Monthly Archives: February 2018

First meeting at cafe Pala

Having a coffee in the center around 4PM proved itself a difficult task, since all the coffee places were full of people getting out of work. We settled on walking a bit further to cafe Pala, a quieter place inside the Finlayson building.

We both already have some skills in the languages we want to learn, so for this first meeting we ended up just talking about what kind of lessons we should have in the future, and also some random stuff that came up. As a Finn I of course asked if Ignasi knows what “pala” means in Finnish. He did know it means “a piece”, and I learned that “pala” in Spanish means a shovel. The more you know.

Consequently he also knew the Finnish word for hangover (krapula), and taught me the Spanish word for it, which is resaca. I ended up teaching him a couple more words for hangover (kankkunen, darra, kohmelo…) , since we seem to have plenty, while Spanish only uses one.  Probably the product of our multitude of dialects.

We talked about kiosks in our countries, since even though R-kioskis are literally everywhere in Finland, they are still (to Ignasi’s surprise) a franchise, not a state owned business like in Spain. I was curious about who the lucky bastard is that actually owns the R-kioskis if it’s not the state, and after a brief google search I found out they’re owned by a parent company based in Norway?? What the.

I also now know that there are two kinds of banks in Spain. The ones called “banco” are ones trying to turn a profit (so corporations basically) and ones called “caja” (caja literally translates to “box”) are what I think most Finnish banks are, so like a savings bank.

One more thing that stood out for me was finding out that the Spanish days of the week derive from the names of the Roman gods, aka, what we know as the names of the planets. I had never thought about it, but once he told me it seemed so obvious (Martes = Mars, Miercoles = Mercury, and so on).

First Meeting——Slovenian is a little same as Chinese

Today we talk about the outline about learning language at café. The outline learning Slovenian including self-introduction, numbers, dates, colors, foods, places, countries and so on. I believe that some Slovenian letters have similar pronunciation to Chinese Phoneticize. These are the basics greetings:

Hello—Dober dan (Zdrauo)

My name is—Moje ime je

What is your name? —Kako je ime tebi?

Good bye—Adijo

What’s more, we also chat with a Japanese friend called Character.He have stayed in Taiwan for three years and can speak  a little fluent Chinese.We also talk about Chinese culture together.What a nice day!

Don’t rock the tower


For our first gaming evening we decided to head over to gaming cafeteria called Taverna but nobody thought to check was it open on Mondays.. Instead we headed to Cafe Europa.

We played few games of High Tower while enjoying our drinks and Mutsumi enjoyed her cake. Between the turns we had little language lesson about weather and playing games.

Since we had a lot of fun playing something we decided to have an another go with a board game at Thursday. I’ll bring a game of mine; Sheriff of Nottingham.

Flea & Radio


For the meeting at 2.10. we decided to go check out the Flea Market Radio (Radiokirppis). We browsed the selections for quite a while and discussed since things along the way. Mutsumi was thinking to buy ice skates she found but hesitated as she would not want to carry them back to Japan and they felt bit tight. We agreed that if the skates felt tight then it would be bad for two reasons: 1) it might not feel very uncomfortable for quick testing but will definitely become so during longer period of time and 2) not able to wear thicker socks is not good during winter. Instead she found some woolen socks she wanted to buy to protect from the cold. Rami also found a Hello Kitty frisbee for her daughter. Me and Joni walked out empty handed.
After the Flea Market we headed towards the Kauppahalli and stopped by at Asian market along the way. At Kauppahalli we strolled for a while checking the stalls. Rami bought a doughnut to eat and Mutsumi bought several to bring back to her place.

I personally didn’t like flea market that much for a meeting place as corridors were pretty tight and since I’m quite considerate person so I gave way to other customers which led me missing a lot of conversations in the process.

10th meeting: Christmas Market

And so came the day for our last meeting. We struggled a little while deciding the day for it since my exams had just started. But luckily we managed to match our schedules before the holidays. Before it was time for Min to go back to China I really wanted him to experience one of the most traditional Finnish events that was happening in Tampere at the moment: the Christmas Market.

We met at the Main Square after school and started our meeting by exploring the things that the market had to offer. It was the first time for me also so it was interesting to see all the crafts and treats that people sold there. Min bought some souvenirs to take back home to China and I got some great ideas for Christmas presents. After walking around the market for a while and taking some pictures by the Christmas tree we decided to go to the Pyynikki´s Doughnut Café that was in the market area. Both of us ordered a doughnut and a cup of hot glögi.

We talked a lot while enjoying our drinks. We discussed such topics as education and being an exchange student. I learned that in China it´s quite difficult to change the field you´re studying in the university or reapply the next year for example. Min said that he really likes Finnish education system for that specific reason, for the opportunity to change your mind if you feel like you´re not enjoying your current studies. He also told me that being an exchange student was a pleasant experience. It was good to hear because I´m also planning on going abroad at some point during my studies.

After we finished the drinks it was time for us to say goodbye. I´m really grateful for this experience. I learned an incredible amount of things that I´d probably never have learned in a classroom. It was also very interesting to teach the language and the culture of my own country. We promised to keep in touch via email because who knows; maybe someday I´ll visit China or Min will travel to Finland again!

Thank you Min and thank you EOTO!

9th meeting: Pre-Christmas party

For our second to last meeting we decided to go to the EOTO Pre-Christmas party that was held in Tamko´s office. There wasn’t a lot of people at first but during the first hour the room got full which was great. The atmosphere was very festive with all the Christmas music and delicious treats.

It was very nice to see other people from the course although not everyone came to the party of course. We hadn’t seen each other since the course introduction in September. We talked to a lot of people and exchanged our thoughts about this course.

We also bumped into some of Min´s friends and talked about how big this whole Christmas thing is in our country. Finns take it very seriously indeed! They told me that they don’t have such a festival in China, so it was a completely new experience for them. It was interesting to learn about all the different traditions that they have in their country. And I was happy to tell them more about our Christmas celebrations.

We stayed at the party for a couple of hours until I had to go home. All in all, the party was successful because we got to catch up with other students and share our experiences. We wish that there would have been more organized programme for us but that didn´t stop us from enjoying the party.

Christmas was just behind the corner!

8th meeting: Celebrations

Our 8th meeting took place at school. This time we ended up discussing the celebrations in our cultures. All though both of our countries have many same celebrations like birthdays and weddings, the way we celebrate them is obviously very different.

Min showed me a video of a traditional wedding ceremony in China. It was very beautiful and unique with all the rituals. The couple was dressed in beautiful red gowns. Min told me that red is the colour of luck which is why it´s used a lot in China. I showed him some pictures of Western weddings that are also the most common here in Finland. It turned out Min was familiar with them because they are also starting to be popular in China.

As we continued our discussion we found out that the birthday celebrations are quite different in our countries. Min explained that they don´t celebrate birthdays every year in China like we do here in Finland. Instead they celebrate important dates such as 20th, 50th and 80th birthdays for example. And when they do celebrate, they make it a very big event. All the relatives and friends gather to spend the day together and there can be dozens or even hundreds of people. That was something I didn´t know and it sounded pretty amazing.

Time went really fast as always and soon I had to get to class. Even though we didn´t have time to plan this meeting, I think we managed to develop a very interesting conversation.

We both learned a lot today!

7th meeting: Chinese restaurant

As I told in my last post, for this meeting we decided to go to a Chinese restaurant. Min suggested the place that his friend had visited once so we went there after school. Unfortunately, they were closing just as we walked in. We didn’t realize to check the opening hours before going there.  Luckily, after a quick Google search, we found another restaurant nearby in Tammela.

I ordered some noodles with pork and Min chose some kind of Chinese soup. We also wanted to try Chinese spring rolls. Min was curious to find out if they tasted the same as at home. Apparently, they did! The food was very delicious and we took our time to enjoy all of it.



I told Min that Chinese restaurants are quite popular here in Finland. We really do enjoy their food. It was interesting to learn that the atmosphere and interior in the restaurant were very much Chinese according to Min. I´ve always wondered if it was true.

Once again, we had a fun time talking about all kinds of things and eating tasty food. the restaurant was a really nice change to the traditional learning environment.

Until next time!

6th meeting: Traditional food

This week’s topic for our meeting was very delicious; traditional food of Finland and China! Last week we agreed that we would search for some pictures of traditional foods and then explain the cooking process and the concept of that food. Exciting!

I started my introduction of Finnish food with probably our most popular meal of the year; Christmas dinner. Fun fact: today we learned a lot of new English words for a change. I had no idea how hard it would be to explain the making of our lanttulaatikko for example. I also told Min about our Midsummer sausages, Easter lamb and many other delicious foods. We also talked about normal food which was obviously very different from Chinese food.

Then Min told me about Chinese food. He showed me all kind of sweet treats that they make for Spring Festival for example. It all looked very different from what we eat here in Finland. He also told me a very interesting fact that China can be divided in two parts when it comes to food. In the North of China people eat more noodles whereas the South prefers rice. I didn’t know that!

After a long discussion about all the delicious foods we had to think about our next meeting. It wasn´t very hard to come up with what we wanted to do. We decided to go to a Chinese restaurant!

5th meeting: Werstas

For our fifth meeting Min and I decided to get to know Tampere and Finland a little better together. We decided to meet in the Werstas-museum which is located in the historic area of Finlayson. The museum is very student friendly since it has a free entrance.

Our tour started with me telling Min a bit about Finnish history of the 20th century. We went into the room that was decorated like an old bank. It was interesting to see how all of that worked many decades earlier. The best thing about Werstas is that you can actually go inside the rooms and try some things for yourself. Min then showed me some of the Chinese money that he had with him.

We talked a lot about the history of both of our countries as we walked through the museum. It was interesting to notice that even though our countries are very different, they still share some of the experiences. One of the things we discussed was war; we realized that every country experiences it in almost in the same way. Education is one of the topics that we like to discuss since we are both students, so that’s what we did tonight also. Min said that he really liked the Finnish education system. I tried to tell him as much as I know about it.

I was really surprised and pleased how we still managed to learn about both Finland and China even though the museum was clearly about Finnish history. I´m glad that we went there!