Anteeksi, puhutteko englantia?*

Lilac in front of Finnish house

Every time I come to Finland, and this is my fifth time I think (I’ve lost count!), I find I understand more Finnish and speak a little more.  I understand and can read a lot more than I can speak, and I’m still a babe in the woods if let out alone.  My great triumph this trip has been pronouncing the title of this post and having someone reply, without even flinching, “Yes, of course.”  Whew!

We have been here a week.  When we arrived, we were worn out from the whirlwinds of Washington and particularly London.  We were thankful to arrive in the arms of family and take a day off.  The first day we hid in the house, slept in, and just “blobbed”, reading and sitting and doing not much at all.

The following day we were back on form, shopping and visiting two museums.  The first, Vapriikki, is Tampere’s main museum and is a great experience.  There are several exhibitions on at once, and we didn’t see all of them.  Pearl particularly liked the Natural History section, where we saw an elk (hirvi), a wolverine (ahma), and several other local animals, as well as learning about the local flora.  Spring is in full swing (and into early summer) so lots of things are flowering and it’s nice to be able to identify them now.

Next stop was, obviously, MoominValley, under the library.  Pearl was utterly enchanted by the dioramas, and barely interested in the original pen-and-ink illustrations on the walls.  We were there for a good long time, and spent nearly as much time in the Moomin shop next door.

Lily of the valley

We have also been walking in beautiful Finnish forests, enjoying the sunshine and bright green trees and lush undergrowth.  I adore the lily-of-the-valley growing and flowering profusely around my ankles; Pearl is intrigued by the abundance of strawberries everywhere, even under the slide in the playground we visited today.

Strawberries *everywhere*!

We’ve been treated to pulla, makaronilaatikko, moomin biscuits (cookies), and juice from home-grown berries.  Pearl tried a korvapuusti in a cafe and decided mine are pretty authentic.  I had a rahkapiirakka in another cafe and decided my Finnish “sister”‘s are much much better.

We only have two more days here.  We are enjoying our trip very much, but are also starting to feel the pull of home.  Pearl said today, “I don’t know if I’m happy or sad” to be heading home soon.  I told her it’s ok to be both.

Pearl's borrowed ice skates. She wants to keep them. If only we had ice at home!

*Excuse me, do you speak English?

© UpsideBackwards 2011.

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4 Responses to “Anteeksi, puhutteko englantia?*”

  1. Jenny (jaydub26) Says:

    oh I loved the Moomin books as a kid – brought back memories

  2. Graham Says:

    * This title is an anagram of “Kate – e’en thought speak in latin?”

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