All posts by Zsófia Sikanen

The four “olla”-verbs

Hanna and I have met again today. She will get her degree soon, and with a very good grade 🙂 As for me, it’s still a very-very long time.

She came to visit me and my cats, and we drank coffee here. We were talking about summer and, since I didn’t manage to find a summer job, she had an idea for me: volunteer at the Red Cross or another non-profit organization to be a personal assistant to an elderly person. I may try it because the summer is very long, and it would be nice to do some work, even if it’s not paid. And it would also be nice to practice more Finnish 🙂

Continue reading The four “olla”-verbs

Kaks kirpputoria

Hanna and I have met again today. We went to eat lunch at Ziberia first. We were a bit tired, so we didn’t talk as much as usually. Part of it was certainly the nasty, cold, wet weather….

Afterwards, we took a look at two new kirpputori shops, new only to me 🙂 Both are at the harbor, the first was called Kirpputori Tarina and the second, Radiokirppis. Kirpputori Tarina was very nice, there was even an area on the street level where it was possible to drink coffee and watch the street and the harbor. The cakes looked very good too, so I’ll have to return some time 🙂 The articles on sale were downstairs. I tried on a dress and a skirt but neither of them convinced me. I’m a difficult customer and won’t buy unless I really-really like the item. Somehow Hanna has a much better eye than I do, and she always finds something pretty and unique.

Radiokirppis was much bigger than Kirpputori Tarina and still, I wasn’t able to find anything for myself. I need a summer dress for my Andalucía trip since I left them in Budapest when I moved… but found nothing. Hanna, of course, did 🙂

Finally, to make the shopping tour complete, we made a quick visit to Sokos, and then we had to cycle home in the wet, cold, ugly weather… can’t wait for Andalucía!

With my cats

Our last meeting I haven’t written about was, looking back to our Facebook conversation, on April 17… but from now on, I will write about every meeting on the same day, or max. one day later, promise!

Since this meeting was such a long time ago, my memories on it have faded a bit 🙁 We met at TAMK and went to eat to our favorite lunch place, Medi-Heli. Hanna had just returned from her trip to Southern France. We talked about her trip, which was great, of course, and we talked in Finnish, of course 🙂 She showed me a couple of pictures with beautiful, sunny warm weather. Something we will not have here in Finland in the near future….

Continue reading With my cats

Business as usual :)

Hanna and I met on another occasion a long-long time ago, still in April, only I was too lazy to write a post about the meeting soon enough 🙁 I visited her on a Friday by bicycle and we did a few Spanish exercises from the Vuela coursebook. We learned how to form nationality adjectives from country names. It is not easy since there is a number of suffixes, and there isn’t much logic in which suffix to use when. How could you guess, for example, that the adjective created from Francia is francés, and from Rusia, it’s ruso… We also reviewed how to present oneself in a few simple sentences: name, nationality and place of residence.

Continue reading Business as usual 🙂

Numbers and countries

During our last meeting with Hanna, we focused on Spanish. She came to visit me and we had coffee. The cats were moderately friendly 🙂

In order to revise the very basics, we used another coursebook this time: Vuela. It is a very good for practicing but I wouldn’t use it as our main coursebook because it has too little vocabulary and only very short readings. It starts with the greetings used at different parts of the day, introducing oneself and saying goodbye. It is important that in Spanish, the afternoon and the night start much later than in Finnish or even English. You can start saying buenas tardes after lunch, which is usually around 14.00, and you start using buenas noches after dinner, which is also very late as compared to other cultures, usually around 21.00.

Continue reading Numbers and countries


I still haven’t written about our meeting when Hanna and I had lunch at the Ziperia student restaurant. I hadn’t known about this place earlier and it is good to know that we can eat at student price also in the city center. The restaurant is in the Finlayson area, the atmosphere is friendly, and food is also very good, they have several salads too, not only cut vegetables.

This time we just had a conversation class in Finnish. We talked, for example, about school, and the challenges it offers 🙂 Both of us study Business Administration but Hanna is already writing her thesis and I’m only in the first year. It is good to hear about the upcoming times from someone who has already gone through them.

We ate stuffed cabbage leaves for lunch. I had always wanted to try them to see how they are prepared in Finland since stuffed cabbage leaves are a typical dish in Hungary too. Well… they weren’t bad but I definitely prefer the Hungarian version 🙂 These were sweet, served with cranberry jam and brown sauce, and the Hungarian cabbage rolls are made with hot paprika, pickled cabbage and sour cream. This is the Finnish dish…

Continue reading Kaalikääryleitä


Hanna and I met again last Thursday. What a beautiful day it was 🙂 This time we only practiced Finnish.

We met at school and went to eat to Medi-Heli, the student restaurant at Kuntokatu 4. I had never known it was called Medi-Heli until Hanna told me. Food is tastier there than at Kuntokatu 3, and the atmosphere is also friendlier. We talked about many topics; for example, literature. Hanna recommended me to read Sofi Oksanen. I showed her the book I am reading at the moment. It is a collection of Finnish novelettes translated into Hungarian. At Metso, they have several shelves of literature in Hungarian, which is very nice because I’m not able to read other than children’s books in Finnish yet. This is the cover page of my book.

Continue reading Kirpputori

Hanna and Zsófia’s second meeting

Hanna and I have now had our second meeting. This time, we were at Hanna’s home. She lives in a beautiful apartment, a lot more beautiful than mine but, as she said, my cats make mine a very beautiful one too 🙂

We started by checking last time’s homework and it was very nice to see that she did everything 🙂 She did very well and there were only a few missing accent marks. In my opinion, great attention must be paid to the usage of accents from the very beginning, so I always point out missing accents. After a few times, it is usually enough to read out the word, and my students know that an accent is missing.

We then went through the Spanish alphabet and the rules of pronunciation. This was a bit boring but now we are done with it. Luckily, Spanish pronunciation is quite easy because it is enough to learn a few rules to be able to read out everything correctly. We also took a look at the names of the letters, and then we took turns spelling words to each other and writing them down.

We also learned the numbers from 1 to 20 from the book and since Hanna was interested, we then learned the numbers up to 100. Next time we need to practice the numbers, as well as the spelling of words.

After this, we only had time to review the dialogues of Unit 1. Hanna read them, her pronunciation was great, and she was also able to read out the dialogue in which an individual called Schwartzenegger spells his name 🙂 I then gave her a bit of homework from the exercise book of another coursebook, Vuela, to practice greetings and farewells. Next time we will continue with less aided activities, so that she can practice greetings, farewells, introducing herself, asking how the other person is…

Hanna and Zsófia’s first meeting

I am Zsófia from Hungary, a permanent student at TAMK. My pair is Hanna from Finland. We are both Business Administration students. I teach her Spanish since I have a master’s degree in Spanish Language and Literature, and she teaches me Finnish. She is a beginner and I’m at the lower-intermediate level, being able to communicate in Finnish but still far from being a proficient language user.

We had our first study meeting at my home. Hanna likes cats, and I happen to have two of them 😉 You can see them below, Moha on the left and Zuzika on the right.


For the Spanish learning, we use a coursebook: Nuevo español sin fronteras 1. We started by pairing up widely known Spanish words, such as tomate, sangría, toro… with the corresponding images. Then we listed other words and expressions that Hanna already knows. We also talked a little about the dimensions of the Spanish language: how many speakers it has, in which countries it is spoken and a few differences between the different varieties.

After that, we read a few dialogues from the book. The first unit is about meeting people, so we learned how to greet people, introduce oneself and say goodbye. We also listened to the dialogues from the audio material that belongs to the book.

We also had a little grammar: personal pronouns and the conjugation of ser, which is one of the “to be”-verbs in Spanish. We reviewed the rules for Spanish accent and a few pronunciation rules. Next time we need to review all the pronunciation rules to be done with it at once 🙂 Luckily, Spanish pronunciation is straightforward and there are no exception from the few existing rules.

We already talked in Finnish sometimes while we were reading from the book, but after finishing reading, we walked to school and had lunch together, all in Finnish 🙂 We talked about several topics, for example jobs, movies, family, travelling, hobbies… and cats 😉 Now I know how to say Moha and Zuzika’s names in Finnish. Both are Hungarian names and they mean “moss” and “lichen”, in Finnish: sammal and jäkälä. I have also learned that “Zuzika” is a lempinimi, nickname 🙂

We also discussed what else we could do during our following meetings. The discussion was in Finnish, of course 🙂 We had very nice ideas, like going to the Rauhaniemi sauna, with or without avantouinti 😉 We may also have lunch in the city center some time, go to a Finnish-language church service or attend one of the meetings of the Tampere Spanish speakers’ group.

It is very nice that I can have these meetings with Hanna because she speaks very clearly, so it’s easy to understand her. She is also very patient, which I unfortunately need due to my level requiring development 🙂 I really need to practice both Finnish and teaching Spanish as I haven’t had any students since I moved to Tampere and it is very easy to get out of routine. This is a great opportunity to do both and I am already looking forward to our next meeting!