fun and got their fair share of laughs that day.
Now I, as mentioned am not a footballer, but I still felt almost a part of the team whilst watching the guys sprint after the ball and us cheering them on. It was fun. If at times I forget that I live in Germany, this was definitely the moment where I remembered that I was indeed living in the capital of a country that loves its Football. And it is these moments, that I am lucky to be able to be a part of, since for a short moment I don’t feel like an “expat” living in his own little English bubble, but I feel like just one of the guys, chit chatting about football (in German) and having laughs about bad calls by ref and the reactions of the opposition. Who knows, given the progression of my interest for Football, maybe one day I too will take a turn at kicking the ball, but for now I’ll make due with shooting with my camera from the sidelines.
Last year I befriended a lot of Irish people, supported Ireland at the European Football Championships in Poznan, saw Ireland get beaten by Italy 2-0, drank like an Irish man and yes, even sang like an Irish man (although mostly football songs). Having gotten to know the Irish culture a bit, I hadn’t had the chance to actually visit the green island itself, that is until last weekend.
It took me 2, not pleasant, hours on-board a Ryan Air aircraft to get my Finnish Ass to the land of Guinness and supposedly Leprechauns. Now, I could go on and on how much I dislike Ryan Air, but that seems to be rather pointless, but at least they’re affordable… What struck me initially as I got off the blue and yellow coloured “cattle” carrier, was definitely the weather. I as a Finn hear often that I shouldn’t complain about it being cold somewhere, but in Ireland I complained like Dudley in Harry Potter(which is a lot). I already had a bit of a cold as I flew to the birthplace of Bono and sure as Summer follows spring, my flu didn’t get better…even with the help of Guinness.
I had the pleasure of staying throughout my whole trip at my friend Daragh’s place as well as having him as my personal guide to the city founded by Vikings in the year 840. Having met Daragh basically the last time at the Euros in Poznan (and a bit after that in Berlin) we had a lot of catching up to do, so the first day went by fast, just talking about things that had happened in the past months. We had previously met in the Spring a couple of Slovenians who had now also traveled to Ireland to explore, like me, the Irish culture. It was no accident that I happened to arrive in Ireland on the 26th of September. The next day was a day that has in the recent years received a nearly national holiday status, due to excellent marketing, it was the birthday of Arthur Guinness.
On Arthur’s day we headed down to the downtown pubs to enjoy a drink derived from roasted unmalted barley, a drink that is almost synonymous with Ireland… Guinness. To be honest, before I moved to Berlin I wasn’t a big fan of the dark strong flavoured drink, but as I got to know the Irish, I got to know their drinks as well, and now I can honestly say that I am rather fond of the beer that is thought of as one of the original stout beers. “Sláinte!” Was heard on the 27th day numerous times as our Pints went up to knock on the pints of others as if to say “we’re in this together” and indeed that is how it was, from pub to club the dark pints found their way in groups onto our tables and as if by magic the content of the glasses vanished nearly as quickly as it had been poured into the glasses.
After a few “casual” drinks, we made our way to a bar/club called the Village, which had a nice atmosphere and seemed to be popping. Last year my friends had introduced me to an Irish comedy/rap group the Rubberbandits, whom I had been listening to also before I left for Ireland and as if by the luck of the Irish they happened to playing at the Village that very same night. I couldn’t have been more pumped, I was with my good mates enjoying Irish beverages and now I was even going to see the guys who’ve made songs like “Horse Outside” “I wanna fight your father” and more! (If you haven’t heard of these lads, at least peep them on youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ljPFZrRD3J8 , they’re grand!) As we walked up the stairs to the room, where they had just started playing, I could already recognise familiar lyrics ” …I wanna fight your faaaather…” and I knew that this was definitely a great night!
Those of you who might not know Guinness ,alongside having a strong taste, also contains alcohol, which can tend to cause “sluggishness” the following day after being consumed. Having slept a bit longer we decided to continue with the Guinness theme of our visit and head to the St. James’s Gate brewery, or as it is better known as, the Guinness Brewery. Our housing was rather far away from the brewery itself, thus it would take us sometime to make our way there, which meant we had to be swift with our moves and cut our “breakfasts” short and head towards the bus.
As we made our way to the brewery, I could see a clear change in scenery, from pubs and houses to more industrial style buildings with a main colour of gray. After numerous walked blocks, we made our way inside the brewery area, where we were greeted with the surprisingly friendly ticket staff. I have to seriously tip my invisible hat off to the whole Guinness brand for doing such a great job of ensuring that each and every guest felt welcomed to the brewery, as most transactions started with the phrases “where are you from?” following the staff small talking and even in my case switching to German to serve me (after which I did say that being a Finn, English’ll do). As mentioned earlier, I had a ongoing flu which basically took a lot of my energy out of me and at times it was really hard to stay concentrated during the tour of the home of the dark nectar of the Irish. Having survived to the end of the self-guided tour my energy was restored by seeing the amazing view over Dublin from the Gravity bar on top of the brewery (whilst obviously enjoying a complementary pint of the Arthur’s world famous stout). We spent a good while taking pictures and enjoying the view from the extraordinary glass bar packed with other tourists after which we headed home like boring old men to heal up so as to still be able to do something the following days.
The last day we decided to go check out the seaside of Dublin (to be honest can’t remember what area it was), if I had thought the inner areas of Dublin were windy, boy was I in for a treat. Yes, I should know that on the shore of any sea it is going to be windy, but still, you never really are prepared for it. I felt like I had someone pointing a hairdryer at me constantly, blowing out nothing but chilly seawind, nevertheless I had a nice day with my friends and was able to take a couple of nice pictures as well, before heading back with the DART train to the city. As it was our last night in the Irish capital, we decided to go out with a bang and head to the clubs, ensuring that my flight the next day would be one of the worst in my life… I did indeed survive the flight and am now happily back in Berlin writing this blog. I will for certain visit Ireland again in the future, but I will first have to rest for sometime to recover fully from this trip to the island that is Éire.
Wars and conflicts are never a good thing directly, even in the case of a city like Berlin, one can still see some indirect implications from the city being divided for such a long time. Now, often the implications of war and dividing cities and countries are obviously not good, but the one thing that can be indirectly linked to the city being divided is that the rent prices and living expenses have not risen as fast as in some other areas of the country. Why I bring this up is that I have recently gotten the pleasure of enjoying rooftop parties at my friends place, or their “commune”, if you will. For some people rooftop parties might be an everyday thing, more common than the usage of “like” as a substitute for commas in the speech of some unnamed nationalities, but for me they are still a rarity.
In Finland the only people that can afford rooftop apartments with massive terraces, are usually the people who do not have to look at the floor level shelves at the supermarket when going shopping. Here in Berlin, “regular” people can afford to enjoy the luxury of seeing the sun set far away, creating silhouettes of the city on its way down, atop your own apartment. Even though, it is still very possible to live in a rooftop apartment, there are not enough of them to go around for everyone. However, with good luck you might know someone who has a rooftop terrace place, as I did.
It wasn’t the first time I visited my friends pad, but it was the first time I remembered to bring my camera with me. Even though the night started to fall upon us nearly immediately as I had arrived to the rooftop, thanks to my swift moves and fast camera handling, I was able to capture a couple of these “rooftop moments” onto my camera, before the fat ball of fire that we nickname the Sun could fully dive behind the skyline.
We noticed with my friend,after jumping a fence to another rooftop (for a better pic) that the party seemed to follow us and that we had unintentionally created a gathering of amateur photographers on the roof of a curious neighbour, probably wondering why he hears noises of shutters clicking and people laughing through his roof. Nevertheless, everyone behaved and did the same as we, took memories of this great city that one cannot buy from a gift shop at the Brandenburg Gate.
Once again this Saturday had given me yet more reasons to contemplate on staying in Berlin even longer than merely till the end of this, seemingly short, year.
Landscape VS Roofscape
Having originally created this blog to help promote myself, so as to have a better chance of “sticking out of the crowd” whilst applying for marketing/advertising internships (yeah, I know a blog or such isn’t really original, but its the content that matters right? ), I felt it was due time to finally create an advert of myself.
The rather (hopefully) obvious purpose of the picture is to showcase the two sides of me: the hard worker and the fun loving jester, at the same time questioning the necessity to compromise in hiring a worker who is only one or the other. Now, I know the settings for the picture aren’t probably the best ones, but I hope you can overlook that, since I do not have a studio at hand at the moment where to take professional photos, neither do I have a personal assistant (other than my trusty companion Mr. Self-timer) who would devote his/her time to take photos of me. Furthermore, I know the photo is very “homey” as in amateur stuff, but if it made you even smile a bit then I’m already happy with it!
Editing and playing around with this photo gave me a nice break from my daily routine of writing applications to companies in the hope of finding an internship abroad(not in Finland) in the area of Marketing/Advertising/PR, where I could start working in late July after my last semester here in Berlin.
Do tell your opinion on the “advert”; what could have been done differently, where to improve on when creating my next adverts? Good tips on internship possibilities are also obviously more than welcome!