March 27, 2015

connected


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These past two weeks in Helsinki have been filled with stories; stories of friends very dear to me, stories of reconnected acquaintances, and stories of my family.
Living far from home and from the social hub I have built up for years before my departure is one of the heaviest sacrifices I have made. It was unforeseeable to imagine how difficult and sometimes how easy it has been to be so disconnected from everyone important that used to fill my days entirely.
How quickly the closest of friendships level down from knowledge of everyday details to broad sketches of developments in life. Living in England robs me of the knowledge of what my best friend enjoys for breakfast, who annoyed her that day, and that provoking article she read in the newspaper.
Snapchat and Whatsapp go a surprisingly long way here, but even voice messages and little videos of “what are you doing” are lovely but almost painful peeks into lives I am no longer a permanent part of.

The pattern is similar with close friends; a warm greeting, a lingering tight hug, the faint oddness of meeting each other once again and the silly small talk that is had while ordering something off the menu.
Why is it we always drink or eat when we meet? Funny social conventions imply that it is nice to have something to stir or to poke while having a conversation, just in case an awkward gap of silence grips the air. But it hardly does.

The conversation starts out with an enthusiastic, long-unfulfilled excitement to learn how the other has been doing. How is school, work, your love life, your passions, your mental state? How do you feel about your life direction? What are you proud of, dissatisfied with? What makes you get up in the morning? Who are you voting for?
It is nearly stressful to try and grasp every word that is eagerly pushed forward from one to another. How can we fit months of experiences into a few hours of conversation? How can we possibly relate all the passion, enthusiasm, heartbreak or love drunk, annoyances, sorrow and loss, confusion and hopelessness, sheer joy and community, into less than two hundred minutes? The task seems hopeless and all we can seem to do is to be thankful for every feeling related. I can’t help but hear my thoughts whisper to me in a somber tone: I regret not having this person in my everyday life.

At times I wish I could break into song to fully convey the joy I have experienced in my new life! How do I explain the amazing communities I’ve become a part of, the strange loneliness of a foreign land, the overwhelming chaotic of opportunities, the radiant friendships, the awkward acquaintances? Similarly, explaining the difficulties youth and change have imposed on my character, on my mind, seem entirely impossible to put just right without scripting out my thoughts beforehand. I am entirely anxious to answer this dear person’s queries as well as I can, and time again I feel I am unable to.

When she talks of her woes and worries, her joys and curiosities, I can’t help but study her eyes and her visage. I wish I could soak in all of her existence at once, burn it into my memory as something I could play back when I miss her again in three weeks time.
I pay special attention to the way she uses her arms to paint landscapes of words, to her posture, to her outfit. Often times I notice she has changed. She has matured. Her voice has new vibration to it, which I fail to recognise. She has changed her hair and it frames her face in a new way entirely. I often sit there in awe. She is beautiful. I soak in the gratitude of having her as some ever-changing and distant, but still truly important part of my life. As I listen my mind surfs on and wonders about the novel someone might write of us one day. The song I’ll write about her. The stories I’ll relate to my children about the wild wild 2010’s! The time we had!

What is amazing about my circle of friends is that one hardly knows another. I have always been one to make friends with very different types of people that rarely meet. I am a one-on-one type of girl. I feed off of immersing myself in communication between just two people. That kind of connection seems the most precious.

And even in this group of fifteen persons all different shapes and minds, the turbulences of life seem to be ever so similar. It comforts me greatly. No one has it all right. Everyone is battling something.

The beauty of seeing the richness of our lives up so close is realising that there is no one way to cope with being young. There is no one way to move on from heartbreak, to fit into a new community, to improve yourself, to love others. These past two weeks I listened, in awe, to the personal stories of fifteen of my closest friends. No two experiences were the same, no two reactions to adversity or success were the same. But what we all seemed to share is that being nineteen or twenty, is a time where we encounter the inevitability of change in our young lives. We are confused about our identities still or feel hope in finding them. We are all faced with difficult educational, romantic, financial, and emotional challenges. We all battle them. We all survive.

As I travel back to the new place I try to call home, I feel loss of these wonderful individuals. But even more than that, I am so grateful to witness the development of such a raw and beautiful generation. 

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March 24, 2015

banjo

Hello 

I am currently back home in Finland for the holidays and have been working on a few music projects in my spare time. I spent the loveliest day at the piano today, just playing for fun and recording any songs I enjoyed in particular. I'll be putting more out in upcoming days.

Over the weekend I visited an exhibition here in Helsinki in tribute to our national composer, Jean Sibelius. He was a great patron of the arts and his group of friends consisted of talented Finnish artists of his time. The exhibition displayed his music alongside with paintings and portraits by his dear friends. I was so inspired by the synergy between visual art and music and decided to try my hand at a Sibelius piece. "Finlandia" is undoubtedly his most famous piece, and a true national gem. It was arranged for choir much later, and I have performed this piece many times with my high school choir at Independence Day celebrations. It has a beautiful melody.

I decided to recreate the choir piece by singing all of the harmonies myself (the bass was the most difficult to learn). It holds its beauty in its simplicity. 


I have really been trying to soak myself in all things Finnish, including rediscovering some of my favorite Finnish artists. Scandinavian Music Group has been with me for years, and I decided to cover one of their somber songs, "Vieläkö soitan banjoa?" (Do I still play the banjo?). I admire the bluntness of the lyrics, and their ability to tell a vivid story.



A forest burns across the border
I only sleep
In the morning the streets are in smoke
And the sun in shrinking

You left for Paris
You said you were happy
The girl is beautiful and affable
I loathe her

No one is waiting for me
Why should I rise
Before the new snow
You call after all

I lost you long a go
You shoved your shoulders and walked away
This morning I want to forget
You ask if I've cut my hair
If I've changed
Do I still play the banjo after dark?

I sold my banjo
Last winter
But I still sing
Listen closely

This is the last song
I will sing to you
It is called
Too much too late

I hope you enjoy these little creations.
Maria

January 26, 2015

things I Learned in England


Hello!
I am back with a video on some cultural differences and random bits I wanted to share. Excited to get back into blogging. I have a million things to share!



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bicycles in Sloane Square

Maria