Lilypie Pregnancy tickers

Monday, June 26, 2006

Su-o-mi!

Suffered a happy trainride with simple Swede who seemed simply annoyed by our company, killed some time burning cash in Stockholm and hopped a giant floating mall to Helsinki. While onboard we amazed micro-persons by setting a new record for the most number-of-times knocking the air hockey puck off the table and into oblivion. Tie-game with me learning my Finnish numbers before joining the feeding frenzy in the bottom of the boat and watching Ghana shock the Empire.

Gender segregation rules snuggled me in with 3 bunkmates including a Russian Engineer who practiced English on me into the wee hours reading DH Lawrence for accent improvement. We may stay with him in St. Petersberg.

I jumped off the boat and into the gene pool, M's boatstation doodled family tree leaking through my earholes clogging the drums. Cousins Harri and his wonderful wife, kids Adda, a memory whiz, Erri, pure energy, and Jakko, the latest winner of the cute award, what with his blueberry pie Joker smile.

They lent us a car and phone (landlines are extinct in Suomi, there are more saunas than people, more cell phones than saunas, and more lakes than cellphones) and we drove 5 hours northeast to the Russian border where we joined Aunt Liisa and Uncle Reijo at the cottage and received a Suomi tsunami tour of the facilities including lessons in emptying outhouses, firing the sauna, finding world cup football on the TV, and 2 girlbikes refurbished like jewels hidden underneath the keys to the garage, awaiting their riders salivating grease. Joy by any other name would still be a bicycle.

We'd alighted only hours ago and lready eaten our fill of sausages cucumbers tomatoes and potatoes, so what a thrill it was when Liisa served us a creamy unknown white delicious fish with Lapland golden beer.

"Are you fun?" Reijo asked me perplexingly.

"Um."

We all laughed nervously and he tried again, "Are you funny?"

Fan was the word he sought, football fan to be precise and he soon provided me more examples of audibly close yet semantically different English words like ass and ash - one makes poo and the other covers it over in the outhouse. Reijo concluded that English is a very dirty language and said "fuck you" and "fack you" several times to emphasize. Liisa hugged me and called me 'son.' Hilarious people give us great hope when they make us and each other laugh after 2 million years of marriage.

But there was more: Uncle Lauri and Aunt Mirja and their daughter KIRsi and her hubby Jussi and kids Jona and Ville, who continued the Finnish lesson that Jakko had started holding up objects and naming them for me.

As if sauna wasn't ritualistic joy enough Lauri slaved 6 hours to create lunch, supper, and a very special occasion smoke-sauna, which has no chimney. The fire is out by the time you sit on black soot but the heat of the rocks rages on.

Jussi and Kirsi provided commentary on the oppression of Finnish tax rates that provided nothing but free school, good roads, and free health care (unlike the Swedes who pay a subsidized rate).

And finally, a day to ourselves. The right of all newly weds after they have fulfulled duties of 10 months of congratulatory jubilation among family, friends, housemates, coworkers, and more family.

Now she's off with Lauri and Mirja on a 4-day boat trip in the Land of Lakes. The scenery here is like the best parts of Ontario everywhere. But I chose to martyr myself at the cottage - somebody has to keep tabs on the world cup action, particularly Ghana's progress. Ah me, as Stephen Paige with wise young sage once said, "absence makes the heart grow fungus." And fungus, as you are no doubt well aware, is the bedrock of the love of all good environmentalists.

What has struck this mute illiterate foreighn scribe most is how very uncolonized it all is. There is a real Finnishness to Finland. NOT so many words that are English in disguise, not so many fastfood takeovers and knockoffs (lots of processed food in the grocery store but it's all processed Finnish foods, like Karelian pies). The culture is strong, vibrant, and distinct.

And my new family has indeed taken me as family, given me cars and built me bikes, bought and make me meals, sheltered, accomodated, translated, and taught me, gently, kindly, and bent so far backwards how can they still walk??
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
On a side note, the last news of Martin, via Sandi, is very good, he is even starting to walk again.

Also, congratulations to my friend Karen who finished third in the Toronto City Idle contest. Read all about it here.

2 comments:

velocity_girl said...

re: a side note:
I know it's just a typo, but I thought it was one that deserved correcting: it's City Idol, not City Idle. City Idle is what we have now, City Idol is what we're aspiring towards.

And while I'm thinking about it, thanks again for missing Karen's First Round to hang with me. I needed it, and it was super appreciated.

And just so you know, I'm really enjoying your posts.

----melissa

benjibopper said...

a friend in need is a friend indeed and all that...and we actually had a good time meeting your other friends and getting to know your dad in a way through photos and memories.

glad you're enjoying. how's the schooling and projects and jobhunts and whatnot? (feel free to send an email if you prefer ;-)