One of the first things to discuss with our foreign friends is sauna. I want to know what people think about our sauna. Many visitors seem to like it. Our Spanish friends say that it reminds them of scorching summer days and makes them feel uncomfortable. After a really hot summer here in Finland I am starting to understand that point. We did not warm our sauna for many weeks this summer.
Nudity is a big issue for many foreigners. Beating yourself with a vihta or competing who can stay there the longest. These are some of the more memorable things about sauna, but it means a lot more to Finns.
Sauna is a quiet place to think in peace or discuss deep thoughts with your friends or just spend time in silence with a friend. It is meditative.
For older people it was a place to wash yourself, a place to give birth and a place to make food. For many it is more like a second church. There is something holy and peaceful about sauna. And in my opinion, a tv or speakers don’t belong there.
I would really like visitors to discover the real sauna.
Puolukkapiirakka / Pastel de fritos rosos / Lingon pie
100g voita / mantequilla / butter
1dl sokeria / azúcar / sugar
1 muna / huevo / egg
2dl jauhoja / harina / flour
1 tl leivinjauhetta / levadura / bakin pouder
300g puolukoita / frutos rosos /berries
1 prk kermaviiliä / nata en crema para cocinar
1 muna / huevo / egg
½ dl sokeria / azúcar / sugar
1tl vaniljasokeria / vanilla / vanilla sugar
In our evening together, we made a lingonberry pie. We found out that lingonberries are well-known in Spain too, but mixers were a new acquaintance. They use stick blenders instead. Irene and Teresa told us that they don´t make pies out of berries at home, only apple pies are common. And they don´t usually specify berries by name. Kermaviili was not known in Spain.
We discussed different food cultures among students of different countries. Traditional Finnish dishes include potatoes and meat, rice and chicken, pasta, salmon. Here in Finland we make soups from potatoes and vegetables and meat or fish. We also have a lot of international dishes on a regular basis.
Traditionally, we bake pulla. We didn’t make it ourselves this time, but tasted one from the bakery. It was nice to bake together.
17th of May
Time really does fly, and we had our last meeting since I’ll leave on the 21st. First, we each said our take on how the course went, it was nice to know they enjoyed learning about my country’s culture, though it was noted how Portuguese is quite complex to learn in sparse meetings. From my part, I do feel like I managed to expand on what I knew not only about the language but also this country’s culture. A curiosity is how I was usually 5 or 10 minutes late since I failed to account the bus timetable beforehand, and Tiiu usually mentioned she’d probably be late she always arrived earlier. A prime example of stereotypical Finns’ punctuality and southern European tardiness. We talked about our plans for the summer, even delved into how driving schools work in each of our countries, before returning to chatting and noting how we take things a bit for granted in our home countries, like how I visited museums and such while here but back home I don’t really do that because I feel like they won’t go anywhere, much like they haven’t really checked out museums in Tampere. I hope that going back home I am able to keep my explore everything mentality, but for now I’m just really glad to have met Kaisa and Tiiu, it was nice to get to know them and to be in their group for this course.
3rd of May
This was a fun topic, since on the paper we translated proverbs and idioms word for word which gave quite funny outcomes, though verbally we explained the meaning behind them and, when possible, their English counterpart. I thought some Portuguese idioms were weird, but Finnish truly wins on that part. I mean, kicking horses, lands of strawberry and blueberry. Even “Homma on hanskassa” couldn’t really be translated properly.
29th of April at TAMK
On this meeting we went over the four seasons, and I obviously did my usual gag of commenting how Finland for me is basically winter, winter, Portuguese winter and winter. I still can’t believe I’d ever be grateful for 0º or 10ºC when just 10º is already considered a colder than usual winter where I come from. Kaisa and Tiiu taught me about what one can do on each season, I went more on the characteristics of each since I couldn’t think of season specific activities, especially since as long as it isn’t raining you can literally go for a picnic or barbecue any time of the year, while activities here are limited by the temperature outside. Though Tampere really seems to have become more alive since Spring arrived, with colour coming back and people actually walking about more. It is a truly beautiful contrast.
26th of April at Puisto café.
To change things a bit, today we focused on talking about movies and tv shows rather than vocabulary. The movie which stood out the most for me was the first one they mentioned, “Tuntematon sotilas”, so that is definitely on the To Watch pile. On my part it was actually hard to think of tv shows which weren’t soap operas, reality shows or late-night game shows since those are what pops into mind when I think of Portuguese series, Though I managed to think of two movies which one is relevant historically while the other is a comedy which looks into the emigration side of my country.
23rd of April at a café
On this day we went over several useful words to signify times of day, as well as how the phrase construction in Finnish works when telling the time on a clock. Since I already knew numbers quite well, what was stranger for me were the months due to how peculiar they are. I couldn’t help but find their termination really funny, because “kuu” sounds really similar to the Portuguese word “cu” which translates to butt. On Messenger I talked with a friend of mine from Portugal which was here last semester and she commented on how when she learned the months she and a Brazilian colleague also found it hilarious.
In turn I also explained how time and months were in Portuguese as well as add numbers into the mix, though as before it is hard to find ways to effectively explain how pronunciation of each word works.
19th of April at Passion’s bar
This was a lesson that would’ve actually been the most useful right when I arrived, but I did learn things I hadn’t known before or which hadn’t even been mentioned in my Basic of Finnish classes. It revolved around grocery vocabulary, like different vegetables, fruits and the most essential edibles we buy. Looking at the notes I still find it easy to read, but I can guess Kaisa and Tiiu will struggle a bit more since each word is pronounced in a specific way, that also happened with English in a way, but since they are facing a language which, just like Finnish is alien to me without much reference points, they don’t have a deep understanding/experience with Latin derived languages.
5th of April
Today we went over Christmas, New Year and Easter, though on my case I added good ol’ Carnaval. Getting the list of what people usually eat in each of our countries was the easier part, tradition wise we spoke more of what we do with our own families, which is actually quite similar, though small details differ. I enjoyed hearing about that and also learning how to say “Hyvää joulua ja onnellistä uutta vuotta”, though right now I can’t say it by heart, only really reading from the paper since it is semi long phrase.
25th of March at a café in the city center.
Today I was going to arrange a list of basic phrases one can use, but when I started explaining it I realized all the nuances around them due to the way we write and how each word sort of has a defined gender which will set what comes behind it. I probably confused them more when I tried to speak of the spelling accents we have since for me it is more of I know where they are placed rather than the rules of their usage. Kaisa and Tiiu also struggled with certain sounds like “ch/x/nh” since they’re not really a thing in Finnish, truly, Finnish is much simpler to explain and understand since it is read the way it is said, I didn’t even realize my language has such odd links of speech vs spelling.
On their part, they taught me about the vocabulary on animals, which was really fun to know, and being reminded on the colours and basic questions for day to day situations was really useful since I didn’t remember them anymore. Unlike papers from previous lessons which I clipped onto my Finnish language notebook, this one is taped onto my bedroom wall, so I can look at it often.