Our journey as a each one teach one group has come to the end. Because our meeting started with a food, it must end with a food. So it was time for a cake. But because neither one of ours birthday wasn’t that day, we named the cake no- birthday cake.
After coming to the Helgas place (still no sofa!) I noticed the sad feeling in the air. We were not going to get it bother the last meeting though. Melinda took her old trusty 1950s Hungarian cook book and we looked up the cake recipe. Everyone started the working right away.
Cake was fairly easy to make (though I had to do all the hard work because it’s mans job) and it was really delicious. Helga had even bought candles for the cake. It really did look like a no- birthday cake!
Melinda wanted to translate the cake recipe in Finnish so I helped her a little. We played the same Hungarian playing cards as before and talked about everything we had learn. We spent a nice afternoon just chilling, chatting, eating, playing cards and watching Hungarian cartoons. In the end we had to say goodbye to each other. I loved the course and meeting new and interesting people is always fun and exciting! Hope I will see the ladies again in the future.
Good night everybody! oh wait this wasn’t a talk show, ohwell.
The same afternoon that our walk in the park meeting was, there was a huge celebration party in the central market. We decided that we should make our next meeting there.
As snow poured down from the heavens and wind blew like a hairdryer when thousands of fans came to celebrate the victory of Tamperes own hockey team, Tappara. This was the second year in a row that Tappara had won the national championship . In the middle of the crowd our group shouted with the rest of the people. They had brought a big stage and even the mayor came to give a speech about the hockey team. In this mishmash Helga asked me why do we Finns celebrate sports wins so much and truth to be told, im wasn’t so sure.
I told them that somehow us Finns are so patriotic that any big win in the world get celebrated hard. I don’t know if it is because our country (more like the population) is so small that a victory makes the world notice us more. When comparing Tapparas celebration party to the 2011 world championship celebration party, the difference is a big one. In Helsinki there were over 100 000 people gathering in Helsinkis marketplace and even the president came to shook hands with the team and gave a speech. Many famous bands played songs and the celebration lasted for hours and hours. Finally ending with a big fireworks.
As the time flew in the Tapparas celebration party the weather got even worse and it started to rain icy water. We were freezing our butts off but we still stayed till the end. Most have been quite the memory for the ladies.
Great time with great friends.
This time meeting took us to the beautiful tower near central of Tampere called Pyynikkis observation tower. Our main goal there was to eat traditional Finnish deep fried doughnuts or munkki (also a monk) as we call them. After challenging the girls to eat they munkkis without licking their lips (they failed… but so did I) we went for a walk in the nearby forest.
Compering first the most obvious things, lakes. Finland isn’t called country of a thousand lakes for no reason. We have approximately 187 888 lakes in Finland (okay I looked it up im sorry) and the biggest one is lake Saimaa covering 4400 sqkm. In Hungary there aren’t nearly as many lakes and most of them are quite small. Only exception for this is lake Balaton that is the biggest lake in middle Europe (Though “only” covering 600 sqkm).
Melinda and Helga loved Finland for it’s forests and lakes. They said comparing to Hungary nature is very easy to find in here. It seriously takes to walk maximum 15 minutes to any direction to find a forest. Though I love Finland I would love to visit Hungary sometime. Seeing the nature there and making my own conclusions.
Time for a coffee!
After meeting at the local coffee shop we started talk about dialect in Finland and Hungary.
When thinking about Hungary the dialects don’t seem pop up as much as in Finland. They are there but aren’t that noticeable. Thought it seems the old people speak differently comparing to young ones.
The so called written Finnish is very different comparing to the spoken one. Because dialect is very noticeable in Finland, where ever you go here you will always pump into it.
There are seven main dialect zones in Finland.
Most of the dialects are very similiar. Changing only couple of letters from the word or changing it to a similiar sounding one. Though there are couple of dialects that when heard, you know they are speaking Finnish, but you dont understand anything what they are saying. Even if you’re a native Finnish speaker.
English: Did you understood or do I have to say it again?
Written Finnish: Käsititkö sinä mitä sanoin vai pitääkö minun sanoa se uudestaan?
Spoken Finnish (My dialect): Kässäsit sie vai pitääks miu uuestaa sanoo?
Good luck trying!
6th meeting took as to a traditional Finnish lunch.
Pizza from a Turkish restaurant.
As we waited for our traditional pizza, we spoke about famous persons in our countries.
Girls came up with Lugosi Béla a.k.a The Dracula. Not the real thing (as sad as it is). He played Dracula in couple of Hollywood movies. Now I didn’t come up with any Finnish Hollywood movie stars. Only hockey players came to mind. Maybe that says something about our country.
From the Radio we could hear Finnish “adult pop songs” or Iskelmä. I explained to the girls that most of the iskelmä songs are covers from famous songs. Usually only the melody is the same but sometimes even the lyrics have been translated straight from English. Maybe the Finns weren’t that imaginative people back then?
Enjoy your meals!
This time we met at Melindas place. She has a nice apartment but she is too missing a sofa.
(Maybe it is a Hungarian thing?)
Helga had brought these Hungarian playing cards. I think im at least a average player on cards so this would be easy preasy. Though these cards were a little different than “normal” playing cards. Instead going from 2 to 10 then jack, queen, king and ace. These cards (in order from lowest to highest) were 7, 8, 9, low, high, king, 10 and ace. Low looked like a Jack and High looked like a richer version of Jack.
Well anyway you couldn’t play any games I knew with these cards so Helga teached us two games, snapszer and zsír. First I got destroyed in both of these games but as time moved on I caught the hang of it. It was really fun and I loved every bit of it!
In the end we changed to “normal” playing cards and played tikki, maija and cross 7.
Guess who won those rounds? (Spoiler alert: Yours truly 😉 )
Not Yours truly
This time we met at our beatiful schools café.
Holidays were the topic and believe it or not, there are a lot of differences in holidays.
Finlands Christmas actually feels like traditional American movie Christmas if you can imagine. Though we celebrate it on 24th day of December. There’s a feast including ham, different casseroles, fish and rice porridge.
Hungarians have 2 “Christmas”. TWO CHRISTMAS!!
On the 6th of December children clean their shoes and put them on the window, hoping to get presents from Mikulás (Santa). Now bad children dont get presents (of course). Instead they get this golden branch kind of a thing (looks a little like a bouquet of oats) from Krampusz who is, and I quote from Melinda, a little prick who helps Santa.
On the 24th Baby Jesus comes to the building to give presents! Normal Christmas traditions happens too that include decorating the tree etc.
Hungary has this tradition of “watering”. Our duty as males is to find a pretty girl, throw a bucket of water on top of the girl (or parfume them but that sounds way too expensive). It seems that this repesents the girl as a beatiful flower that needs to keep watered so it can grow even more beatiful. Now this watered lady has to thank the brave male who threw the water by giving him an decorated hard boiled egg. Sounds awesome. Also the Easter bunny places gifts into the nests that children have made. So no egg hunting here.
Finlands easter traditions are a little different. Comparing the Americas easter egg hunt. Children dress up as easter witches and bunnies and go from door to door asking for treats. In exchange the children have made staffs from catkins. Decorated them with different kinds of colorful trinkets. We also eat this rye pudding… that looks like a poop.
Last time our mouths were filled with a Hungarian delicacy pogácsa.
This time it was Finlands time to show a counter move. I seriously didn’t have any idea what to bake because my style of food rarely includes Finnish bakings. Luckily one of our groups lovely lady Melinda has a sweet spot for finnish bakings. She decided that we should do Karelian pasties or Karjalan piirakka.
We met up with Helgas place this time. I have always heard from my friends and relatives how hard it is to make Karelian pasties and I was a little skeptical. Melinda had this old cooking book that looked like it came straight from the year 1950. It had different finnish delicacies (and other of course) written in hungarian. I don’t know if it had some mystical powers or something but our Karelian pasties came almost perfectly. Though before we baked them I had to leave the girls alone for a while because I had to go to practice. When i came back they had baked them. Maybe they went to the grocery store and change them?
We had our great feast on Helgas floor (Yeeaah she is missing a sofa). During our feast we decided to watch some old cartoons. Hungaria has so many original cartoons. We watched Mézga család, or in English ‘family Mézga’. I tried to show girls original Finnish cartoons and only I could come up was moomins. I even tried to google some but I just couldn’t find any. I just noticed how most of the “Finnish” cartoons are just dupped versions. It broke my world for a minute.
Till the next post
Main topic for our second meeting was: “making some easy Hungarian food/ snack that doesn’t take too much effort or money from our tiny student budget”.
Melinda and Helga decided that we should do Pogácsa. I was up for it because I didn’t have any idea what this “thing” even was. After careful planning and discussion we decided to make them in my apartment. We began the preparation of pogásca and I decided to put on some music and asked the girls opinion on this. When the pogásca was in the oven we had a little discussion about music in both of our countries. I somehow (Helga forced me) ended up singing one of my favourite shower songs, Anssi Kela – Puistossa. Helga demonstrated her singing skills too and then she taught me some breathing exercises for my harmonica playing.
Anyhow in the middle of all this beautiful singing and baking we learned some words and meaning regarding cooking. What surprised me was that Hungary has a different word for cutting board and for a REALLY big cutting board. Apparently Hungarians want to mix everything on their counters. Gyüródeszka (really big cutting board), vágódeszka (normal size cutting board).
In the end pogásca was really good (Im sure to make it again and it was sooo easy to make) and I learned about Hungarian music. Also I learned my favourite saying of all time. Kecskére bízza a káposztát = Trust a goat with cabbage. Still don’t quite understand the real meaning of it but just a thought of goat running around with a cabbage makes me laugh.
Finnish and Hungarian are sibling languages so this should be easy right!
I wouldn’t say so. Our first meeting was at my place were we got to know each other and little about the language we were trying to learn. I learned that I was the real newbie here. Compared to these two lovely ladies Helga and Melinda, I haven’t ever said even a single word of Hungarian. So the first meeting was almost all about me trying (now remember trying) to learn the alphabet.
Hungarian alphabet has 45 letters and they are hard to pronounce. Especially for a Finn because some letters you have to smile. Like a lot. Now that’s unnatural for us. Most of the time Helga was telling me “YOU HAVE TO SMILE MORE!” and i tried to cringe my pretty mouth into a smile. After an hour or two I finally got most of them right and we moved to numbers.
(There would be a picture here with all the alphabet and numbers that I learned but the whole picture seemed to have only 4 pixels so it was unreadable.)
Numbers were a lot easier to get and I hadn’t too much trouble pronouncing them (maybe because I learned to smile more). After this we challenged ourselves to a game of torpedo! Or laivanupotus in Finnish.
Spoiler alert: I won.
I’m really looking forward to our next meeting! Learning Hungarian was way more challenging and as fun as I have predicted.