Category Archives: EOTO

Holidays in Russia, Finland, Germany

In our fifth meeting, we first made general small talk about how we are all doing in our studies and then talked about the vacations and holidays in our different countries. I found it very interesting that in Russia there are summer vacations which last three months. This is very untypical for me because the summer vacations in Germany are only six weeks. However, we have another two weeks of school vacations in autumn, another two weeks at Christmas and another two weeks at Easter. I also found it interesting that Christmas in Russia is celebrated on the seventh of January and not on December 24. I think I had heard that before, but I was still surprised. In general, we found that there are many similarities between Finnish and Russian vacations. We also noticed that both in Russia, Finland, and Germany we have the first of May as a Labour Day holiday. I was not aware before that this is a cross-country holiday.

At the end of the meeting Heini told us about many Finnish holidays, which I did not know until then. For these holidays there are often special and own specialties to eat. That would be just the thing for me, as I love food.

Koko kokko kokoon

Timo and I were talking about sauna culture but before we realized it, the topic changed to tongue twister.

He taught me the following phrase:
Polta koko kokko.
Koko kokkoko?
Koko kokko.

That sounds like chirps of chickens!
I found its translation to Japanese on website of Embassy of Finland in Tokyo. 

Below is the most famous Japanese tongue twister:
Namamugi Namagome Namatamago (生麦生米生卵)
There is no meaning in that, but if translated, it means “raw wheat raw rice raw egg.” 

And he taught me the longest word in Finnish:
(Airplane jet engine helper mechanic noncommissioned officer student)

The longest Japanese persons name is the following:


It’s a fictitious name. Jugemu(寿限無) is one of the most popular stories of “Rakugo,” a traditional Japanese vowel entertainment.

I want to know what makes these pronunciations difficult for Finns when I get used to practice Finnish language!

Schooling systems

During our 8th meeting we discussed the schooling systems, as well as taught and learned some words and practiced pronunciation. I told guys that in Russia, children go to school (1st grade) when they are 7 years old and continue going to the same school until the 11th grade (this is when we finish high school). We do have a division by primary, secondary, and high school, but it is rather informal as children stay at the same school for the whole time. The learning programme is very intense and we get so much homework that sometimes it is impossible to complete everything. In many schools, children also have school on Saturdays (in my school, we had around 5 lessons on Saturdays, from around 11.00 am until 16.30 pm). This is very tough since we spend Saturdays at school and do homework on Sundays (it often takes the whole day).

After we finish high school at around 17–18 years old, we can go to university. However, there is also a possibility to leave school after the 9th grade and go to college, where they can start with more practical subjects like construction, cooking, etc. Normally, people choose to stay at school until the end, since it prepares them well for university.

It takes 4 years to complete a Bachelor’s degree and 2 years to do a Master’s afterwards. Some words that we practiced with guys were

university-университет (universeetiet)

student– студент(stoodent)


diploma-диплом (deeplom)

studies-учёба (uchyoba).

Elina and Heini told us about the schooling system in Finland. Children usually start school at 7 years old, but they go to kindergarten before that. The elementary school lasts until the 9th grade, and then children have a few options to choose from. Secondary education lasts for about three years, after which students can apply to a university or university of applied sciences. Some words that we practiced in Finnish were the following:

School – koulu

University – yliopisto

U of applied science – Ammattikorkeakoulu

Student – oppilas/opiskelija (depends on the context).

Education – koulutus

Our hometowns

During our 7th meeting, we decided to talk about our hometowns and tell each other more about them, as well as learning/teaching some key words in Finnish, Russian, and German.

I told guys about my hometown, Barnaul. It is a city in Siberia and has around 700.000750.000 inhabitants, so it is quite big. It is true that many people are surprised to hear that I come from such a big city when I tell them I am from Siberia. I was born there and lived there for 14 years before my family and I moved to Prague, the Czech Republic. It is not always winter in Barnaul, only for around 4 months :D It starts getting colder in October, when temperatures are around +1 degree, but the coldest months are December and January (it often gets to -35 during the day and even -43 degrees at night). But winters are very beautiful-often sunny and we have lots of snow. It is also very dry in winter, so the cold doesn’t feel as bad. During the summer, it is usually around +24 degrees, but it can get up to +35, which is really hot. In Barnaul, we have many universities, museums, and theaters. The Altai State University ranks very high in Siberia, drawing students from China and India to come study in Barnaul. I also wanted to teach guys some words in Russian, so here they are: Музей (muzey)-museum; школа (shkola)-school; кино (keeno)-cinema; зоопарк (zopark)-zoo; дом (dom)-house.

Elina told us about her hometown. She was born in Jyväskylä, a town which now has 144.000 inhabitants. When she was 16 years old, she moved to Tampere, but she said she still misses her hometown as she had a great childhood there. It is also a university town, so many people move in and out all the time. She also told us about the beautiful landmarks: lake Jyväsjärvi and Kuokkala bridge.

Then Simon told us about Viersen, a town that has around 70.000 inhabitants and is located only 10 minutes away from the Dutch border. He was born there and spent most of his life in Viersen. There are many forests, fields, and beautiful nature, so it is perfect for children to grow up there. It is also located close to

Düsseldorf (20 minutes away) and Cologne (50 minutes away).

This is some vocabulary that we learned with Simon:

Living in the countryside – Landleben


School – Schule

Good morning! – Guten Morgen!

Good evening! – Guten Abend!

Heini also told us about her hometown. It is called Ylöjärvi and has around 30.000 inhabitants. It is close to Tampere (20 minutes away) and there is lots of beautiful countryside around it. She moved to Tampere and lives there now, but she really wants to return to her hometown one day!

Waiting for the vacation so bad.

Oh I laughed at the dirty santa! Why haven’t I experienced that one! Haha! And perunalaatikko, I don’t understand how she loves it so much….Luiza’s Christmas sounds warm and really flexible  and easygoing. The foods were so different once again, not a surprise though. But still in my opinion I think there is so many thing better than perunalaatikko! I learned many foods in Portuguese. I’d like to taste the desserts and the rise with raisins because it just sounds too weird. Oh gosh Brazilians and their dirty Santas, and raisins and everything.

Couple of years ago I spent Christmas alone because I was working long days and my family lives 400 kilometers away. Luiza was quite shocked. For me it was an opening experience, quite meditative also. It made me think about what I really want from Christmas. Such a cliche, but Christmas for me is quality time with my family and little sisters and brother because we don’t see that often. We enjoy eating together and spending time outside and in the forest. And of course we have Joulusauna, in the morning. The Santa might be visiting again, after that we open the presents. This year we made a deal that everyone buys only one present for one family member. I promised to make some joulutorttu for Luiza, this wasn’t the last time we meet. ❤️

The German way

In this meeting I was able to teach the others about my German culture. I really enjoyed teaching others about the characteristics of my country, and only then did I see how many differences there really are and you start to think about things that are actually completely commonplace for you.

Since we all like food very much in our group, we also talked a lot about traditional German dishes in this meeting. I showed the others which regions are famous for which dishes and that there are also dishes where people argue about which region they come from. For example, the “Currywurst” (a sausage in a curry spiced sauce). In addition, we also have dishes that seem very unusual for non-Germans. For example, “Zwiebelmett”. This is raw minced pork with onions and is eaten on a bun. Sometimes the “Mett” is even served in the shape of a hedgehog, which of course seems very funny to other cultures.

At the end of the meeting, I also mentioned some typical German expressions. Some of them I thought only existed in German, but we found out that they also exist in a similar way in Finnish. As I said in the beginning, I really enjoyed talking about my own culture!

About the value of being present

I’ve been working on my thesis, and somehow we started to talk about it quite a lot. Last time the topic was our future, so this was a nice follow-on subject for that. My thesis is about Tantric Life Coach and creating business around that. 

I help people to be more present and compassionate to themselves. Tantra is about allowing, being conscious and aware. The focus is on the body, because it tells us more than our head. People spend way too much time in their heads, not in their bodies or hearts. Body, breath, movemeant, and being present to yourself is the key to wellbeing. General issues are also boundaries, needs and how to communicate those to others. Under everything of that, is the NEED (NECESSIDADE, this was hard to say) to be heard and seen, as an all-encompassing human being. Those moments can be really healing. The subject is sometimes hard to explain and pitch. But in the end I see all the time that people need it, and kind of yearn for it. We are all the same, as precious and loveable. There just might be some layers that will make us forget that, or emotions might be stuck in our bodies, and we need to make them move, so life can go on. 

Läsnäolo – Precense – Presença

Valmennus – Coaching – Coaching

Keho – Body – Corpo 

Tarve – Need – Necessidade

Tulla kuulluksi ja nähdyksi – To be heard and seen – Ser ouvida e vista

Hyväksyä – Accept / approve – Aceitar/aprovar 

Sallia – Allow – Permitir

Trauma – Trauma – Trauma

Eu estou vivendo para meu sonho se tornar real.

We talked about our future, goals and dreams today. It was so inspiring to hear Luiza’s dreams and I really did become emotionally moved while she talked about her mother. How terrible things can happen, and still there’s a chance to create a totally new life. As we see, our mind and actions make our reality. Humans are so strong if they just decide.
I’ve been a bit nervous and excited when it comes to my future. I’m about to graduate next month (hope so) and I feel I have been so busy that I have just wanted to focus on school and getting everything done. My dreams focus on being creative, inspiring and helping people to communicate better. I see myself as an artist, laughter yoga teacher, business consultant, dancer and as a life coach. I really want to be an entrepreneur, but it would be calming and safe to find a stable job at least for a couple of months. I also want to study more. Most important thing to me is to find a community, family and a partner. All of those are about love, growing and supporting each other. Let’s see and trust the process. Life is all about enjoyment. Luiza is so inspiring, how she has moved to Finland, wants to learn and live fully. I really admire the relationship which she has with her mom. This meeting was touching and really important to us. 

Minä elän unelmaani todeksi  – I’m living my dream to become true – Eu estou vivendo para meu sonho se tornar real.

Oh what a family! 

Family and the whole history of family is fascinating. Last few years I have been focusing quite a lot on some kind of tragedies and traumas. How wars and the way of being present and showing love or care to your family affects our being and the way of living. And how we see ourselves and others around us. And what we think we are capable of. And truly about how we can break those barriers. I see it’s all around the questions: “ Am I valuable?” or “Am I loved?” I like to go deep in these!

My family is so precious to me. I have three siblings. Thirteen cousins, and I’m about to become an aunt, which has deepened our family and made us even closer. It’s beautiful to see the changes and growth processes. Sometimes I miss the parties where almost all of your relatives joined from mother’s and father’s side. I see we Finns are quite private with our things and lives. While we shared our thoughts we studied words, just like always in our meetings, here’s few:

Family – família – perhe

Mom – mãe – Äiti

Father – pai – Isä

Brother – irmão – Veli

Sister – irmã – Sisko

Cousin – prima/primo – Serkku

Aunt – tia – Täti

Uncle – tio – Setä

Grandpa – avô – Isoisä, Pappa

Grandma – avó – Isoäiti, Mummo / Mummi

Personal pronouns..

For this lesson I was asked to bring anything that would be useful for Yuiko on her journey to learn Finnish. It is not the most interesting or fun subject, but still so important for being able to communicate in Finnish.

Personal pronouns!

  • Minä = I
  • Sinä = You
  • Hän = He/She
  • Me = We
  • Te = You (plural)
  • He = They

Since they are not rocket science, but just remembering, we used our meeting to create different sentences and Yuikos job was to pick the correct one and pronounce it out loud. For example “Hän on iloinen” / “She is happy”.

Regardless the subject was boring, the time just flew by (at least for me haha.)