Giving Back: My Experience as a Plan International and WWF Monthly Sponsor

norpanystävä wwf

I still remember the summer day back in 2016, when I was walking down the street in central Helsinki and I was stopped by one of the tens of street fundraisers who spent their days trying to reach out to often uninterested and occasionally rude passers-by. That summer I was on holiday in Helsinki and every day I walked by what seemed like an army of street fundraisers representing in my eyes and and all possible NGOs a person could think of. I had always walked by them briskly, with my head down as to avoid eye contact and slightly apologetic for not wanting to devote my time or money to help someone else. It’s not that I didn’t want to donate, it’s just that money was very tight and I kept telling myself that first I needed to increase my income and then I could become a sponsor.

plan intl girls

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Runeberg’s Cakes on February 5th

runeberg cake

On February 5th, Finland celebrates Johan Ludvig Runeberg’s birthday. Born in 1804, Runeberg is known as Finland’s national poet as well as the author of what what later became Finland’s national anthem, Maamme (Our Land). Legend has it that Runeberg was particularly fond of a certain almond-arrack flavoured, raspberry jam and sugar coated pastry and that he used to have it every morning for breakfast. Runeberg’s wife (and second cousin), Fredrika, is said to have created the recipe for the cake based off of a pre-existing recipe.

These cakes later become known as Runebergintorttu (Runeberg’s cake) and nowadays are a treat specifically enjoyed on the national poet’s birthday, February 5th. In light of this event, this year I decided to try and make Runebergintorttuja for the first time. I came across several variations of the original recipe, and ultimately decided to use one I found on a well-known Finnish baking blog, Kinuskikissa. This Runeberg cake recipe is very easy to follow, and although getting all of the necessary ingredients required going to three different supermarkets, I was able to find everything I needed locally.

According to the recipe, these ingredients make for around 12-14 cakes.  My measurements must have been on the heavy side because I ended up getting 20 cakes. Continue reading “Runeberg’s Cakes on February 5th”

5+1 Things I Wish I Knew Before Moving to Spain

church tower belchite

I’ve been living in Spain on and off for about four years now, and I feel like that’s enough time get into the culture and society of a new country. Having said that, moving to a new country is definitely not easy, and as they say, hindsight is 20/20. So here are some things I wish I knew before moving to Spain, that would have without a doubt lessened my culture shock and sometimes saved me a lot of headache! I have spent my time in the south of Spain, and my observations are based accordingly.

1. The bureaucracy really is as bad as they say it is.

I thought I knew what dealing with bureaucracy was, but let’s be real, I had no idea. Luckily when I first moved to Spain, I had a job lined up waiting for me which meant that my employer pretty much gave me a list of which documents I needed to take to which offices in order to get things like my residency permit sorted out. I am fortunate enough to be an EU passport holder, which means that getting a residency permit was relatively straight forward. Continue reading “5+1 Things I Wish I Knew Before Moving to Spain”

5 Zero-Waste Resolutions for 2018

reusable produce bag

Welcome, 2018! The new year has always represented the opportunity for new beginnings, and I must admit that I’m a sucker for recapping past years and listing new goals for the one to come. This year, I’d like to do more practicing than just preaching in terms of contributing towards a sustainable environment, and continue expanding my own zero-waste lifestyle.

Looking back, moving towards a zero-waste lifestyle is something that I’ve been doing kind of subconsciously for years. Moving house pretty much yearly has definitely been a significant factor in reducing my purchases as a consumer, because the truth is that the more things you own, the more things you have to move! Using reusable tote bags, swapping plastic containers for glass ones, buying in bulk and reducing my use of animal products are all things that I already do in my day-to-day life. However, I feel like I still have plenty of room for improvement which is why I wanted to make a list of five zero-waste New Year’s resolutions I have for 2018.

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How to Buy Train Tickets in Spain Using the RENFE Website

Screen Shot 2017-11-21 at 19.18.54In this post we will discuss how to book train tickets using the RENFE website. As all prices, routes and discounts are subject to changes, the website should be consulted for most recent information.

The RENFE website is available in seven languages: Spanish, English, French, Catalan, Euskera, Gallego and Valencian

Generally speaking, train bookings on the website open 60 days prior to the scheduled departure date for all trains other than high-speed AVE-trains (90 days prior).

To search timetables and prices use the Journey Planner on the left side of the homepage. Choose the dates using the drop-down calendar and add any preferences of morning, midday or night departures and arrivals. For One-Way tickets the return date should be left blank. Enter discount card information when applicable. Many discounts are only available to Spanish residents. Continue reading “How to Buy Train Tickets in Spain Using the RENFE Website”