cimorene: A black-and-white vintage photograph of 1920s singer Helen Kane in profile, with a dubious, side-eye expression (Default)
Hating to make phonecalls makes it extra awkward, of course, but eventually I called the card cancelling service, the regional lost and found (they didn't have it), and the social security agency for a replacement card. Then I registered my ID and SS card lost with the police's online form in case of identity theft.

That left:

  • Grocery store membership card. This took me and [personal profile] waxjism BOTH over an hour last week attempting to figure out how to request a new one.

  • Other bonus cards, infrequently used: you don't actually need them; you can just give your name at the register. Less plastic to carry around and hunt for in the wallet: sounds good to me.

  • Replacement ID card: Unlike in the past, when you had to print or pick up the paper forms, fill them out, and bring them with exact change in cash and physical copies of approved ID photos to the police in person, you can do most of this online now. You fill out the forms electronically and pay with a direct bank transfer, and the photographer emails the photos directly to the police, but you still have to go to the photographer in person (to take the pictures) and the police in person (to give your signature), so I haven't actually got around to this yet. (I also am trying to get [personal profile] waxjism to replace her 20-year-old oversized driver's licence which doesn't fit in her wallet without stretching the zipper out of shape in the same trip but this requires dragging her around on her day off). On the plus side though, you can also make an electronic reservation for a timeslot at the police station to do your paperwork, so you don't have to go there and sit in the waiting room for several hours (it's happened before).

  • (Because of this dawdling, though, I had to take my passport to the post office to sign for a registered package the other day, haha.)

  • The raw food handling certification: I don't have an immediate plan to apply for work in a kitchen so this isn't exactly URGENT, which is good because it requires me to cold-text a total stranger. I'm working up to it by putting it in my calendar with an alarm repeatedly, so that when the alarm sounds and I cancel it and re-set it for a later date ("I don't have the mental integrity for this today") I feel a little prick of guilt.

I also finally have permanent residency status in Finland!

The physical permit expires in 5 years, but the right to reside does not require new applications any longer.

I should have received this after four uninterrupted years' residence as a family member (I only acquired family member status after living here on a student visa 3 years, because that's what same-sex couples had to do - cohabit 3 years - in order to acquire the right to Finnish registered partnership and the common law partnership status. Gender-neutral marriage passed here recently, but to my knowledge the laws haven't been implemented, so this may still be the case.) So that meant 4(spouse)+3(student)=7 years after I moved here, but I hadn't adopted electronic calendars yet at the previous permit renewal, which was THREE YEARS before the final Permanent Resident Status would have kicked in... and my application was a month late, which meant I was no longer eligible, and got sent back for four more years of waiting (and another hefty processing fee). That penalty period ended last November, and I got a fancy new Resident Card yesterday!

The police have been downsized, though, and effective at the new year, foreign national permits are no longer processed in Turku. All of them for the southwest region of Finland have been concentrated in our suburb, Raisio, the one that's 20 minutes by car and where our Ikea is located (that means that a bunch of offices were closed besides the Turku one). Meanwhile, Raisio's permit-processing offices (they used to do IDs and many types of licences) have also been closed, and Raisio residents who are natural Finns have to come to Turku for their permit needs. That all happened over the new year, and I'd never been to downtown Raisio before. It took two bus rides and then wading through four parking lots in calf-high snow. I discovered they only have one service window open there, next to about six shuttered ones in their lobby (Alien Affairs in Turku usually had 2 or 3). Luckily the lines were not long yet, so I didn't have to wait long before making another two bus trips and a lot of frantic snow-wading to get back home with my toes numb (it was -15°).

In relation to the downsizing, I asked the desk worker, "So before the 5 years are up I have to come back?" and she laughed,

"Well, who knows what the permit will look like or who will be processing it in five years! We might not even have a police office!" Touché, desk worker, touché.
cimorene: A black-and-white vintage photograph of 1920s singer Helen Kane in profile, with a dubious, side-eye expression (wtf?)
I sent an email to ask how to go about arranging a continuation of this work practice arrangement, because the job bureau only answer the phone when I am busy with said work practice. I got an email back that said if all parties are in favor it's fine, just "deliver a new contract to the job bureau about a week before the end of the current agreement".

Not unnaturally, I think, I took this to mean that all I had to do was deliver the new papers to them about a week before the end of the current agreement.

That's next Friday, so I went there today half an hour before their reception window closes to deliver the papers in question.

But the receptionist guy seemed unaccountably angry, all like "THIS IS TOO LATE" (which left me probably visibly astonished since, half hour before closing) because apparently the social workers have gone home and nobody but them is allowed to accept paperwork because they have to be examined right away to make sure they are in order. This was brand new information for me (I was envisioning a post-box kinda situation where you get an answer in the mail later. I've even been told to send my papers to them in the mail for a past work practice).

"You have to come back Monday," he continued, sounding about as annoyed as if HE was the one who was going to have to run across town first thing Monday morning and miss an hour of work. "Between nine and three." He also conveyed with a world-weary air that the workers' office hours are ALWAYS then which I already knew, but didn't say as it was unlikely to help things along.

"Someone tried to call you," he added disapprovingly, "on the 13th, and you didn't answer." The same day I got my email reply so I assume to convey the contents of the email, and definitely while I was at work but not a number I knew came from them. Talking would have enabled me to get that detail ironed out, but I can't leave my ringer on all the time and since 9 out of 10 unknown numbers are telemarketers, I answer to them but I can't start calling them back.

I'm irritated that I have to go back, but there isn't anybody to blame really, as I imagine the writer of the email expected me to understand 'deliver the papers' to imply 'into the hands of a social worker, and then watch with an air of alert anxiety while they examine them'. So I don't really blame that person, or, hence, anyone but the inevitable gaps between cogs in the machinery of bureaucracy. Therefore, mostly I'm kinda stumped by the dude's irritation.

I mean, of course it's better when there aren't these little misunderstandings, but he has to see a lot of them working reception in the most overworked and understaffed organ of federal bureaucracy around, right? And his attitude would be entirely understandable if I had been a Difficult Customer, but I hadn't; or making more work for anyone but myself, but also I hadn't (there wasn't anyone else there and it's not like he could leave early). Maybe he was having a really bad week.

I want cookies.
cimorene: A black-and-white vintage photograph of 1920s singer Helen Kane in profile, with a dubious, side-eye expression (srs bzns)
My last update on the subject of unemployment support and my future career was from the career-planning course and mentioned my indecision about continuing to pursue classroom assistantship because the job market is particularly bleak for it. But the career advisor later advised me to pursue finishing the cert. (i.e. finding a new program) nonetheless, because, in short, nothing to lose really. Read more... )

The job-hunting watchword right now is apparently what is different about you from all the other applicants, and so we decided my main one is the fact that my native language is English, so she recommended a daycare with English as easier to talk into work practice (because there are private daycares which are not affected by the municipal hiring freezes) on the basis of my native language, and gave a starred review to one she had past experience of. So accordingly I polished my CV and requested a work practice placement at this daycare, and that was right before Christmas. After Christmas the boss there emailed me back and scheduled an interview which I went to last week, and she liked me and all.

So, said Boss, we've got two groups we could potentially put you in... but make sure you are pre-approved from the employment bureau to do a work practice and then we'll do the paperwork and discuss which one to put you in! We both agreed that the bureau would PROBABLY approve the placement, but both Boss and I have previously thought we were going to be approved for a work practice only to have the employment bureau reject it for utterly confusing reasons. I agreed that she was right.

And so began the Quest to Find Out from the Employment Bureau if I Can Haz This Work Practice. Wednesday I mostly spent on the edge of an attack of acute anxiety because social anxiety, calling people on the phone, etc. But Thursday I carefully wrote out all the points I thought I needed and called the number given to me by my caseworker when we spoke in October.

It rang about 500 times. She didn't pick up.

Since this was office hours, and there was no message, I decided to try other employees of the job bureau, and I spent basically the rest of the day combing their FAQs and called two more numbers, and waited on hold twice, to go through ALMOST the same conversation with the national and local job office phone question answerers. Both of the phone question answerers told me Probably, which was exactly what I already thought.

I submitted a request for my caseworker to call me and Friday I got a receipt that the message had been received by the message-handler, but still nothing from my caseworker. I know that as [personal profile] waxjism points out what I SHOULD do is call and just keep calling, like every thirty minutes or something, and that's what I should have done on Friday as well, but I haven't worked up to it yet, and at least my request is in the pipeline, so if she is available to answer the phone she will surely also be handling her emails? Right? Eventually?
cimorene: A black-and-white vintage photograph of 1920s singer Helen Kane in profile, with a dubious, side-eye expression (face!pie)
This unemployed-job-seeking support class is turning out a bit rough, with its emotionally gruelling combo of time-wasting and inadequate guidance.

The problem isn't the teachers - they seem good at what they do - but bureaucracy: 2 teacher/advisors with 30 advisees between them and a 6 week time limit. They have to keep EVERYONE occupied for 6 hrs/day that entire time, and they just don't have time to squeeze in more than 2 one-on-one sit-down meetings per advisee. The rest of the time is filled with general information about ceasing to be unemployed. Almost all the information is inapplicable to a chunk of people (people applying to schools and people actively seeking jobs are two largely non-overlapping groups), who are nonetheless not allowed to miss days. In addition to tons of info of no personal use, we've suffered a couple days' worth of repetition and an unbelievable number of times where the teacher is just reading aloud from a website ("There are a lot of pizza franchises in town, so much so that you probably can't get a loan to open one for love or money... let's see, what does PizzaLine want in a franchise owner?").

I HAVE actually gotten useful information - the information I wanted out of this course in the first place and some more as well. I'm just as uncertain about what I want to do as before, but for a completely different reason. ) So, like, I can't say that I didn't get what I came for or what I expected out of this class - on the contrary. It's just that all of the above is frustrating and exhausting. I've been like a sad sleepwalking zombie with the refrain "This week has been 2½ weeks long" for... I can't remember... maybe two and a half weeks. And THEN.

Then last Friday there was this non-communication INCIDENT between me & my Russian classmate on the one hand, and on the other our teacher who seemed incapable of hearing what we were saying or answering our questions and sort of delivered a condescending-feeling lecture in a slightly raised voice instead. Intellectually I know she wasn't angry and didn't intend to yell, but it SOUNDED like yelling and her delivery FELT impatient and like she just couldn't believe we were asking such dumb questions.

The thing is, I don't handle being yelled at... I was going to say 'well', but it would be more accurate to say I don't handle it at all, because I don't even know how to start to handle it. I REACT to it, yes, but can 'crying and obsessing over' be considered 'handling' a thing? I don't think so. (Or maybe the fact that I act calm in the moment and only cry & obsess later, at home, qualifies me for a You Tried.) I'm still not handling it. Awkward social situations WITHOUT yelling can freak me out for months, so obviously, three days is not enough for something like this that plays right into my key insecurities.

Trying to tell my therapist about it today: I was a mess. I was trying to talk, not just cry, because TIME LIMIT, but it turns out trying to force talking while crying kind of shreds my throat and makes my voice sound quite interesting. I must have been REALLY pathetic, because my therapist apologized to me three times for ending our appointment at the normal, scheduled time.
cimorene: A black-and-white vintage photograph of 1920s singer Helen Kane in profile, with a dubious, side-eye expression (Default)
Just a few hours ago: Finnish Parliament approves same-sex marriage

This law comes from a citizens' initiative (a petition) and makes Finland the last Nordic country to recognize same-sex marriages, to many people's embarrassment.

Wax and I call each other 'my wife', but we got married in Iowa and went through the usual process for getting approval of a foreign marriage, that is, submitted paperwork to a judge, who issued the decision that our Iowan marriage's "closest equivalent" was the Finnish registered partnership (which didn't actually convey all the legal benefits, just most of them).

The article says that the details won't be ironed out before 2015, so I wonder if our status will undergo an automatic conversion then, or we'll have to do something. Of course even if it's automatic, Wax and I already went through a lot more trouble and expense than, say, my Thai classmate who met her Finnish husband via an online dating site and got married after one short visit each.

If a Finnish citizen is engaged married (or in a registered partnership with) a non-EU citizen, their fiancé(e) spouse can get a family member visa - they can work and receive Finnish social services, and don't need proof of income (ETA: though [personal profile] pierydys and her husband had to prove cohabitation when she moved here as a fiancée, so although it is possible to get a fiancé(e) visa it's got a lot of requirements and counts as a special case).

On the other hand, we lesbians could only get a Finnish registered partnership, or a family member's visa, if we could prove we had already lived together for two years (though that isn't the case anymore apparently). In order to meet this requirement, one of us had to get permission to live in the other's country for that time. Getting a green card is literally like winning the lottery, so it was a lot easier for that to be me.

I applied directly to a Finnish university, which required reading up for an entrance exam that I flew to Finland to take at my parents' expense, and once I was accepted I got a student visa, but that required me to submit proof that I had €6000 in a Finnish bank account at the beginning of each school year. (Also students can't take jobs beyond a certain number of hours and don't get social security, though their healthcare is covered by the student union.)

After two years, I was automatically eligible for a family member visa because the government had a record of our cohabiting and considered us common-law married. So our Iowan marriage, years after that, didn't change anything in our daily lives, although we would have had the opportunity to change our names or something I think.

But the barriers to our relationship were costly and complicated, and we wouldn't have managed it without some €12000+ from my parents (a gay tax that would be good to refund to them given the current economic crisis), a ton of paperwork, and support from [personal profile] waxjism's brother, mother, and even her brother's best friend and sister-in-law's sister, both of whom gave me places to crash when [personal profile] waxjism was still living with her homophobic granny for economic reasons and I was banned from the house.

I can think of three gay Finnish celebrities who are married to foreigners, but I don't know a single other gay couple that's half foreign... and, as the Finnish teachers I've seen in the past couple of years will tell you, the majority of immigrants in Finnish language classes are here because of love: married either to Finns, or to spouses who are working here. That's a lot of immigrants and a looooooooooooooot of heterosexual relationships with Finns.
cimorene: A black-and-white vintage photograph of 1920s singer Helen Kane in profile, with a dubious, side-eye expression (working)
Hahahahahhahahhaha. Hahahahh. Hah hah. Hah.

Remember that whole farcical encounter with the employment bureau officer who promised that I shouldn't call anyone because my case-worker would call me? And refused to give me her contact info?

Well, since 3 weeks had passed I decided to just try the front desk. The front desk has one shared email for hundreds of workers and they promise only that someone will get back to you inside 3 days, but whatever, it's better than nothing right?

So I sent an email recounting this story and asking what I should do, could I talk to my case-worker even though I didn't know who it was or what?, last night.

This morning my case-worker called me.

She read my email.

And it was the first time she'd heard about it.

The hilarious worker never passed any message on to her in the first place?????


So I went through my little spiel explaining what I wanted and what I was confused about and she was like Oh that? That's easy, we have this thing going that lasts a couple of weeks where they walk you through the process and explain the different places you can look for that kind of work. It starts next month at Turun AKK, how's that?

I was like, uh, sounds great, I mean, I'm nothing but time...?

And she was like Haha, right! Yeah, and after that, you actually don't have to call us. I'll call you or a substitute worker will call you, but we'll check up to see if it helped or what. And we'll send you a snail mail letter with the dates and times and stuff.

Man, that was totally easy (assuming she actually sends it, knock on pine etc). Like, uh, once I actually got to the man behind the curtain.

But she also gave me her name and number so I can actually reach her next time.

So they're tears of relief and also laughcrying about the whole extra-farcical conclusion to the previous chapter.
cimorene: A black-and-white vintage photograph of 1920s singer Helen Kane in profile, with a dubious, side-eye expression (distance)
And no way to enquire easily because the worker who told me to expect contact refused to give me any contact info for the case worker.

I assume that's policy, but 2 weeks is an awfully long time to not manage to send an email or text message at least. If it's going to be that long, shouldn't he have said so when I asked about a business card? The fastest way to follow up myself means I would have to go there in person (half an hour by bus, ish) and queue for a queue number and then ask another Random Enquiries office worker like the last one again.
cimorene: A black-and-white vintage photograph of 1920s singer Helen Kane in profile, with a dubious, side-eye expression (Default)
I'm 31 and have never had what I consider a real job. In my entire life, starting over 15 years ago, I have earned salary for: (1) weekend childcare at my church in high school, (2) a summer + (3) ~5 months while planning/waiting to move to Finland in retail, (4) 3 weeks as a substitute cleaner in a daycare 5 years ago, and (5) freelance translating (but the total money involved was very little).

The rest of my life in between those events can be filled in with a combination of school enrolment and depressed/anxious breakdowns.

This summer it came to pass that [personal profile] waxjism and I were both simultaneously ~1 semester from finishing the certifications we were pursuing but could no longer pay the bills on two student stipends, so we decided to both put them off for a year or two to work. She found some quickly thanks to her superior language skills (making car checkup bookings in a call center serving Sweden). I was an anxious mess and my psychologist suggested that I contact the friendly social worker I met once before who is tasked with helping people with mental health reasons to have difficulty with jobseeking, so I did.

The very nice social worker went over the whole situation with me, asked a few questions, called social security to check the details of my account and told me several pertinent facts:

  1. To stop angsting that my Finnish skills are inadequate for retail, because my communication is fine for not only ordinary conversation, but even communicating complex ideas verbally. My fears about not understanding a word uttered by someone who speaks a weird dialect are legit, but some dialects are incomprehensible to anyone but a native speaker anyway, and everyone knows this.

  2. My ambition to work (after I finish my certification that I can't complete until after getting some gainful employment and saving some money) in so-called morning and daytime childcare (after-school programs) is good in the sense that they've just recently been made public, obligating the city to provide them, and there's a desperate lack of staff for them. But it's bad in the sense that thanks to simultaneous budget cutbacks all the providers who are desperately asking the city for more staff are denied, so they aren't allowed to actually hire any staff. HAH HAH. Her office, which works with employers as well as jobseekers who have problems, has been fielding a lot of calls from them recently.

  3. She's technically not supposed to help me because TECHNICALLY I'm not long-term unemployed, and their center is supposed to serve people who are long-term unemployed - not that she will let that stop her from advising me if I need it. ("You're not long-term unemployed, you've just been without employment for a long time" = "They're not anxiety attacks, they're just attacks of acute anxiety"???)

    Being a student doesn't count as being unemployed, so all the times when I've been studying anything are off the table - I've only been unemployed... I forget what she said, but a really tiny number of days compared to the official cutoff (which is a thousand plus I think), according to social security's records.

  4. But pursuant to #3, the help that I actually need is meant to be provided by the employment bureau itself. They don't offer it to you, though, you have to know that you have to request it. So with my agreement, she wrote down on a sticky note exactly what I needed to request... in order to do this, she went to the employment bureau's official site to get the correct name.

    And she couldn't find it. She spent like 5 minutes clicking around making increasingly annoyed murmurs and finally found the name, not anywhere on the employment bureau's site... but with Google.

So, armed with my sticky note and tasked to update her with an email when I knew whether they would be able to help me, I walked down the block to the employment bureau.

So when you get to the employment bureau you wait in line at the Info desk, who then directs you.

ME: Hi, I need Job-Seeking Support Program so how do I -
INFO LADY: Haha, slow down there! SSN?
ME: (hands over social security card)
INFO LADY: Here's your queue number. Second floor!
ME: Uh, thanks.

I go to the second floor and the little queue machine lights up with my number within a minute (fastest service I've ever seen there, I admit). I hand over my ss card as per usual and the funny little dude brings up my file.

ME: Hi, I need the Job-Seeking Support Program or the Other Job-Seeking Support Program. I saw a social worker today and she gave me these names to request.
DUDE: Uh-huh. Well, I'll put a note in your file and send it to your case-worker.
ME: Uh... I have a case-worker?
DUDE: Haha, of course you do! Everyone has a case-worker!
ME: But when did I get a case-worker? My last visit I was sent back to Introductory Services because I hadn't been here in such a long time.
DUDE: Yep, I see. You saw (name) on (date), but he's not your case-worker. See? [SPINS MONITOR TO SHOW ME MY FILE] That's their name!
ME: Oh... I... don't think I remember that name... I... don't think I've ever met them...?
DUDE: Haha, of course you haven't met them!
ME: o_O???
DUDE: So, I'll just write a note here in your file that you request these services and send it to them. Then it will be their responsibility to talk to you about it and handle the request. There probably won't be a problem, but they'll contact you.
ME: Do I need some contact information, or a time period to call back - like, say, if I haven't heard from them within a week?
DUDE: No, no, see, I'll check and make sure for you that they're not on vacation - [HE PULLS A BIG CHART OF NAMES MADE OUT OF COLORED PAPER FROM BESIDE HIS ELBOW AND SKIMS DOWN IT] - no, they're not on vacation or anything, they're at work this week, so there will be no problem about them contacting you.
ME: They'll definitely contact me?
DUDE: They'll definitely contact you! Don't worry about it!
ME: ...Okay.

So as a result of this I've been answering my phone in Finnish since yesterday, as if my mysterious case-worker calls I want the conversation to start in Finnish with no awkwardness.

Normally I answer the phone in English because 90% of the phonecalls I get that aren't [personal profile] waxjism's family are telemarketers, and answering in English basically guarantees that they don't even want to try with me. They typically stutter audibly and ask if I'm me then hang up, or a little less than half the time, ask cautiously if my Finnish isn't that great and I pretend it's quite bad and then they apologize in a confused rush and hang up.

So yesterday I talked to two telemarketers (although it only took a couple more sentences to put them off, because I couldn't understand one guy's accent and the other one was looking to sell things for dudes only).

Hoping to hear from the case-worker before I get trapped in a longer conversation with one.
cimorene: A black-and-white vintage photograph of 1920s singer Helen Kane in profile, with a dubious, side-eye expression (loki)
Wax and I both spent last Sunday trying to fill out the same paperwork for the government (Finnish social security). I mean, literally, the exact same paperwork, and even though one of us was slightly ahead of the other throughout the process, it didn't make the whole thing any faster than several hours. Then there was the supplemental forms that I had to do because I'm a foreigner (and of course the impenetrable questions where I had to guess what it actually wanted to know) and all in all, I didn't manage to finish sending off all the required enclosures until Friday.

Five days of paperwork. That definitely wasn't decreasing my stress level or anything.
cimorene: A black-and-white vintage photograph of 1920s singer Helen Kane in profile, with a dubious, side-eye expression (lady)
This week just past is the second week in a row where I've gotten two envelopes from social security on the same day which turned out to both be printed out from the same printer/computer and From the Desk Of the same caseworker.

There are different rates of unemployment pay depending on whether you are doing work development prescribed by the unemployment bureau (eg my Finnish class) or simply unemployed and getting the standard rate1, sick (I think this is compensated at the standard rate though), or unavailable for work (eg out of the country).

This means that once a month you submit a schedule with a label for each day and naturally, my first month covered the period when I was out of the country for 1 week for my grandma's funeral, so last week one day I got two envelopes containing:

  1. A notice that social security required more information from me because my application was submitted prior to the end of the monthly billing period, so they needed the last two weeks of the month. This letter came with a helpful blank sheet of paper with rules for writing on with the KELA letterhead.

  2. A blank monthly calendar for actually filling in the information on the missing two weeks.

So I threw out the blank paper and the spare prepaid envelope and mailed back the filled-in calendar in the other envelope, as apparently intended.

Then last week, after my application was complete and could be processed, I received two more envelopes, also on the same day!

  1. A "decision" that "from the week X [of my departure from the country for my grandma's funeral] forward" I would not be paid anything, for the reason that I was out of the country and unavailable for work.

  2. A "decision" that "from the week Z [of my returning to the country after my grandmother's funeral] forward" I would be paid regular unemployment because I totes qualified and stuff.

Well, fortunately we engage in paper recycling here in Turku.

1. calculated based on a variety of factors including your residency status, your work history, and your spouse's income
cimorene: A black-and-white vintage photograph of 1920s singer Helen Kane in profile, with a dubious, side-eye expression (google)
  • After a year of procrastination, I still haven't gotten our paperwork in order to have our Iowa marriage recognized in Finland. This was actually the whole reason we got married in Iowa - because Finland has registered partnership, but not marriage, and this pisses us off because 1. separate but equal is not equal and 2. they're not equal anyway; it doesn't come with quite all the legal benefits. The point of the whole exercise is that after doing it elsewhere, we get to petition to be legally recognized as married to a Finnish judge of some sort and make our voice heard. Given past precedent, they probably aren't going to recognize it as a marriage (Wax looked at some forums, and Vermont marriages have historical precedent of being declared to be legally only a registered partnership under Finnish law - assholes).

    The main reason for the procrastination, though, is that the process is both expensive and fiddly. You need an Apostille form PAY ATTENTION TO THIS IF YOU ARE AN EXPATRIATE GETTING MARRIED ON A FLYING VISIT BACK TO YOUR NATIVE LAND OKAY THIS IS IMPORTANT! I wish someone had told me this. )

  • Our pet shampoo is malodorous! I've been bathing my dog in it because it's supposed to help with dandruff and dry skin, which he occasionally seems to have a mild case of, but it's really not a pleasant smell. More of a stench. Even though I have taken to putting my own berry-scented conditioner on him afterwards, the smell is penetrating. Any suggestions?

    Open to: Registered Users, detailed results viewable to: All, participants: 0

    Do you have any suggestions for what I could wash my dry-skinned dog in that doesn't stink?

  • While vacuuming yesterday I found a lollipop under the couch with a wrapper that says "BON BON BUM junior". Which begs the question: is this lollipop intended for people with bums as delicious as bon bons, or for people who have bums whose size is attributed to bon bon consumption? Or both? We may never know, especially because neither one of us is brave enough to actually eat an under-couch lollipop of unknown provenance, even though it's still in the wrapper.

  • Wax and I have given up our yearning for the now-discontinued Marimekko pink cheetah wall panel and our new ambition is to adorn the area above our couch with panels of each of these, Marimekko "Karkuteillä" in orange and blue:

cimorene: A black-and-white vintage photograph of 1920s singer Helen Kane in profile, with a dubious, side-eye expression (murder hurts more)
Last time on bureaucracy fail theatre, I had a Bosslady who wanted to take me as an intern in the "work practice" program (employer accepts unqualified workers for on-the-job training & doesn't have to pay them, the government gives the workers unemployment). I went to the unemplyment office with all the necessary paperwork, having been cautioned by Bosslady that depending on who I talked to, they might be difficult.

That was more than a month ago. Obviously at the height of Finland's biggest memorable unemployment crisis, it's important that people who have already found work practice positions should have to wait as long as people who need actual help.

The purpose of work practice is either

  1. As explained by the "No U Cant Has Job" camp: to find out whether you want a particular job, sort of like a test drive, so you can't have work practice for your former employers: you have already driven that car!

  2. or

  3. According to the website, the other camp, and logic: to find out whether a particular career or field is right for you, so that whether you can work somewhere depends on the commonsense difference between the case where a factory lays off its janitor and then wants to hire her back as a "work practice" gig, and the case where an adult who has worked as a substitute, oh, like, in some DAYCARE, is considering a permanent career change and wants more than a couple of weeks' experience on which to base the decision.

I had an argument prepared, but the caseworker didn't listen. In fact, she cut me off. Finnish people: they don't beat around the bush. So after a month of anxiety and depression I find my anxiety and depression... completely justified because I really can't go back to my dream job. Bosslady can't afford to hire another employee.

The caseworker was brisk and helpful about all kinds of other stuff, like the 20 pages I have to fill out to elaborate on the fact that I do freelance work but it does not exceed the minumum income for which you get taxed; the 20 pages to elaborate on how I am no longer in school because I QUIT; what kind of work I was thinking about (eg, the job that I have explained was the entire reason I went there); and whether I wanted to try work practice (idk, it's only the entire reason I came). And since I am interested in work practice - great! All I have to do is find a daycare to do the work practice at, that's fine (so it's fine for me to practice the exact job description, as long as I'm working for a different boss. AKA, you can work anywhere where they don't want you! That was the only English daycare in town.)

Aside from soliciting positions in Swedish daycares, she thinks my first item of business should be to learn Finnish (except this time hopefully it will stick! Maybe it will be for more than 1 hour a week and the teacher won't hate all students, thus inspiring in me a Pavlovian anxiety-response to the act of studying Finnish - you think? It could happen). The unemployment bureau offers their own, in-house Finnish courses! And even though they have a long waiting list they have no idea when the next one will be... but you can't take one from an alternate source that might have an actual schedule without your hypothetical unemployment benefits being cut off (mine don't start for 7 months anyway).

ETA: Besides not having the two twenty-page questionnaires available in English even though she is in the International Office (...), they don't even have them in Swedish, which is actually illegal in Finland. Two official languages? Hi, Finland! I'm the Swedish language! You contain 200,000 native speakers of me! You might recognise me because I've been in these parts SINCE BEFORE OLD GERMANIC TURNED INTO OLD NORSE.
cimorene: A black-and-white vintage photograph of 1920s singer Helen Kane in profile, with a dubious, side-eye expression (she wants revenge)
So, the deal with my daycare position is this:

Boss Lady can't quite afford to add an additional full-time employee to her staff, but she kind of needs one due to Laws & Stuff ). However, I'm new to the field, and thus eligible for Preparatory Training for Working Life where I'd be technically unemployed, and receive a salary from the state and not from the place where I'd be working.

So Boss Lady tells me I'll need my passport and work permit and any diplomas I might have, and that I need to be registered as an unemployed job-seeker and then see somebody for an appointment about setting the contract up. She warned me that she'd talked to some people with a not-so-good attitude and to try if I could get the one lady who made sense in a sea of badness, but Positive Attitude Lady wasn't in today - I saw her office shut and darkened when I was there, and the lady at the desk said that I can come back on March 6 with my papers, because they don't have any appointment slots available until then. o_O Are you fucking kidding me. The unemployment office doesn't have any appointments for SETTING UP EMPLOYMENT CONTRACTS for ONE MONTH?

[Choose one: laugh, cry]

I called for Boss Lady and ended up venting to Chav Girl, and we're going to try phone call badgering from both ends, but honestly what the fucking fuck!

Meanwhile, they're having to hire a non-native-speaker substitute to fill my job. Yeah. Nice.
cimorene: A black-and-white vintage photograph of 1920s singer Helen Kane in profile, with a dubious, side-eye expression (Default)
The bad news: harddrive broken. There are really no worse swear-terms I can think of.

The good news: my passport was ready two days early and the residence permit's valid until 2011 (I totally didn't think I was eligible for a long-term permit until next year; yay for the police!). Oh, but that horrible passport picture? THE JOKE'S ON ME. It's totally printed on the permit. They've never used the picture before! Gaaaaah.

But... harddrive broken.  RIP, Delilah. You were a good ipod.:(

I kind of wanted to take home the cute geeks at the Apple store, though. I can't call them cute little geeks because the repair guy who checked the hd for free was like seven feet tall. And had tremendous slanty blue Finnish Bambi eyes. He looked like a seven-foot-tall five-year-old. And the counter guy had on this little, ahahahahah, black coral necklacey thing and this tiny little hipster beard and dorky Patrick glasses. Yeah.
cimorene: A black-and-white vintage photograph of 1920s singer Helen Kane in profile, with a dubious, side-eye expression (Default)

  • i'm keeping spanish 4; am probably in trouble; must start renting spanish films stat. thursday forgot how to say "if we don't continue this class i'll stay in spanish 2" and caused the substitute professor to say "i'm sorry, i don't understand."

  • something went wrong with my residence permit application: i have family member status but it is for only one year still, which isn't of much practical use; and the thing cost more so it's like €60 wasted. i was too confused and terrified by the scary desk worker to ask so i don't know what happened.

  • i've mumbled before about why fps and rps are different but i don't know if i've ever mentioned how i think i prefer the latter. i didn't realise how much i'd missed it till i started writing it again.

  • autumn in turku/åbo is WET and i get soaked every time i go outside, plus the wind makes it hard to see. do i need wellies and hats? i might.

cimorene: A black-and-white vintage photograph of 1920s singer Helen Kane in profile, with a dubious, side-eye expression (interrupted)
in an historic event, an employee of the finnish government spontaneously called me today for the sole purpose of offering helpful advice!

(it's not that finnish people aren't helpful - they're usually pretty earnest and nice provided you're following the rules and all. it's just that when they're in their bureaucracies, even school ones and club ones, they tend to be overworked, and leave the uninitiated to figure everything out for themselves.)

apparently i can apply to renew my visa as a family member of a finnish citizen instead of as a student now that wax and i have been living together (nearly) two years. the application is easier and only has to be renewed every four years instead of yearly. the minus side is that wax has to go to the police station in person too, but in the long run it's much less work.

now that i think of it, the police have a very cool logo too.


9 Aug 2006 12:20 pm
cimorene: A black-and-white vintage photograph of 1920s singer Helen Kane in profile, with a dubious, side-eye expression (wild)
lately i've been in a phase where i manically consume things: real books mixed with badfic by the archive and the occasional spot of goodfic, and various tv things for good measure1. i've also been a bit freaked out over paperwork, but i finally finished assembling the bits of the application to renew my residence permit yesterday.

i find it hard to divide my attention well between consuming and writing; it makes me a little anxious to leave writing unfinished while i do much of anything else, although i can't write solidly without any breaks, so i need the occasional piece of fiction to read. this is another manifestation of my ocd tendencies which perhaps i should battle against, but i don't bother, really. so for a few weeks i haven't been writing, really.

also, i am experiencing a strong (seasonal?) craving for new shoes. i saw these in the Tacky Department Store You're Embarrassed to Shop In2 when we were looking for wax's dress shoes for the wedding. they are on sale now, but i still didn't buy them. i am a little dubious about the whole pink thing in principle, even though when i am looking at them i am irresistably enchanted, as by a badly-behaved puppy.

finally, the new release of opera, v 9.01, has many points which render it superior to mozilla (even if lots of sites refuse to acknowledge it and make their pages not work with it, grr). it fixed the right-click-on-image bug and it's got widgets now in addition to that extremely convenient and functional sidebar, so i have a tetris widget and temperature and currency converters and a bunch of international clocks to show me [ profile] hollsk-time and [ profile] isilya-time and central time and pacific time and gmt. but on the bad side, it's having some kind of a disagreement with lj somewhere and has started rendering my livejournal wrong, with the navigation text in the tags/links bar in black instead of grey. it's very distressing to the eye, and i wasn't able to fix it even by hard-coding the grey colour into my layer. i don't even know how to report the bug because i have no idea what it's doing.

1. and in this case, a lot of hikaru no go doujinshi, which for the most part are bad (or mediocre) fic, but many times have nice artwork, which makes them much more palatable.

2. i guess sort of like a finnish sears or jc penney. as for the embarrassment, apparently my social group operated according to the same manual as daniel vosovic's. but now i feel kind of cheated because we didn't have anybody adorable and gay... unless you count the way matt and david were always wrestling so enthusiastically that they broke furniture and hurtled into the walls? they were kind of the momokai of the central IB program, now i think of it. and [ profile] guinevere33, remember how they tried to get us to go to prom with them at the last millisecond as like a package deal???? omg, this explains SO MUCH.
cimorene: A black-and-white vintage photograph of 1920s singer Helen Kane in profile, with a dubious, side-eye expression (wtf?)
i haven't been deported.

um.  i guess that's about it.

no, wait.  so i have this college loan that's $500-something past due.  like, ALL of the remaining balance is past due.  and i have to apply for a forbearance but one of the things you have to do to get one of those is prove how low your income is, so you need an account statement.  now, through the post office's disagreement with the bank, i don't have any of my past account statements, and i can't just order a current transaction history at the bank because last week dad had to transfer in over €6 000 so that i would be allowed a residence permit renewal (proof of means blahcakes).  so i still haven't bought any schoolbooks for the year--don't even know my classes--but i have to transfer most of that money back out of the account before i can get the statement to send with the application for the forbearance, which has to be retroactive to like, sometime last year, i don't know.

dad and i have discussed this on two separate occasions recently, but still today he e-mails me again to say that for some reason, they still think my account is past due!  yes.  the reason is that i can't mail the application yet.  as we have discussed exhaustively.

i så fall

9 Aug 2005 01:48 am
cimorene: A black-and-white vintage photograph of 1920s singer Helen Kane in profile, with a dubious, side-eye expression (bang)
so i went to look at the normal residence permit forms, just preparatory to going to the police station tomorrow to ask whether they were what i needed to fill out, and happened to look at the residence permit printed in my passport, and discovered it expired yesterday.  yeah, way to give me a heart attack.  hopefully i won't actually be deported. 

in other news, we spent too much money at ikea.  i was anxious before we left--"about spending money," i told wax, who laughed and pooh-poohed my fear!  i was the one who was calmly sipping tea when we looked at the receipt later at her mother's house, while she lapsed into a stunned and rather shaky stupor.  (otoh, it came out of her salary.)

speaking of shaky stupors, i really hope i won't be deported.  i feel kinda like throwing up.  (the thing is--i can't actually read my residence permit, i just figured out the date when i suddenly focused on a line of tinytiny text that was actually numbers with a precise one-year span.  that ended yesterday.)  so um.  [ profile] apoplexia told me so.  i really should have listened to him more closely. 


cimorene: A black-and-white vintage photograph of 1920s singer Helen Kane in profile, with a dubious, side-eye expression (Default)


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