Church in Tampere
The biggest difference I have seen between UK and Finnish churches is the mix between formal and informal worship within one service. This seems to be the Lutherin way of worship, having different members of the congregation speaking in a service, a modern band and choruses, but then church members seem to be an audience of the worship. Most remain sitting, rather than an involved congregation standing for worship singing, with movement and hands raised as I am used to at home. Communion is also done every sunday in the formal Priestly Lutherin dress, whereas at home anyone can do it (depending on the denomination).
On my birthday… Finnish school, Cocktails and Tapas
I decided to visit a secondary Finnish school one of the girls taught in and speak to some of the students. Suvi (see pictures below) taught Finnish to international students, though they were a mix of Finnish born and immigrants, but their parents were first generation immigrants so their mother tongue was foreign. It was really enjoyable and the children were quite chatty and interested in what I was doing and hearing about England. I went to two classes, and all spoke English very well, so much so that I didn’t really slow my speech at all for one of them, as I usually do with other people, and spoke English as if we were both natives. They were all full of questions and easy to talk to. Some were born in Finland, but their parents moved from abroad. They all spoke at least three languages, though at different levels of fluency. English being the weakest, but it was still very good and they were all happy to practice what they knew. I showed them pictures on the internet of where I was from- uni in Bristol, Worcester and the Malvern hills, and some of old english houses from villages- which they also enjoyed. It was a good morning. I’m afraid I forgot to take pictures, sorry.
They have the two tier system in Finland, whereas we have both two and three tier system. Again it was interesting comparing them countries, learning about Finland and explaining about the Uk. I realised that out system can be quite confusing, with a lot of options when you really look into it. When asked which system of schooling I had, it got a bit complicated as I did both- primary school in the two tier system, but left a year early to go to middle school in the three tier system.
In the afternoon I opened a few more cards and skyped home. In the evening I went into Tampere to meet Laura, Suvi and Ruth for ‘drinks’ which turned into tapas and cocktails. It was a lovely evening and I felt really blessed by the end of the day. What could have been quite non eventful day, being away from family and friends and only in the country for two and half weeks, it was very enjoyable. When I got home I was greeted by the family singing happy birthday to me in Finnish (Naomi wanted to sing especially!) and they gave me a small gift of a Finnish worship CD and small handmade purse for change and cards. I let Nerissa and Naomi help me open it which they were very pleased about. They were so cute! Noel was there, but was less interested as it wasn’t his birthday.
End of the 25th year and start of the 26th
My 25th year:
- I have lived in 5 different places and lived in/visited 4 countries (UK, Croatia, Finland and squeezed in Russia!)
- I have completed my 2nd year as a student nurse
- I have gained two cousins (no nieces or nephews yet!)
- I have gained friends and sadly lost one
- I met up with three friends from my DTS in New Zealand in 2008, wonderful reunion.
What will happen in my 26th year:
- I will become a qualified nurse and get a job!
- I will see many of DTS friends again after 7 years (many of whom now have families of their own- I’m getting left behind…!)
- I will have more adventures with God and find out what he has planned for me next…
- The rest is up to Him and I am excited 🙂
Finnish Paediatric outpatients
I again has the opportunity to go with Laura to the hospital and sit in on her outpatients clinic. It wasn’t as enjoyable as the previous week as all the appointments were spoken in Finnish (as I would have expected) so I didn’t understand anything that was being said. Laura explained a bit about the patients before and after we’d seen them and I got to see some x-rays which were interesting, also discussing treatments the children were given. It was a quiet day as each patient had a half hour appointment but most only took 10 minutes. I met a Finnish nursing student (she introduced herself-unusual for Fins) and we spent a few minutes chatting about our courses and what jobs we would like after we graduated. She was a nice girl, and fluent in English, as most people are. During the clinic we saw a range of conditions- fractures, an anal fissure, hip displacement and hernias. I was surprised that kids from a few months old to toddlers can get these things. The babies were all very well behaved, no crying. The oldest girl, about 9, was actually the most uncooperative which I was surprised by. But I guess being older she was more aware of the adult attention and so seemed to be more shy and embarrassed.
Helsinki and St Petersburg
I spent thursday-saturday on my trip to St Petersburg, squeezing in a few hours in Helsinki during thursday afternoon before I boarded the ferry. Helsinki is a very mixed city architecturally. Many old and new buildings, historical architecture, old churches and small parks around the city. As I only had a few hours I walked a small circle route from the harbor to the centre and back. I visited the orthodox cathedral and an indoor market with fish, meat, bread, flowers and small eating places. I ended up walking quite a distance so decided to head to the ferry earlier than planned so I could have a relaxing evening (see the St Petersburg page). Below are a few pictures of Helsinki…
Learning about my own language!
I’ve found it really interesting to learn about the structure of my own language whilst having to try and explain structure and words to people, or find alternative words to explain things more clearly. I’ve had to think about the meaning of lots of words, the context words are used in so that they make sense, especially when words sound the same but spelt differently, or are exactly the same but the meaning changes according to context. It’s quite interesting to have to think about, which I never to do at home.
I can’t believe I am leaving aready. I will really miss the family (especially Nerissa who is too small to realise that when I leave tonight I won’t be coming back again 😦 very sad. She’s very fond of me (and I of her) and she even let me pick her up this afternoon for a hug! The first time but sadly the last) and all my new friends. My last weekend has been spent travelling back from Helsinki, blogging, going to a light show/late night service on saturday evening and packing. In Tampere there was a Venetian festival with three elements fire, water and light. The church decided to put on a show/service afterwards at 22.30 in one of the city churches using the same elements within the story of Moses brings the Israelites out from Egypt. It was a great production, being produced by a famous Finnish guy who works for Finnish TV. The music and singing was great, but it was a strange combination of show and service. The words of the songs were put on a screen for us to see. Some were worship songs as I knew the english version, but others were sung to us. One I recognised as When You Believe from the Disney film Prince of Egypt. I sang along quietly! Again I didn’t know if I was part of the audience or congregation. The Lutherin minister gave a sermon/talk with a small message, within the story of Moses. Two people read out passages of the story at different points during the service. And again we (a few hundred people) all had communion at the end. Overall very good, but a bit of a strange combination of show and service.
I leave the south this evening to get an overnight train north to Rovaniemi. It will take about 10 hours so I hope the cabin is comfortable! I am told the weather is good, about 15 degrees with a chill in the morning and evening. I have almost packed everything (I think I will have to buy another case by the time I get to the end of my three months!) and going to have a relaxing evening before getting a lift to the train station. My train is not until 1am so I might have to wait a bit at the station.
New adventures await me up north. I will meet the other nursing student again who is also doing erasmus, learn more Finnish, continue to improve my nursing skills, and make more friends. I hope to meet with a friend of a friend here from Lempaala that has also moved to Rovaniemi to study, she sounds lovely and is keen to meet up. I also hope to visit the YWAM base.
So Hei Hei (bye) from the south!