On the seventh meeting I helped Daniel with his Finnish homework. We went through some of the grammatical cases. This was quite hard but a good practice for me because I found it easier in German than in English. I also think it was clearer for Daniel to get to hear the system of the cases in his mother language.
Somehow, we ended up talking about the school systems in Germany and Finland. Explaining the school system in Finland took under five minutes where as the German system has so many possibilities it took almost ten minutes to go through.
After this meeting I’m not blaming myself for not understanding the system while i lived in Germany. Now that I’ve seen it written down I can see how I might have misunderstood some of it. What also makes the system so complex is that different states might have different systems but they still need to be compatible in the national level. Sometimes simple might actually be better, in my opinion 😀
On the fifth meeting we decided to actually do some grammar work in German. We used http://mein-deutschbuch.de/ to do some exercises with prepositions. I found this really difficult because they were fill-in exercises. I couldn’t really understand at points what the sentences where meant to be. At points even Daniel was having troubles to understand what was the meaning of the sentences. After i stopped thinking too much it was easier to go with my instinct and get more things right.
To make the meeting also about Finnish language for Daniel we did some translations. After I had given my answer to a sentence Daniel would either say it’s right or correct me. Then it would be his turn to translate the said sentence to Finnish and I would help him with the grammar and spelling.
I think this was a nice way to combine the actual learning of both languages. And it was very suitable for shorter meeting. Daniel had also brought some Donald Duck pocket books in German for me to read and keep me in touch with German language on my free time. We ended the meeting with going through some of the character names in German, Finnish and English.
For the fourth meeting i met with Daniel in the TAMK library. We decided to have a nice and relaxed meeting and only have some conversation in German and pick some useful words of Finnish here and there.
Mainly we talked about my year in Germany and about the state, Saarland, where Daniel comes from. Saarland has a nice speciality called Schwenker. It’s pork broiled on a grill that hangs on a chain over a wood fire. Funnily enough, the three legged grill is called a Schwenker and the cook who makes the Shwenkers is also called a Schwenker.
We also talked again about the differences between Finland and Germany. Like the traffic and the variation of foods in the stores. And what we both found annoying is the expensive prices in Finland and both miss the inexpensive beer in Germany. It was a nice meeting where i could just speak in German without stressing about the grammar and using the wrong words and that kind of things.
On the third meeting we decided to focus more on my German skills because Daniel already had three hours of Finnish class that day. That’s plenty for a one day.
We both were also tired that day so trying to really study wasn’t an option. We decided to just have conversations in German about my time in Germany, what I missed when I lived there and about things we found funny in the other countries.
For example I couldn’t comprehend the fact that Germany doesn’t really have dips in the same quantity as we Finns have. It’s the little things that get you sometimes 😀
Then we also talked about one of the most Finnish thing one can do, Sauna. In Germany apparently there’s a lot of rules on what you can and can’t do in the sauna, which i find extremely funny. For example you shouldn’t talk in the Sauna, it should be the place of peace. Alcohol is a definite no no, which is absurd for Finnish people.
Also, there’s this thing called Saunameister. He is a guy or a woman who will make being in the sauna some sort of event. The saunameister comes into the sauna and throws the water on the stones, nobody else is allowed to do that. After that he takes a towel and whips it around to circulates the steam, “löyly”, around. Then you just sit there and after around minutes it’s time to go to the shower.
For the second meeting we had decided to pick a song text on the language we want to learn and then in the meeting to translate it. For me it was kinda difficult to find a song in German that i liked and didn’t understand. But then we decided just to pick a song from Rammstein and translate that to English together. Because the song wasn’t too hard to understand we made a list of words that are almost the same in German and Finnish, you only need to ad an “i” in the end. Finnish is that simple 😀
Daniel had picked a classic song with the title Juodaan viinaa. This turned out to be a good practice for both of us. First Daniel translated the text from Finnish to English and after that I translated that to German. With this task I really understood how hard Finnish can be and how much more simpler language English can be compared to Finnish.
This meeting was our last one, and Michelle was soon in a plane going home. We wanted to check how the EOTO spring party was, but unfortunately we got there too late, and the Olympics had already gone by. Also, most of the snacks was eaten so we decided to take a bus to the city centre to grab something to eat.
We both felt like fish and chips so we went to Aussiebar in Hämeenkatu. It was re-opened only few weeks ago and I had not been there since their relocation. We spent there hours, talking about everything. I’m going to be an international tutor this autumn so I asked Michelle if she had any tips for me. She told me that I should inform my exchange student about the TAMKO card before arriving to Finland, since it’s easy to apply it online. Also, she mentioned that there are warm clothes to be loaned from the social counsellor’s office.
We also talked about Michelle’s exchange experience. I asked her what she is going to miss about Finland and the answer was easy: Carelian pies with egg ‘n’ butter. What she will definitely not miss was the weather. Since we live in the Nordic countries, the climate is colder and it feels like summer never comes. Michelle felt like it was still winter as for me it was spring. It was interesting to see how the cultural background influences one’s mindset about seasons.
We had a very nice EOTO experience and we got to know each other well. The last meeting was pleasant and we bid farewell to each other with a warm hug.
This meeting’s aim was to speak as much German as possible. We spent the day strolling along the main street Hämeenkatu and popped into some clothes stores to find new clothes and to learn new vocabulary. I realised that I didn’t know the clothes vocabulary that well, so I even made some notes about the words I learnt:
coat = die Jacke
stockings = die Strumpfhose
business coat = der Blazer/ das Saku
top = das Oberteil
bottom = das Unterteil
As usual, I didn’t find anything nice that fit me, so I left the stores empty-handed. After an exhausting few hours we decided to go for a dinner in New York. It’s a burger restaurant with student friendly prices and delicious food. I feared that we might not be able to have a proper conversation in German, but my fears were soon proven wrong. If I didn’t know a word, I’d ask it in English and the conversation went on. All in all, a great meeting!
Finally, we got to fix our schedules to enjoy a sauna evening at my place. It’s not uncommon for a Finnish apartment to have an own sauna. The sauna in my apartment is not that big: it fits max. four saunagoers. But it doesn’t lack the heat!
The evening began with chatting about life in general. I also felt that my responsibility was to tell Michelle about the Finnish sauna culture. Sauna is more than just a hot room: it is a place where both mind and body relaxes. In the history women also gave birth in sauna because it was the most sterile room of the house.
After the sauna we had a Finnish beer tasting. I had bought us several different sorts of beer: from small breweries to larger ones. My absolute favourites are Pyynikki brewery’s beers. It is a small brewery here in Tampere and its products have a lot of flavour. Michelle is not that much of a beer drinker but she found her favourite as well.
Hyvää vappua! Yep, we Finns actually say happy May Day to each other: to people we know as well as complete strangers. There is something about vappu that makes us Finns go crazy and act all social. That something might be alcohol or the warming spring weather.
I met Michelle and some of her friends by the Tammerkoski and we spent there a couple of hours watching Technical University freshmen dipping into the cold rapid. There was a host interviewing the freshmen about how they felt before getting into the water and how the water was. Some freshmen even bursted into signing their guild songs.
I had brought with me some home-made sima. Sima is a non-alcoholic, brewed drink made of sugar, lemon and water. Sadly, it was not loved by the audience for they said it was too sweet. Well, more for me 😉
It was a fresh, nearly cold Friday afternoon when I met the lovely Michelle in front of Vapriikki museum. Vaprikki is situated beside the Tammerkoski rapids, across the water from Finlayson. It is a museum centre which hosts many different exhibitions. We had time only to admire a few so we chose to visit the Natural History Museum and The Finnish Museum of Games.
In the Natural History Museum, there are Finnish plants, animals and fishes displayed. As we moved along, I told Michelle some things I knew about Finnish nature. We took a closer look at Finnish berries and concluded that we Finns love our berries: lingonberry for black sausage, cloudberry for squeaky cheese, other berries just as they are.
In the Museum of Games the best thing is, without a doubt, NES console and Super Mario Bros. It brings me back to my childhood when everything was carefree. After the exhibitions closed for the day, we enjoyed Karelian pies and coffee at the cafeteria downstairs.