Monday, December 9, 2013

Tarja Scholarship

I won the Tarja Scholarship's Best Essay recognition! :D Yaaay!

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Yeah, I love being a Finn.

In honor of me receiving my first scholarship, and in honor of the Finnish Independence Day approaching, I'm posting some snippets from my recent Tarja Scholarship application...

According to my experience, the Finnish culture is all about…

"...enjoying what’s valuable, staying true to who you are as an individual, and spending resources wisely."

In your mind, what are the personal characteristics and attributes that differentiate the Finns from typical Americans?

"Finns are extremely honest and hardworking, they are humbly confident rather than prideful, and Finns are also more reserved."

Get ready for the cheese... It is not by accident that I sometimes find myself humming the tune to the Finnish National Anthem. I am incredibly proud of my Finnish heritage. It is a culture of reason where things just simply make sense, and feminists are not hard to find. Finns are intelligent, well-rounded, hard-working, honest, and humble people, as I believe myself to be. And of course, Finland is absolutely gorgeous. So, of course I am proud of my heritage, and it is the first thing that I tell people when I meet them. The Finnish culture and heritage can be boiled down to two things: enjoying what’s valuable and staying true to who we are as individuals. 

In my experiences with Finland, the philosophy there is to enjoy what is truly valuable in life. Our world today can often be molded around “what works for me” and “what makes me happy.” When the society is shaped around that, people loose sight of the things that hold true value and begin to seek out pleasure in other things, such as the size of your house, the size of your engagement ring, the type of car you drive, your hair, etc. The Finnish heritage has taught me what is truly important: the simple things in life, like family, education, health, and, along with that, sleep! For example, in Finland, maternity leaves are longer, students sleep more, education is free, and health is a vital part people’s lifestyles. Being a Finn, I am able to keep hold of what is true and valuable so that I do not waste this life of mine, and that – is significant. 

The Finns stay true to who they are. Although Finns are more reserved than most Americans, they are independent, honest, hardworking, and humbly confident. To me, this means not being afraid to put myself out there. For example, if I want to be a parenting consultant/specialist in America, spreading the Finnish wisdoms of raising children, I can do that. If I am the type of person who does not want to hug someone and proceed to ask them, “how are you?” without meaning it every time that I see them, that is okay. If I am a feminist, that is more than okay! I am not afraid to stay true to who I am, and that is just the sincere Finnish heritage in me.

The Finnish culture and heritage is about enjoying what is valuable and staying true to one’s self, and I am proud of that. Being Finnish has helped me to know the things in life that hold true value. It is the reason why I often turn off the TV, set aside my cell phone, and spend quality time hanging out and playing with my two-year-old sister. I am not afraid to be my unique self. So, I form my own opinions and pursue what I think is right. Certainly, I would be a very different person without my Finnish heritage.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Cooking Night!

The other weekend, Gavin and I decided to put up a stay-at-home dinner date night. We decided on what to cook, ran by the grocery store, and got to work. Although it took 2.5 hours to finally sit down and eat it all, it was well worth it, and cooking with Gavin is the bomb. (:

My mom gave us the easy, cheap idea of doing simple crepe wraps / burritos.

Oreo watched us cook, anxiously waiting for something to drop from the stove.

We also wanted an appetizer, so we stuffed and baked 2 tomatoes with the rice-tomato-beef-cheese mixture. Then, we topped the stuffing with basil and garlic salt. Yummm.

And of course, you've got to set the table for the dinner night! One of my favorite parts because I get to whip out my iittala plates... :D

And finally, we had dessert! I looked up a "quick" recipe for the Finnish pulla (buns / cinnamon rolls), and I guess I should have read the instructions first because the dough was runny. So, instead of having pulla rolls, we had pulla cake! Haha. There you go. Pikapullat. Man, was it delicious though!

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Halloween 2013

Halloween was amazing this year. I got to spend it with my sister, Alexandra, and we wore matching costumes! I love my little mini me. <3

Saturday, October 19, 2013

TX State Fair

It was Fair Day in Texas (not Columbus Day -- that needs to end)! It was pouring down rain, but that made it all the more fun to experience the Texas state fair for the first time.

Mmm. Deep fried cookie dough!

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Perot & Date

Finally, I got to visit the Perot museum with my family. Although it was a little crowded with little kids, it was still very cool. Obviously the British science museum surpasses the Perot, any day, but that's especially because the British museum had a whole hall for the human mind (the Perot museum had maybe 3 obvious posters about the brain). 
And the rain! Oh, the rain was magnificent on that day.

I took Gavin on a surprise picnic! He looked so classy and 1940s-like. What a handsome man I've got! (: 

We tried different cheeses, crackers, drank Orangina, and ate grapes and cashews. Unfortunately, I don't have a picture of it, but I got to use my picnic case for the first time! :D It's in some serious need of cleaning since I bought it form the antique gallery in McKinney, TX. It's adorable though. Can't wait to get it completely cleaned and restocked with plates and what not!
If you're thinking about doing this for a date, heads up... It cost me about $50. But it was so much fun, so classy, and a great experience. <3
Cough cough... Notice my three Iittala plates above? Oh yes, I know. They're adorable.