Since the previous meeting was a representation of Bulgarian food we decided this time it was time to try some Chinese food. The girls had prepared amazing, delightful, mouthwatering hot pot with different types of meat and veggies. Chinese cuisine is very spicy so I told them beforehand to be careful with how much spices to put in it since I don’t like spicy food. We kept this meeting chill and discussed the differences and similarities between the cuisines in the two countries.
This time we met at Espresso house in Stockmann to enjoy a cup of hot chocolate in a cozy atmosphere and lovely chat.
Since it was at the end of the semester we quickly changed the topic to exams, courses and expectations. After a while we decided that was enough time inside and went for a walk. We dropped by a shoe store and after that we decided to check out the newly open Christmas market. It brought nice holiday spirit and enjoyable time with my new friends.
This meeting was based on my home country’s traditional cuisine and some traditions. I had prepared a special delicacy that is personally a favorite of mine. It is called banitsa and is prepared from thin pastry sheets, eggs and cow’s white cheese.
Luckily for me, everyone liked a lot that dish which made me very proud of my cooking skills. We talked about different traditions and customs we have in our home countries like festivals and celebrations. It was really interesting to hear about customs from the other side of the planet just to find out they weren’t that different from the ones I am used to.
Another topic of interest was how the education systems work. Now here it got interesting- so many new findings and unexpected facts came to my knowledge.
To sum it up, this meeting was full of new information, lots of food and drinks.
After a few unsuccessful attempts to organize a second meeting we finally saw each other in the sushi restaurant where Siping works. We chose this place because we could combine the useful with the pleasant.
This time we were more relaxed since we already know each other. We talked more about ourselves, our hobbies, families, plans for the future and so on. We moved on then to learning more simple expressions.
After a while when we decided that was enough education for that day we tried so many different types of sushi that it would last us a lifetime. We all agreed that the banana-sprinkles one was the tastiest. We enjoyed that place and the company that we spend more than 4 hours there.
For the first meeting we decidedto play it safe and meet in the cozy library in TAMK. Being very excited about our first encounter with each other we were very nervous but ready to make new friends and learn about culture way different from our own.
I made it to the library in the late afternoon to find two sweet Chinese girls waiting for me there. It appeared that they had a long day of lectures and despite being very tired and hungry they waited for me. We quickly introduced ourselves and started talking about the course and what amazing experience it will be. It turned out that even though Siping and Gourong come from different districts in China and I, coming from the other side of the world- Bulgaria, have a lot of in common.
We kept that quite formal with mainly talking about our native languages. We learned how to say simple things like Hello, How are you?, My name is…, etc. in Bulgarian and Chinese which turned out to be easier than expected. But then I was explained that there are different dialects and ways to speak Chinese and the “easy” language suddenly turned into a complicated science.
However, I thought them some Cyrillic letters, which we use in Bulgaria, and they thought me how so write some Chinese characters.
We kept the meeting relatively short since it was getting very late already.
We decided to take a relaxed stroll and go to see the Christmas Market for our last meeting. It was full of Finnish products and handicrafts, which was very nice and also a deep dive into Finnish handiwork culture. I bought beautiful red earrings made from birch tree for Christmas. We had fun seeing all the Christmas decorations and got a little bit into Christmas spirit since neither of us had decorated for Christmas.
I’m feeling a bit sad that this was our last meeting since we have had some very interesting conversations and learned a lot from each other. Of course, last mandatory meeting doesn’t mean we cannot see anymore but our lives are very busy. I’m happy I took this course and I have found it eye opening at it’s best. Happy new year!