Our Great Move to Roskilde

Everything has a reason, even running late from a morning bus. Now I can wear my slippers and write a long due blog post concerning our move to Roskilde, Denmark, for six months. Actually, there’s only 5 ½ months left.

Instead of words, here’s some photos of our journey and first days in Roskilde. We took the ferry from Helsinki to Stockholm and drove through Jönköping to Roskilde. In order to get to Denmark, we crossed the Øresundsbron, a bridge betweeb Malmö and Copenhagen.

In Roskilde we first stayed in a hostel before we got our rental place in Roskilde. It is part of a house built in 1920’s and has a lovely garden.

Should we take a blender? The realities of moving abroad for half a year

We are moving to Denmark for six months in two weeks time. I’m visiting Roskilde University, Centre for Social Entrepreneurship due to my PhD studies. Exciting stuff! This is what I have been dreaming about for some years now: visiting a relevant place for my work and gaining everyday experiences while living in a new environment. I like the idea of being annoyed by the morning traffic and finding my favourite place out of many great ones. These are the things you don’t have time to do on a shorter trip.

I just had completely forgot how stressful it is to move abroad for a longer time. I’ve moved abroad once before but maybe that doesn’t count as I was a teenager and an exchange student, i.e. someone else was organising everything and I was concentrating on smiling and looking happy.

It seems doing a grown-up exchange is a lot of work and moreover, a lot of stress. Furthermore, my family is accompanying me, which is extremely comforting but also causes some extra hassle. What are the realities of moving abroad for half a year? (Half a year sounds more than six months. Maybe with this stress level I should talk about six months.)

  1. Accommodation. The number one stress. It seems people are (a) unwilling to rent to foreigners at a distance or (b) willing to take our money via Western Union and leave us with plain air. At the worst-case scenario, Denmark as a welfare state has social service so when we sleep under the bridge (with a toddler), they would come and get us. Maybe we should take a tent with us and try camping (legally).
  2. Renting our own place. This is actually my spouse’s stress so I shouldn’t worry about it. Still, if we don’t rent our own, we lose potential income. If we rent, we would rent it furnished and what happens to my favourite tea mug? Maybe I should take it with me.
  3. What to wear. Major stress. Applies to all trips but this time I should decide six months before hand. Really, I should I know if I feel like red or green stockings? Maybe I should bring both.
  4. Paperless office. On top of everything, I decided that carrying some hundreds of journal articles, book chapters, and several books is not a good idea (as you noticed deciding what to take is hard for me). Thus, I have been setting up an e-office with a tablet (computer), PDF annotation application, synchronising etc. Yet I wonder, how do people find time to learn all this new stuff? Maybe I should bring some hard copies just in case my abilities are not developed enough.
  5. Over-packing. Obviously stressing for my spouse. In addition to a tent, favourite tea mug, red and green stockings, and some piles of paper, I have been thinking about bringing a blender. I admit it sounds odd. Yet, the thing I like the most, when being an adult, is knowing what is good for me and acting accordingly. And I know making smoothies makes me happy. Still my spouse thinks I’m exaggerating.

In order to escape my moving-aboard-for-six-months-in-two-weeks stress, I used my early morning to walk in an autumn forest and after that sit down and type this blog post. As an adult, I know what is best for me and today it was reaching out to you over a bowl of lingonberries & hot porridge and organic green tea.

My destress morning

Meeting your idol

This is too weird! My twenty-something-age-idol mentioned me in Twitter. It all started out when I was flipping through my Twitter feed and my eye caught a funny tweet by Lotta. She felt hip knowing Bieber and Beliebers pass the age of the normal suspects – but when asked couldn’t mention any songs. Then someone explained that the oh-baby-baby-song is Bieber’s. Based on the unique description of lyrics, I thought I’d been dancing to it lately during my dance lessons. (But it was Usher’s Scream, apparently very hip too.) And then my idol comes in and comments the chords, C-Am7-F-G. O.M.G.

Although I haven’t been following her music lately, I should confess that Maija Vilkkumaa is still my idol. Back in the days, she was one of the rock stars writing lyrics, composing, and completely rocking in Finnish, and as a result start a whole new genre. Super hip! She seems to do what she enjoys, which I always seem to respect.

Getting the kicks of her commenting something I was attached to (sounds so lame here), I thought of idoling. There is a saying about idols by Kirsi Piha (yet one idol of mine): Never meet your idol(s) because it might turn out that they are jerks despite all the inspiring stuff they created / wrote / composed / said / played etc. Before, I was extremely cautious to meet my idols. Also in the academia from my field, although It’d be possible as most of the people who inspire me academically are actually alive (unlike in Ancient philosophy). Yet, I stayed further away only enjoying their wisdom from the distance.

Why I feared my (academic) idols might turn out to be douchebags? We are all humans and occasionally humans are also irritating, right? At times, I’m also annoying, right? But that’s it, I thought my idols are somehow above me and my standards. I was allowed to be irritating but my idols weren’t. After all, they created something I was inspired by and seeing them as humans would have endangered my inspiration.

When I started teaching one of my first fears was that someone hates me. Then even a bigger fear emerged: What if someone thinks I’m very smart and then comes to talk to me and realises I’m a douchebag. And this is when I felt released from fears of meeting my idols: We are not perfect and that’s absolutely great.

Nowadays, I’m more willing to face my idols. Yet, it’s hard to figure out what to say. Should I confess that they are my idols? ‘Hello Ms. Villkumaa. You really rocked then and you rock now. Back on the days, we formed an air band every time we heard your song, no mater where we were. Usually I played the air drums. What’s up?’

Why to be or not to be a bitch

Tina Fey‘s comment ‘bitches get stuff done’ caught my eye some time ago and I shared it with some of my friends (yeah, via Facebook). It struck a responsive chord, so to speak, and many said amen.I begun to think why this quote was considered to be to the point. Sure we all recognise the type: a self-centred elbowing person who does anything to achieve her or his goals and considers others only as long as it benefits themselves.Sure, I get stuff done by being a bitch, bit at what cost? Am I happy having gained a goal by not considering others? Of course sometimes I don’t need to consider others because it is a matter of being a bitch to myself and making myself work harder.

The more I have been thinking about it, the more I feel the process should matter too, whether it how I treat others or myself. Unfortunately, for instance in the academia one is evaluated mainly via personal goal achievement, namely publications. Solely personal goals for career development might encourage a person to be a bitch.
Of course, in the academia it is allowed to cooperate and co-author, but how can one build cooperation by being a bitch? To me it seems that this is possible only by provoking fear. Bitches get stuff done because others are willing to cooperate only because they are too afraid to decline. Meanwhile, they create exit strategies. But the minute the chances are there, others will do something else.It all comes back to what is important in my life: getting stuff done or enjoying the process. I have been starting to think why do I need to get stuff done anyways? To gain a living, sure. However, to me it seems it is nicer to gain a living in genuine cooperation with others rather than being a bitch.

My (for real) talking pause

 

I lost my voice. Literally. Due to several days of cold and coughing. Unlike my reading pause, my talking pause has not been voluntary. I have had to cancel meetings and focus on healing my voice for teaching.

Yet, not talking has been inspiring. First of all, I have suddenly all this unplanned extra time due to cancelled meetings. Thus, I have been able to plan, write and read. Great! Second, not talking doesn’t mean no communication. Smile and a nod has taken me far when meeting someone. They might not even notice that I don’t speak. In Finland that is possible.

Maybe most educational has been the fact that I have been forced to listen to others. Only body language, like nodding, smiling, and at home wrinkling my nose and rolling my eyes. It is hard not to comment! For instance yesterday my colleague said something I would have normally started to debate, may I say heatedly. This time I just nodded and continued listening. Actually, it happened that my colleague answered all my questions without me asking them as I only let time pass.

I propose a deliberate talking pause for everyone once in a while. It can be as short as 10 minutes. Don’t wait for losing your voice, as that’s not very good for anyone. However, listening to others is very good for everyone. It builds up patience and signals respect. I want to take this time and listen what you have to say.