Tonight, I spent a few hours meeting a Finnish family and I am so thankful for the opportunity the school has provided for both of us. I am so excited to continue to get to know this family made up of young parents with three daughters. We share so many interests and it seems that they are just as curious about me as I am about them. Together, in just a couple hours, we learned so much about each other!
The young girls (10, 12, and 14) are already teaching me about Finnish language. They think American school is outo (weird.) I like the way we handle our primary into secondary school, but I will admit that it is different that everyone else. They were allowed to think it’s outo.
We also discovered that my name means rock teacher! Lol not really but in Finnish kallio is like a large, strong stone and Ope is their slang word for teacher. So I guess my mother was right to believe our names are gifts from God. At the very least, we grow into our names!
Tonight, I had evening coffee and bread with the family. It seems to be a fairly common practice here. Coffee after dinner. And bread always. (lol are you jealous mom ;)) The girls made a cream cake topped with blueberries and raspberries. It was the first truly delicious thing I’ve tasted so far. They also had salmiakki, a chocolate candy with licorice inside, which I enjoyed a lot. The youngest girl even baked chocolate chocolate chip cookies! Finally, they made a traditional Finnish bread called karjalanpiirakkat or karelian pasties. It kind of looks like a hollowed out roll filled with rice. They ate it with butter and topped with cheese. It tasted much more Finnish than anything else at the table – or at least more like the meals I’ve been eating in the student restaurants, but I enjoyed it!
The girls are all just beginning to learn English. the youngest is in her second year and the oldest is in her 5th. I hope I will be able to help them learn the language as we spend more time together. The oldest girl is able to understand what I say and sometimes responds in small sentences. But her sisters are struggling. It’s okay though, their momma is really cool and she translates for them! I can tell that everyone is really working hard to learn English so I’m glad I can be their person who can’t speak a lick of Finnish that they can practice with! ha! But I look forward to learning some Finnish with them anyways. We decided soon, they will teach me the alphabet and their numbers.
I so look forward to building a relationship with this family. They are already so similar to mine – a big family, a strong bond, and similar hobbies. I hope I can see the girls perform their music and gymnastics. I can’t wait to go shopping with their momma and skiing and hiking in the woods with the family. I look forward to going to church with them (they are Lutheran and attend the state church).
As I left tonight, I learned one more word. Hei Hei! – just like in Hawaii, hello is the same as goodbye. Of course, we also discussed different ways to say goodbye and I can’t remember any of them! Oh well. In time lol
“Happiness is having a large, loving, caring, close-knit family in another city.” – George Burns
ps, I know this quote is about keeping the extended family away from the immediate, but I totally mean it as a heartfelt sentiment about having a second family in another city lol >.<