New York Highlights

New York 2018-11Finally had the time for putting together the best things I managed to see here. I easily could have spent three weeks in New York, but as I only had two weeks of vacation (and wasn’t ready to spend all my money on traveling) I only had four full days in the Big Apple. And as sadly, my flight from Florida was delayed for 18 hours, so I lost pretty much a full day of time.

Also, I would have loved to just stroll around the city with my camera without too much planning. And the bad weather had an impact on my trip too. Next time I might skip the sun and beaches of Florida and head straight to New York, everything you can ever want is there. I actually lived in Larchmont, about 30 mins from Manhattan for a year, working as an Au Pair, so I’ve spent quite a lot of time in the city back in the days and never got bored. So this is what I managed to see and experience!

Public library

New York 2018-2I actually ended up here after escaping the rain into a clothing store in the next block… I started checking on Google Maps to see if there was anything interesting near by and The  New York Public Library seemed like a nice option. Luckily, I didn’t get stuck there for too long like the group in The Day After Tomorrow. But it was amazing to see, would love to study in a place like this. New York 2018

Chinatown

New York 2018-3Something I wasn’t particularly interested in when living in the US, but something I became super interested in after living in Shanghai. Felt a little bit like home with so many people not speaking good English, everything written in Chinese and shops full of Chinese souvenirs. My brief exploration of Chinatown was amazing. I had lunch in a Chinese restaurant and simply explored the Chinese culture in the middle of New York City. New York 2018-4

Coney Island

New York 2018-5Another thing I never visited back when living in Larchmont. I love amusement parks and fairs. Sadly the weather ruined everything as it was super cold and nothing was open. But Coney Island was, for sure, one of the prettiest places I’ve seen in the US. Would love to visit it properly on a better weather. New York 2018-6

Museums

 Museum of the City of New York  I took a quick visit here after reading there was an exhibition of photographs by Stanley Kubrick. I was interested to see how one of the greatest film directors of all time started his career by working for Look Magazine. I really liked the photographs documenting the city life in New York back in the late 1940’s.  New York 2018-7

New York 2018-8As my time in New York was very limited, I had to choose carefully which museums to visit. I didn’t want to visit the ones I had already been to, and having always had an interest towards the Native American cultures, I chose to visit National Museum of the American Indian.New York 2018-9It was mostly native american artifacts and I found it interesting, but most likely wouldn’t visit again. Instead, I definitely would visit again American Museum of Natural History and Metropolitan Museum of Art, which I visited years ago. One day just isn’t enough for either of them, but I wanted to focus on new destinations this time.New York 2018-10I also did a bunch of shopping at Macy’s after realizing how much better the prices were there than here in Sweden… And I took day trip to Larchmont to visit the family I lived in back in the days. It was crazy to see how much the kids had grown and to realize how fast time flies. And after all this, with just under 1 000 000 people, Stockholm felt tiny.

Florida Adventures

FloridaI wrote previously how it’s been a few years since I traveled properly and how I previously spent years living abroad and traveling! So I finally got a chance to travel outside the Nordic Countries: Florida and New York. So here are the highlights of the trip from May. As the trip was quite hectic I didn’t have a chance to write an update on everything I got to experience. But here are the best parts of Florida combined into one post. New York coming up soon. 🏙

Tampa

I originally booked flights to Miami, but as the plans changed I rebooked it to Tampa. I had to pay for the rebooking, but the cost was more or less the same as booking a new flight or other transportation to Miami. The reason for all this was that we were a group of 6-10 people and finding suitable Airbnb housing was a bit of a challenge. So the locations we traveled to were basically based on where we could find housing.TampaI had been in Florida once before and visited Disney World and Kennedy Space Center, so for this trip I didn’t have much wishes. And with a large group of people I simply find it easier to go with the flow. We rented a car, so we drove around quite a lot. And the first evening the rest of the group picked me up from the airport and we drove straight to a beach. The sunset was one of the prettiest ever.

Fort Mayers

IMG_8960This was basically a day trip to the beach. We took some fun pictures and had drinks, but that was pretty much it. Fort Myers isn’t really a major city in Florida, but I guess there would have been other interesting things as well. On the other hand, coming from the Nordics, sun and beaches were pretty much exactly what I wanted. Fort MayersAt this point we were 6 people, so we could still fit into one car and the group was pretty easy to manage. Florida_2018-42

Everglades

I would have loved to deeper explore the Everglades National Park, we only had time to see just a tiny piece of it. But maybe next time I’ll manage to get on an airboat and drive deeper into the swamps. Though we were pretty lucky to see several alligators!Everglades 2018We had a brief tour with a local guide that taught us a lot of new about alligators and other species of the area. Most of the stories we’ve heard about alligators are scary and they’ve been portrayed as beasts that eat pretty much anything they come across isn’t exactly true. Humans aren’t easy food for alligators so they attack mostly when threatened or if humans have fed them and they’ve developed an association between humans and food. However, you should keep a safe distance!Everglades_Alligators.jpg

Key West

For me, this was probably the highlight of the trip. I visited Key West on my last trip, but the only thing I could remember was that it was HOT. So during the warmest months it might not be the most comfortable place to visit. But this time the temperature was perfect. Although I’ve lived most of my life in the northern parts of the planet, I really enjoy hot weather and about +28 C is perfect. Key West-2.jpgI knew about the southernmost point of the continental United States, but something I didn’t know about Key West was that it has a large gay community. And I also hadn’t realized that even the crosswalks had rainbow colors.

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Of course the beach was also very nice

Fort Lauderdale 

The final destination of our trip. The reason for traveling was actually my friend’s birthday  And this is where we celebrated. The Airbnb house right next to the water with a pool was super nice. Fort Lauderdale2-2 copyThe house also had a barbecue place and a terrace, so we could have a nice dinner with some drinks. We then went to a bar for some more. That was actually the only time I went out clubbing during the trip. I definitely can’t deal with alcohol the same way as I did in my early twenties and prefer sleeping and waking up early, which is kind of nice. Although I kind of miss living a party life like I did back in Paris and Korea. Fort Lauderdale-2I’m hoping to do some more traveling soon (as soon as I stop my seven-day-workweek routine). I’d love to head back to Asia for some Korean cosmetics and bubble tea! Fort Lauderdale4-2

Traveling and moving around took almost a decade of my life!

It’s finally starting to feel like I’m settling down somewhere. I somehow expected that it would be Finland, just didn’t believe that I’d have what it takes to live and work abroad. But here I am, in the capital of Scandinavia: Stockholm! The past two years I’ve only traveled between Finland, Sweden and Estonia, as studying and working took most of my time. But now, a trip to Miami and New York is coming up in May and I’m super excited!I’ve been browsing through some old pictures and noticed how much I’ve developed as a photographer and how sad it now feels that I wasn’t able to document all my adventures properly, which is something I’ve improved a lot, but there’s still a long way to go. We’re never ready or perfect. I started this blog when I moved to Korea, but somehow didn’t know what I supposed to write or post here. At that time I thought all blogs were just about fashion and lifestyle content that just felt too shallow to me. Later on, writing a blog for Study in Sweden really helped to grow as a writer, although I couldn’t focus on my own blog while writing there.The biggest downsides of the lifestyle that sometimes has made me feel like I have an ADHD, having no idea what I’m doing or where I’m going, have been the lack of stability, both financially and with interpersonal relationships. Especially now when the constant urge for moving around and living out of a suitcase has vanished and I’d want to buy an apartment hopefully not too far in the future, but it feels like some major parts of me are still somewhere else than Sthlm. But I guess I’ve finally grown old enough to think further than next month. And I have been thinking, what if things would have gone as I originally planned: getting some boring job in Finland, getting married and having children around 25… I mean, happiness is really a matter of state of mind and I’m sure my life could be as happy as it is now, but I’m also pretty sure I’d feel I’d have missed out on something.Strangely, I couldn’t find any New York pictures, although I lived there for a year. So that’s one thing on my to-do list for the next trip, another one is to check out some thrift stores.And about feeling sorry for all the time I’ve “waisted”: at the end, I don’t think that our biggest regrets will be how much time and money we spent on exploring the world. I don’t think my last thoughts will be: “I’d be at least 2000 euros richer if I hadn’t done that South Korea exchange!” I feel I have the kind of richness money can’t buy.

Kaljakellunta 2016

This was more than two months ago, but I finally went through the material I filmed with my GoPro at the annual Beer floating event in Vantaa, Finland! The idea of the event is to float in Vantaa river and drink beer.

I think this was my fourth time to participate and it’s always the best day o the year. Though as we’ve gotten older we’ve switched the beer to sparkling wine and snacks. 🍾🍻🍫🍿🍉

Mount Mogan 莫干山

I was sorting out the pictures I took while living in Asia and finally decided to post some from the trip to Mount Mogan last fall. It was only a couple of hours away from shanghai and it was a very different experience of Chinese natre and culture. We satyed at a local hotel and had only real Chinese food during the two days, and besides the food I enjoyed the trip very much. It was really misty on the second morning when we climbed all the way up so I couldn’t get a clear picture of the whole view, but here’s something! The trip was arranged by Hutong School in Shanghai where I was taking Chinese classes at the time. They had other great activities too on a weekly basis and I highly recommend stydying there.

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View from the top of Mount Mogan
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Autumn leaves.
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Waterfalls. A tripod would have been useful for this one.

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There were many buildings around the mountain which some of were museums. We went inside some buildings but there were just old furniture and pictures on the walls. I didn’t take any pictures since it didn’t seem that special to me I enjoy more photographing nature, landscapes and such.

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There were somekind of ribbons hanging from the trees, we didn’t figure out why but looks nice.
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Forest mist

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I would have loved to have this picture with a clear landscape view on the back. Sadly the weather wasn’t too good but I might go again one day. I’m going to graduate with a bachelor’s degree soon and will apply for master studies in other Nordic Countries, if I won’t get in anywhere I like I’ve decided to take a couple months off from work and go to Beijing for an intensve Chinese course and travel around the country. Not a bad option either. I’m still taking Chinese classes here in Finland but I’m learning soooo much more slowly than back in Shanghai. I will write about learning the language soon!

 

Missing Asian food…

I had had enough of Asian food by the time I left Shanghai in December. I was missing the vegetarian diet, foods cooked in an owen (Asian kitchens don’t have owens), proper bread, candy, etc.

However, the grass is always greener on the other side, I’ve started to miss especially all the spicy korean food, sticky rice on almost every meal, trying new foods all the time… There’s one Korean restaurant in Helsinki, it’s really good but rather expensive. Chinese food is of course available everywhere but it’s made to suit western taste and it’s rarely the stuff you could find in Shangai.

Kimchi and other stuff
Kimchi and other stuff
Korean seafood
Korean seafood
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In Korea the food is often cooked at the table.

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I really missed all the sweet stuff from Finland while in Asia, although there were some goodies available. I’m relly picky when it comes to the high sugar, high calorie things. If it’s just okay it’s not worth eating. In Shanghai I ate so many Snickers bars that I haven’t felt like having one since then.

Especially in Korea many coffee places have all kinds of local things that taste great!

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Korean dessert bingsu

Eating together and sharing food with other people is important and a lot more fun than the Finnish eating habits…

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There are some foods I don’t really miss, inluding intestines, lungs… In general everything’s worth trying, but sometimes one try is enough.

Chicken soup
Chicken soup

Beijing

During my stay in China I had to of course visit the capital Beijing (北京). I didn’t really plan my trip, just booked one night in a hostel and took the train to the city. Later on my arrival night my three week-old iPhone broke down, so I had to came back to Shanghai already the next day. Two or three nights would have been enough time to see all the essential places, but with my Chinese skills, without internet or phone I just couldn’t do it. I recommend planning better than I did.

I didn’t know much about the city before going, I just wanted to see the great wall, which I had to pass due to my very limited schedule. But I got a couple of cool pictures to show. 🙂

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Some Chinese flags at Tiananmen square.

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Some kind of buildings.

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Garden expo had all kinds of plants, trees and different styles of buildings. The admission fee was about 100 yuan, a bit pricey, but we only live once…

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This was on my to do list right after the Great wall, the great Beijing duck! There was another one in Hong Kong before and now they’re everywhere. Since Chinese people love to copy, I’ve heard that they’ve made a lot of diffrent ducks for promotional purposes but I’ve never seen another big one besides this. A lot of stuffed animals with the same design are sold all over the country though.

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Beijing is definitely worth visiting while in China. It’s often packed with (Chinese) tourists, but if you want to see something very Chinese, then Beijing is the place. In many ways Shanghai is like any big city, except for the location, but I could imagine living in Shanghai is more fun than in Beijing.