We spent our sixth meeting at my place. The goal of this meeting was to teach Kurumi to make traditional Finnish foods, pea soup and pancakes. That meeting was quite similar to our last meeting (then we taught Kurumi to bake christmas pastries).
As we were a little lazy (at least I was) we used canned pea soup. As I am a vegetarian I didn’t taste pea soup but Kurumi said it was delicious. We told her that pea soup is very inexpensive food and because of that it is warmly recommended for students.
I love to make pancakes so it was such a pleasure to be a teacher when we made them. Kurumi loved them too so I gave her a recipe.
The most difficult thing in teaching was my poor English. (Suprise!) But I hope my English will improve at the same time when I’m trying to use it!
After we were finished eating we started to study phrases like “I am”, “you are”, “he is” (both in Japanese and in Finnish). Before this meeting I couldn’t say “my name is Maria” in Japanese but now I learnt. We also talked small phrases in Japanese and that was different from our previous meetings. We also enjoyed delicious Japanese snacks Kurumi brought us.
The pancakes we agreed on making were really good. We met yesterday for dinner and we actually had a joint Each One Teach One meeting, as we had dinner with Hannah and Saki too.
Lynn prepared the pancakes and I helped her because I wanted to know how she does it, as I had never even tried pancakes. I also learned the difference between German and the popular pancakes; the German ones have less baking powder in them and are therefore less fluffy. I even tried making one pancake myself, the first one turned out really ugly but I eventually got the hang of it.
After eating all the pancakes I made a few croquetas with some dough (called bechamel) I had prepared the previous day. Croquetas are in my opinion one of the most delicious Spanish meals and I’m always surprised that people outside Spain don’t know them, even though they know about tortilla, paella, empanada and some other dishes. I can say they really liked it and now I want to prepare more, but I warned them it’s not the same without Spanish ham.
Apparently we didn’t have enough with the German and Spanish dishes and Saki brought some Japanese kind of cookies. We ate them so fast that I could not take any pictures of those!
On March 7th we had our third meeting in a really international setting. We had a lovely group of exchange students from many countries around the table and had some pancakes together. I could have a great opportunity to practice my German with them, but for some reason it felt uncomfortable to try. I know I should just try regardless the mistakes I would make. I know… But it is so damn hard to start speaking.
Afterwards we used the resources of the Internet to keep on studying. Amelie showed me a kind of German soap opera / educational series on Youtube, which I could use to improve my vocabulary and also pronounciation. In addition, the show was actually also kind of funny. I tried to find something similar for learning Finnish, but most of the videos I found on Youtube weren’t that helpful. Unless one wants to learn all the swear words…
Therefore, we used other material for Finnish. We translated a story about Finnish people swimming in ‘avanto’ that was found on www.uuno.fi site. This once again teached about the crazy habits of the Finns along with the vocabulary.
A new problem I found out today was that the German language is filled with ’empty words’. They use words like ‘noch’ or ‘denn’ in sentences for no apparent reason and without a real meaning in a certain sentence. I mean, the sentence would mean the same, and just be shorter, without those words, but for some reason they are added in there. That makes no sense to me. But after thinking about it, I think we do have similar words in Finnish also and there are some in English as well.
Hello everyone! I hope your first set of meetings went great as well as it did for me! The next blog article I would call “Puzzling my brains about Finnish grammar” because the last lecture literally blew my mind…
Sebastjan prepared a very interesting exercises for me on the subject of declensional endings, consonant gradation (k-p-t changes) and noun cases. At the beginning of our brainstorming, Sebastjan touched the topic of “annoying dots” on top of Finnish vowel and where to insert them. He presented it in a very simple graph. My teacher also explained the phenomena of Finnish noun cases as popular as he could. That was pretty challenging, however he succeeded to derive a common formula of how to correctly formulate endings.
I learnt nominatiivi, genetiivi, partitiivi, inessiivi, elatiivi, illatiivi, adessiivi, ablatiivi and allatiivi endings. Depending on the last letter of a noun (vowel, consonant or e) there’re different ways of how to properly modify the ending. The tasks I’ve completed during a lecture were extremely useful and applicable which helped me to memorize 70% of material. However, the rest needs to be practiced a hundred times until it becomes some sort of speaking habit. Moreover, Sebastjan gave me an invaluable advice of how to improve my language skills besides learning by heart technique. He suggested to subscribe a Finnish newspaper and start reading small articles highlighting endings and enlarging vocabulary. I also realized that spoken Finnish and the textbook version of are two completely different things. In order to be able to communicate with people, I’m expected to build colloquial style. All in all, it was a very practical lesson.
The second part of our meeting was dedicated to Sebastjan’s Russian pronunciation, translation and writing. I prepared an exercise for my student where he’s supposed to read the text. Besides reading, he translated every single sentence without having any previous experience of learning Russian. How??? I guess logic, intuition and ability to match words with other languages Sebastjan speaks. Undoubtedly, he’s a genius. We figured out that there’re some issues in recognizing soft and strong sounds. I’m going to work on it next time (evil smile).
After all, I truly wanted to reward my student by sharing some cultural cuisine. I baked traditional Russian pancakes using the recipe I got from my grandmother. As a cook, I received a positive feedback. As a teacher, I satisfied my ego and refreshed our lecture.