All posts by Ranja Virtaila

Sara Hilden Art Museum (FIN/RUS)

Today was our last meeting in Each-One-Teach-One. Julia wanted to see the Sara Hilden Art Museum. I was very open to the idea because the ongoing exhibition of Kiki Smith was interesting. It is modern art and Julia told me that she hasn’t seen modern art before, because in Russia they usually prefer traditional art.

After the art museum we walked to center to have a coffee in Kaffila. I am now studying a web course of Russian Business Culture and there I found that religious miracles are somehow big thing in Russian culture. I asked about if from Julia and she was so kind that she provided me a small presentation about them. I learnt some new things about meanings of icons and what does they mean to Russians, especially religious ones. She told me things which I didn’t learn in elementary school’s religion classes. We both are not religious but somehow we have ended up talking a lot about the differences between our churches. In the end it is quite interesting topic to talk about because they are very different.

We maybe will meet one more time before Julia returns back to Russia, but it will already be out from these EOTO studies, so this will be my last blog post. I am also planning a trip to Moscow in summer. If it happens, we will meet there again. Here is couple of pictures from the exhibit.

Church, cafe and park (FIN-RUS)

Today was our 9th meeting and it was quite multiple. First we met front of Tampereen Tuomiokirkko, because Julia wanted to see it. In my opinion it is the most beautiful church in this city. We were there and discussed a bit about religion, Hugo Simberg’s art (the artist who has done paintings in that church) and what church does with donations. Orthodox and Lutheran churches look very different.


After the church we went to a small and cozy cafe called Runo. It is one of my favorite cafes here, because it is so small and nice and not too full of people. We had some coffee and cakes. Julia told me that in Russia they have Easter now, one week after our Easter. We were talking about Easter foods and traditions and I learnt a lot about them.

We had my kids with us, so after cafe we went to Pikkukakkonen park. Kids could play and we could have more peace to talk. Julia gave me a small Russian book written for kids and told me that it will be easy to read. In that park I tried to translate 2 of the stories from the book. It was hard, but nice. She helped me a lot. Some words were diminutives from words which basic form I have only learnt and some words were completely new to me. The funniest thing in the book was crocodiles who loved to eat rubber boots. I like the book, but it is a bit too hard to me even it is meant for kids. Anyways, good opportunity to study more.

Pyynikki Observatory (FIN-RUS)

We decided to have our 8th meeting in Pyynikki Observatory, I wanted Julia to try the traditional munkki (doughnut) which they sell there. This day was quite popular and we had to queue long time, but those munkki’s are worth of it.

We went up to the tower and I showed some things from the city to Julia.  I showed churches, named lakes, showed directions to places which she already knows. The weather was nice even it wasn’t sunny day, views were good and we could see far.

After that visit we walked together to the center of Tampere and talked about cultural things, mostly about religion. I am not religious, but religion is an interesting topic to talk about. We discussed about differences between our  versions of the same Christian religion. Most of Russians are Orthodox and most of Finns are Lutheran. It feels so crazy to have same substances including same god and saints, but still many rules and traditions are so much different. It is so interesting to learn about Russian culture!

Unfortunately I didn’t manage (remember) to take a good picture to add to the blog post. But if you want to know how it looks like on top of the observatory tower, you should go and see our beautiful city from there! And remember munkki!

Waffle time (FIN/RUS)

We agreed to have our seventh meeting in a waffle cafe. Apparantely this city has more waffle cafes than I knew and I went to a wrong one. Luckily these two are close each other.

Julia had prepared folders of photos to me about Moscow. She showed me photos from certain places and explained about them. It was interesting to hear stories or meanings and I learnt a lot about culture and something about history.

We also discussed about how Finns and Russians think about each other, are we similar or different…and how are men in our countries 😀 

Musta makkara (FIN/RUS)

Today was our 6th meeting and finally we succeed to have musta makkara (black sausage). We have been planning this already quite long. We bought sausages from Tammelantori’s Tapola and traditionally ate them outdoors there.

We didn’t study languages, because we were outdoors during the meeting, but we were talking about our educations, working life and opportunities in our countries. The meeting was quite short because my kid splashed to puddle and got wet, so we had to go home. Hope next time we can spend longer time and concentrate to studies. 

Muumimuseo (FIN/RUS)

Today was our fifth meeting. We have been talking about going to Muumimuseo  since the second meeting but it was closed when we wanted to go. This time we finally succeed to meet there. We didn’t study languages much, just concentrated to the museum. There are machines from which you can listen piece of stories in Finnish, Swedish, Japanese, Russian and English. One story we listened both in Finnish and Russian.  I had my kids with me, so I also had to look after them, so there was not too much time for conversation. The museum was nice and it had beautiful statues and pictures. Unfortunately taking photos was forbidden.

Meeting at Mimosa (FIN/RUS)

Today was our fourth meeting. We agreed to meet at Cafe Mimosa, which is a cozy and small cafe a bit outside from the center of Tampere.

I have borrowed from library some business related Russian study books and we took one chapter from there and studied it. I read and tried to translate it.  It was a nice book, the level of the book is a bit under my skills, but it contains lots of  new vocabulary, so it feels quite challenging to me. I learnt few very useful words and expressions. The book is Russian for Business, level A2, written by Lyudmila Kotane. I would highly recommend those books for people who need business vocabulary.

We studied some Finnish verbs and I gave some examples how to use them. English “to play” has similarity with Russian word “играть”.  You can play games, play guitar or play with toys and you use the same verb. But in Finnish we have own verb for each of those 3. Hope Julia’s mind didn’t explode after hearing that.

We also discussed about habits and cultures about marriage in our countries. When, how and where to get married, how and in which finger we use the ring. Interesting to hear small details about people who live so close, are quite similar but still so different.

Meeting in a cafe (FIN-RUS)

Today we had our 3rd meeting.  We had plan A and B, but they were not possible today so we had to create plan C, so we went to a cafe in center of Tampere. Last time we were only speaking in Russian, so today we concentrated to Finnish. Julia had a Moomin comic book and she was reading and I helped to translate. That particular book was not so good because it had hard and unusual words and expressions which were not easy to translate. Hope she at least could learn something new. Our meeting was not long this time, because we had my two kids with us and they made the meeting a bit hard to concentrate.

Next time we will try to make plan A or B happen 🙂

Time for Karjalanpaisti (FIN-RUS)

Today was our 2nd meeting with Juliia. I am having a Russian Tandem pair, Olga, outside from this program and we decided to invite her with us. Olga doesn’t speak English at all, so we had to speak in Russian, because Juliia’s Finnish skills are still very small. I made Karjalanpaisti (Karelian Stew) for us because I wanted to make something very traditional Finnish food. Conversations were mostly only in Russian. Juliia and Olga were talking with each other and I mostly listened. It is hard to take part to two native speakers’ conversation, because it takes time to understand and the topic is already different when you understand it and are ready to answer. But it made me happy to notice that my Russian skills are good enough to understand the main point of the conversation even I couldn’t catch all the words. I just need to increase my vocabulary a lot.

This time we had more practice to me, so next time we will concentrate more to Finnish. 

First meeting (fin-rus)

Today we had our first studying session. We met in TTY’s (TUT) library, which was a nice and silent place to study and practice. Julia practiced pronouncing Finnish, numbers and personal pronouns. After Finnish session we changed to Russian. We were looking a bit for local cases and then I read one chapter of Little Prince in Russian to practice my pronouncing.  After it we had a small conversation in Russian. I learnt few new words. After studying session we went to TTY’s Fazer’s restaurant, which offered today a very good lunch to us. To next meeting we agreed to invite one my Russian friend and maybe cook something together. Next meeting will be quite hard for us since my friend speaks only Russian and Finnish, so probably we need to try to stick in these two languages and try to avoid English, which is always easy to use when don’t remember some words.

Looking forwards to meet next time!