This time we met at Espresso house in Stockmann to enjoy a cup of hot chocolate in a cozy atmosphere and lovely chat.
Since it was at the end of the semester we quickly changed the topic to exams, courses and expectations. After a while we decided that was enough time inside and went for a walk. We dropped by a shoe store and after that we decided to check out the newly open Christmas market. It brought nice holiday spirit and enjoyable time with my new friends.
This meeting was based on my home country’s traditional cuisine and some traditions. I had prepared a special delicacy that is personally a favorite of mine. It is called banitsa and is prepared from thin pastry sheets, eggs and cow’s white cheese.
Luckily for me, everyone liked a lot that dish which made me very proud of my cooking skills. We talked about different traditions and customs we have in our home countries like festivals and celebrations. It was really interesting to hear about customs from the other side of the planet just to find out they weren’t that different from the ones I am used to.
Another topic of interest was how the education systems work. Now here it got interesting- so many new findings and unexpected facts came to my knowledge.
To sum it up, this meeting was full of new information, lots of food and drinks.
After a few unsuccessful attempts to organize a second meeting we finally saw each other in the sushi restaurant where Siping works. We chose this place because we could combine the useful with the pleasant.
This time we were more relaxed since we already know each other. We talked more about ourselves, our hobbies, families, plans for the future and so on. We moved on then to learning more simple expressions.
After a while when we decided that was enough education for that day we tried so many different types of sushi that it would last us a lifetime. We all agreed that the banana-sprinkles one was the tastiest. We enjoyed that place and the company that we spend more than 4 hours there.
For the first meeting we decidedto play it safe and meet in the cozy library in TAMK. Being very excited about our first encounter with each other we were very nervous but ready to make new friends and learn about culture way different from our own.
I made it to the library in the late afternoon to find two sweet Chinese girls waiting for me there. It appeared that they had a long day of lectures and despite being very tired and hungry they waited for me. We quickly introduced ourselves and started talking about the course and what amazing experience it will be. It turned out that even though Siping and Gourong come from different districts in China and I, coming from the other side of the world- Bulgaria, have a lot of in common.
We kept that quite formal with mainly talking about our native languages. We learned how to say simple things like Hello, How are you?, My name is…, etc. in Bulgarian and Chinese which turned out to be easier than expected. But then I was explained that there are different dialects and ways to speak Chinese and the “easy” language suddenly turned into a complicated science.
However, I thought them some Cyrillic letters, which we use in Bulgaria, and they thought me how so write some Chinese characters.
We kept the meeting relatively short since it was getting very late already.
I will walk you through our first four awesome meetings with Anna with a post that is a bit longer in attempt to compensate for my initial inactivity (sorry about that).
First we met over a delicious meal of hot wings in the city. We discussed our preliminary plans and what each of us wants to get from the course. The plan was simple: Anna was going to teach me basic Korean words, expressions, customs and behaviour; and I was going to help her out with more advanced things in English. During that meeting we learned important things, like how to say cheers in Korean for example.
Our second meeting was the most awesome so far. We went to the Sky bar on top of the Sokos hotel. We got down to some serious language learning, coffee drinking and scenery observation. Anna showed me the Korean characters and we started practising reading and writing with simple words like mom, dad, hello and others.
After Anna showed me how to write in Korean, I showed her the Bulgarian alphabet and she was interested to learn that. It was lots of fun to talk in English and to write in Korean and Cyrillic. I showed her some basic words and she tried to read them out loud and I was amazed how fast she was catching on – way faster than I was with Korean. The top of my evening was when she could read Благодаря /blagodaria/, meaning Thank you in Bulgarian. Suddenly our plan changed and Anna was much more interested to learn things in Bulgarian. This is fine by me, because this way I can show her typical things for my language and country and she would still be improving her English skills as we are talking in English anyway.
The next two meetings we had in the kitchen in Lapinkaari. First Anna and a friend of hers cooked Japchae and a soup with egg and leek. It was all delicious and I can’t wait to show how it’s done to my friends and family back home in Bulgaria and the Netherlands. The other time I cooked for them some typical Bulgarian things. Lots of other people joined us for the meal and it was fun.
In a nutshell, I am really happy with our arrangement with Anna and I am looking forward to learning more and teaching more.