December 25, 2014

Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas

Christmas must be one of my favorite holidays. On my previous post I wrote about things that has uplifted my Christmas spirit... The final thing, which I didn’t even dare to say out loud before I was absolutely sure it would happen was that my brother came to spend the Christmas with us for the first time in four years. Since he moved to another city, it has been rather difficult to assemble a Christmas together. But, that was the final thing that sparked up my Christmas spirit, which had been missing to the very last days that preceded Christmas Eve.

We had some plans what to do, but instead we sat down and talked for hours and hours – something we hadn’t have the opportunity to do face to face in years. We literally talked through the whole days!

On Christmas Eve, we slept late and later we made a lot of food, something for everyone. In fact, making food and eating was the only time we were rather quiet. Every other time we just talked and talked.

For an appetizer before the Christmas dinner I had ryemeal bread with fake fish roe mousse and dill. 

Like every year, I made a seitan “ham” in a place of regular ham. It is a big part of my food on Christmas.

For my big surprise, my brother said that he will taste everything on the table – even the traditional casseroles which he said he doesn’t really like that much. I was prepared for him starting to joke about my diet and foods but instead, he even tasted the seitan I had made. His reaction made me smile; he was very careful how to say it out loud, for he is a meat-eater to his very core but even he did say that seitan isn’t his thing he didn’t hate it. That meant a lot to me, for he must have had the image of my very first attempt to make seitan in his head so he must have waited it to be as horrible as back then.  

We hadn’t really prepared to bake anything but out of an impulse my brother decided to make a chocolate cake out of everything he could find and it turned out to be one of the best cakes I’ve eaten.

On this year there were not many gifts but as I’ve gotten older I don’t really feel like needing any, even it is nice to get something, but it’s not a necessity anymore... What is even more important for me is celebrating Christmas together with the people I love.

The cats were a bit shy at first for they hadn’t seen my brother in such a long time, but then they got accustomed to him and acted like he has never been gone. All the food got our cats curious and they even tried to be rude in order to get it, stalking on the chairs, near the table, staring at us with their gleaming eyes... With cats you feel never alone – someone is always watching.

I must say I had one of the best Christmases I’ve ever had – if not the best!

December 22, 2014

Finding the Christmas Spirit

I must say that my Christmas spirit has been quite missing lately, even we go towards Christmas... Some of the reasons I know, but some of the reasons still stay unknown to me.

Even Christmas has become very advertised holiday, I still kind of enjoy the endless Christmas commercials coming from the television – not because I’m a perfect target to buy everything for I do not think Christmas is all about presents, but it creates some sort of atmosphere. I’ve heard my share of Christmas songs in the shops and markets, but I haven’t really listened many of them myself... Maybe that’s one “symptom” of the missing Christmas spirit I’ve had lately.

But! I found it. I finally found it! The lost Christmas spirit I had been looking for!

We went to a Christmas Market which is held every year at downtown. It lasted 18 days this year and the time went by so fast that we went there on the last day, which was today – but the market was still far from empty! We strolled through the whole market and then we left to a near church to listen to a men’s choir singing Christmas carols.

The men’s choir was the same which I went to listen at Tampere-talo at the beginning of December but it is always so good that it is worth listening. I knew that if anything, it would lift my Christmas spirit – and I was right... After the concert I felt so, so good and my feelings felt so uplifted. It was just what I needed!

There is one other thing which would definitely lift my Christmas spirit if everything goes well and tomorrow I will know will it happen or not...

But for now I wish you all very peaceful Christmas waiting!

December 6, 2014

Celebrating Finland's Independence

Today we celebrate our independence day in Finland – which, I must say, I one of my favorite holidays when going towards Christmas and New Year!

Over the years, it has become a tradition for me to go to the Tampere-talo to "Patriotic Festivities", to listen men’s choir “Mieskuoro Laulajat”, which is a day before the Independence Day. Going there has become a huge part of my celebration of Finland’s Independence Day!

I woke up early and got myself ready and I still had time! What a rare and remarkable feeling... I was at Tampere-talo earlier than arranged, but soon I started to find familiar people.

This year the choir had a new conductor, less singers and the whole concert was a bit different – but I think it was better in its own way! 

For the last four songs a senior choir group ”Seniorikuoro Konkelot” came on stage to sing with the other choir. Both of the choirs’ voices matched so well with each other! Finally also the “Eagles Brass Band” (Tampereen Kotkien Puhallinorkesteri) came to play the song ”Finlandia”” which is one of my favorite songs of all times and is an important piece of my own celebration of Finland’s Independende Day!

I had not received any kind of invitation to upstairs for an after party that takes place after the concert, but one thing lead to another and there I was sitting at the table chatting with the other people. It felt so good to see people I still remember from my childhood and catch up with them!

There was a buffet where also I, as a vegetarian, could find something to eat. That is always nice... There were music, singing and dancing and the time went by so fast! Too fast. The clock was near midnight when my dad escorted me into a taxi and I went home. I had such a great feeling from the whole night and I was so full energy that I could not even think of going to sleep just yet! 

Today I slept late and later on the evening we started to watch The Independence Day’s reception and drank sparkling wine. 

We didn’t make anything fancy for food but even it was just pizza, it was self-made and that made it so damn good... After that we watched the after party of The Independence Day’s reception. I’m very proud to be Finnish and even I’m happy about our independence every day it is always great that on one particular day is dedicated to celebrate it! 

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