Saturday, July 16, 2011

The Sounds of Finland

ice cream truck's song... 

It is summer now and the ice cream truck can be heard now and then going through the neighborhood. It has it's own little tune, recognizable by all. Last week, we decided to track him down.  What's interesting about the ice cream trucks here, is that while they have a few types of ice cream that you can go up and buy one piece for a euro or two from the truck, most of what you get is big boxes, with 10 or so ice creams inside. We bought Toffee-Vene, little ice cream boats with vanilla ice cream, chocolate topping and caramel sauce in the middle. Nam.

Kukkuu, kukkuu, KÄKH...

One night, I kept hearing a bird outside. At first I wasn't sure if it was an owl ,hoo hoo, or a pigeon ,coo coo, but I was later told it was a cuckoo bird. Apparently they are real and exist here in Finland. But they don't call them cuckoo birds here (that would be too obvious). They call them käki birds. The käki bird sings a long (and constant) song of kukkuu, kukkuu, but then at the end of this song they give a sharp KÄHK sound. And that's the sound they are named after.

Click clack of knitting needles...

I finished my last dishcloth of the summer.  Currently I am working on a headband, but the pattern isn't the greatest so I am modifying it and trying different ways of knitting it, which means I have started over about 4 times so far and will probably continue to do so until I find the right fit.


I found a set of badminton rackets and birdies at the local Robin Hood for 1,50€. We spent one afternoon in the back of the apartment just hitting the birdie back and forth. It was a nice day and a good way to spend an afternoon.


Yesterday was the Pioneerifestivaali in Koria, a little town nearby. My favorite band was playing there so we decided to buy tickets. Uniklubi is one of the first Finnish bands I ever heard of  when I was learning Finnish and about Finland. They play rock and all of their lyrics are in Finnish. So we went and had a great time listening to the show. They played well and it was a good evening listening to good music, and of course, seeing my favorite band live. 

After the show, the band went back to their restricted area and the next band started to play on the second stage. I had brought one of my Uniklubi CDs and I decided I would walk up to the security guard and ask if they would sign my CD for me. I expected him to say no, or at best, to take my CD and bring it back while I waited at the gate. I was told one of the staff would ask and I would wait at the gate. Then a couple of minutes later he waves me inside the restricted area. I follow him and chat with him and he leads me to the Uniklubi tour bus. I'm asked to stay there a moment and the next thing I know Pasi and Jussi (the guitartist and lead singer of the band) walk off the tour bus! Vau! So I actually got to meet them in person and chat with them and they signed my CD! A minute later, Janne, another guitarist comes off the bus and chats and signs too! Uskomatonta! Quite an unexpected adventure!

And a little Uniklubi for your listening pleasure (and a good look of what Finland looks like)...
(if this doesn't work in your country, just search on Youtube for Uniklubi Maalima Puhaltaa and click the one that looks like the CD above.)

Thanks for reading.
(Kiitos lukemisesta.)


Sunday, July 3, 2011

It's still summer in Finland (though the newspapers here state that summer is soon over) and so the ice cream adventures continue on. This past week we tried...Blueberry Pie ice cream. It was one of the best ice creams Niko and I had ever tasted. It truly tasted like blueberry pie. It's vanilla ice cream with blueberry swirls all throughout and on top were little crumbles, like a pie crust. Mahtava.
 This Saturday Niko and I went to Vantaa and visited Ikea. We bought many things including bed, sofa and dishes. Ikea is great because everything comes in flat boxes, so our move to Lappeenranta next month should be relatively easy. 

On the way back, we stopped by an ABC. For those not in Finland, ABC is in general a gas station and then inside can be a number of things including a small supermarket, cafe, lunch buffet, Hesburger, post office, etc. This one, since it was on the ,highway, had all of those but the posti, so we grabbed some lunch. ABCs are also open later than most supermarkets, and this one is apparently 24h. Juhannus was last week, the mid-summer day, and all of the supermarkets and the entire city was closed. The only thing open guessed it, ABC. 

As we got closer to our little city, we passed by another ABC and I had to take a photo. On the front of ABC's, they have big signs announcing what is inside. Hesburger, Market and this one announced in the blue sign to th right...Novita. YARN. Novita is the most common brand of yarn here in Suomi, to me it's like the Finnish version of Lion Brand in that it's cheap, has fairly good quality and has a wide color variety. And it's found everywhere. Including supermarkets and gas stations. I got a kick out of seeing a sign for it though and wish that every place that sold yarn had a sign announcing it on the front of their store. Wouldn't that be convenient?

The concept of a Finnish ,highway, is interesting, as there really aren't many cars, most of the roads are two lane (one coming, one going) and you don't pass through any metropolitan areas. Most of what you see when you look out the window (in summer) are trees, grass, rocks, farms and fields. (In the winter all you see is snow snow snow). We kept passing by these giant fields of yellow and at first I thought they were just flowers or weeds or something, but I learned that what I was seeing was actually rapeseed fields. Now I know where our cooking oil comes from. Nice to see such active agriculture going on and a very pretty view too. 

In other news, the cow eggs are have been laid and are waiting to be hatched. For those of you that have no idea what I am speaking of, please read here. Yes, Samu, in my country, we have cow eggs.

Thus concludes another week in Finland. Knitting continues ever onward. A hat turned table mat is now completed and a new dishcloth will jump on the needles very soon.

Also, if you have never seen Hachiko I highly recommend. Two paws up.

Mustikkapiirakka : blueberry pie
Mahtava : awesome
sänky : bed