As you can guess from the title I have been feeling down lately. When you live in the UK and British Isles most of your life you think that 7 hours of light is not a lot and during the winter it gets dark quickly. However, in Finland at this time of the year we get just over 3 hours of light. Over the last 4 weeks I have seen the sun on 4 occasions and the night sky twice, the other times it has been white or grey clouds. I have suffered from Depression for a very long time but had over the last two years come to manage it fairly well, with little episodes every so often. However, it has slowly been creeping up on me since about October I think. Tanja has been very supportive of my mood swings, which go from very low to very high within minutes of each other, she has been joking about me being on PMS. So for the last four days we have been turning on a 'Bright light' an hour before having to get up and I have also been taking Vitamin D and Multi-vitamins in an effort to help my mood. As I speak, though, the clouds are breaking and we have a beautiful orangey-red sky. I know the old poem of 'Red Sky in the morning; Sailors Warning' but pfft..... I'm gonna see the sun! Hopefully.
Over the last few days a breeze has gotten up, it is like a normal Manx day breeze but here in Finland I have not felt much wind. With it, this breeze has brought a terrible chill. When you breath in with your mouth open your teeth tingle; when you breath through your nose it is like hundreds of tiny icicles are coming in. You learn new ways to keep yourself warm. Like tucking your t-shirt in and putting a jumper over that before your coat, giving you layers. Using a scarf to cover as much over the lower half of your face as possible and a hat to cover as much of the upper half as possible. Gloves become essential and I am grateful for the mittens I received from Tanja's Grandmother in February, they are ten times better than the thinsulate ones I had. The best thing I have in my arsenal of winter clothes is thermal underwear, basically Boxer shorts that go all the way down, so in effect boxer trousers ["or male leggings" -Tanja]. I put them on, tuck them into my socks and with my jeans over them my lower half is fairly comfortable in the cold outside. I can now understand why my father has a pair for winter in Belfast.
Tanja and I added another thing to our inventory of random things we have done. Alongside dropping a watermelon out of the window of the 5th floor, drawing a pen moustache on my face at a restaurant and other hilarious and random things ["like trying to explode a marshmallow in the microwave.." -Tanja], we produced and ate a doughnut burger. That's right, we made meaty burgers and got sugared doughnuts and then made a cheese burger with all the bits and bobs and then ate it..... why? Why not?! We were inspired by the movie 'Seeking a friend for the end of the world', it was a good movie, Tanja and Sonja were laugh-crying ["talk about the PMS.." -Tanja] at the end, I was sort of open mouthed, stunned.
Last night I went to chapel where the missionaries were holding a Family Home Evening. It was fun, we had a spiritual thought about how if we imagine people as they can become, rather than what they are, they can achieve greatness. So for an activity we had small cards with our names on it, then we passed them round the group. Everyone wrote something positive on the card. Well, I got mine back and someone called me Scottish........ really?.......... well he only met me once before, so I am sure I can forgive him. ["Dude, the same person called me 'a loving mum'!!!" -Tanja] To finish off the evening we went carolling in the near by neighbourhood, however in Finland door to door carolling is not common, in fact it is almost unheard of. So we didn't get anybody taking us up on the offer. I think it would be better if they went carolling somewhere, like in the city centre or outside a market instead of knocking on doors. We finished the night by getting Pan pizza in the centre, they were good. Finnish Pizza places don't really do Pan pizzas (Deep dish to those who don't know) but this place does a 24 cm one with any 4 toppings for 7€. I had Kebab, Chicken, Salami and Majoneesi (Mayonnaise but different from what we get in the UK). Tanja had Reindeer, Chicken, Blue Cheese and Onion. Both pizzas were good and we were both pleasantly full by the time we got home. On the subject of food, I had one of the nicest tasting meals just the other day, a taste from Tanja's childhood. Her family used to have Chicken legs cooked with rice (sort of porridge type rice), so we had this on Sunday. Tanja put it in the oven before we went to church and by the time we got home it had been about 3 and a half hours in the oven. The chicken was beautifully cooked and the rice had all the flavour of the chicken juices and with just a wee bit of salt and pepper it was out of this world. Well, shall we just say, there was nothing left in the pot. Also on the topic of food, Tanja and I bought a turkey for Christmas dinner as they were on offer at the German Shop (Lidl to those that don't know) but as we have no space in our freezer it is pleasantly sitting on the balcony and is still nicely frozen down to the fact it stays in the minus all the time. I have heard many people clean freezers out this time of year because the contents stay frozen outside whilst defrosting. I know we have used the cold outside to chill bottles of pop as it is quicker than in a fridge.
I don't think there is anything else. Well, I will have to start writing on a notepad small bits and pieces so I don't forget them when it comes to writing my blog. Hope all my readers/friends are having a great time where ever they are and I will write soon. My beautiful wife is going to go over this blog before it is posted, so there won't be any spelling mistakes this time. ["or as much, at least." -Tanja]
["My husband rocks!" -Tanja]