Wednesday, October 12, 2011

A Little Slice of Home

The family of the other Australian in Kotka where in Kotka for a week, I spent 1 afternoon and one evening (on 2 different days) with them just 'being Australian'... whatever that is... but it was good :) Having an Aussie meal of ribs and veggies and doing things again which are acceptable in Australia but viewed as absurd in Finland... the list is too long to write aha!

Looks like home :D

Strangely enough, a few days after they left we ran into 2 other Australians whilst in the city, they were in Kotka for just over a week as part of the support team (a.k.a mothers) of 2 members of the Australian team participating in a 5 day motor bike race being held in daily sections in the Kotka area. We spoke to them for about 20 minutes as though we had known them forever (an Australian social skill gift perhaps) and told them the best places to go to get some supplies they forgot to bring with them.

Sometimes I feel as though I am 2 different people, Australian Ana who can be loud and outgoing and then other times I am Finnish Ana who respects other people's silence and looks scornfully at the loud group in the corner disturbing the peace... the inner conflict as to which to be is quite an interesting one sometimes sometimes aha For instance, when on the public buses I dread the moment when my phone rings as I have to break the quiet and peaceful atmosphere. When it does happen I feel like Clive the slightly to loud commuter, for those who don't know who that is:

'Clive the Slightly to Loud Commuter' from The Chaser's War On Everything

yes... now you understand the feeling... but you only have to be talking about where you are to earn sideways glances and death stares from fellow passengers ahaha

Aaaaand just as a side note: I saw the very 1st leaf change colour for the Autumn... the only one in my entire yard but the 1st sign that Summer won't last forever, but I am not sad, Summer (by Finland standards) is every day of my Australian life, BRING ON THE SNOW!!!! :D

Finnish Cuisine - Smoked Salmon

When the question 'what shall we have for dinner?' arose one afternoon, the last answer I expected was 'fresh smoked salmon' but that is exactly what was served up one fateful summer evening, not only was it freshly smoked but we also smoked it ourselves! An experience I have never had in my life, see in Australia smoked salmon is a fine food which needs to be splurged on to be able to enjoy, however, in Scandinavia salmon may as well be refered to as, to quote a family member of mine: 'common as muck!' so (this scenario has perhaps been over casual-ised to give the same effect it had on me) we go to the back shed and whip out the hand built 'smoking box' chipped off some bits of wood, put wood in box followed by the salmon, plop it on the fire and then we wait. Of course slightly more effort was put in than is expressed in the above description but the whole situation just blew me off my feet, 'oh yeah, just whipping up something for dinner, maybe just a smoked salmon'

Now some pictures to break up my ramblings:

Matti chipping some wood to put in the smoking box

I think there is enough now...

time to add the salmon... done like a hardened professional if I do say so myself aha

just sit the smoking box over the fire.. and now we wait...

and wait....

Isn't she a beauty?

Upon opening the box the best smell in the world escaped and attacked my nose haha, pretty sure the neighbours were drooling... or due to the location of the cooking they probly just thought 'someone's having a smoked salmon... again *sigh*' aha!

It was without a doubt the best tasting smoked salmon I've ever had, after my 1st mouthful the 1st thought was 'I've gotta get me one of those smoking boxes' haha however my amazing plan was foiled by the fact that the smoking only works with a certain type of wood which, of course, is unavailable in Australia... and somehow I don't think 'so I can make some amazing smoked salmon!' is a reason that will sit well with Australiam customs if I try to bring some back with me...

Kotkan Meripäivät / Kotka's Sea Day (Festival) 28-31/07/2011

Every year at the end of July there is a festival dedicated to the sea culture in Kotka known as 'meripäivät' or in english - 'Sea Days' there is a parade, markets, rides (including bungie jumping!), concerts, tall ships and much more.

The festival officially kicked off on Thursday, 28th July, with a parade consisting of all the different groups in Kotka, including the hot rod club, sauna clubs, several dance groups, different nationalities living within Kotka and many bands etc - the largest parade in Finland this year!

Ice Hockey Championships trophey!! Meidän poika on tullut kotiin :D


Sauna society float... Welcome to Finland!! :D

10 minutes after the parade went past it started pouring down rain and didn't let up for at least an hour turning roads into rivers and unrelenting on those who where fooled by the morning's warm weather so were unprepared for rain. However this didn't dampen my enthusiasm for enjoying my 1st Meripäivät, the other Australian and I ran from one end of Kotka to the harbour at the other end to go to a concert that was happening in a large closed in shed there, watched many Finnish artists and bands that I hadn't even heard of before my exchange but now can't imagine my music collection without them. The acts included Jukka Poika, Jare&VilleGalle, Paleface, Cheek, Fintelligens and many more, I am so glad I had the opportunity to see them live, another experience to ad to the insanely long list of amazing exchange memories.

Jare & VilleGalle

my only regret about day one was the fact that I had forgotten to charge my camera beforehand so it only lasted 1/2 way through the night :(

The celebrations continued until mid-morning Sunday and I thoroughly enjoyed every second of it, the stalls, activities and running into people from school I hadn't seen all Summer and catching up and generally enjoying Kotka's 'Big event' as in the one they have every year.