Archive for January, 2010

31
Jan
10

#31 on the edge

031/365 on the edge, originally uploaded by rosipaw.

“Wherever there’s an edge, there’s energy. Make a photo where two things meet: land-water, land-sky, etc.”

This Sunday Challenge made me drive to the sea today. I was lucky to catch a glimpse of the sun, which only came out for about 5 minutes this afternoon! The temperature was up a bit, so the seashore was thawing, and people stayed safely on land. Some energetic winter swimmer ladies were our on the jetty – you can just about see them in the distance.

I started thinking about water and the sea, which are very important elements in my life. I prefer living near some water, whether it’s a river, a lake or the sea. Turku, my present home town, is perfect, since there is a river that flows through the town, and the seaside is only 5-10 minutes away, too.

Nevertheless, I miss the infinity of the sea sometimes. You see, off our coast is the unique archipelago with thousands of islands, so we never see the vast open sea here. Naturally, the archipelago has its own magical charm, especially in summer, but the mystery of the great beyond and the roaring sounds are missing.

I love the Channel coast in Eastbourne, my husband’s home town in England. I could sit for hours there on the pebbly beach, and just listen to the sound of the waves and let my mind be carried away. It’s quite hypnotic! I always start imagining what’s on the other side of the sea. In England, on very clear days, you can just about see the coast of France in the horizon. The Pacific holds cherished memories for me – looking out in Santa Monica, California and picturing distant, exotic, totally unknown Japan back in 1997.  And then being lucky enough to stand on the Japanese shore in Hokkaido, in 2004, looking out towards America. I must have been an explorer or a pirate in my previous life!

My longing for the sea has also made me particularly enjoy seeing @colemama’s pictures from the Gulf coast in Florida. They really inspire all my senses, and I can almost hear the wonderful sounds of the sea just by looking at them. Just look at this one from today, for example!

30
Jan
10

#30 hearts to the world

030/365 hearts to the world, originally uploaded by rosipaw.

Today I went to the largest Finnish educational fair in Helsinki, EDUCA 2010. Apart from looking at the hundreds of booths of different vendors and educational organizations and voluntary groups, I also had the pleasure of listening to Professor Andy Hargreaves from Boston College. His talk on educational leadership and ‘The Fourth Way’ was truly thought-provoking and inspirational in terms of the future of Finland’s praised educational system.

The global and intercultural issues booths interested me the most. In one of them, I placed my pink heart on the world map, with a promise of setting my heart on global awareness issues in all my teaching. I really liked the symbolism of the world map covered in the pink hearts – as if it was love spreading all over the globe. It could also be seen as a symbol of all the dynamic networks and collaborative efforts of educators from all corners of the world.

This time my heart was placed in Singapore, where wonderful students and teachers in our partner school are getting ready to welcome our group in only three weeks’ time.

29
Jan
10

#29 sweet memories

029/365 sweet memories, originally uploaded by rosipaw.

“Sugar, spice, and everything nice. Make a photo of something sweet today.”

This was the Daily Shoot assignment for today. I ended up with this seasonal cafeteria shoot of traditional Finnish ‘pulla’ – cardemum spiced buns. We Finns are amonst the keenest coffee drinkers in the world. And an almost inseparable companion for a cup of coffee here is a ‘pulla’ of some sort. There are different varieties for special celebrations, like these ones for Shrove Tuesday in February. On that day, the tradition is to go sledging, and then have a hot drink with these filled buns afterwards. First you cut the top of the bun off, then fill it either with almond paste or jam and lots of whipped cream, and put the cut-off piece as a ‘hat’ on top. Heavenly!

The art of ‘pulla’ baking is passed on from mother to daughter. My sweetest memories from my childhood are about grandmother visiting us. She would bake buns while we kids were at school, and entering through the front door in the afternoon, we were greeted by the deliciously tempting smell in the staircase. For our working mother, Saturday was ‘pulla’ baking day – almost weekly. She was the real ‘pulla’ master! She knew how to bake the most scrumptious buns I have ever tasted in my life. Luckily, I managed to learn the skill from her, phase by phase, and write it all down. Over the years, I too have mastered the process, and now it’s my turn to teach this tradition to my daughter.

All through my life, the smell of freshly baked buns has equalled ‘home sweet home’, and it still does. It’s amazing how strongly smell sensations can evoke memories that may go back many years – even decades.

28
Jan
10

#28 interconnected

028/365 interconnected, originally uploaded by rosipaw.

Just a quick walk through the shopping centre in town today, since it was too cold to walk outside with the wind chill and minus 17 Celsius! I wanted some pictures for the Daily Shoot:

“The economy is in the news all the time. Make a photo that illustrates the economy or its impact on you in some way.”

Everywhere in town I am reminded of global economy and our interconnected world. Gone is the era of isolated nation states – like it or not. We can’t afford to hold tight onto yesterday’s dusty old values when we are in the slump together, and the sustainability of the whole world is at stake. Innovation and global collaboration is called for instead.

More and more business sign are in English, emphasizing the importance of foreign language skills for our youngsters to be able to function and be active contributors in today’s world and in the future.

27
Jan
10

#27 the colour of life

027/365 the colour of life, originally uploaded by rosipaw.

Our green lava light gets used a lot in the dead of winter. The bright green bubbles floating up and down have a really calming effect on me. The colour also gives me hope for rebirth again in spring.

Today was particularly dull. A strong wind made the minus 17 degrees in the morning feel extra biting. The tabloids this afternoon had headlines of us being trapped in Siberia till the end of February at least. Dismal! For us, Siberia is the coldest place we could possibly imagine!

26
Jan
10

#26 up, up and away

026/365 up, up and away, originally uploaded by rosipaw.

From the Daily Shoot’s bird’s eye view to a human eye vies, longingly looking upwards.

It was teh first bright sunny afternoon for weeks. A plane up in the blue sky, no doubt heading somewhere exciting and warm, instantly gave wings to my dreams.

I really love travelling, and I could watch flying aeroplanes and the white trails they leave behind for hours on end. I know flying is really harmful for the environment, so I have decided that next month, when I fly to Singapore, I am going to buy carbon offsets for the miles travelled, probably with Climate Care, or a similar system, to reduce my carbon footprint.

25
Jan
10

#25 exploring our new town library

025/365 exploring our new library, originally uploaded by rosipaw.

Once again the Daily Shoot assignment led me to have a closer look at something.

“Right (90-degree) angles can help define a composition. Make a photograph involving intersecting lines.”

Straight away, I thought about the new, modern extension to our 100-year-old town library, which was completed just over a year ago. I just love the long row of big windows along the street, offering interesting reflections at different times of the day. And from another angle, you can see people sitting inside, immersed in their reading. Fascinating!

Looking for 90-degree angles and straight lines, and then seeing the reflection of the tree in this window, made me think about how practically impossible it is to find straight lines and angles in nature, at least on the surface. Interestingly, though, Finnish architecture and design are often dominated by very straight and simple forms, in a country that otherwise is blessed with so much forest and untouched nature. It’s as though we humans need to bring order and structure into the wild, natural world around us.

I also started thinking about libraries in general. While more and more of the small, local brances are sadly being closed down, I am happy about the revival of this main one. It’s the favourite place for my daughter and her school friends to go and study, bringing their own laptops with them.

I have uploaded some more photos from today’s library visit in this Flickr set.

24
Jan
10

#24 recycling

024/365 recycling, originally uploaded by rosipaw.

In my search for colour in the winter whiteness, I noticed these recycling bins in front of our local supermarket today. Sunday has become our recycling day. The green one is for paper and cardboard, the blue one for glass, metal and batteries, and the yellow ones for usable clothes. It’s good to see that many people keep doing this regularly.

Let’s just hope that every bit counts towards saving this earth. Last year I heard a couple of lectures by experts, who seemed to be insinuating that private people’s little efforts won’t make any difference in stopping global warming. Instead, drastic measures by industry and big business would be needed. I want to keep believing that everybody’s actions are meaningful. What is the point of anything otherwise?

23
Jan
10

#23 my only collection

023/365 my only collection, originally uploaded by rosipaw.

With a husband who is an incorrigible collector of EVERYTHING (records, CDs, videos, DVDs, magazines, bits of paper, old watches, toy cars, stamps, teas, teapots, bottles, you name it!), and a daughter who also holds on to a fair amount of stuff, I don’t collect anything. I have no emotional ties to material things – if I run out of space, I throw stuff out. It’s also the only way to maintain any sense in our stuffed up home.

The Daily Shoot assignment today, really made me think hard about what it might be that I collect.

” We’re all collectors of something. Find an interesting way to display and make a photo of a collection today.”

I don’t think I collect anything but life experiences. And all that can be seen in the deepening lines on my palm. It’s all there, with me all the time. My palm is like a microchip containing all the twists and turns of my life over the years. And it doesn’t take space in our home. Hopefully, it only fills me with greater and greater wisdom and calm to face the storms in life.

Taking these pictures made me realize how old and wrinkled my hand actually looks. Gone forever is the smooth, young hand. I don’t miss it, though, since I feel I’m more me now than twenty years ago. I feel good in my skin.

22
Jan
10

#22 another brick in the wall



022/365 another brick in the wall, originally uploaded by rosipaw.

Today’s Daily Shoot also became the theme of my 365 photo:

“Let’s have some fun on a Friday. Make a photo that goes with the title (or lyrics) of a song. Interpret away!”

Another ordinary day at school, in the familiar red-brick environment. I am thinking what is the state and purpose of education today. I’m sure many students would still sign Pink Floyd’s message of not needing any education from back in 1979. At least not the same old, numbing and repetitive, factory style.

Aren’t schools still too often working like the meat grinder in the brilliant Gerald Scarfe animation of the song where kids are dropped only to spew out uniform minced meat at the other end? Is there any space for individual thinking, learning methods and goals, or chances for each individual to realize their full potential? Why does it seem that the spark, the passion, the joy and creativity are all buried and forgotten inside these walls? Can our students, in their bright pink and red coats, be themselves, and not just other bricks in the wall?

By the way, there is a Finnish expression ‘counting the ends of bricks’, meaning to serve a prison sentence. Sometimes, for me as a teacher, the brick school seems prison-like, too. There are too many outside pressures, constrictions, national assessments and rigid attitudes, which tie my hands. Then again, I shouldn’t complain too much, since compared to colleagues in other countries, I probably have considerably more autonomy and freedom. I have just talked about this with Tania in Australia, a wonderful edublogger and also photo-blogger, who was my inspirator for this photo project.

My other song title option for this picture was Paramore’s ‘Brick by boring brick’, but I chose the good old classic.




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