As an honor for my 99 years old homeland, I’m going to share my very Finnish weekend from few weeks ago.
As I live in Finland, but study in English and use a mix of English, French, Finnish and Spanish in my every days’ life, I was very pleased to get an invitation for a cabin weekend from my Finnish fellow-students. A whole week-end speaking only Finnish! 😀
The girls had rent a small cabin in Pyhä, a tiny ski-resort at 130 km from Rovaniemi. We had borrowed my moms car and were four Finn girls leaving Friday afternoon from the University. First thing was of course to buy food for the whole week-end. We didn’t have any list of what we wanted, but we had agreed our menu for the week-end earlier, so after a
not very organized shopping, we had a cart full of food and drinks. The most important were glögi (Finnish Christmas drink), the dough for the traditional Christmas cookies and blue cheese, as well as beers for the sauna and wine for the food!
The road, until Pyhä took almost 2 hours and wasn’t very pleasant for the driver (me!) as in this period of the year at 4 pm it’s already dark, and in Lapland there are no streetlights. It was also snowing or very cloudy and foggy, and during the whole road we had to be aware of reindeers who might have appeared from no-where on the road. Luckily my passengers were very supporting and not in a hurry either. So we arrived on our cabin safe and happy, ready to have a relaxing week-end.
So what do a group of girls do in a cabin for a whole week-end?
The first thing we did when we arrived, was the fire in the fireplace, and some cups of glögi, with a drop of red wine in it. A perfect start for a week-end!
Obviously for a relaxing week-end, food was an important thing. We ere cooking everyday, tortillas, soups, pies, salads, and having amazing breakfasts, but also snacks every time it was possible.
For me, the best thing was baking the “piparkakku”, gingerbread! I realized that I actually hadn’t done that in years… Because I was living so long time in France and spending my Christmases there, with other kind of traditions, it must be at least 5 years from the last time I was making ginger breads. (I did get some, every Christmas, but haven’t make them by myself). So thanks one of the girls, we had all the different molds with us and I was really enjoying doing the cookies… Feeling like a kid again!
As sauna is the a very important thing in Finland, all the cabins you can rent, should have a sauna. And for us, it was also the thing we had waited the most. The sauna from this cabin, was so small that it was hilarious. But luckily it fitted all the four of us, even that one had to sit on a lower seat, and we had to make tours for that… So, both evenings, Friday and Saturday, after we had dinner, we put the tiny sauna on and uncorked some beers. We were also lucky to not have neighbors in the cabins around, so we could really enjoy the sauna and snow very freely. We were bathing for few hours in the + 90 C, going in and out from the sauna, talking a lot, drinking the cold beers, and doing angels in the snow! It must have been a very funny view, if someone had seen us, four naked girls coming out steaming from the sauna, and rolling in the snow, screaming, making angels and then running back in, and coming out again… But it felt so good and we had so much fun!
During the week-end the girls also took care about my common knowledge on Finnish tv-culture. We were watching Finnish stand up, and now I finally know who is ‘Ismo Leikola’! But we also watched Saara Aaltos x-factor show and some episodes of ‘Vain elämää’. The latter one is very famous show about Finnish singers, which started when I was living in France, and everybody were talking about it very much, but I had never watched a single episode. I also got tips for other Finnish shows that I could follow…
I found it funny and interesting at the same time, that even after almost 1,5 years in Finland, I could still learn about many things that I’ve been passing by when I was abroad.
Just to make it clear, as Finns are very outdoor people, sporty and loving their home countries landscapes, we were not only eating and drinking the whole week-end, but also had some walks around Pyhä :).
Next time we hopefully can bring our fellow foreign students to experience real Finnish traditions ;).
Happy Independence Day Finland! Hyvää Itsenäisyyspäivää Suomi!