Meeting on November 18th, 2020, 2.5 hours
Christmas time is approaching! This time we had a long conversation about our Christmas and New Year’s Eve traditions and even some other official holidays.
But still, the most drastic difference certainly lays in the Christmas celebration. Similar to Finland, in Germany we are celebrating it on the 24th, 25th, and 26th, most likely together with your family on the evening of the 24th. There usually is a big meal together and all give each other presents. New Year’s Eve is celebrated together with friends and it is rather a party (mostly also geared towards alcohol) than a family get-together. And it really can last until the morning hours of January 1st.
On the other hand, Russian-(Orthodox) Christmas is celebrated after New Year’s Eve, on January 7th. Here December 31st is the family get-together with presents and stuff while Christmas is not celebrated that big as in Germany.
Other than that, I also told Daria about our German Schützenvereine or “marksmen’s clubs”. Although they have their origins in town militia, today they are revolving around shooting as a sport but rather have a more social than sporting purpose. They have absolutely nothing to do with the German military and most commonly historic weapons together with air rifles, air pistols, and crossbows are used. Very important are the local, annual Schützenfeste (“marksmen’s feasts”). Almost every city and smaller village have their own Schützenverein and own Schützenfest. People of all age and population groups are attending it in the summertime to celebrate.
Then Daria told me about День Победы, Victory Day, on May 9th which actually is a holiday that commemorates the surrender of Nazi Germany in 1945. As even written before, the Second World War is a very important topic in both of our countries. Today this celebration is seen controversial. With its good original intent, today it is predominated by huge military parades and national forces’ showoffs. In 2015 for example, the 70th anniversary of Victory Day was boycotted by Western leaders because of Russian’s military presence in Ukraine (while e.g. China and India still attended).
After all, there is a chance for us finally meeting in real life soon. Daria is going to take an exam here in Tampere and I am definitely looking forward to meeting her, hopefully even together with some other classmates!
Woops! This is our first meeting after nearly one month. The time flew so fast. All of us were too busy with our own schedule and Thank God Sara and I successfully arranged a meeting this week while Duy couldn’t participate due to some personal reasons.
Today, we discussed about our history and maybe a little bit politics. Sara shown me a brief history of Italia which explains why the country is divided into different regions like nowadays and important events in the Italian history. Also, I have got some suggestions from Sara about interesting places to travel accross Italia as well as good things I can expect throughout the trip to the country.
Towards my part, I gave Sara some kind of “base” of the Vietnamese history, “legend” as well as some famous historical people such as the key persons in Vietnam war.
However, history is something complicated and requires much more self-study, both of us will ourselves try to elaborate more on the information we have got from each other.
Throughout the meeting, we exchanged on various fields which come out of our mind. Therefore, I consider this meeting has given us considerable basic knowledge about the two countries.
14th of November 2020 / 4th Meeting
This time we met at Cafe Katto which is a nice little top floor cafe located in the Finlayson area. We chatted about school and life in general and then started our language studies. First, we read through the previous word exercises and started to study some basic verb conjugations. I explained the importance of pronouncing the double vowels and consonants in Finnish as if that gets missed, many words might change their meaning. I showed some examples of it (kissa: a cat, kisa: a race/competition, etc.). We also told each other some more rare but quite possible terrible mistakes you can make with both languages if you are not careful. xD Some more useful everyday sentences were also taught again.
The cafe had an outside rooftop terrace where we went to watch the city before it got completely dark. It was a nice view of the city and fortunately, the weather was not that cold yet. There was some curious group of people walking around the edges of the rooftop. It turns out that if you wanted to, you could book a trip to walk around the top of the whole building wearing safety ropes. This time we were satisfied just by taking some photos of the view at the terrace. ;D
In the end, Chris showed me some popular German music and I made him listen to some Finnish music too. We wondered if there were some good TV-series which could be helpful in learning the languages and decided to search for those options for the next meeting. I had never been to that cafe before so it was a nice new experience, and I will surely revisit the place some time again. 😀
View of the city from Cafe Katto rooftop terrace.
4th of November 2020 / 3rd Meeting
For this meeting, we decided to go to Vapriikki Museum. Vapriikki is a museum center that hosts many exhibitions each year with varied themes, including history, technology, and natural sciences.
We spent most of the time there in the Finnish Museum of Games which showcases the Finnish gaming culture and tells the story of how digital gaming in Finland started and developed over the years. You can also play their games from different time periods and we tried out some childhood classics. We knew most of the popular ones but there were also quite many old games which were new to me. There were some unknown and unique Finnish games for Chris as well. In addition to digital games, the museum had an arcade where you can try coin-operated games starting from the 1970s. I think we went through all of them but my own favorite was the old Nopeustesti (The Speed Test) in the corner of one collider. 😀 The museum shows some history of Finnish board games too. That was interesting to see as the boards usually represented outdated maps and old frontiers of European countries.
We also checked the Rupriikki Media Museum’s new exhibition. It showed historical communication technologies that were used at Tampere city in the past. It really highlighted the advancement and significance of information networks in today’s world. We also visited the Mineral Museum and had coffee at the Museum’s Cafe in the end. The time went fast and it was an interesting cultural and historical experience for both of us.
We met the second time on Teams on Monday November 2nd. I found that the best way to communicate and work online is to use the phone to stream the video and use the computer to do everything else. We had some time to dive into Vietnamese greetings. I was somewhat shocked about the fact that I have to know who I’m talking to, because you don’t always see or hear them. In Finnish there’s no those kinds of situations. Finnish is not dependent on age or gender but in Vietnamese it is obviously very essential.
I have my notes on paper and they are usually elsewhere. It takes time to go and find them. Then we have all kinds of stuff going on on the screen and it takes time to make the view work for us. Then we see that time is up and “bye!”. 😀 These one hour sessions are really short and I have to rush to the next place every time. My reports are late. They are ragged. I don’t remember much. I’m bad with computer and writing stuff 😀 bye!
For our sixth meeting, we took a walk to the Pynikki observation tower, where we ate doughnuts – “paszek” and drank “herbata” (tea). As you might have noticed, we mainly talked about coffeehouse vocabularies. The weather was perfect, so we could even enjoy our food outside, while trying to pronounce our vocabularies. Surprisingly, compared to most of the other words, coffeehouse vocabularies aren’t that hard to pronounce for me, as coffee is “kawa”, and tea, as I already mentioned “herbata”. However, as the pronunciation is still a huge difficulty in general, we decided to go through the alphabet and practice some reading at one of our next meetings.
After covering some of the coffeehouse vocabulary, we also talked about some basic emotions. So, no we are able to say when we are “głodny” (hungry) and want to go to a café, or if we are “szczesliw” – happy. Here again, the pronunciation has really hit the mark again and our plan to concentrate fully on the pronounciation for one of our next lessons was confirmed :D. The spelling is then again a different topic.
Besides the well-known difficulties, from my point of view, Fryderyk and I really progress well in our language learning process and both of us are getting better in teaching as well.
11 November 2020
This time Néd and I decided to meet in Pella’s Café in the very centre of Tampere. I hadn’t been there before but now that I have I must say it’s a great place for this kind of meetings. It was quite spacious and that’s always a plus, but the thing I liked the most was that it was so quiet! Especially when studying you just really got to appreciate the absence of annoying background music and noise.
This meeting was quite relaxed in comparison to the other ones, but perhaps that’s just what we needed. As I’m sure everyone who’s spent a winter in Finland knows, we Finns tend to take it slow and not go out so much as in the summer. The weather’s getting colder and every day there’s less sunlight. The lack of snow is not helping with the darkness either, and to be honest it can get quite depressing. I personally think November is one of the toughest months here in the north, so what could be a better plan than to sit down to chat with a friend with a hot drink on the side?
We talked a bit about our hometowns and what we’ve done in the past in general. It’s interesting how different paths we’ve walked before ending up studying in the same class. And when talking about our studies the topic of online classes is quite inevitable: apart from changing the approach to studying itself it also puts us in a peculiar situation regarding communication and getting to know our classmates. And of course it truly feels like an otherworldly dream to think about travelling during these times, but Néd showed me pictures of his hometown Rouen and I really hope I’ll get to visit it someday! It seemed to have such impressive pieces of architecture and it’s not that far away from Paris, so it could be cool to visit both on the same trip. It might be a while until I can make that trip happen though.. But I trust the day will come!
I gave Néd the test I had made for him about the ten most useful Finnish verbs we discussed a few lessons ago, and in our next meeting I’ll get to do a similar test in French. The next meeting will be a bit more special since we’ll have it in the kitchen! We’ll meet up at my place and cook something French as well as something Finnish. I guess I need to carefully decide on a Finnish dish, since I don’t exactly have a gastronomic advantage here, haha! I’m sure we’ll come up with something delicious in the end though, so I’m really looking forward to it. 😀
4 November 2020
For our fourth meeting we decided to meet at Save File. It’s a bar that calls itself a “livingroom for the gamers”, and that actually describes the place quite well. It’s cozy and has many different nooks and corners where you can play on different consoles. (Though I must say it’s also very easy to get lost there since it feels like a maze, at least if your sense of direction is as bad as mine.) We chose a booth with a PS4 and played a bit of Mortal Kombat XL as well as Cuphead, a co-op game inspired by 1930s cartoons that Néd introduced me to.
We had chosen the place to go with our theme for the meeting: this time we went through vocabulary that has to do with the media field. Since that’s what we’re currently studying, it led us to talk about work-related words as well. For me one of the trickiest parts of learning French are the masculine and feminine words, since there’s no set “rule” on how to tell which words are which. You just have to learn them by heart! Since I’ve had the same problem with Spanish I know it’s not impossible, but you really have to use the language quite a lot to attune the ear to it. I think I’ll try to start watching and listening to more stuff in French to help speed up the process.
We also encountered quite a few loan words while making the list of work-related words. For example deadline seems to be quite an international word, and I also realised in Finnish we have many pet names for different things that come from English words (eg. läppäri = laptop and dedis = deadline). I’m also sure almost everyone knows the word rendez-vous (appointment) that’s originally French, though we might be more used to hearing it with the English pronunciation.
I feel like Néd is really getting the gist of Finnish since he’s asking exactly the right kind of questions, for example when we’re looking at longer words he straight away asks of which words they consist (damn you, compound words, you even make us Finns dizzy sometimes). He’s also picking up new words at an impressive pace, during every meeting he surprises me with something new to say in Finnish! I’ll really need to get to work not to fall behind with my French! 🌟
Meeting on November 4th, 2020, 1.5 hours
Today we spent more time learning each others’ languages again.
I started with teaching Daria the pronouns now – and their cases of course. Like almost everything else in German, it is not only “my” and “mine” but as before it gets distinguished by singular and plural forms as well as the four cases. Now multiply that with “his”, “her”, “its”, “our”, “your” and “their” and you got plenty of new vocabulary 😄
After that we discussed question words and – you can guess what – their cases either. But in the end, Daria impressively was able to form simple questions in German and to understand these.
Like in the meetings before I felt a little behind because of my Russian skills but hey, this time I also learned the different pronouns. At first, I have been struggling with understanding that the pronouns change depending on the following noun’s gender but at least there were nice exceptions. Take “hers” for example: It is just “ee” for every case. I think I might be able to remember that 😅
Other than that, I finally learned the months and seasons (a thing that has been planned since meeting two or something like that, but over all the other stuff we always forgot about it :D). We also talked about how to tell someone your age, again because in the first place I only learned how to say my own age. There actually is a quite comprehensible system for that. The verb at the end of the sentence depends on the last digit of the number: 1 – год; 2, 3, 4 – года; 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 0 – лет.
Enough material to memorize for today, already looking forward to next time 😁
Continuously after Vietnamese class, Jetro and I met again in the following day on Saturday for one-hour Finnish class and of course it again happened online. Our topic in the day was about the weather. I recommended this topic because I have learnt that topic from my language school, but I seemed to forget everything when I have had no many chances to practise about it.
Jetro started to ask me: ¨Millainen sää on tänään?¨ Oh gosh, I recognised that I forgot how to answer that simply question. How big is the gap in Finnish knowledge that I have. However, under the support of Jetro, I could hardly answer it, but honestly my answer did not satisfy myself much. We started to discuss about: ¨Miten voi kun on pimeä?¨ and Jetro helped me understand some answer for that questions. I think that both of us found hard to Finnish so far. To Jetro, it was hard to teach Finnish with the tool of English and for me Finnish is always tricky as always. I got to know some phrases that were not taught in my school and challenged my brain to understand their logic.
Then, we started to change to talk about the Tampere music chamber unintentionally. I told Jetro about that event and he was interested in it. He in the other hand taught me some other phrases around that event.
I think our classes happened a bit slowly, however we really enjoyed it. I think after this class, I will continue learning from Jetro and we may be good friends after.