Wednesday, May 09, 2012

Kooste keväästä (Spring Summary)

My new home, my window is the furthest to the left.
Isn't it sort of cool that the title of this post is an alliteration in both languages? Okay, maybe it's just me.
A few days after my trip to Berlin, I changed host families. I now live with the Peura family. My new host brother, Kalle (KAWL-lay), is one of my best friends here in Finland. My host father Ilkka is a retired teacher from Air Force School in Kauhava; he now operates the movie theatre. My host mother Heli works in a fabric store. Mikko and Emma, my host brother and sister respectively, are both post-secondary students. Mikko studies business in Oulu in Northern Finland and Emma studies arts in Imatra in Eastern Finland. I had visited the Peura family countless times before moving, so the transition between families was pretty easy. However it was the first time in years that someone has told me I need to make my bed every day.
After my Berlin trip a new jakso started at school. This jakso I am in a physics “work course”, in which we do experiments every class. I am taking another äidinkieli course: kielioppi (grammar). I understand much of the syntax discussed, but sometimes I don’t need to know how to write the second infinitive in the inessive case with the first person singular possessive ending (for those curious minds, an example of what I just described is “uidessani” = when I am/was swimming). My math course is number theory and logic. This is my schedule. The blanks are all spare periods; you may notice that this is the least busy term I have had this year. But hey, it’s also my last term of Finnish high school ever!


Physics 9
Math 11
Physics 9

Finnish 10
Math 11

Finnish 10

Finnish 10
Math 11
Physics 9
Music 7


Heli, Kalle, and Ilkka at the piano recital.
At the end of April, Kalle, who is a talented and aspiring pianist, had his first solo piano concert in the church’s congregation hall. About 70 people were in attendance. Kalle played marvellously, and more importantly he was happy with his own performance.
The orchestra. I'm the the front row; apparently I was camera shy.
Veteran’s Day was the last Friday of April. I played with my orchestra at a celebration in Ylihärmä. A couple days later we also played at a party for the fiftieth anniversary of the Ylihärmä Reserves (as in military reserves).
Vappu, (also know as May Day, the first of May, and Walpurgis Night), is one of the biggest celebration days. It is a day for all ylioppilaat (high school graduates) to wear their ylioppilaslakki (graduation hat). It’s also the time of year to drink sima, which is a low-alcohol sparking brew made from lemons, brown sugar, water, raisins and yeast. Sima is normally consumed with either munkit (doughnuts) or tippaleipä (funnel cake). In the squares of larger cities, hundreds or even thousands of people can gather to celebrate. Living in a small town, there were no such large celebrations. Because vappu was actually on a Tuesday with work and school on Wednesday, many people celebrated Monday evening and night. I celebrated the occasion with my friends at a barbeque held at my new host family’s house. Kalle and I spent the day in the kitchen preparing burgers, shish kebabs, stuffed mushrooms, and Jell-o. On May the first, we all slept in and had a big brunch with champagne, sausages, bacon, real pancakes, and pure Canadian maple syrup.
Kaitlyn and me, overlooking Hämeenlinna.
Last weekend I went by myself (with all necessary permissions of course) on a nice trip to the town Hämeenlinna. I stayed with Canadian exchange student, Kaitlyn, another who is from the Greater Toronto Area. I caught the train after school and spent almost the whole trip writing my last blog post (about Berlin). Kaitlyn and Clare (another Rotary student from New York State) met me at the station and we walked to Kaitlyn’s house. I could tell that her host dad was anxious about having a boy spending the night, but I had a conversation with him and he said within a minute he could tell that I was a good guy. The three of us students spent the night wandering around as the girls showed me the highlights of the town. I think that there are about 60,000 people in Hämeenlinna. The major attraction of the city is a castle which I visited with my first host mother Jaana in the fall (see “Ruotsi ja syysloma”). On Saturday, I met up with Vilma, the girl from Finland who was in my Rotary district last year. She drove us to the town where she lives, Valkeakoski, and showed me around. Then we visited her home for coffee where I met her family. In the afternoon I went back to Hämeenlinna had a bicycle tour of the Aulanko area with Kaitlyn and her friend Aino; unfortunately my camera’s battery died before I took any pictures and I had left the spare at Kaitlyn’s house. I believe I have said that Etelä-Pohjanmaa, where I live in Finland, is like the Saskatchewan of Finland in that it is very very flat. Hämeenlinna is my no means mountainous, but the littlest hills felt massive because I am not used to riding my bike on hills. Saturday evening was spent downtown with Kaitlyn, Clare, and some of their Finnish friends. I left on Sunday by train in the early afternoon. I actually rode on the same train as my host dad who was coming home from Sweden. I was also in the same car as my Rotary counsellor, but we didn’t notice each other until we were at the station in Kauhava. I spent the trip home making my presentation entitled “Minun vuoteni Suomesta”, my year in Finland, which I will present tomorrow to my hosting Rotary club. It’s crazy that I am already presenting about my whole year. It has been just over nine months that I’ve been in Finland, and I only have less than two months left.

1 comment:

  1. Aulanko on hieno paikka! Mun kummitäti asuu Hämeenlinnassa ja oon viettänyt paljon aikaa Aulangolla lapsena :)