Archive for May, 2015

Safe

Wednesday, May 27th, 2015

When you’re a kid, you feeling safe is really down to small (but meaningful) things. It’s having your significant adult around, the one who gives you a glass of water when you wake up in the middle of the night feeling parched. It’s the teddy bear you always sleep with. It’s the humming of the car engine that lulls you to sleep when you’re on your way home from a day of exciting events. It’s remembering to put raisins around your bed in the evening, so the monsters from the closet and under your bed won’t bother to try and eat you, because everyone knows monsters prefer raisins over little kids (they’re sweeter and have less bones. also you cannot throw kids up in the air and try to catch them with your mouth, because obviously children are heavier and there aren’t a lot of places where there would be very many children to throw around. and even tho you’re a monster, you will inevitably miss a few. so rather raisins than children, because you can afford to lose some raisins, unlike children, which are considerably more rare.).

To me, safety was in knowing there was a radio link mast with its blinking light in the distance. We lived on the third floor and I could see it from our kitchen window. Every night when having supper it would be there, standing tall, blinking, somewhere in the distance. The steady white flash was the essence of stability in my mind. It was there, providing us with connection to the world via radio broadcasts. And it was a radio broadcast that was another one of my pillars of safety.

Every summer we used to migrate to our summer cabin, a prehistoric site in the middle of a vast landscape of fields. We have no electricity or running water there and most of things to do are outside, so weather plays a great role in that. So we always had a radio on to hear the forecasts and also to keep us in touch with the happenings of the outside world. It wasn’t news, it wasn’t the weather, but shipping forecast. Shipping forecast, at ten to one in the afternoon. That was the mantra that kept me believing the world was still as it should be. It was the time of the day when we used to have the afternoon coffee and shipping forecast was on, reassuring me that even if there were hails the size of a marble pouring down on the roof, the world itself was still in one piece and all was well.

Now that I’m older and find the feeling of safety to be a very fragile thing, what with my struggles with my mental health and generally with the realization of the world as a chaotic place (some would call it “growing up”), I sometimes find myself thinking about the steady blinking of the radio link mast. I can’t physically see it, since I’ve moved a thousand times since that third floor apartment, but I still see it when I close my eyes when I feel uncomfortable in my skin, when night monsters start making creaky noises under my bed (and i’ve forgotten about the raisins, since i’m no longer a child and have started to taste like dust to monsters but nobody told me that the monsters hiding under adult’s beds are hungry for the ashy taste of insecurity, anxiety and deeply hidden grief of aging) and the world is so quiet you could hear a needle dropping on a sheet ten miles away. That’s when the the image of that lone radio link mast, blinking in the darkness, sending radiowaves across the universe is like someone wrapping a blanket over me and shielding me from all evil.

And sometimes, sometimes I sneak out of the bed, from the warmth of husband and the covers and listen to shipping forecast over the internet.

And for a moment, all is well in the world.

Languaeg of teh Stnaa

Thursday, May 21st, 2015

When I was in tech school, way back when dinosaurs roamed the Gondwanaland, we had a few Chinese students in our class. They were pretty keen on learning Finnish, up until the moment they realised it has postpositions and conjugation you wouldn’t believe. The most one of them got to was learning names for various food items, mainly because he was working in a restaurant during the summers. I remember him coming back to school one autumn and he went “Rika Rika Rika! Tonnikala!” (that’s tuna in finnish) and he couldn’t have been prouder of himself. And man, I was really proud of him too. Like it’s not easy to learn specific vocabulary in any language, let alone the names of food items.

If y’all didn’t know this already, I’m a huge language nerd and have been know to be quite capable of translating from Afrikaans to English and Latin to Finnish. (no really, afrikaans is basically just dutch and dutch is basically danish mixed with german and danish is like swedish so it’s not that big of a deal honestly). So last night I kinda zoned off and thought about how fucking awful Finnish is for a foreigner to learn. It’s virtually impossible to machine translate (this is also why googling in finnish is an absolute bitch) because of the said conjugations and the postpositions. You could argue that you can dissect the basic word, if you are handy with that sort of stuff, but then again, you’d completely miss if it’s me or you or indeed we doing and are we doing it now, in the future or yesterday.

Then you have the famous “kuusi palaa” example, in which those two words mean 9 different things and you can’t make a difference with punctuation or anything. It’s just kuusi palaa and you’re on your own in interpreting the meaning from the context. And then there’s the infamous epäjärjestelmällistyttämättömyydelläänsäkäänköhän, which translates to “not even when taking into account his/her/its way/ability/tendency of not disorganizing”. Like you try typing that and Word just throws up it’s hands like mate I got nothing, you’re on your own on this one. (nobody would actually use that word, but it’s a completely legitimate finnish word).

I guess what I’m trying to tell you guys is, if you’re thinking about learning Finnish, very best of luck with it and omg you are brave as fuck.