Just when I was beginning to think that my ear was adjusting to Finnish....well let's just say my class tonight was difficult. I realize that I know NOTHING. I thought tonight's class would be a piece of cake. I mean, how hard can it be to tell the time? You know the key phrases: What time is it? It is ___o'clock. You plug in the numbers and Bob's your uncle!
Not so in Finnish. The numbers go through the same declensions as other nouns and end up not sounding like the numbers you so proudly thought you knew. In order to tell the time in Finland you don't need a watch so much as a calculator. 3:30 pm is not 3:30 pm, but really add twelve to make it 15.30 and then you can't say half past 3, you must puoli 16. My poor brain was reeling.
The most important thing I learned tonight was when I asked my teacher how to politely request that people speak more slowly...."Hitaammin, ole hyvä".
Finns don't just talk quickly, they move quickly. I have never considered myself particularly slow, but now I feel like I am walking through jello. Everyone else walks more quickly than I do. I was passed going up the hill to class by a woman in her 70s. How do they do it? Is it all the coffee?
I would like to be able to push a button and slow everyone down while I continued at normal speed. That way I would understand the cashier without giving her the blank stare and maybe I would be able to pass the elderly man with the walker.