Last Monday, the EOTO Christmas Party was celebrated in TAMK, so we decided to buy some food and beberages and go to celebrate it. There were people from many different groups and countries. There was a typical Finnish mulled wine with spices called “glögi” and cider to drink, and cookies and chips to eat.
While we were eating, we talked about the different Christmas traditions of each country, as well as the typical Christmas dinner menus. I told them that in Spain lamb is one of the typical meals that we eat at Christmas, something that is also done in Germany, but not in Malaysia. Loy explained us that in Malaysia there isn’t a Christmas tradition as we know it in Europe; there are no gifts or dinner with the family, but people gather with their friends and go to do some activities together, usually a barbecue.
In addition to that, I explained them that although in Spain we also celebrate Christmas and have dinner together with our families, we also celebrate another party on January 6th, called “Reyes Magos”, and then is when we give all the presents to each other. The celebrations officially begin the evening before the Epiphany, on the night of the 5th of January, when the “Reyes Magos ride” (Cabalgata de los reyes magos, in Spanish) is celebrated in each city and town, and hundreds of people go out to the main streets of the urban centers to contemplate the recreation of the arrival of the wise men in the city.
After eating, we all played together with people from another groups to a card game called “Cards against humanity”. It was a very funny evening. Here are some of the words we learned during the afternoon:
Well well well, it has been quite a loooong time since my last blog post. Guess what, Hang is back with her crew GFV.
Today, we had a food tour in Lidl in Finlaysonkatu. It was my first time there for 14 months living in Tampere, Finland. It was good. We decided to buy needed ingredients for baking tomorrow. Tabea and Tuuli introduced to me many interesting things of Christmas, which I never knew before. Such included the chocolate calendar, candles, Christmas chocolate, and Cool Santa. It took us around an hour inside the supermarket.
After that, Tiger was our next destination. We had A LOT OF FUN there. Everything was so cute that we wanted to buy them all. Seriously, EVERYTHING!!! It felt like I was living my childhood again with all sparkling items and cute decoration things. Tuuli told me one joke from her psychological teacher that is to MARRY MONEY. If I got a guy who would like to buy me the whole shop, I would get married to him XD. Yeah we all know it is a joke, don’t we?
It was pretty much for today tour. I loved it and I also enjoyed spending time with these two lovely girls. Looking forward for tomorrow baking!!!
A lovely quote for such a rainy day:
When life gives you rainy days, wear cute boots and jump in the puddles!
In December we had a little pre-Christmas party at my place. We taught Kurumi to bake finnish Christmas pastries. We put plum and apple jams to the pastries. That was the first time Kurumi made christmas pastries and I think she was very good at it!
A month before this meeting Kurumi taught us to make Japanese food. That means both of these meetings were very similar to each other. Only difference was that a month before this meeting I was learning and now I was teaching. The most challenging thing in teaching was English and especially vocabulary. Luckily Eetu helped me if I didn’t know some words in English!
Of course we had gingerbreads and glogg, too!
When we were finished eating we started to study colors (both in Japanese and Finnish). Before this meeting only color I knew in Japanese was shiro (which means white). During this meeting I learnt eleven more!
I had a traditional Finnish Christmas concert in December. I gave a free ticket to my Japanese EOTO-mate Kurumi and she wanted to attend the concert although every song in my concert was performed in Finnish.
The concert was at beautiful “Pikku Palatsi” (that means “little palace”) in Hämeenpuisto. The place look like this (all pics are taken by Kurumi):
That was totally different way to teach Finnish language and culture – I just sang traditional Finnish Christmas carols (for example Varpunen jouluaamuna). After the concert Kurumi said that she hadn’t understood a word but she still enjoyed the concert!
Our second meeting was a late night meeting in Subway (because it was almost only peaceful place which was open). Kurumi taught us Japanese hiraganas. Eetu was very good at it. As I tried to write with hiragana for the first time in my life we couldn’t help laughing! But I made it to write so many hiraganas and I also learnt to write my name!
We all were very interested in different festivals in each other’s cultures so we started to talk about seasons and festivals. It was very interesting that Japanese New Year is just like our Christmas because New Year is the greatest festival in a year in Japan and it is spent with family. On the other hand, Finnish New Year is very similar to Japanese Christmas because Christmas is usually spent with friends in Japan.
I think it was very nice to study somewhere else than in a classroom or in a library. Late night studying in Subway was something totally different. 😉
For this culture exchange day we decided to meet friday 24 of March at the Watami Sushi restaurant to discuss about our different culture eating a good sushi. We talked about our main festivity and how to celebrate them. For example I discovered that in Germany there is a festivity called “S. Nicolaus” where german people use to put during the night between the 5th and the 6th of december a pair of boots outside of the door waiting for San Nicolaus that will put inside some sweets and tell some stories. In the south of Italy, where I live, we don’t have this habit but for example the 8th of december we celebrate the “Festa dell’Immacolata”, during that we use to start to decorate our houses and make the Christmas Tree because it means that the Christmas period is starting. About the Christmas event more or less we have the same habits but for example we use to eat “arrosto” (a roll of meat with cheese, vegetables and ham inside) or other dishes like “lasagne” (kind of pasta cooked in the oven), “Panettone and Pandoro” (two typical Italian sweets); in Germany Anna told me that they use to eat the “Martinsgans” (Stuff goose), the “Glühwein” (mulled wine), “Christstollen” and “Plätzchen” (typical german sweets). Other different festivity are for example the well-known “Oktoberfest” (typical german festivity where the main topic is beer celebrated on September) and “Tag der deutschen Einheit” (National Unity day celebrated the 3rd of October) in Germany and “Festa della Liberazione dal Nazifascismo (Liberation day from Fascism celebrated the 25th of April) and “Festa della Repubblica” (Republic day celebrated the 2nd of June) in Italy.
We discuss also about our different time to have meals, for example we have breakfast at the same time in the morning because of the school/work (usually 6.30/7.00 a.m.), but in Germany they have lunch at 12.00 and in Italy we use to have lunch at 13.30/14.30 and about the dinner time, in Germany they use to have it at 18 but in Italy we use to have dinner at 20.00/21.00.
It was a very interesting day today because we found a lot of differences but also many common things between us and both of our countries have a lot of typical dishes for every festivity. Anyway the sushi was very good but we ate a lot so after our meeting we come back home full of food in our stomachs to have a nap and rest a little bit.
Four our last appointment, we decided to go to the little Christmas Market. In fact, to see each other in another meeting will be complicated because we all have exam, trip and go back home in different dates.
So we met each other in front of the Fazer coffee with 4 of us and a Russian friend of Tanja and Magdalena. We went to the chocolate shop and after to the coffee shop. We decided to not learn vocabulary because we preferred learned culture by talking. And I’m happy that we were thinking in the same way.
So we discuss food, Christmas, and our daily life in our home country. This time we also talked about Russia because the German girls and me went in Saint Petersburg so we were asking the Russian girl about language or her daily life here.
To make an overview of our semester just in a word I will say : surprised. In fact, I didn’t know what can I expected from this course. I wanted something cultural but not learning or teaching in a way to organized because I was afraid to be born. But I had the perfect member that is to say in a same way of thinking. We made a preliminary plan with some ideas that we did as the cooking event, the coffee meeting but also other things and every time something new. We learned vocabulary but also the recipe, talked about the prejudices and compared it with the reality so the culture in general and the quotidian life of every member and I think this important because there is some part of the culture that is general but not something that we did. So I liked it because now I can imagine a day of each member.
I was afraid to teach because it was my first time but it was easy because we all understand easily and even we different culture we were nit judging but totally in a way of learning and discovering.
The another part that I really liked is the fact that we also talked about the Finland and finish culture. But also compare our experience here so the things that we liked or not and things that surprised us for example.
Now I delete some prejudices that I had on the germans and discover a new country. Thanks to this course I wanna go to Germany to try some food and discover this country. Of course I want to return in Spain too, nd my door is open to be guide in Paris !
In my group’s first appointment, we met in a pub that every member of the group know : Mallashovi.
During this first appointment, we first present ourselves so we are 4 members : Xavier the only man who comes from Spain, Magdalena and Tanja who come from Germany and me from France.
After that, we start to talk about our life here in Finlande and the differences with our quotidian life in our hometown. Then we focused our discussion on the Christmas traditions in each country.
For example, the german girls talked about their incredible market -Christkindlmarkt -where you can find food, hot wine, present and most of the time artisanal things. I already heard about that because you can find some in the east part of the France, close to the german boundary. Xavier about the grapes that you need to eat when the bell ring.
After we discuss the Christmas decoration like Christmas tree but also the “Belen” – the representation of the birth of Jesus with little figurine –
But we realized that according to the country, the date of celebration it’s not the same. For example in France it’s the 24th night and the 25th but in Spain, it’s also in January. And “Los 3 Reyes Magos” are the one who brings presents to the child like in Jésus’s birth.
With this meeting, I was happy that even if we are from different cultures and that English is not our mother tong we can understand each other in a real conversation and not just the basics. I realized that I already know a lot about the Spanish Christmas traditions but I know anything about the German ones.
Teaching seem not that hard because all the member has approximately my age and are here to learn.
After this meeting, I was really curious and looking forward to participating in the next meeting.
Last thirsday i met my group in O’connell’s Bar to see a english comedy. This comedy was for the first part about simple finnish things, like “pikkujoulut” in finland. For example funny thing about pikkujoulut is, that its translation in english is “little christmas” and we don’t why “little”.
The second part of the comedy was made by improvisers, they were five and to find a subject they used hashtag on twitter according to “pikkujoulut”. So we had #blackout #hats #petroleum(strange) … so we choose in these hashtag one random and they made an impovision on that. i was really impressed by their performances because whatever the subject their ideas was good and they plays good too.
Otherwise we talk with the group about our Christmas in our countries and it was interesting to see that for everyone Christamas remains a family event where we eat too much. we talk about our christmas food specialities, and we see that we eat quite the same things, apart for the dessert which remains different for everyone.
Our 6th meeting was at the 20th of November and it was about Christmas:)
Christmas in our countries are not the same.Czech Republic and Hong Kong celebrate Christmas at the 24th of December, we celebrate Christmas in Russia at the 7th of January.
Christmas in Czech Republic is named Štědrý den, it means “Generous Day”.Dinner is
served after sunset (traditionally, it should not be served until after the first star has come out) and consists of carp and potato salad, sometimes preceded by mushroom, sauerkraut or fish soup.
A traditional Christmas bread called vánočka (similar to the Jewish challa).
Czech children believe that Christmas gifts are brought by Baby Jesus (Ježíšek) who comes into the room through the window to leave the presents. Unlike Santa Claus, Baby Jesus is a rather abstract figure with no particular physical image attached to him, and no one knows where he lives. Just like Santa though, he receives wish-list letters from Czech children a few weeks before Christmas.
And this is traditional czech songs for Christmas.
This meeting was interesting for me because traditions areso different in our countries