Free time activities

As summer is coming and my time here flying, I’m enjoying as much as I can my time left here. For that I had several times coffee in different café, which was quite difficult to find landmarks since I’m french and here the coffee cannot be compared ;). But as I was meeting with some Finnish friends I experimented a cultural shock, which I think is worth telling.
Let me explain, I settled a meeting with my friends at the café « TÅRGET ». First I couldn’t find it and I asked someone in the street where « tar-get » is and she answer me something about « tor-yet » … Well I didn’t have the right pronunciation but I found my way there. It was really sunny and quite warm so we had drinks in the terrace. My friends order a beer and an interesting « Gin tonic » cocktail. So I went to the bar and ask if I could have sirop with water. It’s a really common drink, at least in France, just order a « Sirop à l’eau » and you have your very refreshing drink. It actually looks like that:Lucie3

The barman looked at me with big eyes and didn’t understand what I wanted. He first asked me if I only wanted water and sirop or a cocktail. Then he asked me if it should be warm or cold water. I answer that it should be cold and I explain that from where I am it’s really common. Then he grabbed a whisky glass to serve my drink and I started to laugh so much because he didn’t know at all what he was doing. And finally when he was done with my drink he had no idea how much to charge me with, he just said « I guessed 2€ will be enough ». Lucie4

Then I offer to my friend to try that  « weird drink » and the actually enjoyed it. It’s quite simple but really refreshing.
I’m glad that I could live this experience, I never thought that this drink was really not common here. I’m also happy that I could share this with the barman and my friends, now they know a whole you « cocktail » :).

Text & photos: Lucie Valentini

Curiosities of Finnish people & culture

I’m studying in Turku since now four months and we finally reach May and Finnish «spring». I could write an article about the weather of course because it’s completely crazy how we can go from snow to nice 15 degrees day. But I would like to tell about what I felt this week-end about Vappu.
Lucie1Since one and a half week I heard about « Vappu days », « Vappu celebration » or even «Pre-Vappu » and I didn’t understand it at all before my Finnish friend told me that it’s about the Labor day. So here starts what I could call a « curiosity ». I’m from France and apart from the day off on the 1st of May we don’t celebrate the labor day. So I was really curious that we could have events for more than one week to celebrate this day. But as I’m here to learn more about Finns and Finnish culture I took part for two days in this celebrations.
The first thing I did was on Saturday, I went with my friends at Educarium to enjoy the
atmosphere and the « pre-vappu » speech. It was really nice to see all those students with
overalls, it’s also something I could call « curiosity » because I never saw such a thing
before but I really like the idea and the fact that every students wear it. Then we all walked to the art museum hill and listent to the speech. Of course with my basics Finnish skills I didn’t understand the speech but I was here to witness this tradition. I was amazed that
everyone was gathered, it was mostly adults but also a lot of students and even children.
Everyone was wearing the white cap and was happy to be here. I never saw that much people in one same place, I was even wondering where all this people come from. I mean
Finland is a big country but quite empty, there are less people than in Paris ! 🙂 I also really loved the fact that everyone was wearing the cap, in France we wouldn’t have this kind of tradition because for french, rules are made to be broken.
Then we kept doing tradition and we spent Lucie2some time near by the river enjoying the sun. I never thought that I could have a sunburn in Finland but yea … I got one!
Finally on Sunday we went for a picnic in the other hill, I can’t say the name which is way too long for me to remember.
I think this week-end showed the Finnish culture of course but also the spirit and the friendly and warm atmosphere. It’s something I would definitely recommend to take parti in for every foreign student or visitors from abroad.

Text & photos: Lucie Valentini