Coffee overdoses and midterm week

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Happy to be back in blog after too long time! Time is passing by so fast and semester is already halfway. I want to share more thoughts and photos later on but wanted to give a brief update with some pictures captured today. The sun finally came out (fall is sooooo much better in HK weather wise), and we took advantage by lying on lawn after lunch. Everyone are studying like crazy as it’s midterm week but we felt that the sun was nurturing us more 😉 HKUST campus is huge – the glass complex in the picture is Business faculty, which is where my classes are- I like! Building is super new and the view is not bad either.

Though my summer remains a big question mark, what I know is that I want to visit the closest friends I’ve made here. Berlin, Paris, London, Copenhagen… Could I ask for more. Luckily, I now also have a perfect excuse, I mean REASON, to go back to my most beloved city, NYC, as well as California and Austin, Texas 😉 The sooner the better.

I am happy to finally study subjects that motivate me. The courses are demanding – I’ve learned that any course containing word strategic in it means that it is not a easy way out course. All my courses require a lot of work which makes my exchange experience a little different than most of my friends’ but it was a conscious decision. That said, I’m now more confident than ever that my future lies in STRATEGIC marketing, brand management, communications, maybe even some accounting 😉

As for my feelings towards Hong Kong, they have only grown stronger along the way. To be honest, I did not come back here with a huge excitement but would’ve rather gone back home, or NYC … However, I now realize that I am with all my heart crazy in love with this city. It seems to be a common phenomenon, as everyone who has spend longer period here says that it makes you addicted. I can agree. I’m grateful for the chance of experiencing this city that I had absolutely no (any good) expectations of. I hope to have the chance to spent time here another period some time in my life. And that time it will not be on a campus way too far from center!

Sending much love to everyone who is reading this, and missing my close ones like crazy ❤

Hong Kong restaurant love stories of the birthday girl

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Dinner after another with both best friends and new acquaintances made my birthday week feel very special. The actual birthday day we started appropriately with Bellinis, followed by dinner in a Vietnamese restaurant, ChomChom. I had high expectations for this place, and the salmon and chicken salads, eggplant dishes and beef rolls proved to be beyond delicious. Best part, however, was the huge chocolate cake served to the table by the waiter, which completely threw me by surprise, and made me feel touched by the people I have got around me in a new city.

The dinner next day was not less mind blowing. Emily took me to Grassroots Pantry, an organic food serving restaurant that I had wanting to go for ages. Soba noodles with tofu did not sound that appealing to me, but as it is Emily’s favorite dish and she goes there A LOT, I wanted to give it a try. I’m so glad I did. The dish was amazingly tasty and made us beg for the recipe and have long discussion with the lovely waiter. At the moment, several days later, we are texting with Emily and sharing our cravings for the soba noodles and the veggie dumplings…

As for Friday night, unfortunately I don’t have any pictures as this was one of those nights that it is better to leave the camera to bag and just enjoy. (might partly due to the fact that I did not want to make my date feel embarrassed shooting in a crowded restaurant..) We ended up in ChomChom again as either of us didn’t mind going back. I had told him that I’ve been avoiding meat here as I find it suspicious in most places. He was convinced to turn me back being a meat eater and so the table filled up with all sorts of dishes of chicken, meat and fish, which I found quite cute. I can not describe how delicious the chicken wings, beef tenderloins and kaffir lime chicken tasted, after such a long break. I realized how much I had craved for meat and chicken. So, despite all the nutrition I’m studying at the moment, no way I’m turning a full-time vegetarian.

Photo diary

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My photo diary from past few weeks includes:

1. Junk Boat Sunday – by no question the best way to spend a sunny Sunday in Hong Kong 2. Breathtaking views at the infinity pool 3. Countless dinners at Mana which I will never get bored of 4. Experiencing the only-in-Hong Kong kind of Halloween 5. Snails and french fries at Pastis 6. Dinner of raw dishes and desserts at Maya cafe with gorgeous Emily 7. A perfect Friday night at rooftop of Sevva, with live music and friends from home 8. Enjoying the views at Ritz-Carlton with another gorgeous friend, on a pitstop from NYC to Japan, Nadia (I’m hopefully visiting her in Tokyo in couple of weeks!!!)

The past days or weeks have at times made me miss many things back home more than before. Obviously, I miss family and friends, more or less every day. I miss having a home with proper shower, kitchen, privacyspace, FOOD. After 5 months dealing with the lack of these, truly makes me appreciate the home I will again have one day. I wait to be able to cook and have space at the fridge for more than 3 items. May sounds amusing, but Mana has truly been my savior. I am well aware that I have at least 7 more months to go, and the worst is only getting started.. Attitude change is really needed 🙂

Nevertheless, looking back the pictures of past weeks makes me, once again, realize how much unforgettable moments I’ve experienced. In a way, I’m also consciously accepting the feelings, and doing my best to treat myself. I don’t feel bad of consuming loads of dark chocolate, taking weekly massages and having cozy dinners with friends. Weekly yoga class is a must. Tonight, Emily is taking me to a restaurant for my birthday that I’ve been wanting to go  for ages, Grassroots Pantry. Little things that feel like luxury and will take me over of this period that makes me at times feel ambivalent.

“Adventure may hurt you but monotony will kill you.”

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Though this city could never drive me to boredom, I must admit, I am happy the first era of my time here is coming to an end. My internship of past 6 months has enabled more than I could have hoped for in many terms, but I’m ready to continue the adventures. After four years of studying non-motivating subjects for me, working in more or less non-motivating jobs during past summers, I feel like I truly need some time to listen to myself and figure out what I want to do next. I could not feel more relieved and blessed to have no obligations of any sort for two months.

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I am more motivated than ever to pursue my true interests and start creating something on my own. The feeling of having an own business has only strengthened in me during the past months.  I want to focus my energy in learning new. Here, I’ve constantly been reading books about nutrition, which appeal to me a lot. Also, it is not a coincidence that I eat most of my meals here at Mana. At the same time, I am thinking of how to make most out of my time before starting master studies.

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Although Hong Kong still has a lot to give, right now I can not wait for my travels to start. People ask me how come I am not scared to travel by myself . Of course, I am a bit, but more than that, I’m curious of the adventures that await me. And it’s not like I have not done it before, knowing exactly one person before hand in both New York and Hong Kong. Restless by nature, I can’t wait to relocate myself and get inspired in new surroundings.

Infinity pool

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I’m fully aware that I repeat myself after every weekend spent here, but I simply can not help it.  Though Hong Kong has exceeded all my expectations already long ago, once again, I am speechless of its beauty. I honestly never thought I would find anything like this from Hong Kong. The citys ability to get you, at one moment, feel like the only people in the world in a middle of a rainforest, and at the next moment surrounded by so many people, in the vibrant city, with endless possibilities. Like my experience last weekend, this day made me deeply aware and grateful of the fact that I actually get to live in this city for which I am falling more and more as the times passes. I can not but feel deep gratitude to the factors that have enabled this experience. In my case, I need to thank my parents for paying the taxes and my company for flexibility. Above all, I am grateful for myself for being persistent and not settling for anything less. These are the experiences that make it worth to being a world apart from family and friends.

Photo diary

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1. Friday night “house” party and an infinity pool  2. Sunday rooftop brunch in Mid Levels and afternoon getting lost in Soho 3. Cliff jumping in Sai Kung 4. Winner feeling once reaching the Peak 5. Food favorites: coconut curry, Mana salads, Life chocolate cake and Maya Café juices (even one self prepared salad!) 6. Afternoon coffee moments in Classified 7. First glass of wine at Ted’s Lookout

Browsing through pictures captured through iphone during past couple weeks serve as a perfect reminder of how much fun I’ve had. Every day can be an adventure, but at the same time, I love the routines I’ve developed here. Hiking once a week to the peak is a must. Perfect coffee shop hunting is my favorite activity and all three Classifieds on the island have become my favorite spots to do some writing, reading or having a perfect cappucino or wine with a friend. Most people find the trams to be too slow – for me, it is the moment of the day to just sit and enjoy the ride to downtown.

“In the end, we only regret the chances we didn’t take.”

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For me, life is all about learning and discovering. The question people have asked me the most is why I wanted to come here. This is the main reason. I consider myself blessed to have so many close friends, loving family and a network of amazing people in Finland. These people, for me, are the best people in the world and will always be in my life. You know who you are! Yet, living 22 years in Finland, I’ve always had an endless desire to put myself in a situation where I have to create a new life for myself and tie new relationships in a new place. I feel like a need challenges to learn and discover. So why not to do it in the city I’ve on each one-week stay had a feeling of not getting enough? This leads to another point of my life philosophy. I believe you can learn so much from other people of how to live your life to the fullest. Of course, ultimately it comes only by listening yourself, but other people are the ones to inspire you on the way. New York is a place where people come to fulfill their dreams and it takes courage. No wonder I have met so many fascinating people.

Luca is a new friend of mine and a true New Yorker. I find it funny how many mutual interests we share – yoga, nutrition, a vision of running a sustainable farm in the future. I also think his lifestyle is so cool, working in a sustainable water store and at a restaurant, studying nutrition in university and IIN, pursuing rest of the time his interests and going towards his dream career and future. What could be more New Yorky. Yesterday I met a finnish model Anna-Sofia who turned out to be the most sweetest person. I loved her down-to-earth attitude and appreciation towards Finland, even though she’s had the opportunity to travel the past two years across Asia, Europe and USA. I also respect the fact that she has already acquired a position in university and plans to start studying. I don’t know, but I could assume that most internationally successful models wouldn’t think such things at the stage when their model career os blossoming. I have also had the chance to get to know a script writer Leo, which is fascinating as I’ve never known a script writer/movie maker before. I find it so fascinating to hear of a lifestyle where work life goes in cycles; first you focus on writing a script for a certain period, followed by the uncertain time of waiting whether your agent will get it sold to producers. If you’re lucky enough, the production starts and go travel to LA for an intense period of filming the movie. So cool. Today I’ll meet ut for coffee another wonderful person, Elita. She is a friend of my sister, whom I met on my last visit here last year. She seemed to be living my dream – having lived in San Francisco and studied in University of Berkeley and then arriving to New York City to study and later work at NYU. Both my ultimate dream universities. I’m not jealous anymore – just so fascinated and eager to hear more.