July 8. A snowman in the sauna complex.

That sounds like an easy life, doesn’t it? I am getting up not too early, make my way to the coffee place where I unpack my small white computer and plug it in. I try to make some sentences again, sentences like warm cookie dough. Unfortunately, inspiration is not what it used to be. I just sit around, looking out of the window, thinking about who I am, and I have a desire to move again. I don’t know why I value the moving part so much. Because I envy all those kids who move around the globe and have so much energy to suck in different cultures, buildings, people? Because I dream of somebody who is of course not supposed to be real, somebody who comes and halts me? I dunno. And don’t like the “eye”-word in this paragraph, don’t like at all.
After spending the day in the café, I hope you skipped the boring words I just used to describe it. At night I find myself in a nice bar in Guri, about an hour east of Seoul where we drink beer and mokole (white ricewine). The bar is nicely decorated with Beatles-things and they have a pocket-book by Safran-Foer. Some guests play live music, giving the place the atmosphere of a highschool-band practice garage. But I’d have loved to stay there longer, because of the tormenting rain outside. This is the perfect time to remember a concept so brilliant, so awesome, so Korean, that you… let’s not exaggerate, we just went to a Korean spa and sauna to spend the night. We arrive in the rain, and tomorrow morning it will still be raining. But the time in between we spend bathing, sleeping, sweating in various saunas and the iceroom. They even have a snowman in the iceroom and I like it a lot. Me – snowman. Is that adding value? Is that creating anything of value here? Mentioning that snowman and me? Is it going to help anybody, making the reader smile and feel good thus creating value? It’s really cold in the iceroom. That’s so real about it. I am shivering. Are you shivering when you read these lines because they are intended to reveil a cruel aspect of us humans? I guess not. If yes, drop a note. And the snowman is smiling at you. It’s that nobody could possibly care about this adventure. We cannot care about just a random snowman. What we need is a chain that ties the snowman to our perspective. And still, I do remember the snowman, his round face, his big eyes. Freedom means also writing about that snowman, even if nobody cares about him. And then – writing about him has already conserved him in some sort of memory, so this goes out to all the other snowmen not remembered in such a neat travel blog, and to all the other non-snowmen not remembered at all.
Here are some more aphorisms I stumbled upon browsing my computer.
“Mann und Frau.
Frau. Gibt es ein Problem?
Mann. Nein… es gibt Dich!
Frau. Bin ich also ein Problem…”
Man and wife
Wife. Is there a problem?
Man. No… you are here!
Wife. So I am a problem…”
“Zu Gast. – Das lehre ich dich: leg dich nicht zu schnell fest – liebe deine Errungenschaften stets als Möglichkeiten. Das heißt auch: sei Gast in deinem eigenen Haus.”
As a guest. – I teach you: don’t pin yourself down too quickly – love what you have acquired as possibilities. That means: be a guest in your own home.
“Prinzip Hoffnung. – Die Hoffnung ist ein Verbrauchsartikel. Ernst Bloch hat vergessen, sich eine Vorstellung davon zu machen wie die Welt aussieht wenn alle Hoffnung verbraucht ist.”
Principle of hope. – Hope is a commodity. Ernst Bloch has forgotten to imagine what the world would be like when all hope has been used.
“Den Zynismus überwinden. – Den Zynismus überwindet man nur, indem man ihn noch überbietet. Wie sollte der Zyniker empfinden? Sein Zynismus ist nicht zynisch genug. Er sollte sich selbst betrachten, er sollte kritisch, zynisch Distanz zu sich nehmen, er sollte keinen eigenen Ort haben. Der ortlos gewordene Zynismus ist immer in Bewegung. Er kann das Fernrohr seiner zynischen Betrachtungsweise nirgendwo aufstellen – der überhitzte, überspitzte Zynismus erblindet. Sein Herr, der vagabundierende Zyniker, sollte aber nicht in diesem Standpunkt verharren. Er sollte lernen, dass es gar kein Standpunkt ist, und den nächsten Schritt machen, um den Kreis zu schließen.”
Defeating cynicism. – Defeating cynicism is only possible by surpassing it. How should the cynic feel? His cynicism is not cynical enough. He should observe himself, critically, cynically, from a distance. He shouldn’t have a location of his own. Cynicism without a location is always moving. Nowhere he can’t put the telescope of his cynical way of thinking – the overheated, exaggerated cynicism. His master, the vagabunding cynicist, should not remain with this point of view. He should learn that there is no point of view, and take the next step to close the circle.
“Das wichtigste Gesetz Jesu, das Gesetz der Milde, wurde in der Geschichte mit allzugewaltigen Metaphern illustriert und begründet; Metaphern die sich leider besser verwirklicht haben als die Grundmetapher in deren Dienst sie standen.”
Jesus’ most important law, the law of mildness, has been illustrated and justified with far too violent metaphores throughout history; metaphores that realized themselves better than the metaphor they eventually served.

July 8. A snowman in the sauna complex.

That sounds like an easy life, doesn’t it? I am getting up not too early, make my way to the coffee place where I unpack my small white computer and plug it in. I try to make some sentences again, sentences like warm cookie dough. Unfortunately, inspiration is not what it used to be. I just sit around, looking out of the window, thinking about who I am, and I have a desire to move again. I don’t know why I value the moving part so much. Because I envy all those kids who move around the globe and have so much energy to suck in different cultures, buildings, people? Because I dream of somebody who is of course not supposed to be real, somebody who comes and halts me? I dunno. And don’t like the “eye”-word in this paragraph, don’t like at all.
After spending the day in the café, I hope you skipped the boring words I just used to describe it. At night I find myself in a nice bar in Guri, about an hour east of Seoul where we drink beer and mokole (white ricewine). The bar is nicely decorated with Beatles-things and they have a pocket-book by Safran-Foer. Some guests play live music, giving the place the atmosphere of a highschool-band practice garage. But I’d have loved to stay there longer, because of the tormenting rain outside. This is the perfect time to remember a concept so brilliant, so awesome, so Korean, that you… let’s not exaggerate, we just went to a Korean spa and sauna to spend the night. We arrive in the rain, and tomorrow morning it will still be raining. But the time in between we spend bathing, sleeping, sweating in various saunas and the iceroom. They even have a snowman in the iceroom and I like it a lot. Me – snowman. Is that adding value? Is that creating anything of value here? Mentioning that snowman and me? Is it going to help anybody, making the reader smile and feel good thus creating value? It’s really cold in the iceroom. That’s so real about it. I am shivering. Are you shivering when you read these lines because they are intended to reveil a cruel aspect of us humans? I guess not. If yes, drop a note. And the snowman is smiling at you. It’s that nobody could possibly care about this adventure. We cannot care about just a random snowman. What we need is a chain that ties the snowman to our perspective. And still, I do remember the snowman, his round face, his big eyes. Freedom means also writing about that snowman, even if nobody cares about him. And then – writing about him has already conserved him in some sort of memory, so this goes out to all the other snowmen not remembered in such a neat travel blog, and to all the other non-snowmen not remembered at all.
Here are some more aphorisms I stumbled upon browsing my computer.
“Mann und Frau.
Frau. Gibt es ein Problem?
Mann. Nein… es gibt Dich!
Frau. Bin ich also ein Problem…”
Man and wife
Wife. Is there a problem?
Man. No… you are here!
Wife. So I am a problem…”
“Zu Gast. – Das lehre ich dich: leg dich nicht zu schnell fest – liebe deine Errungenschaften stets als Möglichkeiten. Das heißt auch: sei Gast in deinem eigenen Haus.”
As a guest. – I teach you: don’t pin yourself down too quickly – love what you have acquired as possibilities. That means: be a guest in your own home.
“Prinzip Hoffnung. – Die Hoffnung ist ein Verbrauchsartikel. Ernst Bloch hat vergessen, sich eine Vorstellung davon zu machen wie die Welt aussieht wenn alle Hoffnung verbraucht ist.”
Principle of hope. – Hope is a commodity. Ernst Bloch has forgotten to imagine what the world would be like when all hope has been used.
“Den Zynismus überwinden. – Den Zynismus überwindet man nur, indem man ihn noch überbietet. Wie sollte der Zyniker empfinden? Sein Zynismus ist nicht zynisch genug. Er sollte sich selbst betrachten, er sollte kritisch, zynisch Distanz zu sich nehmen, er sollte keinen eigenen Ort haben. Der ortlos gewordene Zynismus ist immer in Bewegung. Er kann das Fernrohr seiner zynischen Betrachtungsweise nirgendwo aufstellen – der überhitzte, überspitzte Zynismus erblindet. Sein Herr, der vagabundierende Zyniker, sollte aber nicht in diesem Standpunkt verharren. Er sollte lernen, dass es gar kein Standpunkt ist, und den nächsten Schritt machen, um den Kreis zu schließen.”
Defeating cynicism. – Defeating cynicism is only possible by surpassing it. How should the cynic feel? His cynicism is not cynical enough. He should observe himself, critically, cynically, from a distance. He shouldn’t have a location of his own. Cynicism without a location is always moving. Nowhere he can’t put the telescope of his cynical way of thinking – the overheated, exaggerated cynicism. His master, the vagabunding cynicist, should not remain with this point of view. He should learn that there is no point of view, and take the next step to close the circle.
“Das wichtigste Gesetz Jesu, das Gesetz der Milde, wurde in der Geschichte mit allzugewaltigen Metaphern illustriert und begründet; Metaphern die sich leider besser verwirklicht haben als die Grundmetapher in deren Dienst sie standen.”
Jesus’ most important law, the law of mildness, has been illustrated and justified with far too violent metaphores throughout history; metaphores that realized themselves better than the metaphor they eventually served.

July 8. A snowman in the sauna complex. was originally published on Meandering home

Finally: Lapland

The next day I said goodbye to Tuomo and tried to hitchhike to Rovaniemi. This turned out to be very difficult. I remember walking along a highway, and decided I had had enough, so I got back to Oulu, where I waited in a “cafe de Provence” for my train to Rovaniemi, writing, of course.

The trainride was really comfortable, and I arrived in a small snow-covered town, where I phoned up my couchsurfing host who would meet me in hotel Santa Claus. Yes, Santa lives here in this town on the Arctic Circle, they say. I have other information though, that he lives further east, near the Russian border. And so I met Veronika and Juusi, we went to a bar, and could almost immediately connect to each other. She mentioned a trip to Tromsø, and I said yes to it without hesitating a second. I never seem to run out of luck (but that is also where the saying “lucky in games, unlucky in …” might eventually cause me some trouble.
The keys of Veronika’s bike broke and got stuck in the lock. After some trial and error, I managed to open it with cutting pliers, thus proving I was okay. We took the sauna with eucalyptus essence and a good conversation. We made snowflowers outside. Running naked through the snow at 2AM. Welcome to Finland.

But the coldness was compensated with the hottest event of the year. It was election night. I stayed up watching the first results come in, until the computer crashed and I went to sleep.

The next day, Veronika was out, and I wrote in the kitchen, listening to my only source of information: a Finnish radion station. When the words Obama and president became significantly more frequent and the intervals smaller, I realized that he had won the election. I turned up the volume and sang along with every song they played. I also cried, but so did Colin Powell so I am in good company. After Veronika came back, we had a meal together, and cycled downtown. And that is where I met Tasos the Greek.

He was a funny and interesting guy, I could see that immediately (I told you I would write that, Tasos…!) We went to the same bar that night for a few Obama-beers. The pictures are taken during my bicycle trip the next day, but today’s post is borrowing them for aesthetic reasons.