Franziska and I celebrated Vappu together. We went to see the student from the University of Technology “swim” in the rapid.
After that, we walked in the city despite the bad weather. We went to see the open-air market. We talked about the traditions that we have in our country when it comes to students.
I talked mostly about “les 24h vélo de Louvain-la-Neuve”. It takes place in Louvain-la-Neuve which mostly is a student’s city. Every year this “race” takes place. It lasts for 24h hours and the contestants are supposed to take over from one another.
There is a lot of people in the city that just want to enjoy a night out. The city organizes a lot of different concerts, dj’s are coming. It is a big thing in Louvain-la-Neuve. Lots of people from all over the country come there to party with their friends and even former students come there.
During that meeting, I mostly talked about Belgium and explain to Franziska in French certain words related to student life.
We wanted to do a meeting that was more related to the Finnish culture and we saw that the Moomin museum has a free entrance every last Friday of the month.
Before coming to Finland I knew the Moomins but I had never read any books. We visited the museum which wasn’t so big. We talked about art in our home countries. Actually, Belgium is known for its comic strips. I talked about some of the most famous ones like the Smurfs, Marsupilami and Tintin.
Franziska also told me about some of the most famous comic strips from Germany but I had never heard of them before.
Franziska and I went to the Pyynikin tower together. It was the first time for me. The weather was really good so we decided first to go to the top of the tower and then to eat a doughnut downstairs.
The coffee shop was crowded, however the tower was completely empty. The weather was so good that we decided to stay on top of it for 20 minutes, discuss and enjoy the wonderful view.
We talked about our plans for the summer. I told her that I was planning to go to Germany so we discussed about the most beautiful cities that I had to see. She is originally from the South so she recommended me to go there.
Then, we went down and ate the famous doughnut with hot chocolate. During that time I recommended w several cities that she had to visit if she goes to Belgium.
Franziska and I both had to do some grocery shopping. We decided to go together to Lidl to do so. It was a very efficient and effective meeting from all points of view.
We focused on French language and while we were picking up food, I told her how certain things were called and trained her to make a good pronunciation.
We spend a lot of time in the shop because we went around it several times.
After that session, she was able to tell a whole sentence to say what she bought.
She used the past tense called le passé composé very correctly and was remembering quite well her French course from last year. I was very impressed!
Franziska and I met by the lake. The weather was so good. It was very sunny and bright. We decided to sit on a bench by the lake.
We decided for that meeting to only focus on the French language. I asked Franziska what she wanted to learn and what topic she wanted to discuss.
She made up her mind on the time, to begin with.
So I started to explain to her the way to tell the time in French.
She remembered some sentences she learnt last year in her French class.
She really got it quickly and was able to translate correctly almost every exercise I imagined for her.
We also focused on pronunciation. Some sounds are difficult to make for her because they don’t exist in German and so she isn’t used to them.
For example, we have a lot of “nasal” sounds that can look like each other but are slightly different. It can be really difficult to feel the difference between them for a beginner when it is not your mother tongue.
Almost every exercise that we did was oral. And yet, the French spelling is also really tricky.
After telling the time, I told her the words and sentences related to the weather.
We also talked about some piece of clothing. And she made some sentences to say what she was wearing using the right “determinant”. There is no other way to use them correctly than just learn them by heart.
We focused on the pronunciation for that exercise because she remembered some words from last year but not every one of them exactly.
For our fifth meeting, we went to get a drink in the sky bar in the Torni tower.
We sat next to the main window where we could see the sunset.
For that meeting, we decided to focus on German culture. I asked Franziska to tell me about her home country.
I was interested in comparing it with my country and see the resemblances between them. Part of the culture in Belgium is related to German culture.
She told me about the most famous sports in Germany: football and ski jumping. I was surprised because I wouldn’t have thought of ski jumping. I thought it was something that comes from Asia because lots of champions are actually from Japan.
We also spoke about the Oktoberfest, where it did come from, how it is celebrated, the costumes, …
It was really interesting and it made me want to travel to Germany.
For our fourth meeting, Franziska suggested to make me some traditional German dinner.
We decided to meet at my apartment because I had the kitchen only for me and it was easier.
We first ate some “soup” with a base of onions, a vegetable broth and some sort of crouton called, which was from the home town of Franziska.
It was really good and remind me of an Austrian dish that I tasted 8 years ago.
Then, the main dish was also German. It was based with lentils, carrots, water, butter & flour, spices and some frankfurters.
It was really good even though it doesn’t really seem tempting when you see it.
It was quicker than I thought it would be. I was surprised that a lentil-based meal was a traditional German dish. I thought that lentils came from South America. When I asked why to Franziska, she told me that the very lentils that we ate were actually from her home town and that German lentils exist. It seemed to be a famous thing in the south of Germany.
We finished our evening by translating some food-related word in both French and German.
For our third meeting, we went to the public sauna located in Rauhaniemie together.
We learned the days of the week, the months of the year and the number up to 20.
We even did a hard exercise: after the sauna, we had to count up to 20 in the other one’s language in the frozen lake. We had to do the right pronunciation and couldn’t skip any number. It was only if we did it right that we could get out of the lake. It might seem kind of sadistic but it was actually pretty fun.
I also learnt during that meeting that public saunas are quite a thing in Germany. You can find them in every public swimming pool and you might even find them with different themes.
It was a really fun evening and we got to see a beautiful sunset.
We decided to go see the sunset in Pispala and maybe drink something there in the famous coffee shop.
We planned a meeting near Lappinkkari and we went by bus to Pispala. It took us approximatively 20 minutes to get there.
The weather was great! It was still very sunny and warm even though it was around 7 pm. It already smelled like spring.
When we got off the bus there, we didn’t really know where to go, so we just walked down some streets trying to find a good spot to see the sunset.
After some wondering in the streets, we finally found the coffee shop and we got in.
We ordered pastries and drinks. Franziska took a cinnamon roll and a cup of tea. I took a piece of carrot cake and a glass of iced tea.
We agreed that both were delicious and we started our “language training”.
The theme of the meeting was “ordering food”.
I first started by telling her how we said cake, pie, piece of, strawberry, raspberry, apple, tea, iced tea, coffee, I would like to have/I’ll have/I’ll take.
More or less the proper way to order food in French, to sum up.
She did the same for me in German.
We also spoke about the traditional meal from our country and agreed to cook things for each other in the next meetings.
We finally got out of the coffee shop and found a good spot to see the sunset. It was a beautiful sight as you can see in the picture.
For our very first meeting, we decided to take a walk on the lake in Rauhaniemi. It was very sunny but there was lots of wind. And so it was very cold!
So Franziska introduced me to the very basics of German. I learned about the three articles:
- Die (feminine & plural)
- Der (masculine)
- Das (neutral)
And some examples that go with it: der Vater, die Mutter, das Mädchen.
Just as in French, there is no way to know which article belongs to which noun except learning them by heart.
Then, Franziska taught me words related to the family, and the nature that we could see around us: der Baum (the tree), der See (the lake), die Sonne (the sun), der Schnee (the snow). I did the same in French for her.
We focused on the right pronunciation of those words. It was a hard exercise, at least for me, because we weren’t facing each other so I couldn’t hear well what she was saying exactly (especially with the wind) and I didn’t have the word written so I couldn’t read it.