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.
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!
Yesterday we continued our language learning journey at Hanna’s place. Hanna made a “finntastic” ham-cheese-pie for us which we enjoyed in a relaxed atmosphere while there were soft Christmas songs played and us having a good conversation about what has happened over the last week. It’s really nice because meeting on Monday and therefore, starting the week with our EOTO get-together has almost became a tradition over the last couple of weeks.
Now, that it’s nearly December and the semester is ending soon we decided to give it a go and see how far we have come. Every one of us gave the others in their target language an overview of oneself. It’s great to see that we all managed to learn good pronunciation and some basic language skills as well. I’m really sad, that our time in Tampere is almost over and so is this course. It’s been a good decision to join the course, even if I was a little late. 😀 I met three wonderful people and learned a lot about the Finnish language and about Finland on the way. I will surely continue learning and hopefully coming back to Finland in the future. If I return it’s hopefully not just for holidays but maybe for a lifetime.
We spent our final meeting in a Christmas spirit baking gingerbread (pipari) and Christmas pastries (joulutorttu) while listening to Christmas music. We made both pipari and joulutorttu from frozen doughs to save some time. I have never made either of the doughs myself and it is quite common to use frozen doughs for pipari and joulutorttu.
With pipari, all you have to do is to roll out the dough and cut it with a different Christmas themed molds and then bake it according to the instructions in the package. After the piparis have cooled down you can decorate them however you like. We made two different icings. One was icing sugar mixed with lime juice and the other was icing sugar mixed with my grandmother’s homemade rasberry-redcurrant juice. On top of the icing we put a few peppermint flavoured chocolate candies.
One batch of piparis accidentally burned but luckily we had enough dough to make more 😊
When making joulutorttu, you first need to cut the frozen puff pastry into squares. When the dough has melted a little you need to make diagonal cuts into each corner and lift up the corners like in the photo. Then you can choose a marmelade that you like and place it on top. Traditionally joulutorttu is made with plum jam. We used plum jam and apple-cinnamon marmelade.
While enjoying our piparis and joulutorttus we taught each other some Christmas related words.
Unfortunately all good things come to an end at some point. I learned a lot about the Dutch culture (and food) and some phrases and words to amaze people with. I also liked teaching Finnish and things about Finland and Finnish culture. This course was better than I ever imagined and huge thanks for that go to my pair Jocelyn!
Christmas time means pre-Christmas parties and for our eight meeting we went to the EOTO Christmas party which was at Solu. There were many other students from around the world who were also participating the EOTO course. Many students had brought some traditional food and snacks from their home countries to share with everyone. At the party me and Jocelyn talked about Christmas traditions in Finland and the Netherlands.
In Finland we celebrate Christmas on 24th December, Christmas Eve. In the morning of the 24th there is a children’s TV show where Santa Claus takes calls from children and they also show traditional Christmas animations and movies. Christmas is spent with family. Many families go to church on Christmas Eve and for most of them Christmas is the only day of the year they go to church. Some of my family members go to church in some of the Christmases but not always. Personally, I don’t go to church because I have resigned from the church. In the evening, after the church or some other activities, there is the Christmas dinner which consists of oven-baked ham, root vegetable casseroles, mixed beetroot salad, smoked salmon and many other different salads, meat and fish dishes. At some point, usually after dinner, Santa Claus comes for a visit. Santa Claus’ visit is usually a tradition only if there are young children in the family but some families hire one even when the children are older and don’t believe in Santa Claus anymore. Children sing songs to Santa Claus and then Santa Claus brings presents to everyone. The presents can be placed for example under the Christmas tree by family members if Santa doesn’t visit. After Santa Claus leaves the presents are opened and the rest of the evening is spent with family. Rest of the Christmas (25th and 26th) is usually spent with family and I personally visit my grandparents and my boyfriend’s family on Christmas Day and Boxing Day.
In the Netherlands the Christmas is celebrated on Christmas Day 25th and the second Christmas Day 26th. I already posted a blog about Dutch traditions and I told about Sinterklaas. On Sinterklaas’ Day children get presents so it is not a common tradition in the Netherlands to give presents on Christmas Day. Christmas is more spiritual and it involves church. In the Netherlands Christmas is also spent with family and it includes a Christmas dinner. A Dutch Christmas dinner usually includes roast pork, vegetables, homemade bread and pepernoten.
Although very similar, there were surprisingly many differences between Finnish and Dutch Christmas. It was nice to get to know more about Dutch traditions and the pepernoten cookies that Jocelyn had brought were so good I’m going to buy them too!
We met at Janica’s home to celebrate a Christmas Party!
In the begining she showed us a Photo Album of her Exchange to Argentina. It was very fun to see all the pictures and to listen to the stories she told us! She was staying in Buenos Aires, but also had some time to travel to Uruguay and Brasil- It was very funny because when I saw the picture of her in the beach in Montevideo it happens that I live 2 blocks away from the place the picture was taken!
From her visit to Argentina Janica has a mate, so she had it ready when we arrived. Getuar had never tried mate so I was very excited to see if he would like it or not. The mate had some sugar in it, so it was not the original one (it is very bitter) but it was ok for him.
We spent the evening listening to Christmas songs and telling each other how do we spend Christmas time. We had some Finnish Christmas food: joulutorttu, glögi, ginger breads and chocolate. It was a lovely evening and I didn’t wanted to end!
It was very nice to meet Janica and Getuar so I will be forever thankful to this course of giving me the chance to meet them! I hope we can meet again in the future!
At the end of the meeting Janica was so nice to gave us a ride back home 🙂
We met in the Waffle Café which is a lovely place with delicious food!
The topic for this meeting was the days of the week. I already know them in Finnish but Getuar was learning them in Spanish for the first time. I told them that the names of the days comes from the planets and sun and moon.
Lunes (Monday) comes from Luna (Moon). Martes (Tuesday) comes from Marte. Miércoles (Wednesday) comes from Mercurio (Mercury). Jueves (Thursday) comes from Júpiter. Viernes (Friday) comes from Venus. Sábado (Saturday) comes from the Hebrew Sabbath. Domingo (Sunday) comes from Sol (sun).
I think it is easy for me to remember the days of week in Finnish because I can relate most of them to the English, but I think to Getuar it might be more difficult to remember them in Spanish because you cannot relate the days to Finnish nor English.
In this meeting we also started talking about Christmas traditions. We wanted to know the differences and similarities on how we celebrate Christmas. The conversation was very interesting.
For example, in Uruguay families get together for dinner at Christmas Eve and at midnight we hug and congratulate each other and there are Fireworks, after that we open the presents. In Finland there are not Fireworks at Christmas, and for example in Janica’s family they open the presents in the afternoon of Christmas Eve.
We had to leave because the Café was closing, but the conversation was so interesting that we will continue talking about that. We also think it would be a good idea to have a Christmas party together!
Tonight, it was unfortunately our last meeting. We decided for our last meeting to bake some Christmas cookies and some Joulutorttu. I had never baked gingerbread cookies and joulutorttu before, so I was really excited.
After we baked the Christmas cookies we decorated them with our self-made glace and some candies. The joulutorttu and most of the Christmas cookies turned out really good!
Because we were in such a Christmas mood we talked about words related to this amazing holiday.
I have to say that this course was totally what I expected! I learned a lot about the Finnish culture and language and that was my goal. It was also really nice to teach about my culture, because not a lot of people know a lot about the Dutch culture. Thanks Elisa for the really nice and fun meetings and for teaching me about the Finnish culture! Now it’s almost time to celebrate Christmas so I wish everyone a Hyvää Joulua!
My favorite holiday of the year is coming: Christmas! I want to celebrate it as early as I can, so I love pre-Christmas parties. For this meeting we went to the Christmas party organized by EOTO.
Everyone had to bring some food, and I immediately knew what I wanted to take with me. Although in my home country it isn’t considered a Christmas cookie, it still kind of reminds me of Christmas. I took pepernoot with me. Pepernoten belong to a Dutch holiday celebrated in the beginning of December. While enjoying a drink and the pepernoten, Elisa and I talked about Christmas in our home countries.
I personally don’t celebrate Christmas with presents and Santa Claus, I celebrate the birth of Jesus. I celebrate the first day of Christmas on the 25th of December and the second day of Christmas on the 26th of December. My Christmases consist of going to church, being with family, eating a lot of food, listening to Christmas music and watching a lot of Christmas movies. I bet there are a lot of Dutch people who celebrate Christmas with presents and Santa Claus though.
In Finland they celebrate Christmas a little bit different. Finnish people celebrate Christmas eve on the 24th of December, and Christmas on the 25th of December. They celebrate Christmas even with Santa Claus and presents under the Christmas tree. They also sing a lot of songs and they write poems. On the 25th of December they celebrate a traditional Christmas day and on the 26th of December they celebrate Boxing day.
I didn’t expect this much of a difference between our way of celebrating Christmas. I think it was really interesting to talk about Christmas and I gained a lot of new knowledge about the Finnish culture. Now after talking about Christmas I can’t wait for celebrating it!
This time around we decided to go to see the opening of the Christmas market with Fruzsi and Boti in Keskustori and talk about our Christmas traditions.
We did not have any bigger plans for this meeting, just to meet up, walk around the market and see where the conversation would end up. Actually, meeting in the Christmas market was a good idea in a sense that we were able to see the things we were talking about in real and we also found new topics to talk about when seeing things.
However, ones again we realized that our cultures are rather similar to each other. There are no so many differences when it comes to the decorations, food or giving presents. It seems that those traditions are either Christian or European, and therefore common for us all.
The biggest differences we were able to name was that in Hungary it is not Santa Claus, who brings the presents on 24th of December, but baby Jesus. Even so, also kids in Hungary do believe to Santa Claus. He visits on 6th of December.
Another difference, though a very small one, is that in Hungary it is normal to hung candies to the Christmas tree whereas in Finland it is rather rare according to me.