6-11 August 2001
We arrived in Oulunsalo on Monday, the 6th. It has been a
fast week. The Fulbright
Orientation in Washington, D.C.
was very informative and we really liked the Perttunen Family. Because we
had e-mailed so much before we met, it felt like we were old friends right
from the start. We had many cultural workshops and lots of time to meet
with our partners to discuss our school situations and home information,
but it was very intense, with little down time. The two days following the
workshop were spent doing errands. We did a little sightseeing, but it was
quite hot and muggy, so we ran out of steam pretty fast.
arrived in Oulunsalo, Henna-Laura,
Raija and Allan's daughter, picked us up at the airport. She brought us to
our new home and showed us how to use the appliances, etc. She also took
me to the grocery store and showed how to weigh the produce; punch a
number for each item and then an adhesive bar-coded tag is printed with
the weight and price. Not so different, you just need to know what to do.
Many of the younger people speak English, but people in their 50's or
older usually don't. We crashed after Henna left; didn't even eat dinner.
I'm using a sleeping mask, because it is dark only from 0000 to 0400. That
is changing daily. I should appreciate the sunlight for it will be dark
Tuesday we just took a walk around the area, unpacked
and started making this house our home.
Wednesday Henna-Laura and
her boy friend's mother came to take us to set up our Finnish bank
account, set up our cell phone service, rent a car for the first week or
two, and to the library to get cards (they have a great English book
section). She was a great help, speaking in Finnish and getting things
taken care of much more quickly.
Thursday we took the bus into Oulu, about half an hour ride
from our house to my school, Myllytulli. We
went to my school and met the headmaster, Olli Nenola, and the English
speaking Coordinator, Johanna Nousiainen, who I'll be working very closely
with, along with Outi Tuovinen, the other Second Grade teacher. They were
all very friendly and helpful. The building that they are moving the English Speaking
Classes into was not finished as of Thursday. They were painting the
rooms and putting up the chalkboards and they are supposed to move the
desks on Sunday. I'll be meeting with Outi on Monday. to divide up our
Second Graders, doing some setting up and planning. I'm glad I sent five
boxes of my own things; three have arrived. They had a hot water pipe
burst this summer in the prior building and it ruined the English texts
and many of the teacher's personal files. The replacement books they have
ordered haven't arrived yet. It is good I am used to having things never
go smoothly at the beginning of school. This will help test the saying,
"go with the flow."
Friday we spent the day in Oulu, trying
to track down a power cord for the computer. We finally got the cord
problem solved today, so now we can start e-mailing. Hooray!
we went back to Oulu and walked through a lovely park that goes along a
river, down to the waterfront, over bridges to an island back to the main
land. The weather reminds me of Hawaii, right now. It was about 19ºC
today, (around 68ºF). There have been rain showers on and off. Nobody lets
the weather stop them at all. They just keep going about their business.
The city has cobblestone or brick everywhere. It seems very clean, but
does have graffiti on overpasses etc.
We found a
wallet during our walk today. We couldn't find any policemen around
the city, so we got in the car and located the police station. When we
finally figured out how to get inside, the policeman behind the desk was
our age, so you know what that means; he didn't speak English. We gave him
the wallet which he opened and found a phone number and called; we could
tell the owner was happy by his facial expressions and changes in his
voice. We gestured to leave and he made us realize that he wanted us to
stay. Then he called the dispatch department elsewhere in the station and
two younger police officers arrived. We explained what had happened. Then
the older officer said something to them and they asked "Do you want 10%
of the findings". We shook our heads “No!, of course not”. Then he wanted
to see our identification. The young officer asked if we were vacationing.
I told them I would be teaching for a year at the English Speaking School.
Then the other officer shared he had lived in New Jersey for two years and
the first had been to Los Angeles, so we had a nice visit. Our not finding
a policeman at first indicates our safety in Finland, not the lack of
Food wise, we have tried Swedish meatballs from the deli
and we bought a smoked white fish that we used for two meals. We went out
to dinner in Oulu for Chinese on Thursday. John did dinner on Friday -
rice, lihapiirakka (piroshki), salad and Thai frozen vegetables; very
good. Tonight I had "roni" and John had scrambled eggs. We could spend a
lot on food, but we will figure it out. It is great that most items in the
grocery store have pictures on them, so you know what you are buying. We
are going to try to go the farmer's market next week.
television channels that we receive often have shows from England with
Finnish subtitles. The young people say it is one way they learn to
pronounce English so well.