The second meeting, we meet at the school library. And this time I am planning to teach Johanna some basic history and mythology, so she can know the background of China.
China is one of the 4 ancient civilizations. The other 3 is Ancient India, Ancient Egypt, and Ancient Babylon. And in the human history, there are also many myths in the world.
For example: Celtic mythology, Sumerian mythology, and Greece mythology. Norron—Nordic Myth is also quiet famous. And we also have long and interesting mythology in our history.
I first told some people effect Chinese history a lot: Three Kings and Five Leaders.
After that we discussed about dragon. Because dragon is famous in the world, but the dragon in China is different than in other western countries. So we started to discuss about this. I told the meaning of the dragons, and I also showed to Johanna one book which has many different types of monsters in the myth.
In the middle, I explained a small part of Yin and Yang which is famous around the world. Depending on this, I also explained how we compared the body and everything with elements.
I also explained about the ancient astronomy. This is actually quiet hard to explain to her, because the different meanings and stars and ancient words. I mainly taught about the animals of the directions and what its shape. I explained Azure Dragon, White Tiger, Black Tortoise, and also one bird which is similar with phoenix, but a bit different. Its quiet hard to say what’s the difference between this bird and phoenix, but I think I managed.
In the end, I explained to her that Yin and Yang are not single and cannot be separated. They are always changing to each other. It’s the basic idea of balance.
“Chandeleur Day” is a really known and popular in France. This year we celebrated it in February 2th. It is a “Crepe Party”. Every family cook sweet and savory crepes in which we usually put ham, cheese, typical meat or jam, chocolate, whipped cream… We drink cider or beer with them. Therefore, as I really like this day because I come from the part of France where they have been created I wanted to share this succulent meal with Finnish people. We bought the ingredients and cook together.
I brought the recipe to teach some vocabulary in Finnish and French:
250g de farine
50cl de lait
1 pincée de sel
A pinch of salt
60g de sucre
50g de beurre fondu
Confiture de fraise
Cuillère à café
Cuillère à soupe
I was really surprised that they think that as I am French I know perfectly how to make crepes and that they were going to be the best in the world. First I showed them how to cook crepe and then successively we made crepe. Moreover I teach them how to flip a crepe, it was very funny and excited.
My favorite crepe is a savory one with goat cheese, almonds and honey. At first, they were very hesitant about the ingredients because when they tried goat cheese they don’t really like it but when they tasted the crepe they really enjoyed it especially Getuar. Nevertheless, unfortunately, the cider hasn’t been so famous.
Our group is composed of three people: 2 Finnish, Getuar and Nina, – 1 French, me. I learn Finnish and teach them French. We decided to teach some language backgrounds but we are also really interested in culture.
Our first meet was in a lovely café to be more comfortable. As I am learning basics of Finnish and Nina knows already some basics words in French, our first meeting was focused on Getuar to teach him some basics sentences in French like saying hello, thanks, how are you, bye, my name is … During this meeting we spoke a lot to know each other and we have already noticed lots of differences between our two culture about education and way of living.
This is our first teaching. We translate it in English to understand better:
Hello/ Good morning
Moi! Hei!/ Hyvää huomenta
Bonne soirée/Bonne nuit
Moi Moi/ Hei Hei
See you later
A plus (tard)
See you tomorrow
How are you?
Comment ça va?
Fine and you?
Bien et toi?
Kiitos hyvää. Entä sinulle?
Thank you (a lot)
It’s ok/Never mind
Ça ne fait rien/Ne t’inquiète pas
Ei se mitään
Nice to meet you
Ravi(e) de te rencontrer/Enchanté
Me too/ The same
Moi aussi/De même/Pareil
Kyllä/ Joo/ Juu
What is your name?
Kuka sina olet?/
Mikä sinun nimi on ?
My name is
Olen/ Minun nimi on
I knew that French was difficult but during this first meeting I noticed that teaching French is really a difficult task. Our language is very complicated. We don’t pronounce all the letters of a word and lots of sounds are the same but can be written differently. Moreover, Finnish and French language don’t pronounce letters in the same way. For instance, in France the letters “Y” and “I” have the same sound but in Finland their “Y” is pronounced as an “U” for French people. On top of that, contrary to France there is no gender in Finland so it was a bit complicated to explain that things have a feminine and a masculine and that it depends only on the word, there is no rule. Therefore I teach them some word which show that is a feminine or masculine word:
Feminine word article : une, la, l’
Masculine word article : un, le, l’
Next time our meeting will be more focus on culture. I will cook a typical French meal: Crepes because it will be “Chandeleur Day” in France.
A few days after bearing witness to the effortless on-ice glide of pro hockey players, we decided to overcome our “Varokaa heikkoa jäätä” PTSD’s and try ice skating out ourselves. Well, at least Aoi and Hannele did. I didn’t have the time to go get skates from anywhere, so I just tagged along as a non-skating one-man support group. Turns out that this was a way to be actually useful, so I’m not complaining!
Once we got to the lake where the skating was to take place, it didn’t go unnoticed that the weather was windy. As the girls were putting the skates on, I employed my superpowers as a shoes-wearer by rescuing Hannele’s bag that was caught in a sudden gust of wind. But my ego-boosting heroism did not end there! Understandably for someone who wasn’t born in a cold climate, Aoi wasn’t all that familiar with the concept of not falling while wearing ice skates, so I got to be the pylon that she could hold onto while trying to figure out the exact mechanisms that go into skating. “I failed her only once” doesn’t sound that great, so let’s just say that no-one got injured.
Right in the middle of the frozen lake, there was a tent where some guy was selling hot things to cold people. A British person came by, showing off his deep knowledge of basic Finnish survival vocabulary (“makkara, kahvi, munkki, Koskenkorva”; not that the latter was sold there). The sales tent was at an unfortunate rotational angle, all things considered. The entrance was facing the freezing wind head-on, so “warming up” didn’t exactly work as advertised. I felt really sorry for the shopkeeper and his associates who probably spent the entire day there in a tent that was just as cold as the outside.
On our way back, the wind provided us with the kind of experience that I hope all foreigners have on their first visit to Finland (just so everything else feels awesome after that really bad first impression). The wind had helped us reach the middle of the lake by pushing our backs gently, but now it made it known that did not want us to leave. The frozen lake was to be our icy tomb, but we courageously talked about movies to divert our attention away from the fact that our faces were about to fall off. When we finally reached the shore, my skatelessness once again helped in the quick retrieval of Hannele’s bag that made its second attempt to escape into the windy expanse.
The most important lesson I got from all of this is that I really need to invest in better gloves. Next time, we’ll be doing some indoor stuff.
Last week Monica suggested to meet up at the Living Room. This cafe has a nice atmosphere and on various occasions they have a gathering of people who are either born Spanish speakers or people that want to practice their linguistic skills. It was a nice atmosphere and next to us three (Monica, Juan Carlos and me) there were several other people, of which most, could speak Spanish very well. Monica’s Spanish is also of a higher level then mine is and therefore it was sometimes a bit hard for me. Nevertheless, it was a good practice since I learned a lot and I needed to speak Spanish. This helped me to think of what I was saying and when I couldn’t find the right word or when I said something wrong, they could help me out.
Overall it was a very nice session and most certainly a recommendation to other people that try to learn Spanish. It gets you out of your comfort zone, right in to practising this language. I’m looking forward to the next meetings with Monica and Juan Carlos when we will be doing something culinary.
Today is Sunday and like all Italian people use to do, we went to the supermarket.
I really like do the Grocery shopping because is a good way to spend time with your family/friends. Today we learned a lot of food’s name and how to have a “shopping conversation”. At the beginning it was easy because more or less fruits’ names are similar (Banana is my favourite word because more or less is the same in all the world), but when we started to go through meat and other shelves, it was no longer so simple. In Italy there are a lot of kind of pasta and Anna was really interesting about it so we spend more than 15 minutes just to explain her all the pasta’s shapes that you can find in Italy (I really like to show people typical italian food because is one of the most famous thing in Italy and also because i really like cook Italian food). I never imagined that a so easy and short word like PIG, could be so long and difficult if traslated in German: SCHWEINEFLEISCH. Anyway i really had fun today because it’s a very good and alternative option to learn food’s name having fun and in this way it’s also easier to remember because you can associate the name to the object. It was a very useful day also because we made our grocery shopping all togheter.
On tuesday afternoon Melissa, Marta and I started our third meeting in New York cafè. The goal for this day was to finish the german numbers and to learn something about the different tenses of both languages. But at first, I really must praise the two italian girls for learning the numbers so quickly. German numbers are quite difficult. Afterwards we started to learn days and months. Unfortunately, the italian weekdays can not be deduced from the english (e.g tuesday – martedì). But it is not the same with the months because they sound really similar to the english months (e.g february – febbraio). After this vocabulary stuff we switched to something really difficult – the different tenses. There are a lot of different tenses in italian but I think I don’t learn them so quickly. But in german it is exactly the same. Before teaching Marta and Melissa the german tenses I must look them up for myself because as a native spekaer you don’t really have to think about what time you use.
I’, really happy that I met this two really nice italian girls and that they teach me so good. Next time we want to go to the suhsi bar and I really looking forward to it and of course to see my italian girls 🙂
On Tuesday afternoon, after a good coffee and a delicious cake, Anna, Marta and I started our third meeting of “Each one teach one” in New York cafè.
Last time we didn’t finished to explain all the numbers because we were a little bit tired from the practical training and the University, so for this time we decided to start from numbers between 11 and 1000. In Italian language, numbers are not so difficult, infact Anna was very good and she learned them very fast. In German language, in my opinion, they are easy until 10, but from 11 to 1000 they are very difficult and full of consonant! I think that I will train a lot on write them correctly and also on pronunce them in the correct way. After numbers we start to go through days and months and I learned how to say my birthday: “Ich habe am 16 juni Geburstag”. More or less months are very similar and i didn’t found problem to learn them (At least one thing is easy =D).
Time goes very fast when you like do something and for us is everytime in this way. I am very happy because, also if it is difficult, i am learning a lot of new words and how to make short sentences.
See you soon! Lot of kisses from the cakes’ addicted!
On our second meeting we talked about history of ancient China, dynasties, leaders and myths. Yu told me fascinating stories about dragons and other mythical creatures. It is a fact that Chinese myths are a way cooler than our stories about Väinämöinen or elves…
I learned that in the ancient Chinese astronomy the sky was divided into four section. Each of these four sections is assigned to a mythological creature also known as Four Symbols. The mythological creature in the East is The Azure Dragon. It is the head of the Four Symbols and its element is wood (usually Chinese dragons are associated with water). Dragons are not only fearsome and mighty animals but they are also believed to be just, benevolent and bringers of good fortune and wealth. The White Tiger is a protector and a defender. Its element is metal and it corresponds to the season of autumn whereas The Azure Dragon corresponds to the spring. The White Tiger is the mythological creature in the West.
In the North the mythical creature is The Black Tortoise and in the South it is The Vermillion Bird. The Black tortoise corresponds to winter and its element is water whereas The Vermillion Bird corresponds to summer and fire. The Red Vermillion is quite similar with the phoenix, they are look-a-like and both are considered as a symbol of fire. The Black Tortoise is a symbol of longevity and wisdom. One interesting thing in The Black Tortoise is that its tail is actually a snake.
Yin yang is a world widely known symbol, a circle which is divided into two sections. The black section is called yin and the white is yang. The really short explanation what yin yang symbolises is following: everything in universe is constant and cyclical. One force dominates for a while until the opposing force replaces it. This activity repeats itself over and over again. Yin and yang are opposing forces and represents different things but when put together they symbolises harmony and balance in the universe. Those two forces are constantly interacting and they exist everywhere being the basis of life.
So I learned quite a lot about Chinese myths and philosophies. A lot more than I manage to write here. It was so intriguing to hear these stories from Yu. Mostly because in our culture this kind of myths hardly exists. Also knowledge about ones past is the key to understanding the current functioning of society and human behaviour.
I met Juan Carlos and Ricardo for the first time on February 3rd in Tampere Bakery Cafe, a very nicely ambienced cafe next to Stockmann. I highely recommend it!
It was great meeting the guys! We spent most of the time getting to know each other, where we’re from, how our countries are like etc. Juan Carlos also got to test our level in Spanish, since he is our designated teacher!
I look forward to meeting the guys more often, I think this will be a great group!