Friday, October 30, 2009

Looking for Finland in everything I do

Last night I went to see the movie "The Singing Revolution". Why? Well I had a babysitter and I was hoping to get close to Finland through a movie about Estonian history. It was a fabulous movie and I recommend it, but Finland was mentioned once! One man hid from the Soviets in the bathroom of a Finnish ferry and emigrated to Canada.

When you are looking for Finland, you will be surprised at what you find! One friend recommended "Confessions of a Shopaholic" because of the tiny subplot about the Finnish language. We all watched it one rainy day, savoring the subplot. The shopaholic character claims to know Finnish since no one can ever check. Having a chickflic revolve around some throwaway lines reminded us of our "Charlie Wilson's War" experience. Who remembers the important Finnish language plot line? Well, we do! Picture Philip Seymour Hoffman saying this:
Gust Avrakotos: Promises were made!
Cravely: Not by me.
Gust Avrakotos: I've been with the company for twenty-four years. I was posted in Greece for fifteen. I've advised and armed the Hellenic Army. I've neutralized champions of communism. I've spent the past three years... learning *Finnish!* Which would come in handy here in Virginia, and I'm never ever sick at sea. So I wanna know why... I'm not gonna be your Helsinki station chief.

Let us know of any other Finnish subplots we should be studying!

P.S. The Cravely fellow is John Slattery from MadMen! Who knew?

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Finland and cell phones

The New York Times recently wrote about the cell phone refuseniks. Apparently only 15% of American adults do not use cell phones. The adults without cellphones tend to be older, less educated Americans according to the Pew Internet and American Life Project. But, there is a small subset of American adults who resist being readily accessible. E.g. my husband! The biggest change in our family when we get to Finland will be that Chris will use a cell phone. In fact, he has already purchased 3, yes 3, cell phones. Sophie will also have a cell phone. Our life is changing!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

You can find Finland anywhere!

I took this picture in Maine this summer. As we drove south from Camden, the last thing we expected to see was a little piece of Finland. Sadly, it was closed for the day by the time I did my Uwy into the parking lot. This fall Chris and I tried to find the rumored Finn Hall in New Hampshire. If you know where it is, let me know.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Wool Dog

Finnish for Poodle is villa koira or wool dog. Villa koira is also the term for dust bunnies, those tumble weed sized objects under my bed. So, I have a herd of poodles under the bed!
The hardest part of this trip to Finland is leaving behind our wool dog, Sheba!

1Mb Broadband Access Becomes Legal Right | News | YLE Uutiset |

1Mb Broadband Access Becomes Legal Right | News | YLE Uutiset |

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High Tech Finland

Northern New England struggles to provide internet service to its residents. Fairpoint purchased Verizon and agreed to maintain the landlines and also provide internet access to 75% of its customers. This is proving hard to accomplish:

Meanwhile, in Finland, access to broadband has been made a legal right.

YLE, the Finnish radio station, reports that,

"Starting next July, every person in Finland will have the right to a one-megabit broadband connection, says the Ministry of Transport and Communications. Finland is the world's first country to create laws guaranteeing broadband access.

The government had already decided to make a 100 Mb broadband connection a legal right by the end of 2015. On Wednesday, the Ministry announced the new goal as an intermediary step.

Some variation will be allowed, if connectivity can be arranged through mobile phone networks."

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Unusual Finnish Sports

Finland is known for some of the world's more unusual sporting events.

For instance, the Air Guitar World Championship is held annually in Oulu, Finland.

Finland is also home to the sport of wife carrying or eukonkanto. This sport, originating in Sonkajarvi, Finland, involves a man carrying a woman through an obstacle course. The local race is held in Sunday River, Maine every Columbus Day. (Drat, we just missed it). The winner of the Sunday River contest can go on to Sonkajarvi where the prize is the wife's weight in beer.

And today I learned about the sport of shoefitti. One of my students brought this up in the context of Street Law and as I read through the Wikipedia site I was not surprised to see that, yes, "Boot throwing has been a popular sport in Finland since 1976 when the first Finnish Championships of boot throwing has been organized." Thank you Wikipedia.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

This is Sophie with Moomintroll's love interest, Snork Maiden. The red face paint on Sophie's cheek is the character, Little My.


Before Chris developed his obsession with Finland, my Finnish touch points were Fiskars scissors and Moomins. What are Moomins? They are the characters in a wildly popular children's book series by Tove Jansson. My family had the series as children growing up with an English mother. There is a theme park in Finland devoted to the books and their characters. It is a low key theme park on a tiny island inhabited by actors dressed as Moomins. We took Sophie to the theme park, Muumimaailma, in the town of Naantali. As luck would have it, Naantali is close to Turku and we have visited Turku, our new home, for a day. Here is Sophie in an embrace with Moominpapa.

Monday, October 12, 2009

First things first

Yesterday I had my first Finnish lesson with Aki and we immediately honed in on what I need to know: How to order coffee. This is no laughing matter. According to Cultureshock Finland, Finns drink more coffee per capita than any other country. In my idealized view of my life in Finland, I am in a coffee shop reading and knitting. No more school board, parole board, meetings of any kind, just me and a cup of joe.

Me: Haluasin kahvia, kiitos?
Finnish barista: Ole hyva.
Me: Kiitos. Saisiko olla kermaa?
Finnish barista: Ole hyva.

This could work though Aki warned that people in Turku speak faster than other Finns and tend to drop their endings.


Sunday, October 11, 2009

What to do at a hot spot!

Will I be cold and mute?

Yes, I know everyone in Finland speaks English. They are probably more proficient in English than I. However, I have this Quixotic desire to know enough Finnish to be able to ask to come in out of the cold.
Today, I begin in earnest by meeting my tutor, a local college student named Aki. I don't even know how to begin this journey. I just know I can't do flash cards. Chris is all about the flash cards and has been carrying packs of them around for several years now. I remember a suspicious pack of Finnish words spilling out of his pocket during a security check at the courthouse. The guard stared at the rubber banded pack of words with the letters yy and aa and uu and handed them back.
I hope Aki will have some good ideas and won't think he is wasting his time. His home town is Turku so we can discuss all the HOT spots in Turku. I am not speaking of nightlife here, I mean temperature hot!
Here is another helpful site for those of you who wish to learn Finnish too:


And in case I do find those fabled hot spots!

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Finnish Goth music!

Last year Peru! This year Finland!