Wednesday, February 6, 2008


OK the numbers you learn at Finnish class: Yksi, kaksi , kolme, neljä , viisi , kuusi , seitsemän, kahdeksan, yhdeksän, kymmenen. Kaksikymmentä, viisikymmentä. Sata. Tuhat.
To be more complicated: first, second, ... ensimmäinen , toinen, kolmas, neljäs, viides, kuudes, who would care with ranks below that.

However, this is the kind of language taught to foreigners, but what natives use very seldom. When we are very angry to kids ("mum counts to three and then throws the Nintendo away") or to the policeman when pretending to be sober...

In supermarket Finnish: yks, kaks, kolme, neljä, viis, kuus, seittemän, kaheksan, yheksän, kymmenen. kaksyt, viiskyt, sata, tonni

The noun-like ones (like "niner" and "fiver"): Ykkönen, kakkonen, kolmonen, nelonen, viitonen, kuutonen, seiska, kasi, ysi, kymppi. These are used for grades, for trams (tram nr.8 = kasi) , for TV-channels, ...

  • Pikku Kakkonen, little nr 2, the most famous tv show for kids
  • Iso Kolmonen, big nr 3, a pint of moderately strong beer
  • Iso Nelonen, big nr 4, same but stronger
  • Viitonen, five euro note

Saturday, June 9, 2007

International Schools

European Chemicals Agency, ECHA has started in Helsinki. The citty wa splanning to start an "Europen school" aiming to European Baccalaureate EB, bt that is now postponed to 2008.
(They expect some 300 kids of the 450 employees of hte Agency to be in town by that).

Instead, Helsingin Sanomat listed the existing international schools, and indeed, they are a few:
* Full English program in four schools: The English School in Meilahti, International School of Helsinki in Ruoholahti, Kulosaari Secondary School, Maunula Primary School and Ressu Comprehensive School.
* In Espoo 3 more, in Vantaa 2
* Partially English: Helsingin Suomalainen Yhteiskoulu, Kulosaari Comprehensive School primary school level, Maunula Secondary School, Töölö Comprehensive School primary school leveland Töölö Secondary School
* Totally French (with French curriculum) Ecole Jules Verne.
* Totally German (with German curriculum)Deutsche Schule.
* Partially Russian: Myllypuron ala-aste and Suomalais-venäläinen koulu.
Not to mention the partially French, German and Estonian.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

House hunting

Finding a home is difficult enough, finding a home is a foreign country is another challenge. If you are an luxury expat, your company may provide services of "relocation agent". Us mortals do it alone, with some help from friends.

Buy or rent ? Also possibilities inbetween exist. (Waiting for N to fill in about asumisoikeusasunnot and perhaps even asunto-osakeyhtiö)

Flats for rent come in categories such as
* funds and non-profit organizations (HOAS for students)
* large investors (insurance companies, banks)
* social background (city council, VVO = state fund) Note: even though there is a limit in income, these do not have such a bad stigma as in some countries.
* private people, long term (investors and those who inherited grandma's flat and keep it until kids grow)
* private people, short term (people expatting themselves)

Only the first and last group sometimes are furnished, and not even those always.
"Non-furnished" still includes basic kitchen machinery and cupboards (unlike in Italy).
Dishwasher and washing machine are rare, but usually houses which consist of several rental flats, have a laundry room in the basement.

Where to find one ?
* Sunday newspaper
* Oikotie in web (and Keltainen pörssi)
* friends
* the newsgroups linked to this page (Expat-Finland and FinlandForum). Finlandforum newsgroup has links to translated laws "Act on residential leases")

Basic vocabulary:
* Vuokralle tarjotaan = Available for renting
* 2h+k = two rooms (bedroom and living room) and kitchen
* 2h+kk = two rooms (bedroom and living room) and minikitchen / cooking corner
* kaksio = 2h+k or 2h+kk
* yksiö = 1h+k or 1h+kk
* kolmio = 3h+k or 3h+kk (rare)
* p, parv, parveke = balcony
* s = sauna
* kph, kylp, kylpyh, kylpyhuone = bathroom (read: no sauna)
* khh, kodinhoitohuone = utility room
* upea = gorgeous (read: relatively expensive for the area)
* vapaa = ready to move in
* kerrostalo = block of flats
* rivitalo = chain house

(to be continued)

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Getting gradually colder

Big news: major hot water pipeline broke in Vantaa last night. 150 000 homes were without heating. They say flats cool one degree in 3 hours (tells something about insulation, and why we have double doors and triple windows). Detached houses cooled faster, but most of them have an alternative heating system or at least a sauna.

Heating homes with hot water is a very typical way to heat Finnish urban areas. The same powerplants which create electricity, also create hot water, and that runs to offices and resident buildings (usually each block of flats has a closed system which exchanges heat with the central system). Nowadays, the returning lukewarm water often runs below pavement to keep that ice-free.

Yes, breakages happen, but less often than in direct electricity heating, and as the local systems have quite big mass, cooling happens slowly.

Wednesday, February 7, 2007

A tad chilly

Days like this I used to be so proud of the Finnish infrastructure. We've had -20..-30 C in Helsinki area, and down to -40 farther north. There have been delays in trains, 15 minutes or so (but yesterday Tampere train was hours late!). TV news interviewed kindergarten teachers who said kid are anxious as they had decided not to go out and play if it is colder than -15 and windy.

The adult things to do in this weather:
  • cleaning of the freezer. Food out to balcony, and when you take it bask, it's even colder than before.
  • airing bedclothes
  • ice lanterns - very ecological decoration for garden and graveyard

Thursday, February 1, 2007

We are famous !

Dave has noticed frequent comments, and even asked his co-workers whether we are them !
(How do you make a flattered smiley ?)

The things which lead to opening of this blog were.
  • two us us get frequent visits of former co-workers , who travel so much they want to see something else than the hotel lobby and minibar. The hosts keep needing links to sport-places etc.
  • two of us (but not the same two) wanted to comment blogs which do not allow anonymous comments
  • we all expect a special friend to move in town in March, and promised to help her in acclimatization
  • we later heard about two others who will come for some months

And then there was the Kate Fox book "Watching the English", and our correspondence with Mike (watching an Englishman reading watching the English ?) . A thread of this blog should be called watching the Finns, but abovementioned Dave seems to do it for us.

Friday, January 26, 2007

New links

Note I added some new links to a portal and a discussion forum.