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Diaconia University of Applied Sciences Helsinki, Finland

Blog entry 4 - Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow

Fri, 18 Nov 2016 | Diakonie FH Helsinki

Long ago my halftime here has already been passed ... with November my penultimate month dawns, in about 7 weeks I have to start packing again.

It’s a bit tough at the moment. At the beginning of November the snow chaos hit us quite surprisingly, the earliest winter since 2006! And no one would have thought that it would already snow so early this year. Not even in Lapland it was as snowy as in Helsinki at that time! Well, the weather forecasts say, that the snow wouldn’t stay, we will see. Anyway the sky has been very grey and gloomy the last week and sank -10 degrees were standing in the room interim. You just don’t simply go outside when it is so cold and stormy, that’s not different in Germany. So I tried to keep myself busy with sports and paper work and take everything with a bit of humor. And then I knew from the beginning what I got myself into.

I spent the afternoons and evenings again in the youth center. After all, many of the children have a Somalian background and emigrated with their families to Finland and live here now. Meanwhile the understanding also worked quite well so that I even was chosen sometimes over the computer. Right now I’m training my skills in Billard and table tennis (there’s a small gym in the youth center). In my oldder age I’m not that worse and the whippersnappers have to strain themselves quite much.

What was completely new for me is the “game” Dancing Star, where you can choose songs like in karaoke, just that you don’t have to sing, but imitate the dancing moves of the figures on the screen. Even 99 Luftballons could be chosen, in German! The moves weren’t so easy, but the girls were dancing sugar-sweet. The karaoke dancing would be a great idea for new year’s eve!! There the fun factor won’t come too short.

On the 9th of November the politics was a big topic within the children in the youth center. Trump for president and so on… Now the 9th of November won’t be just a German fateful day anymore. I may not have understood the Finish conversations, but sometimes someone kept me up to date with a few English parts. For their age the children spoke really good English, but no wonder. The Finish TV is, except some local broadcasters, only in English as well as cinema movies, except they’re Finish productions. Actually you should also introduce that in Germany, a good learning effect. When we talked with our Czech exchange student and got on to his good English he just meant that cinema and TV are also only in English in Czechia!! There we have it!

Here in Finland everything is repeated in Swedish again, whether on street signs or somewhere else. That’s tightly integrated as the second official language and almost every Finn learned it in school, Helsinki is named Helsingfors in Swedish. But Swedish is not in the least related to Finish. The Finish language descended from the family of Uralic languages, together with Hungarian and Estonian. And also with Russian, Finish has nothing in common, like I first thought, that’s again another language family.

Anyway the weather got better towards the middle of November and the sky brightened. Awesome, what the clouds do in interplay with the sky and the sun… and when I was standing at this beautiful piece of earth (Helsinki has sea water almost everywhere) the last days with grey sky were immediately forgotten.

My time was then mostly spent in the youth center or in the apartment. In the dorm I was living together with three other girls in a flat share: Bulgaria, China and Germany. The Bulgarian likes to do party and unfortunately can’t open her door frequently in the night when she comes home, because the keys here are really tricky. You have to be crafty (or just sober) to open the apartment door. Anyway the bell rang now and then in the early morning hours. At least I didn’t get bored. I also don’t want to withhold the story of her planning a cooking evening with her study friends at our place. When I came back from work in the evening, there was a horde of males sitting in our kitchen and the view of an Erasmus student standing in shorts at our stove and then made me then grin (much!) after all…

With task sharing it unfortunately didn’t work that well, so that I can’t remember seeing here even one time with a rag in the bathroom or kitchen. I can’t deny that she’s not on top of my admired people’s list. But I guess I’m spoiled from my flat share in Würzburg. But those are real treasures I have there!!! My other roommate, the Chinese, actually just sits always at her desk and writes something I unfortunately haven’t checked yet until today. Some thesis and some project works. She also likes cooking spicy, even that spicy that when I came to the kitchen one day, I first had to cough, because it got in my nose so badly! I also got to try a few times, and after all I have to admit that the Chinese kitchen is quite capable.

First I couldn’t bear that she roasted lettuce and cucumber with oil in the pan, but as she explained it was to protect her stomach. She on the other side couldn’t take the German habit of eating bread. Every time she saw me eating bread she said ecstatically “you really like bread”, whereas I have to add that the Finish have other bread than we in Germany, but if it’s about food, you take what you get!

Anyway, the main thing was, that all three of us got along well and it worked luckily great so far! It could have been much worse…

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