Taylors in Finland

The Grand Adventure

Mary Ann's Fulbright Exchange to Oulu, Finland
August 2001 - June 2002

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17-19 August 2001

19 August 2001
Sunrise/sunset 0516/2128

Hei (“hay”) (Hello),

With the help of Outi Tuovinen, the other second grade teacher, I finally got my teaching blocks worked out. I only teach 24 hours a week; most of the time I start at 0830 and end at 1330. But they tutor after school and have after-school clubs so, after I get the hang of everything, I might add some of these activities to my schedule.

My three biggest teaching blocks are English, P.E. and Arts/Crafts. Our daughter’s P.E. book was in one the boxes we sent Air Mail, so it is here. In the winter I am to teach cross-country skiing and ice skating. Heikki, the third grade teacher, has a degree in P.E. and has offered to help me. We will both go out for one period together, so I can observe him and then do the same thing on my own.

I am actually very excited after my first week of real teaching. I stayed after school on Friday and planned my week. We have teaching assistants that can prepare things or copy materials for us. Boy, am I going to be spoiled. Sometimes my class might be very small and other times quite large, because I take other people’s children for certain subjects and they take mine for Finnish, Religion, and Finnish as a Foreign Language.

Friday, John parked at school, went downtown on an errand and then I walked downtown to join him for dinner at The Madison. John had a reindeer pasta dish and I had a chicken burrito. Both dishes were quite good. After dinner we took a nice walk over the footbridge to an island in the middle of the Oulu River and went through the forest along the shoreline circling the island. It was very peaceful and pretty.

Saturday, we slept in and didn’t leave the house until 1330. We drove to Turkansaaren, an open air museum on an island in the Oulujuki (Oulu River), which shows buildings of rural Finland in the 19th Century. We happened upon a wedding that was just finishing in the little wooden church. We watched as the best man decorated the cars. It was fun to see Finnish wedding customs.

When we got home Allan and Raija’s daughter, Henna-Laura, was picking red currant berries.  We took her to her boyfriend’s home and they invited us in. Karri’s mother showed us how she turned the currant berries into a concentrated juice. They keep it in a cellar or cool place and then use it in smoothies or drink it when they feel ill. It has a lot of Vitamin C. She is going to let me borrow her pot, that is a double boiler, so I can make some with the berries still in the backyard.

Oh, before going to Karri’s home we stopped at Henna’s great grandmother’s apartment to get more bottles for the currant juice. She is 90 years old and very cute. She doesn’t speak any English, so Henna translated for us. She wished us luck. At times I really think we will need it, when there is no one around to interpret.

Today we went to Hailuoto, which is an island in the Gulf of Bothnia, just west of Oulunsalo. It is a fishing and farming area with many lovely beaches. I took my shoes off and walked on the fine, white sandy beach. It felt great. The water wasn’t even as cold as the beach along our part of the California coast. There were some young couples that brought wood and were starting to build a fire as we were getting ready to leave.

Mary Ann

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Outi Tuovinen. (2520)

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Heikki Soini and his daughter Maija at Stockmans during the sale. (2854)

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Mary Ann's classroom. (2769)

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Mary Ann's classroom. (2772)

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Best man at work. Car is circa late 1940s or early 1950s. (2289)

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Henna-Laura Perttunen picking berries in the backyard. (2302)

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Ferry to Hailuoto. They break their own ice in the wintertime. (2307)

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West end beach on Hailuoto. Note windmills in background. (2317)

Last Update 2003 11 14

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