Tag Archives: finland

Europeade 2017 Turku (1/2)

Week 30
Tuku, Finland

First some updates.  On May 19th I moved to Turku, but I haven’t been really here. My things have been. It is until last Sunday, 23.7.2017, were I “landed” in Turku, so adventures ahead….

While being in a new city, a habit I am building up is:  after work go to discover.
At the moment we are doing this discovering by biking, so far so good. :).
Btw, this habit should be well build up and permanent, it is amazing what one can find.

On Tuesday while returning back home, we hear someone testing a microphone on a street. It was loud for a Finnish context, this was a bit odd.  Also during this day we saw small stages and people dancing on them.

Rehersal at Europeade 2017

Rehersal at Europeade 2017

It was on  Wednesday,  after we saw a sign on a street about Europeade 2017 that we realized something was going on.  Then, I decided to stop at the tourist information office and I was informed about the Europeade 2017 schedule. We were just on time for the opening ceremony.

We biked to the main stage where the opening was programmed and surprise!  I saw the following regional dresses:

Germany / Austria at the Europeade

Germany / Austria at the Europeade

The official opening include over 300 dancers from Turku region, it was something special to watch. Here a small clip of it:

The event include individuals of ALL ages groups, and this is literal, from infants to grandpas.  All ages have a space in here.  As the commentator mentioned:

“More than 6000 dancers got together from 24 countries, and no matter their age, weight or wehre you come from. The most important thing is the spirit!”

Indeed one could feel a magical spirit. 🙂

Diversity of ages at the Europeade

Diversity of ages at the Europeade

Once the ceremony finalized, as you can imagine the dancing floor was open for EVERYBODY:

So what is Europeade?  Let me copy the following text from the Europeade’s website: We are committed to the preservation of our intangible heritage of regional folk culture, be it music, dance, song, or costume.  To reach this goal, we spend five days together sharing our dance and music with our friends and performing in the shows.

Next a summary of this rich experience!

— cais

Why is it good to invest in quality – example with Finnair

Week 1, 2016
Joensuu, Finland

Often there is a tension between buying something cheap —   which often is low quality — versus by something with quality, which often is more expensive.  This post delivers an example that quality in a long run is cheaper.

I am a traveler addict. Thus, sometimes my love ones offer me presents to support me in my travels. An example, some years ago, my sister and brother in law gave me as a present a Samsonite suitcase. (THANK YOU!)

I am very pleased with Samsonite, in particular with my suitcase, because it been loyal to me. We have been together (my suitcase and I)  literally in 4 continents, and it has kept with me fully functional.

My loyal suitcase

My loyal suitcase

For this Christmas I flew from Joensuu to Munich, with Finnair, which is one of my favorite airlines. In this journey my lovely suitcase was damaged, and I reported the damage as soon as I saw the problem at the airport.  The personal at the airport was friendly and they indicated me what to do.  Within the instructions was to contact the company Dolfi. Perhaps because we were in Christmas holidays, but after being on the phone for 1hr and 30 min and not be able to talk with anyone I filled all the online form of their website and wait…. wait…. some days later I got an email that my stroller will be refund!… I kindly replied that I was reporting a damaged suitcase not a stroller, then it is when I discovered they were understaffed.

As my trip was reaching its end,  I decided to deal with this in Finland. I trust Finnair and I had the feeling that it should be ok. Then, I travel back to Joensuu with my loyal and wounded Samsung suitcase.

On Monday 2.1. at the evening, I landed in Joensuu and the first thing I did at the airport was to tell my story to the indicated person. Then I got the inciation to go to: “Nahkavalmiestemyynti

On Tuesday 3.1.  I went to Nahkavalmiestemyynti and they offered such a good service.  The personnel reviewed the suitcase and the documents. We saw how much could cost a new Samsonite, equivalent to mine in the store.  Then we followed the rules of the airline as depending of the age of the suitcase you get certain compensation.  My case was as follow: a brand new Samsonite as mine would cost 159€, but I was allow only to get 50% of it that is 79.50€.

My options, as far as I understood,  were:

  • Get the money
  • Buy something with the money given by Finnair
  • Buy something more expensive and complement the difference.

You will have to imagine which option I took, but now let me introduce you my new travel’s partner: Cavalet.

New travel partner

New travel partner

Thank you Finnair and Samsonite to support me on my journeys!  You have expanded the wonderful present of my sister and brother in law with your quality of service!

 

 

Funeral in Finland

Week 37
Joensuu, Finland

On Saturday 10.9. was the funeral of Outi Savonlahti. This was the first funeral I joined in Finland. This post’s objective is to briefly share my experience of this ceremony. There are two main motivators for this: (i) Outi was at charge of international affairs at UEF, and she always explained us things about Finland, (ii) it let me a lot food for the though.

In Finland once someone passes away is not buried right away. As far as I understand, there might be weeks in between from the moment someone dies and her/his funeral . During these weeks relatives, friends and others are informed of the particular person passing away, and the necessary arrangements for the funeral are prepared.

For example Outi passed away on August 9th but her funeral was until September 10th .

"Missal" of Outi Savonlahti funeral

“Missal” of Outi Savonlahti funeral

Outi’s  funeral started at 12:00 at the Rauhankappeli, which it is located inside Joensuu’s graveyard.  We started with the religious service with the coffin present. Family, friends and colleges join the “event”. I assume the procedure of the service was according the Lutheran church, however I did not asked this particular detail to anyone.

Location of the religious service

Location of the religious service

The priest started the ceremony with some words for the audience. Next, each one of participants who brought flowers gave them to Outi. If we had written something or we wanted to say something loudly this was the moment to do it. This process is not done in a rush, instead it is harmonious movement of people standing spontaneously, paying respects and getting back to their sits.  I interpreted this moment as offering our respects to her as each one says a personalize good bye, as close a possible to her earthly representation.

Entregando mis flores.

Screenshot when I pay my respects to Outi.

[Side note: A particular fact at this ceremony, and due to the work of Outi, was that the religious service was transmitted via Internet. Thus the photo above was taken by a friend of mine when it was my turn to be at front.]

Once all the flowers were surrounding Outi, I assume the traditional service started. That is, reading fragments of the bible followed by the priest’s  homily. Finnish, English and French were present during the service and during the whole ceremony.

The liturgy had particular moments with music, in some moments we also sang specific pieces.   Everybody new the selected songs due to the program that we were given. Additionally, on the chapel’s wall was indicated the song’s numbers and on each chair of the chapel had a book with the song’s lyrics.  I particularly liked a song which in this occasion included some African drums.  I must say that a lot of religions songs in Finland, as far as I had been exposed to, are not particularly happy. In my opinion – as a Mexican who has been involved in music during my past including religions songs, our church has a lot of happy songs – and in Finland the melodies are more kind of melancholic and nostalgic, so with this little twist of adding African rhythm all changed.

Lyrics of one of the songs at Outi's funeral

Lyrics of one of the songs at Outi’s funeral

At the end of the liturgy  the priest indicated us to pick up our flowers, so we can bring them with us and deposit them to the final destination. Right after the coffin was without flowers, a group of gentlemen came at front and pick up the coffin to carry it out. Then all the participants followed and the funeral procession started.

Starting the procession

Starting the procession

Once in the location where Outi was buried the priest offered some words. The coffin was deposited and if someone wanted,  it was the possibility to take some sand and place it inside the “hole”. Afterwards, a cover was put above and we were invited to locate our flowers there.

Location where the body of Outi rests.

Location where the body of Outi rests.

When I did my research on how to prepare myself for this event, I learned that in  Finland you do not have to buy only white flowers for the funeral.  You can get other colors, as for example the flowers that the person used to like. On my case I gave to Outi the following bunch:

Flowers I got for Outi. She always was elegantly dress, mainly in black and white with a touch of red present.

Flowers I got for Outi.
She always was elegantly dress, mainly in black and white with a touch of red present.

Next we  – all the people present at the funeral – were invited to share some moments together on the name of Outi.  The tradition, as I read before, is to gather in a house. However, in this case we were invited to Joensuu Ortodoksinen Seurakuntasali.

Once all the participants were at the specific location the program started. Outi’s godson was the ceremony master and several speeches were given for and about Outi.

Gathering together in Outi's name

Gathering together in Outi’s name

Outi was a special person and relevant figures came to her funeral.  For example speeches came from the  Ambassador of France, followed by the academic rector of the UEF, the priest, it was a pianist who played a couple of melodies…. then it was a pause for eating. Afterwards the president of Joensuu’s Rotary Club offered some words followed by the President of Joensuu’s French association and some family members too. Desert was offered and to finalized it was read aloud the condolence cards that were sent to her from all over the world.

In between the speeches one was encourage to talk on the tables about our memories with Outi. It was a nice event. For me it was difficult at times to do not clap.  You know, after listen to  nice words and good memories my inner emotion was to clap,  but I needed to keep quiet as the rest of the audience.  For me it is still difficult to understand that after a wonderful light that each speech depicted due to the life of someone, we could not join the words with the clap, instead after the speech complete quietness returned bringing me back to the sadness of the current loss.  All these was new and strange experience for me.

An anecdote comment that I got at the end, is that Outi helped to plan her funeral. I have not question about the possibility that she did. It was so beautiful and perfect, taking care of so many details as she always did with all what it was entrust to her.

Outi  left a legacy, no only to each one of us who met her, but also to future generations. There will be a foundation Outi Savonlahti to support females from developing countries searching to study their bachelors abroad.

This was my first experience in a Finnish funeral with the departure of a special person. Thank you Outi for teaching me constantly and share moments with me!

 

How to take a Mexican out at -29°C

Week 1
Joensuu, Finland

Last week was VERY cold. Always when temperature are below -20 is very cold and last Thursday (7.1.) was not an exception. Thus, my inner desire is to keep myself indoors.  However there is something that moved me to go out at -29°C, and that is: to make bubbles!

Yes!!!

Have you seen these bubbles:

Last year I didn’t manage to make ice-bubbles. When the weather was TOO cold,  I completely forgot about ice-bubbles.  When it was warming up (-15°C)  I made my bubble soap and wait for the coldness to return, but it did not, we were heading to spring 🙂 (no complains neither!)

This time I was fighting with myself to go out and get  “fresh” air. But then I saw the bubble soap, and I said: “Yes, let’s out” and I did.

Here is the proof:

Blowing bubbles

Blowing bubbles

IT was VERY COLD and VERY WINDY.

I got some bubble coming out. It was DIFFICULT. I need to re-design my bubble wand, no the best at the moment. But I managed to blow some bubbles. But it was dark and window, so very difficult to follow them….

Bubble flying

Bubble flying

However, I will persist……

This was the first attempt!!!! 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wedding Games – in Helsinki

Week 34
Joensuu, Finland

On July 30th I have the honor to witness of an union of two lives, i.e. be a guest of a notable wedding here in Finland.

The ceremony was at the Helsinki Cathedral, and the party was at the Villa Svalvik  which is, surprisingly, a beautiful place with a country side spirit  near Helsinki.

The wedding has such a good energy and spirit. It was really charming. I, honestly, have a wonderful time and I was very happy for the couple.

In this wedding I also discover a couple of games, which I want to share in this post, which I personally found fun.

a) Bingo
In this bingo one should pay attention to the newly-wed couple and its guests. All guests have copy of the bingo-board on their place. In each of the board’s squares reads a sentence related to the wedding, e.g. “the bride disappear”, “someone looks for the bathroom”, ….

So, when the game organizers indicate that the game starts, all guest could play and they should play attention to the wedding. Once one detects an action described on the board, we could cross it. All board were slightly different, as in any bingo. The person who filled a board, for example, scream bingo.  Honestly, in my table, we had fund with this game.

In the photo at the end of this post, you can see a little piece of the board. Simple to do and honestly fun.

b) Guessing your guests
In this game, the newly-wed couple are the main players. The guests are part of the game. Let me explain.

The newly-wed couple should not see its guest for some minutes. To achieve this, they standup and give their backs to the audience. Then the organizers of the game, publish on a screen – that all the guest could see and that newly-wed couple could not see –  a word. Examples of this word are:  “bride’s guests”, “who born in Helsinki”, ….  Once we read the word, all the persons who belong to it stand up, and the rest of the audience remained sited.   After all these is done, then the newly-wed couple turned around and aim to decipher what was the word published based on the people they saw standing. There were points for the bride or the groom according to whom guessed the words first.  Honestly, it was MUCH FUN this game!!!! 🙂

c) Dancing
As always, the best!!!!

The wedding  was  AMAZING,  the dancing specular and I wish all the happiness for the newly marry couple!!!

My place at I&O wedding

My place at I&O wedding