2 June 2020
I have acquired a new pen pal from Finland, who is an excellent
writer, and eager to share information about each of our countries.
Walt and I visited Finland with Char and Mike on our way to our Russia cruise,
so we have been in Helsinki 2 days (on the middle day we took a ferry to Estonia
so we could add another country to our list), which isn't exactly "visiting
Finland," but Helsinki was nice. My main impression was that I didn't know how
children ever learned to spell, since words are so long in Finnish. She
agrees with me and wrote,
Finnish is not a particularly
easy language. The media and the young people are however simplifying it
rapidly -- I'm glad to say. The words are often long, as you mentioned, but
another factor to complicate is the conjugation. I´ll give you an example.
You say: my house, your house, his/her house, our house, your house, their
house. That´s simple enough but house in Finnish is "talo", how do you like
the rest: minun taloni, sinun talosi, hänen talonsa, meidän talomme, teidän
talonne, heidän talonsa! In spoken language and on press is changing/ha
changed into: minun talo, sinun talo, hänen talo etc. Thank heaven for that.
And that isn´t even the strongest example! How would you like to try to
learn/grasp words like: päärynänkäärökärsäkäs? It appeared in a crossword
and means an insect bothering pears.
The coronavirus experience is quite
different in Finland:
There are often nice
-older-people by the river enjoying the spring and a chance to talk with
passers-by. You still have to remember to keep your distance because of the
you know what monster. There haven´t in fact been but one or two new
instances of the Corona virus in these parts of Finland. There have been
some in the capital region but we´re about 600 kilometres from there. Only
about 300 people have died from it in Finland
Imagine living in a country where
only 300 people have died of COVID-19.
Finland has its problems with
immigrants too, sounds similar to our Mexican farm workers:
My country is in desperate need
of people willing to work in the fields as your country has always been. The
strawberry fields and raspberry bushes and I don´t know what kind are
growing and soon will be in need of picking. We can´t import as many foreign
workers from, for instance, the Ukraine now. The need is about 20.000
workers. They really want to work in Finland earning the wages of a normal
working year in a few months. Our unemployed and laid off people probably
think the work in the fields too hard and keep enjoying the benefits.
She mentions Trump:
He gets all the attention all
around the world, it really disgusts me. I watched him winning the race and
couldn´t but wonder. Mrs Clinton was not the perfect choice but still.
Why do you think your people elect such old
people to take charge of your country -and they really have the power. Our
president doesn´t have any, he only gives his opinions - sometimes he would
like to exercise more power but luckily cannot.
Our new lady government has been very successful
in handling the crisis. Can you imagine it, more than ten young women in
charge! I love it! All those old men surpassed. Great!!!
She always includes bits of history in her
letters (I've had three so far this week and they are all quite long). She
is really eager to learn about other countries and I can see that corresponding
with her is going to involve a lot of study on my part so I can keep up with
She's 72, divorced and has 2 daughters,
granddaughters, and a live-in partner. She has a niece who is gay and
married to a woman from Bolivia. I don't know if it is a legal marriage or
not -- or, if it is legal, when gay marriage became legal in Finland -- but my
pen pal is very happy with them and has no signs of homophobia. I wonder
if this is common in Finland....
Anyway, I am finding her an interesting person and
think I will learn a lot about a country I had never heard of before we passed
through it briefly.