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Posts Tagged ‘postaday2011’

13.03.11 – There are a little over 5 million native speakers of what’s been called one of the most unusual languages in the world, Finnish. On a yearly basis, almost the same amount of people visit Finland from countries like Spain, Germany, Russia and the United States. Over the years it seems as though the Finns have learned it’s easier to learn other languages than rely on outsiders to speak their language. Almost everyone in Helsinki speaks English and I’ve witnessed the locals speaking Japanese, German and other languages I can’t even identify.

What most people may not know is there are two official languages in Finland, Finnish and Swedish. A little less than 10% of the Finnish population are native Swedish speakers. You see Swedish almost everywhere. The streets are listed in both Finnish and Swedish, the trams list their stops in both languages, I’ve even heard radio stations where they sound to be bouncing between the two languages.

As you can see by the shots, even the graffiti is in Swedish. I ran the above through google translate and got the following,

What happened to the meadow flowers. Dog them out of your pollution. Ever heard of natursky p laws.

Maybe someone out there can do a better translation ;)

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12.03.11 – The winters last long in Finland but every day you can feel spring approaching. The days are getting longer, the temperatures are slowly but steadily climbing and the white canvas of snow is starting to melt away. More and more color is making its way into my world ;)

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11.03.11 – Finns make the most of their world when it’s all iced over. It’s common to see people ice fishing, walking and nordic skiing on the frozen Baltic but the other day I was watching a group of people take turns on an “ice boat.” The day seemed perfect for ice boating because the sun was out and there was a strong breeze blowing. They really picked up speed quick. When you walk on the ice you notice how smooth most of the surface is but you also come across some areas where there are deep cracks and large bumps. I watched three boys in their teens take turns out on the ice and they didn’t have a problem. Good for them!

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10.03.11 – I was down walking at my favorite place, across the ice to some of the little islands off the coast of Helsinki. Spring is in the air although the temperatures are still about freezing. The days are getting longer, you can feel the change in sunlight on a daily basis. While I was out walking today there was a storm off the coast which made for some dramatic clouds.

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09.03.11 – Things are crazy busy for me now so I have less time to wander the streets taking pictures. I’ll continue to post on a daily basis as long as I can but I need to focus my energy in other areas. I’m trying to start a business in Finland. I’m planning on opening a frozen yogurt/coffee shop. Maybe I’m crazy but that seems to be my calling right now. It’s a bit intimidating and crazy right now in the beginning but I’m finding a good amount of support so far from the people I meet to talk about my plans. There is just so many things I need to do before the summer when I would like to open. Expect to be hearing more about the process in the future. I started this blog to document my new life in Finland so I hope you find it entertaining ;)

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08.03.11 – The trip to the Museum of Natural History has too many great photo ops to limit the visit to three pix. Besides the amazing dioramas, one of my favorite, albeit slightly spooky, displays are the preserved insects and sea life. There’s an entire wall filled with bottled bugs. Max goes crazy over these things because there are so many odd life forms on display. I usually spend the most time in the museum at this display. Crazy stuff!

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07.03.11 – While playing tour guide for Kim and Dave, I had the opportunity to visit a number of museums and popular Helsinki sites for a second time. I visited the Finnish Museum of Natural History, Luonnontieteellinen Keskusmuseo, shortly after I arrived in Finland this past summer, and I loved it because it was a great place for the kids and a fun place for me to take pictures.

The overall design of the museum is fun and creative. The dioramas are some of the best I’ve ever seen. The architecture of the building is also impressive. The museum is housed in the old building which was originally built in 1913 as a Russian school for boys. There are a number of displays which include botanical, zoological, geological and paleontological specimens from all over the world.

Kim and Dave enjoyed it and I enjoyed it even more the second time around. The museum is definitely a one of those places worth visiting more than once.

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06.03.11 – Kim and Dave left yesterday but I have some great memories of their visit. Dave felt inspired one day and wrote a poem and I would like to share it with everyone.

Espan Lava

by Dave Treece

Lights all around,
Shine underneath me.
Crunch under my feet,
Fly up in the tree.
Oh, flicker so near
In a frozen sea,
So broken with fear
Of darkness that’s free.
-
Cast shadows of saints
And heroes of old,
So brave in their motionless dance
In the cold.
Wind blowing snow,
Crunch under my feet,
Rip tears in my eyes,
As I’m crossing the street
To Espan Lava, with lights that won’t sleep,
Or know there is only this darkness they keep.
-

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05.03.11 – You never know what someone will forget.

When I have the time I like to walk out my door and pick a direction to head for a wander through Helsinki not knowing what I’ll find. I’ve been here long enough that I’m running out of directions ;) Odds are, whether I’ve been down chosen path one other time or 5 other times, I’ll find something new and interesting. I guess you just need to start walking.

Dave and I headed out for a walk around Töölönlahti, a little “lake” located close to the central train station. I’ve walked around Töölönlahti many times but this time we decided to walk across the middle and follow footpaths marked in the snow-covered frozen lake. Sure enough we found something new and interesting. Apparently a couple of owners had forgotten to remove their boats for the winter. We weren’t the only ones to find this slightly entertaining as you could tell by the trampled down snow all around them.

Maybe it sounds a bit simple but we both got a kick out of it. You never know what you’ll find unless you get out there ;)

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04.03.11 – A great place to meet for morning coffee is down by the Helsinki harbor in the Market Square. During the summer, the market is packed with vendors of all types; fruits and vegetables, handmade clothing and a number of prepared food stalls. During the winter months, the market can be pretty empty but there always seems to be one tent setup no matter how cold it is outside. Toripojat is a little coffee tent where you can get a cup of Presidentti Coffee and a pastry. The sign on the outside says “+18°C Inside” and sure enough, it’s warm when you get in even when it’s -20°C and windy outside.

This was a great find of Dave’s. I’ve passed by several times but I’ve never tried it. Dave made it his morning ritual ;)

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