Friday, October 19, 2007

Life in Swaziland

We live in a hostel up in the mountains in Mbabane, the capital of Swaziland. I share a room with a friend of mine. We probably have the best room of our group of 14 students as we have a tv, a double bed for both of us, a cupboard that you can actually use (in some other rooms there's either no storage space at all or there's a cupboard but then there's so little space that you can't open it properly) and a shower and a bath. Although, we've had some problems with water and electricity the whole time we've been here. Most of the times there's only cold water coming from the tabs and some days the water company switches off the water during the day because it's been so dry here and they want to save it. There's also been strong thunderstorms here almost every day with mangificient lightnings and that's why the electricity keeps turning off many times a day. So, candles and torches are needed a lot coz it get's completely dark outside at 6:30 pm.




Our hostel is more than three kilometers away from the city centre. And coz we need to get to the centre almost every day and we don't have a car or bicycle and there's no buses going to where we live there's three options how to get to the centre. One is to walk down along a narrow path and along the road and watch out for crazy drivers who speed way too much with their old cars. And you should also watch out for drunk drivers as there's a lot of them driving especially at nights. Second option is to take a taxi. It's the most convenient way but it's also the most expensive one. And you must always negotiate the price beforehand so that you don't end up paying way too much. You should also be careful not to take a "dark taxi" as you never know where you'll end up with them. The third option is to take a kombi. Kombis are vans that drive specific routes and you can hop in and off anywhere along the way. They leave from the bus station whenever they are full which means atleast 14 people. The bus station is quite an experience and at the first sight there doesn't seem to be any logic in the chaos and noice that goes on there. It's just full of vehicles and people and no signs, platforms or timetables telling which kombi or bus is going where. Instead there's some guys shouting the destinations with loud voices and guiding people to queue at the right spot. And in the middle of it all there's people walking around and selling sweets, fruits and lots of other things. It's definately something to experience.




Animals are also a bit different here than what I'm used to. The grasshoppers are ten centimeters long and make a huge noice. There's also big lizzards and some of them come inside the houses. Luckily, there hasn't been any in our room yet. In the evenings the frogs make such a loud noice that you almost need earplugs to be able to sleep. Sometimes the monkeys climb on the roofs at nights and disturb our sleep too. Cows are also everywhere. Every Swazi family has cows as it shows their wealth and cows are also used to pay for a wife. Normally you pay 14 cows but if the girl is from a better family then the price is around 18 cows. Lots of the cows walk around free so you can run into them anywhere, even in the middle of a motor way, which isn't very nice especially in the evenings when it's dark. And I don't know what's the case with chickens but one day we saw a lady sitting on a bench in the mall with a live chicken on her lap. I guess she was taking it to a butchery.



Last Saturday we climbed up to Sibebe Mountain that's the world's biggest granite rock. The views were just amazing and we also saw some wild horses on a way. It was quite scary to climb up there but coming down was even scarier. Luckily, we found quite an easy path down, otherwise we might have had to call for a helicopter to come and rescue us.. ;)









The internet connection is running really slow again because of the rainy weather so I think I'll have to write more next time.

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Greetings from Swaziland

So, I've managed to get here to Swaziland!! It's so unbelievable that I'm really here in the other side of the world in the southern Africa in the middle of lions and clay huts. So far everything has gone really well as I didn't lost my luggages, haven't been robbed, got malaria or haven't even been burned by the sun.. :) The only downside has been that it's actually been colder here than what it was in Finland when I left. It's also been raining quite much and today the roads were flooding so much that we weren't sure there would be any road left after the rain. But, the rain is just good as it's been unusually dry here for the last two years and the crops are suffering from the lack of water.

We live in Mbabane that's the capital of Swaziland. It's a small city but it's quite modern and you can buy anything from the shops and it's really cheap. There's also some white people living in this area so we are not the only pale people in the city.. ;) The internet is working but it's really slow and if it's raining it might not work at all so blogging is a bit difficult. But, today I'm lucky as the sun is shining and the internet is working quite fast so it seems that I'm actually able to blog and even post some pictures. :)

On a way here, we spent a day in Paris. It was wonderful even though it was quite cold and it started to rain in the middle of the day and we didn't have any umbrella.. First we went to see Notre Dame and then we went to visit the catacombs where's loads and loads of skulls and bones of the people died somewhere in the Middle Ages. It was an unforgettable experience to walk through the hundreds of meters of neat piles of skulls and bones. After that we visited the Montparnasse cemetery and then we went to the Eiffel tower to see the wonderful view over Paris.





We arrived in Johannesburg South Africa a day before the rest of the group and so we spent a day there at our hotel and shopping at a mall. Then on Friday morning we met the rest of the group and headed of to safari in the Kruger National Park where we spent the next four days driving around and watching animals. We had such a good luck with the animals as we got to see loads of animals including over 20 lions. There was even one time when a lion couple came to lie in the middle of the road despite of loads of cars that had stopped to look at them. It was so amazing to see all those animals walking by a few meters away.















We'll start our practical training next week. I'll be working here at a local private dental clinic for the first few weeks and then we'll be teaching kids about oral hygiene at different schools. We'll also have a chance to work at a district clinic later and I think that'll be really interesting.

Oh, I wanted to post more pictures but it seems that Blogger doesn't allow me to post more at the moment so you'll have to settle with these. And I'll have to finish now anyway before my time runs out here at the internet cafe. Hopefully I'll be able to blog more later and post some more pictures. Take care and see you!

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

In case you need to find me I'm in Swaziland.. :)


Sunday, September 23, 2007

Traveling fever

Oh my, I can't believe I'll be going to Africa in a few days!! And on Thursday morning I'll be standing at the Johannesburg Airport on the other side of the world. I still haven't quite realized it but I guess it'll hit me once I get my things packed. I just hope I'll get them packed coz there's so many things I'll still have to do and the time is running out.. Today I've been emptying my kitchen so that the repairmen can change my kitchen cupboards to fix the damp while I'm gone. I'm not 100% sure if they'll do that but I had to empty the cupboards anyway just in case. It actually feels like I was moving coz I've got boxes lying around everywhere and the place looks half empty. I've also been taking out the clothes and stuff I'm going to take with me and it looks like I'll have to start thinking what things I can live without since I really won't be able to carry all that stuff with me to the other side of the world. It's not that I have so many clothes but I also have face masks, gloves, disinfection, toothpaste and sugar free gum samples and lots of other things related to dental care plus some toys and clothes for the children and not to forget my laptop, so there really is loads of things to fit into a few bags and less than 20 kilos. Well, I guess I'll manage with only 10 tops and two pair of shorts then.. ;)

On the scrapping front, did you know that there's a kit sale going on at Scraphead till the end of this month? So, if you've been wanting to get some of my kits now is a good time to do it.. :)


I'll also have this new alpha set available there soon. It coordinates with the Falling Leaves kit but it's great for any layout as it's really versatile and I just love the texture of it.



And talking about the Falling Leaves kit, here's a fab LO Amanda made with it. It's so cool how she used the ribbon frame to frame the journaling. You can leave here some love here.



I also managed to create a new LO last week. It's some pictures from our trip to Ikea two summers ago. I can't believe I'm that far behind in my scrapping.. See the credits for it here.



Well, that's it for now. Tomorrow's going to be exciting and a bit scary at school since we'll be practising giving those anaesthetic shots on each other.. Yikes!! Luckily, we'll get to practise on oranges first but I'm not sure if that'll be of that much help.. Well, I'm off to try to get some sleep anyway! So, good night! ;)

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Mini-golf is not my thing..

So, we went to play mini-golf yesterday and it was cool. Not that cool it looked in the pictures but cool anyway. It was all dark there and there was 15 track that all had neon lights on the edges and many had some kind of special effets on them too. There even was one horror themed course with a graveyard, opening coffins, screaming and all... But even though the place was great I didn't master the game that well and I'm pretty sure I ended up being the last one.. ;) We played in small groups and all the other groups finished all the courses in an hour when we only managed to finish 10 of the 15 courses in 1,5 hours.. ;) I addition to not being able to hit the ball where I wanted to I also couldn't control my use of power and so the ball ended up flying far outside of the course a few times. Luckily, I didn't break anything.. ;) So, I don't think mini-golf is my thing but it was fun to try anyway. :)

But, I told you last time there would be an add-on freebie to the Ring Ribbons set and here it is now. I hope you'll have fun with it! :)

Sorry, this set isn't available as a freebie anymore. 


And in case you didn't know yet there's also a paper sale going on at Scraphead this week. There's a lot of cool paper packs there so go check it out! :)


Okay, I'm so tired now I can't keep my eyes open anymore..

Monday, September 10, 2007

Cute stuff

Thanks so much for your comments on my Falling Leaves kit! Reading them made my day again and this time they also helped me to like the kit a bit more. :) And, some of you commented on wanting to see the ribbon elements in brighter colors as well. So, that's what I did and I created a frame pack and a huge set of ring ribbons all in 10 yummy colors.

First off is the frames which you can find here.


And, I didn't only recolor the ring ribbon seen in the Falling Leaves kit but I added three new kinds of ring ribbons too. Each of them comes in 10 different colors so you'll get a total of 40 different ring ribbons. These are so much fun and great for wrapping up your photos or the whole page. And, you can also use the rings to hang embellishments on them. Just use your imagination! :) This set is available here at Scraphead.


I also made an add-on freebie to these ribbons that'll be available at Scraphead later this week so be on the lookout for that! :)

I also have to show you this adorable layout by Brittney that she made using loads of my stuff. If you look closely you'll see she used my Funky Flora, Branded Papers, Simply Solids, Label the Date, Cute Cotton Pad Alpha and the bobby pin from the Summer Elegance kit. That's a lot of stuff from different set but she put them together so nicely! And that smile has got to be the cutest! :) The rest of the credits can be found here.



This week is going to be busy with school, work and getting ready for Africa. And on Wednesday, we'll be going to play minigolf with my work colleagues. It's not an ordinary minigolf but the kind of where it's dark and the tracks are glowing so it's going to be cool! ;) This is what it looks like.


I also have some good news about my ceiling.. ;) The repairman finally came to fix it and there's no hole in there anymore! Yay! It's about a time! It's still not finished though but it'll get ready this week. And another guy will come to check out my kitchen for the dampness so hopefully that'll get sorted out too. Okay, that's it for now. See ya!

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

A few things before going to bed..

I should actually be going to bed by now cuz it's an early morning of school tomorrow but I just wanted to show you a few things. Since I don't think you can really get an idea of the papers in the preview I posted yesterday of my Falling Leaves kit I decided to make a preview of the papers only. So, here it is. 


I've actually started to like the kit more than what I did yesterday so that's a good thing. :) Now I'm only waiting for some fall pictures to scrap with it. Not sure if I'll have a chance to get any of those this fall though since I'll be leaving to Africa in only three weeks and it's spring there. Yikes!! It's slowly starting to hit me that I'm really going there. Today we already packed some things at school that we're going to take with us there, like tooth paste samples, some instruments and gloves. We'll also be taking some children's clothes that we've collected from our friends here to give to the kids in the slums. It'll be so great to actually get to see the kids and deliver the help in person.  

Well, I also wanted to show you this layout of mine I finished today. I have to say, the pictures are not the most elegant but I used my Summer Elegance kit anyway and I'm quite happy with it. :) I also used a bunch of other stuff so you can see the full credits here.


Okay, now I'm ready to go to bed. ;) Good night everybody!

Monday, September 3, 2007

Ready for fall?

So, are you ready for fall? I'm not quite sure if I am since the summer was so wet and cold here this year that I feel like we missed the whole summer. But, it's already crispy and cold so the fall has definately arrived whether I'm ready for it or not.. ;) So, I decided to make a fall themed kit with the colors I showed before and this is what I came up with.


Here's some close-ups of the elements.


I'm not quite sure if I like the kit or not. I like the papers and I like the elements but I don't know if I like them together in these colors.. Well, I'm not going to change them anymore though so it'll have to do. ;) And anyway, I think it's possible to create some funky layouts with this kit if you just like the colors. So, if you still want to check this kit out, it's available here at my Scraphead store. :)

And as usual, I made a few extra papers and elements to give away as a freebie. Somehow it just always happens when designing a kit that I get carried away with the papers and I end up with a few more than I could fit in the kit. But, that's always good news for you guys cuz after adding a few elements they make perfect add-ons to give away as freebies. :)  This time the add-on looks like this. Hope you like it and I'd love to see what you do with it!

Sorry, the link is gone. Thanks to all for your interest in the freebie! :)



I hope you have a good week! I'm hoping that finally this week I'd get my bathroom ceiling fixed but we'll see about that..

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Got my internet back

So, my internet is working again! I'm so happy about that as I was almost getting withdrawal symptoms not being able to check on my email, DST and Scraphead every day.. ;) The funny thing is that apparently there was nothing wrong with my internet connection all this time. All it needed was to unplug my laptop to get it work but I didn't ever realize to do that so I tested my modem at my grandparents', called the service advice and everything. Then my brother came to visit me and he had unplugged the laptop to watch a DVD and after that my internet was working just fine. So, he saved me a lot of money for not needing to call the repairman when there was nothing to fix.. :) Anyway, this was good practise for Africa and I'm really not quite sure how I'll be able to manage without an every day internet access.. ;)

But, I have a lot of things to show you from this past week. First of all is this exciting new product that I think you haven't seen offered anywhere else yet. It's a 1 GB flash drive packed with awesome freebies from all the Scraphead designers including my Funky Flora Add-On. You can find all the details here at Scraphead. And while you're there, be sure to check out the awesome new freebies that can now be found in the shop under the Freebies category.


And have you seen what our Scraphead CT member Brittney has been up to? If you haven't then head over to her blog to grab this amazing freebie kit called Missed the Bus that she's created. It's just awesome and those owl and turtle stickers are the cutest!! :)


I'll have to show you another thing created by a CT member too. It's this beautiful layout by Amanda she created with my Summer Elegance kit. You really have to read the journaling, it's quite funny. ;) You'll be able to read it and see the credits here.


I also have a new LO of mine to show you. Well, the pictures are from our class's Christmas party from almost two years ago but the LO is brand new. :) Again, the pictures are not the greatest but that's why I love these multiple frames so much because then it doesn't matter so much. Credits here.


Okay, I think that's pretty much everything I wanted to show you this time. I'm having days off from school and work till next Tuesday so hopefully I'll be able to finish my newest kit. It's so funny how the weather changed here from summery into fall the same day my school began. So, it'll be nice to work with a fall themed kit now when it's not such a hot weather outside and you don't feel like wanting to go to the beach all the time.. ;) Hope you have a nice day!

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Internet problems

This is just a short message posted at my grandparents' place to let you know that my internet connection stopped working all of the sudden so I might not be able to post or answer emails for a while. I'm trying to have it fixed next week though. I wouldn't be surprised if the problem was caused by the repairmen doing the renovation upstairs as they've already cut my electricity wires and so much else but we'll see..

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

A new look

Yay, I just got the inspiration to change the look of my blog all of the sudden. :) I've been thinking of doing that for quite some time now but never really got into it. So, now I did it and it didn't even take a long time like I had anticipated. So, what do you think? Do you think it's better than the old look? I think I like this a lot more as this is much funkier and more colorful which means more fun.. :) I probably should have made the header a bit less summery since it'll be fall soon but as I'm going to Africa and it's summer there I think this will be just fine.. ;)

On the designing front, I've started to make a new kit with some fall colors and this time there's no green in it.. ;) It's not that I don't like green because green is one of my absolute favourite colors, but I just wanted to make something different this time. So no need to worry,  there's still definately going to be green in my future kits, just not in this one. :) I can't show you any sneak peek because I haven't finished the papers yet but I'll show you the color scheme I'm using (so that I'll get at least one picture in this post ;) ).


I have the feeling this kit will be a bit funkier than my two previous ones so we'll see what you'll think about that. ;) I have no idea though when I'll be able to finish it as my studies begin again on Monday and I'm going away this weekend. Luckily there's still time before fall and autumn colors so I think I'll be able to finish it in time.

Whew, tomorrow's going to be a bit scary for me as I'm going to take a vaccination for Africa and then two of my teeth will be filled. It's the first time my teeth will be drilled and even though I work as a dental nurse it still scares me a bit.. But, I'm hopeful I'll live! ;) Now, I'm off. See ya!

Monday, August 20, 2007

Improvement

I've been on a roll with scrapping over the last few days and managed to create two layouts! And it didn't even take that long, only a couple of hours. I think I'm slowly imroving and who knows maybe I'll be able to scrap a layout in an hour some time soon.. ;) But here they are. The first one is my friend's kids having fun with rose petals at a playground. I just love the colors and the embellishments in this lo! The credits can be found here.



And these pictures are from last summer and I've scrapped them twice before but this is the first time I'm actually happy with the end result. It's my friend's son who was so excited when he got to try out my sun glasses. :) Credit here.



And, I just had to let you know that there's a special sale going on at Scraphead and you can get 25% of all the embellishments till the end of August! Just use code EMB25807 as you check out to receive your savings. So, now is a perfect chance to get my Funky Flora or any other embellishment of mine you might have on your wishlist! Just click on my blinkie on the left to get to my shop.

Okay, I think that's it for this time. I'm off to get some sleep. I just hope I manage to do that because this hole place smells moldy and it's a bit difficult to breathe. I hope that there wouldn't be damp in my kitchen but I'm starting to fear that there really is.. Who knows. Well, good night anyway!

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Summer Elegance

Wow, two posts in a one day.. ;) But, my newest kit is already available at the Scraphead store so I wanted to show it to you here and to give out the add-on I promised. The kit is called Summer Elegance and I think it turned out really beautiful. I just couldn't stop making papers with these colors so the kit includes a total of 10 papers. There's also a bunch of pretty elements included. You can find the kit here at Scraphead.


I also created this alpha tag set to coordinate with the Summer Elegance kit. You can't really see it in the preview but the tags have a subtle paper texture so it's not just plain white tags. There's also six different kind of embellishments included to fasten the tags. You can get the set here.


And, I guess this is what you've been waiting for the most. ;) It's the add-on for Summer Elegance. Enjoy!

Sorry, this is not available as a freebie anymore. If you want it you can get it from the Scraphead store.


I guess I've made enough of summer kits for this summer so the next kit is going to be something else. And there's definately not going to be that much of green if any since it's time to use some different colors for a change. ;)

This is what a hole in the ceiling looks like..

Well, at the moment I've taped the pieces to cover the hole to have some privacy but it was like this before I did it. Last time I wrote about my bathroom ceiling my electricity had gone and there was only a hole in there and it was blocked up so it was quite okay and I was happy that nothing was coming down through it. If only I had known.. ;)


So, after the repairmen managed to cut off my electric wires and the electrician got them fixed a week later big pieces of the ceiling started to come down. At that point, I was a bit annoyed but happy that at least there wasn't a leakage or anything. Well, a few days after that I started to hear this dripping noice from the bathroom and noticed that small drops of sewage were dripping through the crack. I called the maintenance man the next morning and luckily he got it fixed. But, some days later after more stuff had come down from the ceiling I heard the dripping again. I called the maintenance man again only to find out that this time he couldn't do anything about it since only a plumber could fix it and a plumber was supposed to come in a few days to work on it. So, he just told me to put some buckets there and try to manage.. Well, only a few hours later the sewage wasn't dripping anymore but it was more like pouring and from two spots! The whole bathroom was smelling and it was impossible to take a shower or anything so I wasn't liking it at all anymore. Luckily, the plumber came the next day and fixed it and I could clean my bathroom and was happy that at least I still had a ceiling. Well, only a few days later the plug that was blocking the hole had been removed and I could peek though into the flat above me...


So, pretty much everything I had feared has happened and I'm quite sick of all renovation at the moment. Fortunately, I think they've finally layered a new cement there and are building up the place rather than tearing it down so I'm hoping it'll be over soon and I get the hole covered properly. But, as if all these ceiling problems wouldn't be enough, I just noticed today that the sink in my kitchen has been leaking at least the past few days. So, who know there might also be dump in my flat..! :( I'll call the maintenance man on Monday and we'll see. But, that's enough of my domestic problems..

So, I told you I bought a new camera. I wasn't planning on buying one but since my brother wanted to buy my old point-and-shoot, which I never liked, I needed a new one. I had thought to buy a Canon SD or PowerShot but when we were testing out the cameras in a store the salesman told us that Panasonic point-and-shoots are better than Canon's at the moment. I tried out the cameras from both and really liked the Panasonic DMC-TZ2 and bought it too. It's a 6 megapixel camera with optical image stabilizer and 10x optical zoom which is awesome! I also like the simple menus and that there's lots of adjustments available if I want to use them. However, even though I really love that camera I'm probably going to change it to Panasonic DMC-LZ7 which is basically the same camera, only it has 7.2 megapixels, 6x zoom and works on normal batteries. It's a bit smaller and lighter too so I think it'll also be easier to use in Africa even though I won't be able to get quite that close photos of the lions with that.. ;)


Wow, this is a long post but I still want to show you this lo I made some time ago. It's the cathedral and river front from my home town. Credits here.


Okay, I think this is enough for now. ;) BTW, I've finished my new kit so I'll post about it as soon as it'll be at the shop.