This time around we decided to go to see the opening of the Christmas market with Fruzsi and Boti in Keskustori and talk about our Christmas traditions.
We did not have any bigger plans for this meeting, just to meet up, walk around the market and see where the conversation would end up. Actually, meeting in the Christmas market was a good idea in a sense that we were able to see the things we were talking about in real and we also found new topics to talk about when seeing things.
However, ones again we realized that our cultures are rather similar to each other. There are no so many differences when it comes to the decorations, food or giving presents. It seems that those traditions are either Christian or European, and therefore common for us all.
The biggest differences we were able to name was that in Hungary it is not Santa Claus, who brings the presents on 24th of December, but baby Jesus. Even so, also kids in Hungary do believe to Santa Claus. He visits on 6th of December.
Another difference, though a very small one, is that in Hungary it is normal to hung candies to the Christmas tree whereas in Finland it is rather rare according to me.
Recently, Joulutori opened in Tampere and of course we didn’t want to miss it, so our location for the 8th meeting was determined easily 🙂
I went to Joulutori on the opening day with another exchange student (Sanne who also did EOTO :D) and found out that there were some German stalls with German-speaking people and food there, so I decided to introduce them to my students.
I started our conversations in German only while we walked around and chatted with the stall owners (in German of course haha), so Maija and Kaisa joined and purchased some goods while talking in German, it was very funny because they had to turn everything into German so suddenly, but they did well! 🙂 There were Lebkuchen, Marzipan, gebrannte Mandeln and Krapfen/Quarkbällchen at Joulutori – pretty normal food you can find on any German Christmas market, well done! 😀 I bought some Quarkbällchen (that’s how we call them in the state where I come from but they actually have many different names that German people call them) and treated Maija and Kaisa to try them and they liked it, I’m so glad 😀
After walking around a lot we decided to sit down in a wooden house, drink some Glögi and talk about the German holiday calendar and compare it to the Finnish holidays. We found out that our calendars are pretty much the same with all the Christian holidays. Exceptions like Independence Day or Thanksgiving exist of course but talking about our different cultures was very interesting and fun 🙂 I learn so much about Finland and Finnish culture despite having this set up as a one-way learning/teaching group only, I like EOTO a lot because of this 😀
It was nice to meet again after our trips. Apparently lapland had been quite an experience to Erwan and I always love to go to London so it was great as well.
We met at the central square and walked through the christmas market there. The weather sadly is not very christmassy with all the wind and rain but I still like the atmosphere at the market. We went to Kauppahalli so Erwan could try karjalanpiirakka but this time with the egg-butter mix on top of it.
I found out that he had never tried glögi before and that’s something you should try if you happen to be in Finland around Christmas time. So we went to enjoy some (non-alcoholic) glögi which he seemed to enjoy a lot.
While enjoying out drinks, Erwan was teaching me some more french. Every once in a while he talks to me in French and I understand most of it. If I don’t it’s mostly because he speaks fast and after he repeats more slowly I get it. He was telling me sentences in english and I tried to translate them to French (not very successfully). It’s really hard for me to remember the words and conjugations when I’m supposed to be talking but as soon as someone says them I understand and it seems obvious it is like that.
Sadly we have only one more meeting left later this week!
Today we visited to ”Joulutori”. The weather was awful so we took just a quick visit to see how it looks like and what do they have there. The sales persons were really nice and they helped me to translate the names of products I didn’t know. We also get to taste some nice things. It is actually quite difficult to translate words which I don’t use in basic sentences. And some products were new for me too, so we both learned something new! Despising the weather, we had a nice quick learning tour there =)
Then we went to Siperia and just walked there and chatted. At the same I told about the museums and factoryside of Tampere. Finding the perfect cafeteria is always so difficult, so we looked it for a while. Eventually we went to Ståhlbergs café opposite to Anttila. It was really nice place. The atmosphere was warm and cozy and the confectioneries looked yummy!
Today we talked e.g. about family and travelling and difficulties what you can run into when travelling. In many countries you will manage with English, but somewhere the culture is like you should now some basic lines in their language. So it is useful to know even a little bit of many languages, to make a good impression.
Now when it’s Christmas time, we talked about manners and traditions. In Korean they don’t have the same kind of Christmas food than we do in Finland. It is mostly just a holiday and time to spend with family. But gifts and the food is not the main thing. Actually they eat cake then, which sounds really good.
Time flies and we stayed there for a while just talking and laughing. It was really nice meeting =)