All posts by Eveliina Korkea-Aho

The last meeting

And so the time for the last meeting has come. And also time for Katrin and Natalie to go home. We met on Sunday afternoon for the last time and went to skating, which was one more thing they wanted to do here. They rent skates from school and we head to Pyynikin urheilukenttÀ.

First thing I noticed was that they had taken “boys” skates from TAMK. I was a bit worried if they knew how to skate with those since I myself can’t even stand up with those. They hadn’t realized that themselves because apparently their skates look like those (although they are, if I understood right, more like mine). The beginning was a bit.. unsteady for them and I was afraid that either one (or both) will find herself from the ice soon. Good that there were two of them so they could hold hands and that way find the balance. I hadn’t been skating since last winter either so it was really nice to get on to skates again.

We skated almost 2 hours I think. And Katrin and Natalie did surprisingly well eventually with the skates.. when they stayed on the move. They really seemed to like skating, and they also told me that it is so nice that you can actually skate outside which wouldn’t be the case in Munich.

I asked them how they feel about going home in few days and are they glad they came to Finland. A little bit of mixed feelings, they have been waiting to go back home but now when it’s actually time to go home it is kinda sad. Reminds me so much of my own exchange year in high school. But I’m so happy they have done so much while they’ve been here and really taken the most out of their time here. They can go back with no regrets. It’s also nice to hear that they have enjoyed their time in Finland. I’m really glad I got to meet them both. We have had really nice time and I really hope we will see each others again, somewhere in the world. Maybe next it’s their time to guide me in Munich 😉

Thank you girls for the EOTO and safe travels back home!

9th Meeting

It had been a while since we had met last time since we both have been out of town, Katrin (and Natalie) in Lapland and then right after that I headed to Hamburg Germany. After I came back to Finland it was already my exam week so I was super busy with school and work but still we luckily managed to find a spot for a meeting.

Katrin and Natalie came, yet again, to my house later evening after I got out of school at 8pm. This meeting was quite brief since I still had to go to work afterwards but it was again nice to see them. Last week they were here so of course I wanted to make some time. We chatted and had coffee, cookies and joulutorttus and discussed about their Lapland trip and my trip to Germany.

They showed me lots of pictures from Lapland (I haven’t been to Lapland except once when I was really young). It looked so beautiful and peaceful there. And cold. They had been doing so much things there such us husky and reindeer sleigh drives. Looked so much fun though they told me it was so cold that even their hair was frozen and white. They also had seen northern lights and everything. They were happy with the trip. Katrin and Natalie really have done and seen a lot during their time in Finland which is really great!


8th Meeting and Vanillekipferl

Katrin and Natalie came to mine and our plan for the eight meeting was christmas cookies, in German way. They wanted to show me to see what are their favorite christmas cookies so we made these “Vanillekipferl”.

The dough was super easy to make, butter, flour, sugar and powdered almonds. Mix everything and the dough is ready. Google was again as our help since we need to convert the amounts from grams to litres since I don’t have a scale in my apartment (which obviously is a basic thing in Germany to have..)

In the end we ended up having like a million of these half moon shaped cookies. And they did taste good! Good for a change. Funny how in Germany christmas cookies are so big deal in Germany and there are so many different kinds… here it’s basically only the ginger breads. While baking we talked about christmas and traditions.

It was really nice to see them both again, very chilled.


7th Meeting: Movie night


This time we decided to watch a very christmassy Finnish movie Joulutarina (The Christmas Strory). Katrin’s sister Natalie joint us too. I thought the movie would be just perfect since a) it has Santa in it b) shows Lapland views (Katrin and Natalie were heading there in the beginning of December so little preview…) c) neither of them hadn’t seen a Finnish movie. We figured that English subtitles would probably work well too.. 😀

Katrin and Natalie came over to my apartment in the early evening and brought also glögi and grapes with them to snack during the movie. They seemed to like the movie which was nice to notice! They also said they were able to even understand some words; progress!

After the movie stack to the theme movies, and talked more about Finnish and German movies. Even though Germany is much bigger movie producer than Finland, still I couldn’t recognize any of the ones Natalie and Katrin told me about. Now when I think about it even the only German tv-show I know seems to be LemmenviemÀÀ (Sturm der Liebe (?) )

6th Meeting: Chillin’ and eatin’

I was babysitting my parent’s dog for few days since they were out of town so I was pretty much stuck at my parent’s house so it was perfect that Katrin was able to come there too one evening. She had some other school project before this meeting so eventually she get to my place around 8 pm. Perfect timing since I had just taken out our dinner, sweet potato fries and meatballs, out of the oven few minute earlier.

Before we started to eat I showed Katrin around in our typical Finnish house. Apparently our house is cozy and nice. We didn’t spend too much time talking about the house since our dog stole all the attention eventually as always. He also let us enjoy his company while eating dinner too and made sure both of us remembered that it is also allowed to give him some food.

While eating we discussed about school and how there are lots of projects and stuff going on for both of us. For example Katrin had her Finnish presentation coming up and it was really fun to go through and correct mistakes in her presentation about her home country she had prepared.  She said already advance that it it most likely full of mistakes aand well. Can’t deny, there was some red pen here and there after I read it. Correcting the text was very easy… but to explain why it is like this and not like that is totally different case. Especially those parts which are grammatically correct but which I still would say otherwise. E.g. “Saksassa on kylmĂ€ talvi ja lĂ€mmin kesĂ€.” (In this context) I thought it would be better to say “Saksassa on kylmÀÀ talvella ja lĂ€mmintĂ€ kesĂ€llĂ€.” Try to explain why….

We also went a bit through some German grammar since I had a German exam coming up so I got few clarifications.

School systems also came up in out talk. They are so different and to me it seems that Germany’s system allows people to try and gives a chance to study what they really want. When you are at the school, then it gets harder and you really need to keep up with the studies and past exams (three tries) or you will be kicked out and you cannot study that same field ever again. Strict and merciless yes, but I still think that is better and more fair than what it is here in Finland. Everyone (eith okay grades from previous school) gets a chance to prove they can do it; here you have to study hard and be a genius to even pass the entrance exam thus making it hard maybe ever to get to the school you really desire to be.

In general we had a very chilled evening and looking forward for next meeting whenever it will be 🙂

5th Meeting: Finnish-German

We managed to arrange a meeting for late Saturday evening despite the fact that we both have a super busy schedule. We met at the Cafe Europa in the city center and sat down to chat and catch up. Cafe Europe wasn’t maybe the best place for trying to have a proper conversation since it was so loud and we had to yell to each other from the other side of the table to even hear anything.

Anyways, this was the first time after the autumn break we managed to set up a meeting since I had been to Germany in between and she had been to St. Petersburg so it was really hard to find the time. To be honest most of the time went to catching up what has been up and how was the break etc. but eventually we got in to actual “learning” subjects too which included everything from working in Germany/Finland (differences)  to house parties and partying.

I was really interested in how things work in Germany when it comes to working since I’m planning on doing my internship there. Subject was kind of current for Katrin too because she said she is also going to apply quite soon for a job when she goes back to Germany.  We talked about resumes, wages, whether it’s always mandatory to know German etc.

This kept this meeting quite brief but it was really nice to catch up.

International Food Night: The 4th Meeting


We had our fourth meeting quite spontaneously right the next day after our 3rd meeting. Katrin happened to mention during our 3rd meeting that she was about to go to this international food night at Tamko the next day with her sister and sister’s friends and somehow we got the idea that I could join them.

The idea was that everybody brings something to eat that is common in one’s home country. Due to the fact that I got to know about this event one day advance and I was busy during the day, I decided to make the good old makaronilaatikko. Easy and fast and most definitely common food in Finland. Katrin and her sister and friends had made these few German food which names I cannot remember! Some sausage-onion.. mix? and this super weird (but tasty) cheese-beer thingy that you could dip your brezels into.

There were lots of different food people had brought there so we ate and tried plenty of different food and had a nice time. Was also nice to meet her sister and her German friends.  They were thinking of going to see the northern lights later that evening since some app said that there is a high chances to see them that night. I also was thinking about going to see them if they will since (not that I could recall at least) I have never see them myself (and to be honest I didn’t even know that you can see them in Tampere too.. not that often at least. I really felt a bit dumb that these German people know these things better than me 😀 ), but eventually I didn’t go and I figure neither did any of them since it was quite cloudy. Maybe someday.


3rd Meeting 12.10. : Baking time

This meeting was all about munkkis this time. We had planned advance that we gonna bake munkkis ourselves(first time for both of us) so Katrin came straight after school to my place and we got to baking. I have seen how they are made and figured it is not too complicated so it would be fun to bake together. Since mama knows best, I asked her for the recipe and instructions and they really turned out to be better than I expected! Easy (& cheap) dough, fast to fry and so god damn delicious!

  • 3dl water (vesi/Wasser)
  • 2dl milk (maito/Milch)
  • 30g yeast (hiiva/Hefe)
  • 1dl sugar (sokeri/Zucker)
  • a hint of salt (suola/Salz)
  • 2 eggs (kananmuna/Ei)
  • 100g (soft) butter (or margarine) (voi/Butter)
  • approx. 13dl wheat flour (vehnĂ€jauho/Weizenmehl)
  • 1l oil (öljy/Öl)
  • sugar

– Warm up the milk and water (about 37 degrees). Add the yeast, sugar &salt and eggs. Then butter and finally the flour one dl at a time while mixing the dough at the same time. The dought should be quite soft. Leave it in the mixing bowl and cover it with some baking cloth or something and let it be for about 15 minutes. Then do little buns of the dough, cover them and let it be for another 15 minutes. Heat up the oil (careful so it won’t get too hot–> fire). Take a bun, make a hole in it with your fingers and put in the hot oil. Turn it around when it gets nice brown color (fry it approx. 30-60sec/side).  Roll the munkki in a bowl of sugar and enjoy.

It was quite late when we finally were ready baking (22 Munkkis.. just enough for two) and we sat down to eat. Freshly baked munkkis just taste like heaven and I think we both ate like three of them. And at the same time we got to the actual topics which were yet again German and Finnish. Culture differences, tongue twisters of both languages , Katrin also taught me bit of pronunciation (which I find in some cases really difficult, such as the “throat R”).  We talked a lot and can’t even remember all the subjects, but everytime I meet Katrin I feel I learn something new, which is really nice.

The Second Meeting 28.9.

We met at TAMK after Katrin got off from school and headed to Sammon keskuslukio -high school in order to see this German exhibit which I heard of from my german teacher. When we got there, there wasn’t really anything or anyone so we decided to leave. We ended up in my home near by for a coffee and chatted for several hours.

Learned & Taught on This Rainy Wednesday:

  1. In Germany almost half of the salary goes to taxes and insurances etc. VAT and other taxes are much less than here in Finland. We did not get clear conclusion if it’s better that the money is taken from you as taxes and “given back” in other forms like as free education, good social security etc. or if it’s better that you pay less taxes and pay more for things (that e.g. I am used to not to pay). Good and bad sides in both ways.
  2. The german language has huge differences in different parts of Germany. Guess it’s like our dialects but still that surprises me. I found it really hard understand anything when I hear southern accent (especially this Bavarian dialect/accent).
  3. I learned about the traditional german (&Bavarian) food. I can’t even remember the names of those but sounded really delicious and interesting (some even a bit suspicious). I really wish to taste some of those one day! I told Katrin also about our traditional foods
  4. Christmas….food.
  5. The differences of speed limits. Katrin said the fastest she has driven is about 170km/h (which according to her isn’t even that fast compared to many others). Only rule in the german high ways is not to hit anyone. I am quite certain I would get killed there.
  6. Katrin also tell me about Munich since I have planned to visit there. I got a lot of recommendations, what should I do and see and eat. Castles by the Alps, gardens, bretzels..
  7. Differences of polite way of talking. For me this is a tricky thing since we don’t have even the word “please” in Finnish. Same goes with how you should speak to people. In Germany, you should use “Sie” (teitittely) with all the people (who are older than you) that you don’t know/ haven’t told you to call themselves otherwise. Shows you respect them. So different. Here you don’t need all that (at least that often) to be polite. Katrin was  surprised by the way we call our teachers by their first names or just “teacher”. (In german you call them by Mr/Ms + lastname).


Plenty of things to talk about so no wonder the time flew by and we sat there for 4 hours. Next time I thought it would be nice to bake some munkkis on our own. That would be nice! Just gotta figure out the recipe.


The First Meeting: Finnish & German

After a little bit of difficulties to find suitabe time for both of us, we finally managed to set up the first meeting. Katrin suggested that we could meet at  Pyynikin munkki kahvila -cafĂ© since she really loved the munkkis they had there and of course I didn’t have any problems with that, after all I love munkkis too (who wouldn’t?).

The first meeting didn’t contain too much actual learning but getting to know one another which was nice. We got to talk about Germany and Finland + languages. So many questions and wonders and interesting  facts. It was funny and maybe even a bit surprising to notice how poorly I was able to answer to some questions concerning about Finland and Tampere e.g. where should you visit, what to see or do here? I’m really surprised that I found it so hard to recommend things. It really got me wonder if I even know my own city or do I just think everything is “basic stuff” that it doesn’t even cross my mind. Really need to do some research and refresh my mind.

We also talked about what Katrin has already done here in Finland ( which is a lot!), what kind of odd things she has spotted here and some differences between Germany and Finland. I find it really fascinating to  hear about these!  As for me it was really interesting to hear about her home city Munich. But she also came to the same conclusion that it is quite hard to recommend things to do.

We did talk about this course too quite a lot. Mostly about what we want to learn; she wants to learn basic finnish to survive normal everyday life and see and learn as much as she can. I’m eager to learn everyday german, get some help with the pronunciation and learn about German culture. We were planning also what we could do and at the moment there are several things on the list: bakeries, hockey game, christmas market, cooking, skiing.. Exciting!

I really enjoyed this meeting and I’m looking forward to the next ones.