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In the Twin Cities there’s a lot of Scandinavian influences. Today we came across an awesome one: The American Swedish Institute’s FIKA cafe. We came for dinner- meatballs are awesome (too good for me to slow down and take a photo but here is a photo of the cafe
After the meatballs we had an awesome cardamom dessert (laskianen pulla in Finnish). Amazing!
The top should be full but I started eating right away and thought to take a photo just before finishing the top half. Cream filling. Awesome! Grabbed a pulla roll to go for morning coffee tomorrow (photo tomorrow- great for watching the Thanksgiving day parade)
Then to the gift shop. And this was amazing- FINNISH CANDY!! My favorite! I have a big sweet tooth and this hit the spot.
Tons of Swedish stuff but the design, treats, etc blurs with Finnish so we were loving it!
Found a great cookbook I hope to order from Amazon ($10 cheaper than store and I am a grad student after all) It’s called The Nordic Bakery Cookbook. Can’t wait to try some recipes out.
Ready to watch some TV with my candy.
When I made my first trip to Rovaniemi many, many years ago, I quickly noticed the following scene:
If you couldn’t guess from the photo, you are looking at a row of slot machines. This is not an arcade, it’s not even a casino. This photo is from the local grocery store. And the scene is everywhere- either a group if 5-10 as above or single slot machines at local restaurants like Kotipizza (below)
The major company in Finland regulating slot machines is called Ray. Money earned from slot machines and other gambling under Ray (there are local casinos and online play opportunities as well) goes to support health and social welfare groups (more than 250 million euros in 2011 to approximately 800 groups). Even on their website they advertise Ray gambling as a way to support these organizations.
Personally I’ve never been a fan of gambling. BUT, when I’m waiting for pizza or folks to finish shopping at the grocery store, or even waiting for a flight at the airport, it really is a great way to pass the time. But don’t get too excited- this isn’t Vegas and payout aren’t the stuff of movies. I have turned a couple euros into over 20 before though
Here’s a photo of the exterior of a casino in the Sampokeskus shopping center
What is the experience like? We took a video of a recent play (below). It’s long but cycles through a few different games on one machine. You can see at the bottom of the screen in the video that English is a language option. This is new. I’m familiar with the Finnish language ones- made it more exciting- I really had the excuse that I had no idea what I was doing and therefore couldn’t be at fault for a loss. Those times are no more. You will be happy to know that Ray does its part in supporting responsible gambling though. They provide a link on their site to test if you have a problem. I couldn’t find an option for English on the page so I guess I’ll never know: Link to gambling problem support
Enjoy the video!
- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone
So, not a whole lot going on today to prepare for packing or heading off to Finland. But, I was working on Finnish stuff so I’m sharing that. In my Finnish class we finish (no pun intended) the semester with presentations to the class. Thought I would share mine this year with the blog readers. I did my presentation on the popular Finnish Comic Strip: Viivi and Wagner. You can read all about this comic and its author from Wikipedia and daily comics are posted online through the Helsingin Sanomat.
Viivi & Wagner is a somewhat absurdist Finnish newspaper comic strip drawn by Jussi “Juba” Tuomola.
The titular main characters are Viivi, a Finnish woman in her twenties, and Wagner, a mature male pig. Wagner is fully anthropomorphic and sentient, yet still considers himself a pig instead of a human. Though often mistaken for married, the two are cohabitating in an Odd Couple-ish relationship and genuinely fond of each other when not bickering.
Here is the Finnish version of Viivi and Wagner from Wikipedia
Viivi ja Wagner on Jussi “Juba” Tuomolan luoma suosittu suomalainen sarjakuva. Se sai alkunsa strippisarjakuvana, mutta sittemmin on julkaistu myös joitakin pidempiä juonellisia tarinoita.
Sarjakuvan päähenkilöinä ovat nuori opiskelijanainen Viivi ja sika Wagner. Viivi on valveutunut ja huolehtiva nainen, eläinten oikeuksien puolestapuhuja ja kasvissyöjä. Wagner puolestaan on sika, jolla on perisuomalaisen juntin piirteitä.
Here is the comic from today’s Viivi and Wagner from http://www.hs.fi/viivijawagner/ (Dec. 9th, 2008)
English Translation coming soon!
I came across this blog post a couple days ago and found it so entertaining I just had to post! Apparently, according to this blogger, it is near impossible to become a Finnish citizen these days. After reading this post I felt compelled to do a little research of my own especially since Finnish citizenship might be in my own future down the road. Here is the link to the full article from Mary Nurimen from Savon Sanomat:
How to Apply for Finnish Citizenship – Kolumnit – Savon Sanomat:
Here is a little of my own research (please note that I am not an expert, I am just an American doing research on Finland and I encourage you to do your own research and not trust my opinions):
Finnish Immigration Service Quiz
First, you can check out this website which walks you through a quiz to see if you fulfill the requirements for migrating to Finland: http://www.uvi.fi/migratingtofinland/eng/
**Of note, I was not able to take this quiz because I have no family ties in Finland, no job, no school acceptance and really no reason to be considered a resident (I don’t think they would make me a citizen just yet..). You need to be a resident FIRST before you can apply to be a citizen, Mary noted this as well…oh boy…this will be a process for sure…at some point.
So, I did a little more searching. I found that “residence permit applications by foreign citizens increased in Finland by some 25 percent in January-April 2008 compared to the corresponding period in 2007.” This includes just over 6,000 resident applications. Chances are if you send in your application today you shouldn’t plan to move in the next few weeks…
You can migrate to Finland (i.e. establish residency) in many ways. You can study abroad (depending on age and status you can apply for citizenship after studying abroad in Finland), Work, or have family ties.
Something interesting about family ties I want to mention while reading through the Finland immigration services website FAQ’s:
I have been dating a foreigner (non-EU citizen or equivalent person) for almost a year. We lived together for three months when I visited her home country during my holidays. Can she acquire a residence permit in Finland on the basis of family ties?
Cohabiting partners are required to live together in the same household under marriage-like circumstances for at least two years. Secondly, if the individuals are registered in and have their domicile in different states, taking turns to cohabit during tourist holidays in each other’s home country is not considered cohabitation under marriage-like circumstances.
My wife is a foreign national (non-EU citizen or equivalent person), I am a Finnish citizen. Last year I became unemployed. Can my wife acquire a residence permit in Finland even if I am unable to support her?
Your wife (a family member of a Finnish citizen living in Finland) will be granted a residence permit even though her means of support in Finland are not secured by your work or other income.
So…this is quite interesting. Would like to find out more about how they track the two year cohabitation an does that cohabitation have to be in Finland or anywhere in the world? I always thought you would have to get married to become a resident in a spouse or partner’s home country, this does not seem to be the case in Finland unless I’m misreading it.
“The granting of a residence permit usually requires that the foreigner’s income is secure. The objective of the income requirement is that foreigners living in Finland are able to support themselves economically by their own means.”
What does this mean exactly?
Well, for an adult you are required to secure $900 a month or $10,800 a year. A student will need to secure $500 a month or $6,000 a year. For additional income requirements you can read more here
Well, I think that is it for my own research for now, if you can even really call it that. Go to the Finnish Immigration Service website and READ, READ, READ. Lots of good information. Anyone, especially an American that has gone through this process, please provide any information you have…how difficult was the process?
Minnesota native brings music of Finland to Winona
By Tom Weber
For Diane Jarvi, the kantele is an instrument of change.
Jarvi, you see, would like to change our perception of Finland as only a place with chilly weather and colder people. She intends to do that by bringing the music of Finland — much of it played on a folk instrument known as the kantele — to American audiences. read more..
What: Finnish-American singer Diane Jarvi at the Winona State University International Music Series.
When: 5:30 p.m. Feb. 7.
Where: Tau Center, 511 Hilbert St., on Winona State’s West Campus, Winona.
for National Geographic News
January 4, 2008
Ice-skating—the oldest human-powered means of transportation—was invented in Finland not for fun but for survival, according to a new study.
Skates made from animal bones have been found throughout Scandinavia and Russia, including some that date back to around 3000 B.C.
The wide dispersal of the ancient artifacts has made it difficult for archaeologists to pin down exactly when and where ice-skating first developed.
Now scientists from Italy and the United Kingdom have calculated that people living in what is now southern Finland would have benefited the most from skating on the crude blades.
The researchers showed that people traveling across the region’s frozen lakes reduced their physical energy cost by 10 percent.
By contrast, skaters in other northern European countries would have had only a one percent energy reduction (see a map of Europe).
“People developed this ingenious locomotion tool in order to travel more quickly and by using not as much energy as if they had walked around all the lakes,” said study co-author Federico Formenti of the University of Oxford in England.
The study appears in this month’s issue of the Biological Journal of the Linnean Society of London.
Southern Finland has more lakes within 40 square miles (about 100 square kilometers) than any other region in the world.
“I think ice-skating happened in [this] area because of the several long and thin lakes that people had to cross in order to get around, hunting for food or for any daily activity,” Formenti said.
“Those lakes froze during the long winters, when sunlight was there only for a few hours per day.”
It is officially 2008 in Rovaniemi, Finland and it came without a hitch. At 6pm yesterday evening, fireworks began sounding from every corner of the city as that is the official time when it becomes legal for fireworks to be shot off for New Years. And they are definitely not cheap. You have your average loud firecrackers but as we drove from my boyfriend’s parents house to our New Year’s Eve get together in the city we had our own little mini show of fireworks illuminating the sky on our route. It is really quite something.
From 8pm-2am we celebrated the coming of the new year with friends, food and a variety of wines, beer and cider (I stuck with the cider, the only alcohol I really enjoy consuming). Our hosts served a large variety of really great food from veggies (carrots, pickles, cucumbers, squash, etc.) with dipping sauce to green salad with chicken, bacon wrapped carrots, pesto pasta salad and some other items that were all really good.
The night progressed with a random mix of conversations considering that everyone at the table had some connection with a large variety of cultures other than Finland such as study abroad experiences in the U.S., Italy, London, multiple languages acquired from various jobs. It all mixed together to create a great environment for me, the sole, native English speaker- though the switch to Finnish was pretty quick the few times I went to the bathroom. As a foreigner in a country that speaks a language different than your own you realize pretty quickly how thankful you are of people who do their best to make you feel comfortable by speaking in a manner than includes you in the conversation (either by translating or speaking primarily your fluent tongue). Though I am learning Finnish I am nowhere near the point where I can carry on a casual conversation in Finnish and feel fortunate to be able to spend time in Finland and not feel like an outsider amongst friends.
The night progressed to midnight when TONS of fireworks began going off as we could view from our friends’ windows and hear all around us and we toasted the new year with a glass of champagne and continued with our drinks. The last round of food was a pot of chocolate fondue with sliced bananas and red peppers (I stuck with the bananas) and a pot of nakki (hot dogs in Finnish). We headed home around 2pm, the fireworks had finished mostly by then (though I slept with ear plugs for the late night after shocks.
Today we are going to most likely lounge around the house, watch movies and probably make a trip to the Arctic Circle/Santa Claus Village as that is the only place that is open today next to a couple local gas stations/mini marts and video rental stores. Lots of Russian tourists visit this part of Finland during this time so they spend lots of time and money taking arctic tours in the city which is why the shops at the Arctic Circle will be open.
There is no traditional New Years Day meal in Finland but I’ll follow up with a final (part 3) post later this evening to sum up the events that take place.
Enjoy the New Year!
I labeled this post as part 1 because it is currently 2:05pm in the afternoon (kello on viisi yli kaksi) and it is rather early to tell you what is going on for New Years Eve. Traditionally on my previous visits, New Years Eve has been pretty laid back, drinking cider all day and celebrating the changing of the New Year with fireworks. The first year we shot off rocket fireworks in Matti’s front yard and two years ago we went downtown with TONS of people and shot off fireworks in the biggest understated fire hazard manner in parking lots surrounded by cars, not the best idea but no harm done (that we know of).
In the United States, ever since I was a kid, New Years Day (or Eve, can’t remember when the meal typically is) is celebrated with a meal of green veggies, usually greens in my home (for money in the new year), black eyed peas (for luck) and something for health, really can’t remember that either. I have a funny feeling my mom might comment on this point and correct my errors
In Finland there is no special meal or anything but rather just lots of drinking and fireworks. In the U.S. fireworks are the symbol of 4th of July but starting about a week ago, grocery stores set out their fireworks display (mostly rockets and things that exploded in the air) and a few days ago we started hearing the noises of kids in the neighborhood getting some early practice…
We’re spending part of New Year’s Eve at home and the other with a couple groups of friends just a few blocks outside of downtown. Nothing wild planned (never been the type) but I’ll have my camera with me for any events that might take place or if we should venture downtown to capture the awe and stupidity of New Years festivities. At the very least I’ll take a photo or two. Rovaniemi was showered with some snow yesterday (FINALLY!) so things are looking rather pretty and white. And today we saw the sun (well, the horizon of the sun) for the first time in like 4 days (I’m on the arctic circle so it is expected- though you never really get used to it)!! The temperature is finally starting to fall here from the unusually warm temperatures of the past few weeks- it’s around 23F degrees right now and slowly falling into the teens. It’s NOTHING like my first new years in Rovaniemi when I felt every muscle and bone in my body freezing from -20F weather. I think, without realizing it at the time, my body was preparing for the future years I would spend in Minneapolis which is currently getting a big taste of snow and semi cold weather.
Stay tuned for more later in the day!
In Finland, we went to sauna about 2-3 times per week. The saunas in Finland are not what you think they are when you think about how American saunas are. American saunas are often thought of as steam rooms. In Finland, they use dry saunas. Matti’s parents’ house has a wood burning sauna but it is becoming easier for people to install electric saunas in their homes. I’ve been in both and wood burning saunas are SOOO much better. Here is a brief history of Finnish saunas. Follow the links to read even more about them… Enjoy! We have a sauna tonight, looking forward to it. LOVE sauna!!
The sauna is a small room or hut heated to around 80 degrees Celsius. It is used for bathing as well as for mental and physical relaxation.
While a hot sauna may seem a cruel punishment to unexperienced bathers, it is actually a very pleasant experience. All you need is a towel and at least half an hour of time. Start with a shower, then enter the sauna for a few minutes, listening to your senses. When you’ve had enough, take a refreshing shower, cool off for awhile and repeat once or twice. And no need to worry, it’s entirely safe.
The sauna has a long history and close relatives in other cultures: the Russian banya, the Native American sweat lodge or inipi, the Turkish hamam, even the Japanese onsen. In Finland it has at least a thousand years of histor. (to read about the history click here)
There are 1,212,000 saunas in private apartments in Finland (2002 statistics). With another 800,000 installations in summer cottages and public swimming pools that makes for more than 2 million saunas for a population of 5.2 million. For comparison, we have just under 2.5 million cars and trucks. If you are thinking of building a sauna of your own, start with these ideas and guidelines.
View video of lighting a sauna in an old school (awesome) sauna