Monday, February 26, 2007


Last night I ate dinner with chopsticks. It worked amazingly well. The meat, the salad and large part of the rice went down easily with chopsticks. However my hand became tired so I used a fork for the last part of the rice.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

I'm going home soon

1,5 hours left of work, then I'm going home...


I had this post greatly outlined until I started feeling frustrated, for this is a frustrating subject to me. But don't worry, I'll try to find the middle ground between my frustration and my first outline.

Finland is by definition bilingual, Finnish and Swedish. For most people it's only judicial. People (Finnish speakers) that live in Eastern Finland rarely hear Swedish spoken or at all and people (Swedish speakers) living in the southwest archipelago rarely hear Finnish spoken or at all.

Also by definition 92 % of the population have Finnish as their mother tongue, 6 % Swedish and the remaining part other languages, mainly Russian.

If you don't know it already my mother tongue is Swedish and when it comes to my living place you can say I live in the middle ground. I live in the only region on mainland Finland that has Swedish as its majority language, well 52 % and 48 % speak Finnish. You can call it a truly bilingual region.

This doesn't mean that all people in this region speak both languages or that all Swedish speakers speak Finnish because it's the country's majority language or that all Finnish speakers speak Swedish because it's the regions majority language. It's a varying degree of knowledge of the other language in both language groups. For some people the other language is simply a foreign language, it was studied in school but after that I has all been forgotten. Some are simply bilingual, mastering both languages. Most people are somewhere between those two.

Some of my Swedish speaking friends, well I only have Swedish speaking friends but the ones who know very little Finnish or anything at all think I can speak Finnish. They should only know the truth.

Since this is a bilingual region most customer related jobs demands a varying degree of bilingualism of their employees. My job requires me to take a few customer phone calls and communicate with other employs that doesn't know much Swedish. That works very well because I know my workplace language. But outside of that I'm lost without a clue, unless the topic of the conversation at the local night club concerns electricity and/or distant heating… I didn't think so either.

One of the great things about the Finnish language is that once you master the basics you understand it and can make yourself understood on basic subjects. However the road between basic knowledge and being able to call yourself bilingual (if you are a Swedish speaking Finn like myself) is long and narrow. I have even heard of Swedish speaking Finns being able to speak the Finnish language so well that they have been taken for native Finnish speakers. I don't think however I have met one.

The last remark was not meant to be ironic but some people that have Finnish as their mother tongue fail to realise how difficult Finnish is to master all the way when it's not your mother tongue. And yes we have all heard about exchange students who have learned Finnish perfectly before Christmas during their exchange year. I have also read some posts by a blogger from USA that learned Swedish perfectly here during her exchange year. We call these people language geniuses, they are rare. However most exchange students coming to Finland only learn the language here rudimentary, whether it's Swedish or Finnish. We call these normal people, they are common.

So I get away with only knowing a little Finnish. I know enough to handle my work. My social network consists of only Swedish speakers. They don't employ people in stores, shops, banks… here (in and around Vaasa) that are not bilingual. So I know the Finnish I have to know and I won't learn anymore unless I actively try to learn more.

But I would like to know some more. I do that by spending time on the net on Finnish sites. Chatting on Suomi24, reading news on Yle and keeping a Finnish blog besides my English and Swedish ones on Blogspot. However I find it very frustrating. The chatting goes well for a while if the Finnish is kept on basic level. But I think my fellow chatters easily get bored with me because I leave many things unsaid because I don't know how to say them and when I do say something I don't think I have many or any words correctly spelled or in the right form.

Blogging in Finnish is even more frustrating. I don't write too often and that is a good thing. But when I do write a series of posts I usually take a look at them a week later and the worst I have serious trouble understanding. At that point I get frustrated and write a frustrating post (probably in English because I can't write what I want to write in Finnish) which probably offend (at that point I have some not so nice things about Finnish as a language to say and I do write them down) all my Finnish readers if I had any to begun with because if I can't read my own posts written in Finnish, how are they suppose to do that.

After I blown of some steam in my "Finnish SUCKS"-post I realize a few days later that it is offensive (sorry) towards my Finnish readers and that my other posts in Finnish are unreadable so I delete all my posts and starts all over with my first post having the headline "Moi" containing the text "Moi" (=hi), I mean even I can't get that wrong. Then I leave it like that for a few weeks until I start writing a series of unreadable posts in Finnish again. The only thing we can learn from history is that it repeats itself.

I might master the Finnish language someday but my language studying technique is typically Finnish. I bang my head against the wall until I crack the wall. It doesn't matter that it takes a while and the skull fractures caught in the process because I will get my head trough the wall.

Reading Yle News is however pleasant. I just have to read it; I understand everything or mostly everything. I don't have to interact it in anyway and I like news. But I really don't learn anything; it's just a way of not forgetting what I have already learned.

Then again, why do I feel this need to learn Finnish and why do I feel like it's my duty to learn it? There are many Swedish speakers I know that doesn't care about Finnish. They are quite happy about living their lives in Swedish. But what happens if they want to leave Vaasa for a while? It works fine, going eastwards is like going to foreign country, and everybody speaks a foreign language. Luckily you don't have to say or understand much touristing in your own country, knowing the numbers so you know what you have to pay at the counter. And if all else fails most Finns (both Finnish and Swedish speaking) knows some degree of English. Going westwards is great; there are 9 million people speaking the same language as us all within 2 days travel. Well I have a shorter trip to Stockholm than people living in northern Sweden.

I acknowledge the fact that I live in country of five million people and 4 700 000 of them speak a language I do not master: For some people being part of a 300 000 people language minority is enough and that they can visit their neighbouring country where everyone speak their language. For me that is not enough. I am a Finn (although Swedish speaking) and I think I live in the greatest country in the world. Not being able to communicate with large parts of the people of my country and the difficulties in trying to learn that language are very frustrating.

Welcome to the dark side of being a Swedish speaking Finn in Finland

Friday, February 23, 2007

Last night shift

This is my last night shift; well I got a morning shift too after that. So my last shift for 10 days. This morning it was -26 C and since we have been running our steam furnace and turbine this week so the three earlier night shifts has been anything but calm. But they have been educational; running a distant heating power plant with an outside temperature of -26 C is difficult.

But since the weather is warmer it almost runs by itself and a whole lot less noisy without a steam furnace and turbine running in the building.

I actually got some time to spend here if you wonder about my absent blogging the last few days.

So what’s new? Well not much, life goes on as it always has. It’s nice =)

Saturday, February 17, 2007

I'm here again

Here I am again, at work having a cold, well the cold isn't that bad. I have no fever today, I had some last night but ibuprofen does wonders with your cold...

Only 2 hours left now…

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Peanut butter

When we were last time shopping (I think it was Friday or Saturday) we bought something I have never tasted, peanut butter, Yes I’m 32 but peanut butter is something kids eat in American TV shows and about as common here as spit roasted Penguin in the Sahara desert.

Well, I think it’s an acquired taste and can be good on the bread at breakfast but I don’t think it’s going to be a can of it in the refrigerator all the time…

Monday, February 12, 2007

A lovely day

Today has been a great day, well not that great but the weather was fine. The last week has been quite cold but today was quite warm. Well -3 C is warm weather this month. The cold weather will return tomorrow.

I’m at my third evening shift out of four…

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Here I go again

Well my Swedish blog has been moved to Aftonbladet. Not that anything was wrong with Blogspot, it just that I had no readers to my Swedish blog here, they where over at Aftonbladet. It costs 2 euros a month but there is a small difference between having readers and not having readers...

My blog in English has always been the backbone of my blogging experience hera at Blogspot so business as usual with this blog...

2 out of 4

This is evening shift 2 out of 4. A sunny but cold day =)

Saturday, February 10, 2007

More than one blog

Here we are again, I’m again writing in all my blogs, in three different languages, but with one limitation. I’m not translating anything. Every blog have different readers and therefore each post is better suited to some of you and less suited for others.

Don’t worry, significant event will be written in all blogs, but I will not write them one after another. If I wait a few hours or a day I will have forgotten how exactly I wrote it in that blog/language so I can start writing with the original idea intact but a new set of words.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Once again one more time

Well I’m down to one blog again =). First of all, I don’t write a blog in Finnish. Yes I do need to improve my Finnish but writing something in Finnish that no one reads and that is already written in English or/and Swedish is pointless. I improve my Finnish by chatting on Finnish chat pages.

The Swedish one is good but then again no readers. And it’s a copy-past-thing from my blog on X3M. I got readers there, not here.

Too many blogs means that blogging isn’t fun. It feels like doing the dishes or vacuum cleaning. Things that have to be done but are not fun. You know, write this, copy to here and here, translate that and copy to here, translate again and copy to here…

So I’m writing in English because I know I got readers here. That means I’m down to three blogs; X3M, Blogger and MySpace. X3M is in Swedish, Blogger and MySpace are in English but mainly a copy-paste-thing. I got readers in both places so that’s why I can do the copy-paste-thing. A few posts might be different or exist in one place but not the other.

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Good night

It's soon 7 AM and it's time for me to go home from work and get some sleep...

Friday, February 02, 2007

Popular request

Do to popular request I was asked to take a winter picture. This is from my work room window. It was still snowing when I took the camera from the shelf where it was lying. When the picture was taken 30 seconds later it had stopped snowing, However this is my outside view =).

Another glorious morning

The downturn with being a creature of the night is that the mornings are very tiresome. Well in about half an hour I will be on my way home and get some well earned sleep =).

Creatures of the night

I’ve been doing shift work (well some studying and both field and office work in between) since 2000 now, almost 7 years. Since day one I’ve always loved doing it.

Morning shift is what everyone else is doing and it feels quite boring.Everyone sits in the same traffic every morning and afternoon, spend the same time at work, go to the same supermarkets on their way home, cooks dinner and spends the evening in front of the TV before going to bed. Guess what happens tomorrow?

Ok, that was a small exaggeration. My/Our life are a bit more exciting than that when I do the morning shift, hopefully yours are too.

Evening shifts are the social life killer. You work when everybody else are not working and when they work you are not working, well at least you sleep the same time.

For some odd reason I like the night shift or as it is popularly called the graveyard shift. The world is a different place at night. Although I don’t see much of the real world since I spend most of my night shift in the control room. And even if I was the city is fairly dead this time of night.

I’m talking more about the net. People that are online this time are usually other graveyard workers, night owls or from some other part of the world (where it is daytime now). They are different in a good sense.

I don’t know quite how to explain it. But if you look to the animal kingdom nocturnal animals are different. Their senses are sharper and their awareness of the world around them are far greater. They live in a world of darkness, a darkness that can be a friend or foe. They have to be on top of their senses in order to survive in the darkness.

Although mankind’s survivability doesn’t depend on our ability to sharpen our senses when night falls I think that is exactly what happens. It wasn’t that many millenniums ago that mankind fought on the same levels as wolves. We were more intelligent but being on top of the food chain means you got to produce results, not think about the meaning of life.

Well we have evolved since then. Not genetically, we still have basically the same genes as the first cavemen that started painting in their caves. Evolution is about survival of the fittest and our culture isn’t old enough to have started making any significant changes in the human gene pool.

But the old traits from whatever nocturnal ancestors we have are still in our genes and the crowds that hang here at night are more awake than any of the people that hang here during the daytime. A paradox yes but people are fascinating when they are on top of their senses…

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Here I go again…

I got 4 night shifts again, exciting huh ;-)?