On Saturday we finally had our French – German Cooking Session. As Léonie is, unfortunately, currently not in Finland we could not cook all together in real. But at least Tim and me, who are both in Tampere, met and did the Recette Tartiflette. We met at the supermarket, to get all the ingredients needed (potatoes, onions, crème fraîche, cheese). While grocery shopping we had to struggle with some difficulties, because the recipe requires a very special, French cheese – the Reblochon cheese. Unfortunately, we could not find it here in Finland. After extensive Google research, we decided to use Brie as an alternative. Back at my apartment we got straight to cooking as we were already hungry. For the recipe you first had to cut the potatoes into slices, dice the onion and fry both with salt and pepper for a quarter of an hour. Actually, bacon is added, but we omitted it because we wanted to keep the recipe vegetarian. Then the potato and onion mixture was put into a baking dish, alternating with crème fraîche and the cheese. Finally, it had to bake in the oven at 200 degrees for about 20 minutes. Even though Léonie says it looks half as tasty with Brie as with Reblochon cheese, we really enjoyed the Recette Tartiflette. It is quite similar to the traditionale potato gratin (Kartoffelgratin) known in Germany and very substantial, which is why we just managed half of it. Since the recipe is very easy to prepare, we definitely want to try it again with the Reblochon cheese when we are back in Germany.
Yesterday we had another short meeting with our German-French group. We met via Zoom and made preparations for our cooking session on Saturday. We exchanged the recipes and talked about the ingredients and the necessary equipment. We also exchanged some background knowledge about it. Léonie chose Recette Tartiflette for us, which are kind of potatoes with cheese that are backed in the oven – I’m really excited for trying that out tomorrow! She said it’s traditionally eaten while skiing in France, as it’s a very greasy food. We chose Semmelknödel mit Pilzrahmsoße for her because it is easy to prepare. This are dumplings made of old bread with a mushroom cream sauce. In Germany, it is mostly cooked to still use stale bread.
I’m really looking forward to Saturday and I’m already curious how the Recette Tartiflette will taste and if Léonie likes the Semmelknödel mit Pilzrahmsoße. We will keep you updated with some pictures of the ready cooked dishes and of course also with another blog post about the meeting.
Yesterday, we had another meeting to teach and learn French and German.
Before our professional meeting – like I would name our yesterday’s lesson – started we talked again about the cooking session we are planning to do next weekend. Tim and I already decided on two German recipes we want to give to Leonie, Leonie will give us a selection from which we can choose from on our next meeting at the middle of the upcoming week. There, we will then translate the recipes so that we know what we need to buy until Saturday.
After that we started our professional meeting. We planned to do some professional talk. So, basically speaking about skills, professions, education etc. – kind of our CV. It was not only really interesting to get known to the specific words in French, but also to see what the others of us already have done, learned and worked. Again, there came up some difficulties in translating words, as some of the words or processes are only in Germany. For example, it is unique in Europe, that you can do a so-called apprenticeship. An apprenticeship is a special type of education, where you work in a company. You also get paid for that, but additionally visit a vocational school to learn theoretical stuff and also how to use programs, tools etc. in your daily work life. After you have finished your apprenticeship, you can directly start working in this profession. Normally, it takes about three years to get this qualification. This type of education is especially for people, who don’t have Abitur (A Level degree) and therefore are not able to go to an university.
After talking about that, we also talked about the different graduation levels in Germany and France, and how you can achieve them. During this we found out, that there are a lot of similiarities in both countries – Leonie said, the system changed in France and she has the feeling like they just copied the German school system. Furthermore, in both countries, the degrees are at different difficulty levels depending on the region. For example, the final exams in France are most difficult in Paris and in Germany in Bavaria.
After nearly two weeks we had our third meeting today. We were talking about going to a restaurants and also how to order there and saying what you like or dislike. Once again, we have become aware of some things that we have never noticed in everyday use of the German language, but which are very difficult to explain to a non-native speaker. I don’t know if German is really that much harder to learn than French in terms of grammar or if we just notice it more here. I have the feeling that we do a little bit easier with the French pronunciation at every meeting. However, it is always very difficult for us Germans to understand why something is pronounced the way it is, because there are some peculiarities when a letter is omitted or pronounced. With some words, e.g. poivre (=pepper), you pronounce the r, but not the e – that feels to me like I’m about to have a knot in my tongue. Also, we realized today that we’ve never talked about common phrases of politeness, like Please, Thank you, Congratulations, etc., so we made this up.
Until our next meeting, everyone is looking for a recipe about a typical dish from their home country, which we then want to translate at our next meeting and cook “together” the week after – I am already very excited about what delicious stuff we will make.
Today we had our second (virtual) meeting. After our first meeting I felt like it’s already a bit easier to pronounce some of the French words, also I was a little proud of myself because I could still remember some of the numbers we have learnt last week.
We were talking about living circumstances: Where and how do we live? When learning and teaching this topic we also came up with some grammatical stuff and recogonized even one more time, that the German language is really hard to learn and also to teach, as we were also quite confused sometimes and did not know directly how to explain the complex grammar rules, like declination. I really have huge respect for all people who voluntarily learn German and enjoy it. But Léonie did very well and showed one more time, that she already has a very good base of German knowledge. The time of our meeting went by way too fast again today, but we had a lot of fun and were able to learn some new words and expressions.
As there is the holiday week in the first week of March we agreed on also having a short break and continue in two weeks. Then we will talk about food and typical German or French dishes, which we then want to cook/bake in our 4th meeting. This will be a lot of fun and I am already looking forward to this.
We already met las week to get known to each other a little bit and to roughly discuss how we want to organize our meetings. After that everybody could write their preliminary plans and we agreed for our first meeting for today. As Léonie could unfortunately not come to Tampere, due to the new restrictions, we met via Zoom.
We taught and learnt the first basics, so how to introduce yourself and the numbers until 100. It’s very interesting and funny, that when you count, you must also be good at math: 80 is quatre vingt, which means 4 x 20 or 90 is quatre vingt dix, which means 4 x 20 + 10. That’s really weird for me. Nevertheless, we could also find out something about German numbers, which I was not recognizing until today. If you are counting in German, you always read it the other way around, so you mention first the second number and then the first one, for example 99 is neunundneunzig – in English it would be “nine-and-ninety”.
Even, if I learnt French more than 10 years ago, it was not easy for me to find the right pronunciation. So we had quite a lot of fun when we were trying to spell it in the right way. Only spelling my name was quite easy, becaus it’s not very differnt to the German pronunciation of the alphabet.
Léonie has already quite a good German understanding, that’s we were speaking more about French language today. We will practice what we learnt today until our next meeting on Wednesday next week. After learning the basics, we are planning to learn and teach more about the world we are living in. So, stay tuned for updates on our journey to become pros in speaking French and German!
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!
Henry and I met at Ycampus today from 12.30 to 14.30 to finally work on our language skills. We are in the same degree and same workgroup, so we know each other pretty well by now. The first period has been a bit busy with tons of group projects so we both decided to start in the second period.
I started with teaching French to Henry, we went through his French course material to see if there is something he wants to review or not and tested his French to see what he remembers from the lessons. He did pretty well. Our main focus today was pronunciation, I let Henry read out loud texts and I would help and explain when he pronounced something wrong. The nasal tones are especially hard for non-native speakers. After that, we went through a few verbs and I gave Henry a book called le Becherelle, ( aka the French bible as I call it) it’s a book for conjugation and grammar, so he can use it for his course. But we will talk about verbs more in-depth next session. We also did some small talk in French, how to introduce yourself and looked at some fruits and vegetables. We revised numbers from 1 to 20 and then I taught him the numbers up to 1000. It’s not that easy to count in French! 99, for example, is when you translate it literally, four-twenty- nineteen. It doesn’t make any sense! But now he can say his phone number in French. That’s what i call a great success! I really enjoyed teaching Henry, he is a good student 😀 I think we are pretty in line with his learning outcomes.
After that, we looked at the first chapter of Suomen Mestari, one of the most popular Finnish textbooks. I have done the first few chapters half a year ago, so I wanted to review it with Henry and talk about my Finnish pronunciation, especially the Finnish “r”. Henry said I shouldn’t focus too much on it, so I will try to listen to his advice. We practised some pronunciation and then we went on reading the first few texts of the chapter. I was surprised by how much vocabulary I remembered, but there were some words I couldn’t remember, Henry helped me with the translation. We revised the days of the week and also numbers after 10, fortunately for me it is easier to count in Finnish as in French!
We talked about small talk and discussed the way Finns greet each other and say goodbye. Because I noticed that there are so many different ways of saying hello: moi, morro, morjes, moikka, hei, terve and saying goodbye: moi moi, hei hei, heippa, moikka, or just moi or hei. But there is still a slight difference to it. Henry agreed but also said I shouldn’t focus too much on it. In Finland you can say whatever you want basically, he said. That sounds so Finnish.
Overall, I was surprised by myself that I haven’t forgotten everything, but I still need to face one of my biggest “fears”: talking Finnish. I need to take more courage in speaking but I think I will be ready next time to actually have a conversation in Finnish with Henry. Next time we will look at the second chapter, on my way of becoming a Finnish champion 😀
Today we met for the very first time with Lu at the school library in TAMK. We discussed a lot of our lives and got to know each other a little bit. It was very interesting too see how China and Finland are so different kind of countries, yet we found common ground and share same expectations and difficulties as a generation. I think we are going to have fun and get along fine during this course.
As I am new to Chinese language Lu taught me some basic phrases like saying hello, I’m sorry, I like you and so on. I’m fascinated how beautiful language Chinese is, both written and pronounced, although I think my attempt to write Chinese was like 3-year old’s. We also revised Finnish phrases and pronouncing.
We also talked a little about our lives as students, housing conditions and so on. Now that I have seen pictures of the school Lu goes to in China, Shandong University, I can’t help but to feel amazed. It looked very futuristic and wonderful. Perhaps I will see it with my own eyes someday.
On the 6th of December it was Finnish Independence day and we thought that it would be a nice idea to arrange our last meeting then 🙂 We met in the city centre and went to the coffee place in Tampere Hall to enjoy the last cup of coffee in this company together this year because the second period is almost done and we will have our winter holidays. We shared our plans for Christmas and New Year, summed up all our meetings and made our own feedback for EOTO course what we’ve learnt and what did we like about it. We all agreed that it would be nice to continue getting together for language practice and just for fun as well.
After coffee we attended the Christmas market in the city centre, it was full of nice stuff, we learned some new words about Christmas and holidays and didn’t notice how time flew and suddenly fireworks started! That was amazing!
After watching it we said bye-bye to each other, wished luck in future language studies and went home. 🙂 Thank you EOTO for the opportunity to meet nice people!