Posts Tagged With: culture

Blessed by Holy Water in Tallinn

The church bells are deafening, ringing out across the city, announcing, “It is time.”  Time for what, I don’t know.

I’m standing directly in front of onion-domed Alexander Nevsky Cathedral in Tallinn, Estonia, trying to decide if I want to join the crowd in pushing my way up the steps and into the door.

It’s good I was hesitating.

Priests appear, green robes flapping in the wind, arms straining to hold the crosses erect.  Five, six, seven priests, coming down the steps, in pace with the knell.  Behind them are perhaps a hundred women, heads covered in scarves, purses clutched in hands in front of them, backs bent with age, making it easier to watch their feet so as not to trip down the steps.  The crowd is energized, cameras whipping up, shutters whirring, people running across the street to get closer, to get The Shot.  There is a moment of awe as the procession rounds the corner and is gone – did we really just see that?  What an amazing opportunity!

I’m to the side of the church now, watching the other side, wondering where they are walking to, if they are just going around the church and then back in.  Should I wait, camera ready?  But the bells have stopped, the crowd is pushing its way back into the church, a massive tidal wave gaining in volume and height.  I sigh, brace myself, and join the flood.

It takes five minutes to climb the twenty steps, push through the double doors, the lobby, and the second set of double doors into the nave.  It is a disappointment – thirty feet wide by ten feet deep, nothing incredibly exciting.  I wonder if the church can even hold the number of people I passed who were leaving as I was coming in.  I head back out, telling my friends I’ll be across the street.

I fight the crowd back out of the church, cross the street, and find the front of the parlaiment fairly empty.  Ah, space.

Klong-Klong-Klong.  I whip around as the bells ring out again.  To the left of the church, crosses and fluttering robes appear.

I am now the one racing across the street, getting The Shot.  The church officials pass, the ladies with covered heads and clutched purses.  The processional stops in front of the church, Priests on the steps, women on the street.  Water flies, and the crowd is blessed.  Snap-snap-snap – I don’t bother looking at the screen, checking the histogram, I just shoot, trying to get the water flying, trying to capture the experience.  Photos never do it justice.

The street we are on is a through street.  A woman in a Mercedes is aggravated, inching her way up, waving people out of the way, honking her horn.  The lookey-loos move aside, but is she aware that the biggest part of the crowd is elderly, local women, currently still in the middle of some sort of religious ceremony?  She honks again.  Perhaps she doesn’t care.

I find my friends.  “We’ve been blessed!”  They were hit with holy water.  No head scarves or clutched purses or bent backs, but no less awed by the experience.

(Did you see my first blog post on my trip to Tallinn?)

Categories: Travels | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

A Trip to Tallinn with the Ladies

My friend Pam had a friend come for a visit, so we decided to do a Girl’s Trip to Tallinn, Estonia.  It’s just a two hour ferry ride from Helsinki – of course, it takes three hours to drive to Helsinki from here!  Tuesday at noon four of us piled into the car, drove to Helsinki, and picked up Kim at the airport.  Five women and their luggage in one car – we were quite impressed with ourselves (and our car!).

Before driving out to the Satama (dock), we made a brief stop at Temppeliaukio Church in Helsinki.  This church is built into the rocks and has a beautiful copper ceiling.

We arrived in Tallinn about 9:30pm, took a 5 minute taxi ride to our hotel in Old Town, then walked up to the town square to have a drink.  The evening was lovely, and I was already in love with the town.

Wednesday

We started the day by walking around Old Town, going into a couple of churches and walking along parts of the city walls, then headed to the Town Square for lunch.  We went to Maharajah for lunch, an Indian restaurant on the square, and the food was wonderful.  We were also thoroughly entertained with the Bollywood videos playing on TV.

After lunch we headed over to Hotel Viru for a tour of the KGB museum.  We started in the Hotel Lobby, headed up the elevator to the 22nd floor in groups, then walked up the stairs to the 23rd floor. “Is everyone here?” the tour guide asked. “It’s not a random question – a few years ago, a couple of you could have disappeared already.”

We learned about the Hotel, that it was built as an all-encompassing hotel, with everything a traveler could want – there was no need to leave the hotel.  Which was how the KGB wanted it – no foreigners roaming around town.  Our guide told stories about bugged rooms (One guy went to the bathroom and said, “They don’t even have toilet paper in here!” and five minutes later someone came along with some TP), Floor Monitors (old women responsible for keeping track of when people entered and exited their rooms), and life in Tallinn under Soviet rule.  It was a great tour, and the 23rd floor offers great views of town.

While wandering around town, I noticed some old women setting up tables with flowers and berries.  I approached one woman and asked her what kind of berries they were.  “Kaksi,” she said, and held up two fingers.  Well, 2€ is a small price to pay for an experience, so I gave her the money and took the berries back to the hotel, where we enjoyed them with our cocktails.  We asked our waitress if she could tell us what they were, but she didn’t know the word in English.  We assumed they were a wild strawberry, and she essentially confirmed that.

Thursday

Thursday morning we grabbed a taxi and went out to Kadriorg Palace (currently serving as an art museum) which, unfortunately, is currently closed for renovations.  We were able to tour the grounds, though, and walked out to the sea, where I was able to put my feet in the sand.

We headed over to Kiek in de Kok (which we were calling “kick in the cock,” but it actually translates to “Peep in the Kitchen”) and did a tour of the Bastion Tunnels that run beneath the town.  The tunnels have been hiding spots for various people through history, including punk rockers and homeless people, as well as serving as a bomb shelter.

Later we made a stop at the Photo Museum, where an elderly woman watched our every move (we figured she was one of the old hall monitors from the Viru Hotel!).  Later still we wandered down St Catherines Passage, and stumbled into an Old Dominican Monastery Claustrum.

Friday

We boarded the ferry Friday morning and were thoroughly entertained by an emergency helicopter evacuation practice.

In Helsinki, we stopped for a quick look at Eastern Orthodox Uspenski Cathedral before heading out of town.

We all enjoyed our time in Tallinn, and I would love to go back.  It was a beautiful city, and there’s a ton to do.  I have a couple of stories to tell about the trip…I hope to get them up later this week!

Categories: Finland, Travels | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

4th of July is just another day around here…

…but that doesn’t mean we Americans don’t celebrate in style…multiple times!

On Wednesday (the 4th) Stephen and I met up with a few friends at the sauna.  We drank some beer, grilled brats, and swam in the lake – just like home, except about 30 degrees cooler!!

On Friday, our friends Tom and Pam hosted a cookout, with burgers and hot dogs and red white and blue.  I brought the garland I made (on Wednesday, and then forgot to take to the sauna) and strawberries dipped in whipped cream and blue sugar.

My red/white/blue garland, with stars and an American Flag on each end

On Saturday, our friends Stephen and Nina hosted a backyard grill out, complete with games!  We played Mölkky, which is a Finnish throwing game in which you throw a stick…at a bunch of sticks….

Actually, all kidding aside, it was a lot of fun – I call it a cross between billiards and bowling.  There are twelve numbered sticks, lined up kind of like in a pool triangle.  You throw a stick and knock the sticks down, and wherever they fall is where they get righted the next round.  You get points based on the number on the stick you knock down (if you only knock one down, e.g. the stick with the number 11 on it will garner you 11 points) or the number of sticks you knock down (if you knock down more than one stick, e.g. you knock down 3 sticks, you get 3 points, regardless of the numbers on the sticks).  You play to 50 (or whatever you want to play to), but you have to get that number exactly, or you get half your points deducted.

Several rounds in, the sticks will have scattered some…

I foresee some Christmas gifts back home in the future…

Hope everyone had a happy and fun 4th!

Categories: Finland | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Medieval Market in Turku

I found out on Thursday that there would be a Medieval Market in Turku over the weekend.  I’ve been to a couple of Renaissance Fairs in the States and have always enjoyed them, and I thought this would be a good opportunity to go to Turku and be tourists, rather than just go to Ikea.

Turku is about an hour south of where we live, and although we’ve been down there several times, we’ve really only seen Ikea.  I got a quick tour one afternoon with my friend Pam, but it was cold and dreary and there was muddy slush everywhere from melting snow, so was not the best day for being a tourist.

Yesterday, however – What a day!!!  Absolutely gorgeous – low 70’s, light breeze, sunshine.  Stephen and I walked along the river, soaking up the sun and checking out the booths set up for the Market.

I felt that it was a much more authentic Medieval experience than what I’ve had in the States – although, I don’t know how I could prove that!  The costumes were much simpler, plainer, and worn – no lace, or vibrant colors, and I don’t remember seeing any women with their breasts spilling out of their corsets.  And some of the booths set up were much more authentic:

A woman at the Medieval Market dying yarn

Fresh thrown pottery

Roasted Pig

The Medieval Market was held in the old square, which is directly across the street from Turku Cathedral, so we had a look inside (although I didn’t take any photos inside, for some reason).

Turku Cathedral

There were some large floating ducks set up in the river, and one of them had a man on the back – both Stephen and I thought it looked like Burning Man!  You can see some of the booths set up in the background, too.

Burning Man?

We didn’t buy anything at the market, although I was very tempted.  To make up for it, we made a stop at….

Ikea!

As much as we didn’t want to, we still needed one piece of furniture that was out of stock last time I went down there.  We were finally able to get it, but it was so long that the front passenger seat had to be pushed all the way up.  So I had a very uncomfortable ride back.  But at least that’s done, and next time we go to Turku, we can be tourists again!  I still want to check out Turku Castle, as well as the Aboa Vetus museum, which apparently has a glass floor through which you can see the ancient remains of buildings and streets that were excavated.  Sounds intriguing, no?

Categories: Finland | Tags: , , , , , , | 2 Comments

170 degrees in the shade

After four months, I’ve finally gone to a public sauna.

The sauna, and the boys on the side working on the grill.

Stephen and I and two friends went to a local sauna with some other Company people.  I had no idea what to expect.  We knew to wear swimsuits (although most saunas are nude, this one isn’t). I’ve read enough about saunas to know how they operate, and that in Finland it’s customary to go take a dip in the lake to cool down.  I know I’ve been in saunas before at the gym, but this was a different experience.  But more on the sauna later.

While the sauna was heating up, I got to talking to a few of the other people there, including a 14 year old French girl.  She found out I spoke English and wanted to practice hers, and practice she did!  She found out I was from America (was that not obvious?) and she got so excited – “I want to visit America so much.  I want to be famous and go to America.”  I asked her where in America she wanted to visit, expecting to hear New York, or LA, or maybe Texas.

“Missouri.”

…ummmmm…  “Why Missouri?” I asked.

“I don’t know, we just learned about it in school and I want to visit there, there’s not a lot of people so there’s lots of room.”

Well, there you go.

“Plus I like the desserts.”

“The desserts?”

She wasn’t sure if she had the right word, so she asked her mom in French, then she said, “Yes, the desserts, I think that is the word.”

“Like, what you eat after dinner?”

“Yes.”

Now I’m the one confused, and I’ve actually been to Missouri!  “What kinds of desserts do they have?”

“Uuuummmmmm……I can’t think of them now,” she said, slightly embarrassed, I think, about not being able to come up with the English words she needed.

So, I’m still wondering – is Missouri famous for a dessert that I don’t know about?

Okay, onto the sauna part of the evening…

(Read about the Finnish Sauna and customs here)

At most saunas, from my understanding , you shower before you get in, and then you shower after you’re done, and sometimes you shower in the middle to cool down.  The place we were at didn’t have showers, however.

When I entered the sauna, I was instructed to douse myself with water, “to get the sweating process going.”   I got wet and then sat on a wooden bench, sweating, with six other people.  Now, when you say you were sitting hip to hip with people on either side of you, and all of you are literally dripping sweat, it sounds a little odd, right?  But it wasn’t so bad.

After a few minutes (maybe five?  certainly not more than 10) we got up and stepped outside to cool off.  It was, after all, about 80° in there.  That’s Celsius, people.  Before you go and convert it, I can tell you that’s about 175°F.  It was…warm.

Now, a lot of saunas are set on the water – in this case a lake – which makes the cooling off process even easier.  Just go jump in!  I was a little hesitant, because I was actually fairly chilled simply stepping outside.  That was a bit of a surprise – I thought the heat from the sauna would make me a little more impervious to the cold than it did.  But, hey, when in Rome, right?  So off I went to the lake.

That water was cold.  About 14° (57F) I think someone said.  Which, really, was about the same temperature as the air, but it certainly felt colder.  I got about waist deep and simply couldn’t go any further.  (“Armpits!” as my friend would say!)  But after a few minutes, it didn’t feel so bad.  I think that was more because I was numb, but hey…

Back into the sauna.  Back out to the lake.  I figured the second time would be easier – It wasn’t.  One more turn, sauna, lake, then we called it a night.

Just to prove I did it!

Some thoughts on my first sauna:

  • At this point, I don’t really “get it.”  I didn’t feel more relaxed, I didn’t feel cleaner, I didn’t feel as if impurities had been drawn (sweated) out of me.  I didn’t love it, I didn’t hate it.  It was just kind of meh.
  • But, of course, I will try it again.  Maybe going in with a better idea of what to expect will help me to enjoy it more.
  • Honestly, at this point, I far prefer going from hot tub to cold pool.  I feel like you retain more of the heat from the hot tub in the cold pool, and it’s more refreshing.  I wouldn’t say the cold lake after the sauna was refreshing, more that it was shocking.  Of course, maybe that’s the point.

So, sauna lovers – am I doing something wrong?  Did I have unrealistic expectations?  What should I do next time to ensure I enjoy it more?

Categories: Finland | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

Blogroll Call

In case you didn’t notice, I finally added some blogs to my blogroll.  See, look there, over to the right.  Check ’em out.

The Expat Life and arrival gate are both by other American women here in Rauma whose husbands work at OL3.  We’re quite literally all in the same boat.  Check out Pam’s post on getting stuck in the snow and Allison’s post on things she’s learned so far, then stick around to read more!

There are tons of ex-pats here in Finland blogging about their experience, people from Australia and the States and the UK and more.  I’ve also discovered other great blogs about Finland, and a few great ex-pat blogs outside of Finland.  A few of my favorite posts include:

There’s more over there, you can see.  They’re there for a reason.  Check them out and enjoy!  And if you want to find ex-pat blogs for other countries, check out expat blog.  It’s a great way to learn about different cultures and travel experiences!

(A little note to anyone who blogs on Blogger – there’s a reason I don’t comment on your blogs.  I can’t seem to ever do it.  Every time I write a comment on Blogger, it either won’t let me post it or it completely erases the whole thing.  So I don’t even try.  Doesn’t mean I don’t read your blog, though!)

Categories: Finland | Tags: , , , , | 5 Comments

Random thoughts from Finland v. 4

As mentioned in my last post, my brain is running a hundred miles kilometers a minute, yet refuses to function.  So what better time for a bulleted list?  🙂

  • Open windows means things flying through them.  I was really hoping we would be high enough (6th floor) for there to be minimal flies, gnats, etc, but I guess not.  I found a trick online for a sort of “fly trap,” which I will try this weekend, but I doubt that will help with the *ginormous* bee that flew through the window this morning.  I jumped up, called Stephen, and stood outside the room, ready to run, while he dealt with it.
  • Speaking of which, Stephen is home today because it’s a holiday here in Finland – Ascension Day.
  • We made pancakes this morning, using a mix I picked up in the store.  It…wasn’t quite right.  Kind of sweet.  And the maple syrup was…wow.  Sweet.  Actually, I don’t think I’ve ever really liked pure maple syrup, I just never realized it until now.  Anyway, I used some Buckwheat Honey I picked up at a local honey place, instead of syrup, and it was wonderful.  I’ll attempt to make pancakes from scratch next time, though, and see how it goes…
  • I keep noticing things that are really stupid of me to notice.  Like, “Oh, look, there are ants here, too.”  Or “Oh, look, eight year old Finnish boys like to poke things with sticks, too.”  Well, of course.  I don’t know why these things surprise me.  It’s the complete lack of expectation, I think – having no idea what to expect means that everything is a surprise.  Even the things that should be relatively obvious.  Like, yes, people here get their hair cut, too, dummy!  (That wasn’t a surprise, btw, just an example of how stupid some of my observations are.)
  • We recently found out that we have two addresses.  Here’s what happened:  We registered with the city, and on the paperwork I noticed that they had our address wrong.  I had two thoughts:  (a) Is my handwriting that bad that they thought the 4 was a 1? and (b) Great, now I have to go back down there and get it sorted out.  But then I remembered that our building, situated on a corner, actually has two numbers on it, and it finally dawned on me that we actually have two addresses – 1 Street A and 4 Street B.  I don’t know that one is better than the other, but we’ve gotten mail at both, so I don’t guess it matters.

Goal for the next week:  blog posts about: a pile of rocks; a visit to Tampere; cooking and grocery store shopping in a foreign language; and The Joys of Learning Finnish!  Another goal:  getting my blogroll set up.  So many blogs to link to, and I’m a very bad person for not doing so before now…

Categories: Finland | Tags: , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Random thoughts from Finland, v. 3

Hubster and I went back to the States last week for my sister’s wedding, and it was lovely to see family and friends again (not to mention the beautiful weather!).  But in going back to the States, I noticed a couple of new things, more about the States than Finland.

Even while writing the last two “random thoughts” posts, I felt like they were a little negative, which I certainly didn’t mean them to be.  They weren’t meant to be negative or positive, simply different.  Different from what I’m used to, or different from what I expected, or different…for whatever reason – things I noticed that stood out.  That’s why it’s funny that I noticed some new things about Finland when I went back to the States – because the States were “different.”

  • Finland has these handshowers (link not necessarily SFW) – they’re kind of like the spray nozzle on the kitchen sink in the States, except they’re in the bathroom, and it’s basically the Finnish version of a bidet.  I guess because of that, the toilets are really high – I’m 5’2″, and I have to point my toes to touch the ground when I’m sitting on the toilet.  On top of that, there’s literally about 14-18 inches between your bottom and the water in the toilet.  One of the toilets at my parents house had maybe a 3″ clearance.  I couldn’t help thinking how freaking close the water was to my butt!
  • There really isn’t a lot of traffic around here.  I think drivers tend to police themselves, and they’re generally a lot more…cooperative, I guess is the word I would use, than in the States.  I haven’t seen a lot of “ME” type driving – it’s not “Me First!” so much as “let’s just all get there, who cares about the thirty seconds I wasted by letting that guy get in front of me.”  I mentioned the weird 4 way non-stops last time – as annoying as I find these, everyone just seems to get it and work together so there are no accidents.  Can you imagine an intersection in the States without signs?  Mayhem!!!
  • I mentioned the amount of litter on the streetlast time, but I also noticed the twenty or so people I saw around town this week picking up trash.  Now that everything has thawed and the city workers don’t have to clear snow every two hours, they get to work on city beautification.  Which is pretty much what I thought would happen, but it’s still nice to see.
  • I love the grocery stores here.  If you’ve been to an Aldi in the States, you have kind of an idea of how it is.  You pay for your grocery cart in the form of a deposit – you insert a coin, you get it back when you return the cart.  Not having carts strewn across the parking lots is so lovely, I can’t even tell you.  You also pay for your grocery bags – certainly an incentive to bring your own or reuse bags.  The produce department is generally DIY – you put your apples in a bag, put it on a scale, key in the produce code, and place a sticker on your bag to be scanned when you check out.  Added hassle, yes, but I like knowing what I’m going to pay beforehand.
  • Recycling isn’t as big here as I thought it would be.  Stephen lived in Germany for a while, and Finland certainly doesn’t recycle like Germany does.  There doesn’t seem to be a lot of policing of recycling here – although, from what I’ve seen, there isn’t an issue with people not recycling.  I just found it was a little difficult to find out information on how/what to do – whereas, I thought it would be a very succinct list of instructions.

That’s it for now.  I’ve been sick since we got back from the States, and I hope to be over this cold soon.  The weather is getting nice around here, and I’d like to be able to enjoy it!

Categories: Finland, Random | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Our (barely) furnished apartment in Finland

With the move to Finland, the company provided us with a furnished apartment.  We finally moved in last week, and after living in a hotel for six weeks it was good to have a home again.

With so many ex-pats here, apartments are hard to come by.  We saw one place right after we got here, available immediately – a one bedroom right on the sea, with a front yard, in an area that we were sure would be gorgeous come summer.  But it was about 3km from town – not all that far, certainly, unless you consider I would have to walk 6km round trip to go to the grocery store.  We wanted to be closer in to town, so we chose a 2 bedroom apartment, but it wouldn’t be available for a month (last week).

Technically, yes, it is a furnished apartment.  But barely.  A bed, a couch, a coffee table, a sitting chair, a desk and chair, a kitchen table and four chairs, a nightstand, another small side table, and assorted dishes, glasses, and other kitchen supplies.

And really bad drapes.

But, we have a great view from the 6th floor, overlooking the football (soccer) field (and some factories in the distance).  You know how they say it’s the smog that gives LA such beautiful sunsets?  I think the smoke plumes from the factories on the coast give us great sunsets.

I wanted to do before and after shots of the apartment, because it looks so depressing in the before shots, but it’ll be a few more weeks before the after shots happen, so I’ll go ahead and share.

Entering the apartment - a long wide hallway to the living room.

In the living room looking back to the front door.

Big master bedroom - big window to the left, built in wardrobe to the right.

The kitchen. Window to the left, very little counter space, no dishwasher (but big draining cabinet - more on that later).

The second bedroom - very small, no closet space, so definitely more of an office.

The balcony

The football (soccer, for Americans) field across the street (Photo taken from balcony)

Sunset view

Categories: Finland | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Random thoughts from Finland, v.2

We finally moved into our apartment last week, and we’ve been settling in.  By that, I mean I’ve mostly been unpacking, cleaning, papering shelves, organizing….  Haven’t had a lot of time to do much else, and we didn’t have the internet set up yet, so not much opportunity to read the news or check email or, you know, do silly things like blog….  However, we have internet now (we’ve actually had it the whole time – long story, next post), so how about some random thoughts I’ve collected over the last few weeks?

  • While in the hotel, we had roughly 15 TV channels to choose from.  They had some programming in English, but in the evenings we had a hard time finding something to watch.  I can’t believe how many times we ended up watching “I Used to be Fat” or “My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding.”  It’s like, it came on, and we couldn’t stop ourselves….  We also watched a lot of old TLC style home improvement/design shows on the weekends.
  • And as long as we’re on the subject of TV – daytime TV was very similar to US late night TV:  infomercials galore.  One day, I sat and counted what was playing.  There were 9 stations (of 15) playing infomercials, and FIVE of them were for some sort of bra!!
  • I find myself sick of going to the grocery store.  It seems like I go to the grocery store five times a week.  I go at least four times.  Some chicken here, lunch meat there.  But since I don’t have a car, I have to carry everything back with me, so I have to limit what I buy.  We do a big trip in the car once a week, and anything we need during the week is another trip to the store.  I hope to cut back to 2-3 times a week soon, once we have some staples and I figure out how to shop.
  • Yes, how to shop.  I think I’ll have to do a whole separate post on grocery shopping…
  • I’m surprised at how dirty the streets are.  I don’t know why, but I expected it to be very clean here, because, you know, it’s Europe and they actually recycle and don’t throw glass on the streets.  And yet.  There’s much more trash lying about than I expected – candy wrappers, juice boxes.  Cigarette butts, my god!!  So many cigarette butts on the ground!  And dog poop!!  Just there, on the sidewalk, sometimes in the middle of the sidewalk.  I wonder if it’s because all the snow is melting, and the layers of three months of snow/trash/snow is being uncovered.  But still.  It’s there.  Snow or no snow, dog poop in the middle of the sidewalk is gross.
  • Finland has these cameras along the road to catch speeders.  They give you a nice little warning – a big sign with a graphic of a camera – and then they intersperse several cameras over the next 10km or so.  I think I’ve mentioned this before, but speeding fines around here can be quite hefty, so it’s nice of them to post these signs.  But here’s what I find funny:  the cameras are HUGE.  Seriously, they’re mounted on poles about 4 feet off the ground and they’re boxes that are probably close to two cubic feet in size.  Honestly, I don’t see how you can miss them.  They move the cameras from time to time, to keep you on your toes, but I keep thinking – if I can see it from a kilometer away, I can slow down in time for it.  The camera flashes if it catches you, so you know you’ve been caught, but it doesn’t clock you until you’re almost on top of it.  Still, Stephen’s been great about setting the cruise control on the speed limit and not taking any chances.
  • We’re still in a rental car, which I’m not authorized to drive.  I’m sure it would be a simple enough matter to add me to the contract, but I don’t have the car when Stephen’s not around (because he has it), so it hasn’t been an issue.  Stephen recently pointed out that it had been about five weeks since I drove a car.  “When’s the last time you didn’t drive for so long?” he asked.  My answer:  since I was 14.
  • Oh!  And we have these weird 4-way non-stops here.  It’s the oddest thing.  These are not roundabouts – roundabouts I get (and love).  It’s an intersection, like where in the US we would have a four way stop.  But here, they don’t have any signs whatsoever.   I mean it.  No signs.  It’s this four way intersection with no signs, and apparently you’re supposed to yield to the car to the right.  But how you’re supposed to know this, I don’t know. I guess it’s in Finnish Driver’s Ed.  Before we knew the rule, we had no idea we were supposed to yield – we’re on a street, there’s no sign, we keep going.  I’m sure there have been some Finns out there slamming on their brakes and cursing us – “F-ing tourists!”
  • Many of the radio stations play English language music, and Adele is quite big over here.  Stephen is in the car more than me, so he hears Adele a lot, which is fine, he likes Adele.  What drives him crazy is they pronounce her name “AH-duh-lay.”  Drives him nuts.
  • Yes, they have Jehovah’s Witnesses here too:

Okay, that’s it for now.  I’ll post about the apartment, including pictures, in the next day or two.  Other upcoming posts:  Our trip to Tampere, Shopping in a foreign language, Living without a dryer.

Kippis!

Categories: Finland, Random | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

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