I was thinking what I could do with my friends who came to visit from abroad. Of course some typical things came to my mind first: lake, woods and so on. Yes, we may start from those. Then I got a great idea: of course shopping: we will go shopping to a shopping centre when it is a rainy day and on a sunny day we go to a market. There are shopping centres and markets everywhere, but anyway it would be nice to show to my friends “our” places here. I believe that my friends would like it too.
On the sunny day it is nice to go to the market and go around to see all the stalls. It is nice also to sit down in a cafe with an ice cream and just to look around to see people passing by. It is not even necessary to buy anything, but just to spend time and hang around and to enjoy pleasant atmosphere.
On the rainy day it is better to go to the shopping centre and to go around the shops even without buying a thing. There you can also go for a lunch or coffee in some cosy restaurant or cafe. On the same time it is funny to chat with the friends and relax. I think this is nice way to spend time with my dear friends.
Have you ever visited Arboretum; a botanical garden in Tampere? If you haven´t I suggest you to do it. That is one of my favorite place in my home town and I visited it with many of my friends. You can walk and enjoy the view over Pyhäjärvi lake or to see the beauty of the roses in a rose garden. You can also wonder many different plants and trees. You can have a picnic or you can taste delicious pastries or ice cream or just to drink a cup of coffee in a summer cafe.
I think Arboretum is the best in the summer on a sunny day. In the winter it´s pretty quiet there: the cafe is closed, the flowers and other plants are under the snow waiting for the spring and warmer weather. But when the spring and especially summer is here and it´s sunny day, this place is wonderful to spend time with the friends. At least I like it.
Finland is called the country of the thousands of lakes. If you don´t live nearby a waterway round the year, you look for the place nearby the waterway at least for a summer. Lakes are for swimming, for rowling or sailing, for skiing or skating and ice fishing and so on. If some people are wondering to see us swimming in the lake in the summer, they are usually wondering even more to see us skiing or skating , even walking on the lake in the winter. That looks scary!
Whatever you are doing: swimming, rowling, sailing, fishing, skiing or skating, when you just stop to see the amazing view, you can just relax and enjoy looking it. I think many of us are also showing these kind of things to our visitors and friends from abroad. These things are pretty familiar to us but they can be really exotic to the people who come from far.
The woods means a lot to many people in Finland. I don´t mean now industry or branch of trade, but the activities such as recreation, walking, hiking and even running in the woods. The woods is a place to settle or quiet down, to relax , to hear the noises of the nature and to enjoy of roaming the outdoors.
It is wonderful to see how different the woods is in a light or in a darkness or on the different seasons.
For some people the woods can be also scary. They may not be used to the woods or to go to the woods for roaming the outdoors. Some of them also get used to enjoy, when they get chance to do it for exmple with their friends. They notice how beautiful and relaxing it can be.
The first of May (vappu) is the day some of my friends are asking about. I have understood that it is celebrated in many countries, but for many it is also pretty new thing. For me it is a sign of a spring and starting summer. Of course I try to explain to my friends also about the original meaning of May Day.
Anyway for me some small things are important when I celebrate ” vappu”. I love the doughnuts (munkki) and mead (sima). I also like to go to the certain kind of square or outdoor market (vapputori), when there is special market day with all kind of tack. It is just fun to hang around and to meet the friends and perhaps to buy the funny balloon. It is nice also to have picnic outside if it is nice weather or to go and eat in some restaurant if it is for example raining. The most important is just to relax and have nice time together with the friends.
It´s nice to go to a party and it´s also nice to organise a party especially with the friends. Parties in different countries are different but there are also things that are pretty similar in many places. When I discuss with my friends I find several things: being together with friends, family members and other relatives, having fun (except for example in the funeral), eating and spending time together. I think to organise the party is also pretty similar in many places: you clean, you bake, you cook, you invite and you plan some menu and show and wear nice clothes and so on. I have organised, invited and also visited to many different parties.
Many of my friends also cook and bake when they are organising a party.
Pretty common is a certain kind of sandwich cake or layer cake.
When we organise a party with my international friends we always try to learn also the words and meanings in different languages. It is really funny. We learned lately for example next words:
(Finnish) – (English) – (Spanish) – (French)
sokeri sugar azùcar sucre
voi butter mantequilla beurre
muna egg huevo oeuf
jauho flour marina farine
siivota clean limpiar nettoyer
laittaa ruokaa cook cocinar faire la cuisine
When I meet my friends from different countries we often eat either by some one of us or in a restaurant. Sometimes we cook together. When we cook together we make some typical food of some country. I have cooked with my friends for example food from Iraq, Iran, Somalia, Turkey and Finland. Apart from those I have eaten with my friends food from India, Bangladesh, Russia, Afghanistan, Japan, Sweden, Congo, Nigeria, Cameroon, Rwanda, Germany, Italy, France, Great Britain, Brazil, Uruguay and so on. You can maybe imagine, that when I cook I don´t always cook typical Finnish food. I mix sometimes different ingredients and finally no-one, even not myself, can tell what or from where the food is. Anyway I try to cook delicious food, but of course I don´t always succeed.
I think pasta and spaghetti are typical Italian food. Anyway me and many of my friends are cooking it, each one of us on a little bit different way.
I am not quite sure from where meatballs originally are, but I know that people eat them in many countries on the different ways and with different ingredients and with different filling.
I like to eat them for example with typical Finnish trimming: mashed potatoes.
I have eaten very different and very delicious food from many different countries. In spite of different tastes, many fragrances or many ways to cook with different friends, the one thing that always join us is our interest in the delicious food.
The next thing I would like to do with my friends is bake pulla.
My favourite recipe is this:
KORVAPUUSTI – FINNISH CINNAMON ROLLS
5 dl lukewarm whole milk
50 g fresh yeast
2 dl sugar
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp ground cardamom
about 15 dl bread flour
170 g soft butter
for the filling
150 g soft butter
6 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp cinnamon
for the egg wash
pearl sugar, to sprinkle
In a large mixing bowl, combine the lukewarm milk and crumbled yeast. Add sugar, salt, cardamom, and egg and mix untilcombined. Gradually add about two thirds of the flour and knead. Add butter and knead until well combined. Continue to knead the dough, and gradually add just enough flour so the dough comes clean off the sides of the bowl and doesn’t stick to your hand.
Cover the bowl with a clean kitchen towel. Let the dough rise in a warm, draft-free place for about 1 hour, or until it doubles in size.
I asked my fried if she remembered any funny things about Finland of Finnish people
Finnish language is like there is not enough air for breathing. People have deep voices. She found it funny.
She felt totally lost in winter when she once went to bed at 7pm because it had already been dark for 4 hours and in summer when she was having dinner at midnight and was woken up by the birds at 2am.
The small cute cafés were helpful for surviving the darkness.