All posts by Nina Simanainen

About Nina Simanainen

21-year-old physiotherapy student, with a chronic bad hair day. Obsessed with stuffed animals and chocolate.

# 10 meeting ~Souvenir shopping

Last meeting with Morgane, I’m so sad! But we had a great time together, this time we went around Tampere to find and buy some Finnish souvenirs for her friends and family! We started at the souvenir shop near Hämeenpuisto; there they sell all kinds of things; jewelry, mugs, shirts, toys, kitchen utensils, fridge magnets, crystals… you name it! Morgane chose to buy a Finnish flag, some cups and a beautiful cooking utensil. I hope the prices would’ve been a little smaller, because there was a lot of cool stuff there, but…

Then we went to Tallipiha near Näsipuisto, and looked around. We visited the cute craft shops and the beautiful chocolate boutique with cute and delicious sweets! The cashier gave us some coffee truffles to taste, they were delicious. I encouraged Morgane to buy some nice salmiakki (salty licorice) for her and her friends and family to try, haha! She also bought the other nice chocolates.

Morgane had also bought some stuff from Lapland, so I hope she has nice things to take home with her that remind her of Finland and the time she spent here! It’s been fun learning a language this way, it was way more relaxing than taking a language course, and we could learn exactly the things we wanted. It was also helpful to listen to a native speaker and hear about the actual French way of living and culture. I hope I taught her well too, haha! I’m going to miss her, I’m glad we met each other! 🙂


 Bon voyage Morgane!



# 9 ~ Apartment and more vocabulary

For the 9th meeting we went over the vocabulary of  rooms, objects and buildings by introducing different rooms to each other. We both were familiar with some of the words, but we ended up going over so much stuff that there was guaranteed something new for IMG-20170511-WA0009the both of us! We actually had difficulties thinking of the correct words in our own language as well..!

As I was teaching the Finnish words, Morgane said that there is so much letter “k” in the Finnish language, it’s kinda true to be honest, I hadn’t noticed that before! I also noticed how logical and kind of “simple” ruled Finnish is, some words like “olohuone, tietokone, sohvapöytä, jääkaappi”, I mean the words for these objects are describing themselves pretty nicely!

I hadn’t heard of many of the words in French. I think it’s going to be veeery difficult to remember, is the given word masculine or feminie, or plural, like the word toilet (les toilettes, say whaat?) Also the word for sofa = canapé was really funny, isn’t canape something you eat?



# 8 ~ Pella’s café & music ~

On Tuesday afternoon we met at Pella’s café near Koskipuisto. We grabbed ourselves some delicious bakings and sat down to chat.

IMG_20170509_193312This time we discussed Finnish and French music! We wrote lists of few of the most known songs, and some songs and artists that we enjoy. The lists were long, haha! We included the national anthems as well, and encouraged each other to listen to the words, if we could catch some familiar words!

In Morgane’s list there was a lot of different music that I hadn’t listened to before, but I knew Stromae and Edith Piaf from before, that’s about it! She also included some of Celine Dion’s French songs. Looking forward to listening to these songs! A lot of old classic French popular songs and artists, Claude Francois, Michel Berger and Daniel Balavoine to name a few!

In my Finnish music list there was a lot of random music, I tried to think of ones that almost every Finn knows the words to. Kari Tapio, Kirka, Dingo, Leevi & The Leavings and many other artists and bands made the list, I also wrote down some fun summer hits as Mikä kesä, Jäätelökesä and Kesäyö (Pariisin kevät). Finlandia-hymni and Täällä pohjantähden alla were also included! I’m sure I missed a bunch of typical Finnish songs but I’ll let her know later if anything comes to mind, haha!



#7 Vappu !

Last Monday we were celebrating Vappu in Finland – It’s a type of carnival, when all graduated people wear their graduation hats and celebrate the beginning of spring together. At the center there was a big vappu market with balloons, candy and party stuff, and people and students were having fun outside. Sweet sima (or mead) is a characteristic drink on Vappu, and to eat, people have tippaleipä, which is kind of like funnel cake. The

We discussed the party traditions in schools as well. In France students have galas in Morgane’s school, and prom type parties in earlier schools, where they dance and have fun and dress up really nicely. In Finland we have Wanhat – dance ball in upper secondary school, girls wear gorgeous dresses and boys a white tie. 

#6 ~Clothes!

This meeting we went shopping and learned the names of clothing in Finnish and French. We also reviewed colors and how to make a sentence using proper words and verbs.

We made learning papers for each otheIMG_20170509_162236_1r of the words. I remembered many of the colors from before, but some clothing words I think I have never heard of before! Also as I was teaching the colors, I noticed a cool pattern in Finnish grammar that I hadn’t thought of before now. Making a singular color word plural -> siniNEN -> siniSET. Every word with NEN-ending is going to be SET-ending when it’s in plural (keltainen/keltaiset. punainen/punaiset…).




#5 ~ Coffee and tea time at Torni

We went to Torni tower to chill out, catch up and drink some coffee and tea. We discussed  the Finnish and French school system. Morgane also had just a Finnish exam, which she aced, yay!!

We discussed our scSnapchat-1247600761hool life and what kind of subjects we had, and what the exams are like. In Finland’s upper secondary school we had ylioppilaskirjoitukset, which is basically “finals”, 1 exam can last up to 6 hours (min. 3h), and you have at least 4 subject tests. If you fail one, you have to retake the test next time (autumn or spring).

The French “A-levels” or finals are a fail or pass-type thing, you have to get points over the average of at least 10/20 to pass. If you fail your exam, you have to retake a year in school completely.

Torni top cafe is a beautiful place and it offers a great view!

#4 ~ Easter – Pääsiäinen – Pâques

This time we went over Finland’s and France’s Easter traditions!

Pääsiäinen (fin) = Easter

In Finland little children go door to door, dressed up as witches, to give people an Easter celebration “vitsa”, which is a colorfully decorated willow twig. In return, the residents give the children Easter chocolate or coins.  This is called “virpominen”. Families eat traditionally lamb, and Finland has a special delicacy *ahem* called mämmi. It’s a dessert made of rye, and people either may love it, or absolutely hate it!

Morgane told that their Easter tradition is to hide Easter eggs around the house and yard, and children look for them. Easter bunnys, chicks and eggs are common. In France people also eat lamb and some kind of bean stuff (I forgot the name of it but it sounds good!)



15.3. ~ Chilling out

On Wednesday evening we met up quickly at Morgane’s place. She had just arrived from France. At her flat Morgane had some French friends with her and I could listen to actual, real French speaking!

Morgane told us about her time in Lapland and showed some beautiful pictures. I’m happy for her, since she could witness some great aurora borealis! I really want to visit Lapland soon as well, I haven’t been there in ages..!

We hanged around and played cards together, I taught them the games Risti7 and regular Seiska, and Morgane taught us one game as well 🙂

Olen lettukokki! ~ Crêpes, s’il vous plaît!

Today is the official crêpe day! Crêpe is a thin pancake type food, which can be eaten savory or sweet, just like a Finnish ‘lettu’. To celebrate this great day, Morgane and Getuar came over to my place to bake crêpes together! Morgane brought a surprise ingredient: goat’s cheese!

Morgane had a recipe ready, and there we listed the ingredients in French, English and Finnish, so everyone could learn something new! Also, we could revise the numbers when reading how many grams of everything we needed for the mix. “Soixsante grams de sucre! – Sixty grams of sugar – Kuusikymmentä grammaa sokeria!” We didn’t really have a scale so we just estimated the amounts with flour and sugar but still the crêpes turned out delicious! We added some chocolate spread on top of it, it was so very delicious. I ate so many my tummy hurt! Morgane also made a crêpe with goat’s cheese, honey, and almonds, I have never tasted something like that, it was quite interesting.IMG-20170202-WA0020

Making crêpes was very fun, the flipping part was scary at first, I was afraid that I would throw the whole damn crêpe to the sink by accident. But everything went better than expected and I succeeded on my first try! I had a great teacher, after all ;)!

To make the evening even more French, welistened to some French music, and I tried to listen to and recognize some words that I would understand, I remembered things like: une fleur – a flower, chercher – to look for, travailler – to work… It was fun and develops your language ear!

27.1. ~ Comment allez-vous?

Bonjour! Salut! Coucou!

Je m’appelle Nina, ravi de vous rencontrer! Yesterday was the first time we officially met with Getuar and Morgan after the course info on Wednesday. We met at Café Europa in the evening, sat down and bought ourselves some nice coffee and hot cocoa.

Morgan is from France, Paris, and both me and Getuar are from Finland. Morgan teaches us some French and we help her learn Finnish. Getuar is new to the language, but I know a bit French from elementary and middle school. Morgan is also new to Finnish. Our plan was to meet at the café to hang out and teach each other about the languages. Morgan had prepared a great list of common greetings and phrases in French, which we went over together. We also practiced the alphabet, some pronunciation, numbers, days of the week, and random words like “pain, vin et fromage!” In the process of learning, we could apply the words in a practical concept, such as numbers with how to say one’s age; J’ai vingt ans = I’m twenty years old.

The list was a great way to review some basic French, I was very surprised how much I could remember. I learned new things as well, and noticed how important to pronounce the words clearly. I have to pay more attention to listening what I’m saying, because many words are written differently than how they’re actually said in French. Sentence structure and verb conjugation is slowly coming back to me, and the articles before the words. This first time was a good way to ease in to the language on my behalf at least, Getuar got a lot of new material to go over, I hope he’s not too confused, hehe! Morgan is a great teacher, because she explains thoroughly why the sentence or word is pronounced the way it is, and how it differs from English.

This style of learning a language I think is the most productive way of learning, because you can ask anything you want and you can choose what you want to learn, instead of just sitting in a classroom and going over books with twenty-something other students. The teacher seldom has time to pay very close attention to every single student’s learning capability, sot this close contact, practical language learning is, in my opinion, the best way to stay motivated and interested in the language. It’s also a great way to get to know new people!

Morgan is taking a Finnish class, so we are not sure what they have been learning so far, so we decided to to teach Morgan at least the weekdays for now. We also went over some expressions, words and the importance of double letters in words and the difference between ‘Ä’ and ‘A’ (or ‘O’ and ‘Ö’.) Teaching others makes you actually notice some new things in your own language as well, and thinking of the rules of the language and the technique to pronounce different vowels. Example words are important, and putting the learned things into practical concept, for example weekdays with the expression ‘Today is…’ or ‘Yesterday was…’ The grammar is hard one to teach in a simple way, but it’s something that’ll come later on, I think!

My expectations for this first meeting were quite similar to what we actually accomplished; we had fun together and had a great communication, learned some basic things in each other’s languages, and made it fun. It’s also good to know, that you don’t have to know everything, we can always google things..! I wish we had more time to teach Morgan some other Finnish words, but next time I’ll prepare something fun for her to learn!

I’m hoping to meet up with my group soon again, we’ll decide  the date soon in our Whatsapp group 🙂