Collaboration with our first post: Örö

Week 40, 2020
Turku, Finland

NEWS!  for first time in my life, I start to collaborate in writing articles for a more established blog. The name of the blog is:  Out in the Nature and their URL is this one:

A brief story behind this milestone.  I discovered Out in the Nature’s blog last year, when doing some research for umaze.  We were preparing ourselves to visit the labyrinth in Nagu, and the team behind Out in the Nature, had some information about this location in their post: Troy Town rock maze in Nauvo archipelago.

After reading more of their blog, I thought to myself: maybe if I start collaborating with them it will allow me to share some of my discoveries, from my Finnish adventures outdoors. I have this good intention of sharing since long, as you can see in some of my posts as this one in paddling or this one in Koli. However, I confess, it is mainly a good intention. Many times I start to write, but “n” things happen and either I do not start or I leave a post in the middle.  Only few adventures are able to pass the publication’s challenges threshold. Actually, my life, I could say is so similar to the following cartoon of developers….

My reality

I believe a collaboration with Out in the Nature might benefit us both. To me, it will help me to actually finalize articles and share things to an audience, and I will do quality content for the site.  After some emails, we agree to give it a try.  Then I start to write my  first post for them.

Then, guess what?  Yes, the post was al: most ready and my chaos hit my desk, leaving my article in hold. The only aspects  missing were address, some tags, and to activate a plugin needed to activate an interactive story, I made with ubium’s MINE editor. Yes, there were small details, but of those that require time.

Then the collaboration started to bring fruits, as a colleague from  Out in the Nature reach to me, and helping to fine tune the details that were missing. Then voilà the article is out for the public to enjoy. The title is: Örö – Military history and a fragiel ecosystem. You can fin d it in following this link: Feel free to visit the post and let your comment.

I am so happy.

In my agreement with Out on the Nature is that the interactive stories that I produced can be also share in other blogs. Hence, here is the story I did about Örö

I truly believe this collaboration will be positive for both parties. We will find synergies due to common interests. And most importantly I start to feel it will also allow us to build friendships. Now to move forward in this share journey!

Arrival - Örö

This photo is  our arrival to Örö. First marina of this new collaborative journey!

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Paddling at Kuuskoski

Week 21, 2020
Turku, Finland

Even in pandemic times, there are many things happening during one day. Furthermore, the days continue passing by quickly. I believe if one day I am able to harness the challenge to cope with time, I can say I succeed in one of the biggest quests in life. Anyway, this post is not about time, but about paddling at Kuuskoski.

Thursday May 21 was a public holiday in Finland, the Ascension day.  In this day, Mikko and I decided to go paddling as the weather was perfect: sunny and “warm” (note: warm can be a relative to interpretations depending the context). I didn’t review how warm was it, however for this post I researched this information and according to the Finnish Meteorological Institute and should have been around 13C, as we left late in the afternoon

Weather in Turku on May 21, 2020


The follow up question after taking the decision to go paddling was:  where to go? . To give answer to this question, Mikko shared with me a map  (Side note: this map is well done by the  the Foundation of the river Aura). The selection was: Kuuskoski.

Map Aura river


We reached our destination, approx 40km from Turku center. The first sign we saw was the placate from

Kuuskoski, Finland

Due to the current regulations for covi-19,  we were not able to visit the the museum (behind the yellow house of the photo above) as it was closed. Next time we will visit it. What called my attention was the private home next to the museum, which is BEAUTIFUL.

Kuuskoski, Finland

At first I thought it was a church. However, a sign down a road (next photo) indicated that it is a private property. Nevertheless, I got many questions about this unique construction.

Kuuskoski, Finland


The next decision was: which direction to paddle ? We had two options up stream or down stream.  Down stream was a family already enjoying the water, as you can perceive in the photo below. With this photo serves as evidence that in Finland to keep a distance between people to avoid covid-19 transmission is relatively easy 😉

Kuuskoski, Finland

While searching for our start point for paddling, we got a closer view to the rapids” . Note the following photo with my shadow 🙂

Kuuskoski, Finland

We decided to paddle upstream. Thus, a large rock was our departure spot.

Kuuskoski, Finland


In total we paddled approx 10km. I can’t believe it!

The following screenshot indicates the point where we return from our paddling.  Where the Jalkalanjoki intersects the Aura river.

returning point

That was approx 5kms in one direction and 5 kms back.  The river was calm and beautiful.

Kuuskoski, Finland

For the human eyes and ears, it is undeniably we are in the middle of spring. Many trees still do not have leafs, at the same time the “lemon-green” starts to be noticeable in the landscape, and one can listen birds singing. This is, unquestionably, a beautiful time.

Kuuskoski, Finland

As we advance paddling the landscape changes.  The naked tree photographed below was magnificent. The photo does not transmit its grandeur.

Kuuskoski, Finland

Suddenly, one could see more  spruce trees as we can observe below (I think those are spruces, I need to ask).

Kuuskoski, Finland

Of course Risen Bear was present all the time 🙂

Kuuskoski, Finland

In the next photo has the purpose to show a bird house hanging from a pole, which in my opinion was a big bird house with a large hole. Wondering who could be the tenants of such a house? (my knowledge of birds is literally nonexistent).

Kuuskoski, Finland

The following  bridge also call my attention. Wondering if I can find information about it. Apparently is a wooden bridge, and with all the calmness of the water look alluring to my eyes.

Kuuskoski, Finland

A closer view to the bridge.

Kuuskoski, Finland

A photo after we just cross it, underneath in our way back.

Kuuskoski, Finland

In this trip I called my mom, who has been inside her flat since mid-march, with the intention  to bring her along and let her see the beauty and calmness of nature.  Also I attempted that she listened to the birds.  However the build-in mic of a mobile phone does not have the quality to capture the birds’ signing. Something to look for: a good mic.  I hope she was able to enjoy some of the landscape.

Kuuskoski, Finland

In our way back the calmness was more evident and the birds were louder, maybe indicating us that it was time to go to sleep.

Kuuskoski, Finland

Getting close to our departure spot.

Kuuskoski, Finland

It was a wonderful and recharging time. No wonder Finns are happy, quality time in nature is unbeatable.

— Yop!

Micro droplets

Week 18, 2020
Turku, Finland

A personal wish within the current covid-19 disruption is that more people increase their interest in science and philosophy in addition to art and culture. These are the foundations of our development and innovation.

We need to learn to make questions and look for answers. In addition to be open to hear and offer constructive feedback.

By now, maybe some of you might be wondering: why can’t we gather? (e.g. restaurants, theaters, classrooms, concerts )  Well, the following video gives an insight of a potential reason behind this rational.

Petapixel wrote an article reflecting about this video in reference to covid-19. In their article, they embed a tweet with a link to another article from the LA Times, which describes an outbreak case of a choir   probably through air.  It is worth the read both articles.

Keep healthy,





Playing with your loved ones in the distance (case study with 3 different countries)

Week 15, 2020
Turku, Finland

I really enjoy playing.  A Game, for me, is more than a game system. Each game, in my perspective, includes many contextual aspects which can be summarize in the following dimensions:  environmental, socio-cultural and personal (see my dissertation for more) .  However, relax, I am not writing an academic reflection here. This post is about games I am playing with my family during this confinement. 😉

The purpose of this post is:

  • to share board games which one can play in the distance, and
  • to invite others to share ideas of other games that can be played with players located in different locations, at the same time and with a strong physical presence in the game.

Before I start describing the games we have played so far,  let me specify our constrains:  We are 4 players in 3 households. We are distributed as follows:

  • One player in Mexico. This player is a lovely lady of +70 years old)
  • Two players in Germany. One of these players is 11 years  old
  • One player in Finland.

Our communication set up is: we have a group in whatsapp, and through a video-call at an agreed time the game session starts. 😉

Before  covid-19, each one of these players have their own group of friends to play and we gather only to talk. However, during this confinement, we want to play together and laugh a bit together.  [side note:  I am a lucky person, because my family like to play games 😉 and many of us have the same games at home 😉  facilitating things] .  We do not want to be play games which are only digital for the following reasons:

  • (i) we want to see each other,
  • (ii) we have different ICT skills and technological equipment, in addition to different digital games skills.
  • (iii) we like to have a “tangible” aspect in the game

We look for games that allow us to feel confident to play together, and we can fix individually if something doesn’t work. So far we have played the following 5 games, which I am presenting here.

GAME #1: Loteria Mexicana

My niece proposed the first game in this “confinement” series:  “La Loteria Mexicana”. All the players of this group know how to play it, and all of us have the game. Then it has been easy to play it and works excellent. Below is a video explaining the game.

If you do not have a “loteria mexicana” I assume playing bingo might work as well. 😉

If you know how to play it and one of the players have the cards, then you only have do download the board from internet. There are many board available online.

We play la loteria mexicana in confinement as follows: one of us “sings” the loteria, while the other players fill the boards. It plays exactly as if we were physically together.


This is a common game we played as children in Mexico in the 80s. Maybe earlier, I have no idea about this.  The following video explains how to play the game in English:

As with the loteria mexicana (previous game), this game plays exactly as if we were in the same room. One player starts to go through the alphabet silently, while a another player indicates when this player should  stop.  Next, the player who was stopped let us know in which letter was the last one he thought. With this letter, all player start writing words, that begin with this letter in different categories which have been predefined.  In our group of players, we are using the following categories:

  • Name
  • Animal
  • Flower or Fruit
  • Country or City
  • Thing

Once a player finalizes the whole categories, says “BASTA”, and counts to 10. This is a time that allows the other players to finalize their writing. Once the time is up, we review the words writing and give scores for each one. If no-ones wrote this word, receives 10 points, if 2 have the same word is 5 points, if 3 have the same word is 3 points and if all have the same word is 1 point. It is 0 points if you didn’t write a word.

It has been fun, and we are LEARNING words constantly! 🙂   Note: it is not valid to look words up in internet.


Another game we have played and it works very well is  Heckmeck.

In our case 2 household have this game physically. For the third household, the player made her own  “domino” pieces in paper as we indicate which pieces are needed. The game is played with 6 dices, which have a worm instead of a number 6. Hence, the player without the original game uses 6 normal dices and the number 6 is the worm.

As the game is played by turns, each one of us follow the game at home.  Also one of us broadcast in her turn the general board to keep everybody in tune.

NOTE:  it is appreciated when in one’s turn we rotate the camera of the phone to see the result of throwing the dices. We trust the player, it also makes you feel more “present” when you see the result of the action.  Hence to have a smartphone where one can easily switch the front and back camera comes handy in here.

A screenshot of our game

A screenshot of our game. Below showing the current situation, after the German playing is finalizing her turn.  Mexican playing observing the situation



This game also works well. All of us know how to play it, and we have the same “list”. Each time is our turn, we try to “turn” the camera of the phone, so the others also see what the player have through.



It is the latest we have played. The 3 households have the dices making possible to play this game.  😉

Screenshot of our gameplay

Screenshot of our game play. In this case, Finland was starting the game while Germany was switching her camera back to the players, but i do not have permission to show the face of the players, so we keep it in this way 😉

Based on this experience, I assume that:

  • turn-based games work well for players in this type of set up.
  • games that have dices as a main game component are easy to “synchronize” while the players are in the distance.
  • it is important to keep a strategic aspect in the game to avoid to be only a “chance” game, as we know already, and it is important to addressed when we are playing in the distance.

Also I am discovering the need to design games for players who are located in different locations, and want to play together the same game at the same time without being this a video game. Will be this a new type of games? something I need to reflect further.

I will keep reporting about what games are we exploring in this configuration, and maybe even we will even design new games.

If you have any idea of games we should try, in this setup, please do not hesitate to let us know! We are open to explore more games! 🙂

Keep healthy and we keep posted!

— Yop!

¿Cómo cuidar a una begoña?

Week 15, 2020
Turku, Finland

A través de ésta publicación quiero pedir consejos para cuidar a mi begoña, y sobre todo motivarla a florecer 🙂  .  Antes de continuar,  permítanme compartir mi situación personal en el mundo de la jardiniería:

  1. No tengo el conocimiento ni la experiencia en el cuidando de plantas.
  2. Es muy frecuente que las plantas que adopto, o siembro, se me mueran 🙁  aunque trato de evitarlo.
  3. Vivo en un departamento, así que solo puedo adoptar plantas en sean capaces de vivir en macetas.
  4. En invierno, en donde vivo, los días son muy oscuros. Por ejemplo, la luz puede salir alrededor de las 9am y aprox. a las 4pm ya es de noche. En el verano casi no hay noche. Así que no puedo tener plantas que necesitan mucha luz todo el año. Aunque tengo unos focos que dicen que les ayuda, pero realmente no lo sé.

Ahora voy a presentar el caso de mi begoña. Cualquier consejo lo agradezco de antemano. 🙂

En 15 de abril de 2019, me compré esta hermosa begoña:

Begoña adoptada en 2019

Begoña adoptada en 2019

Esta hermosa begoña la coloqué en una área del departamento que normalmente tiene luz todo el año. Al mismo tiempo, nunca le llega luz directa del sol, ya que está lejos de cualquier ventana. Al parecer a la begoña le gustó el lugar, y siguió creciendo y dando flores. De hecho la peluqueé en mas de una ocasión:

Begoña floreando

Begoña floreando

El 6 de julio, la cambié a una maceta más grande y la peluqueé.

Begoña pasando por sesión de belleza

Begoña pasando por sesión de belleza

Aún que la cambié de maceta, aún floreó. Ya fué poco, y yo asumo que es porque ya estaba terminando el verano. La siguiente foto es del  la nueva maceta volvieron a salir una flores, no tantas, pero ya era el final del verano. Foto agosto 2 septiembre 7

Begoña floreando despues del su sesión de belleza en agosto.

Begoña floreando despues del su sesión de belleza en agosto.

Sobrevivió el invierno. Sus hojas siguen creciendo.


Lo que me inquieta es que no ha dado ninguna flor hasta ahorita.  ¿Alguna sugerencia para motivar a mi begoña a florecer?

Gracias de antemano por cualquier consejo 🙂

— Yop!