Taylors in Finland

The Grand Adventure

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

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1-5 November 2001

5 November 2001
Monday 2100
Sunrise/sunset 0819/1545
High/low 2°C/-3°C (36°F/27°F)
Oulunsalo, Finland

Oulu Fulbright get-together

Sandra Stine arrived on Thursday evening by bus.

On Friday, John and Sandra checked out the shops down by the waterfront and did a little shopping in Oulu while I was teaching. They picked me up at school around 1530. After Sandra saw an old friend from her Fulbright Exchange in 1994, we went home and I made a quiche for dinner and Sandra made the salad. John went to pick up Marie-Camille Havard at the train around 2000. Then, while we served her some dinner, John was back to the train station to pick up Lori and Dave Heintz just after 2100. When we were all finally together, it was nonstop talking. Each of us sharing about all the things we had done since we had last been together. Boy, do we enjoy each others company. We discussed that, tomorrow, Saturday was the celebration of All Souls Day in Finland, which meant all the shops, stores and museums would be closed. So we adjusted our plans accordingly.

On Saturday, we went to my school, so everyone could see the school and my classroom. Then we walked through Ainola Park, down to the waterfront to see where our marketplace is and to see the famous squat Toripolliisi statue, a humorous representation of the local police and then over the footbridge to Pikisaari Island. We had lunch at the Franzmanni restaurant in the Radisson Hotel, since it was one of the few places open. Then we headed downtown to show them the pedestrian section of town called the Rotuarri, where the stone ball water fountain is located, but the ball has been removed for winter. On our walk through town we went by Tuomiakirkko, the Oulu Cathedral. We stopped to see the oldest portrait in Finland dating to 1611. But a service was in progress for All Souls Day, so we just peeked through the glass doors and continued toward town. Along the way I happened to notice people in a museum that was open, so we popped in. An artist was featured that made things from recycled items. There were great ideas for hanging old family photos and making interesting jewelry. Around 1530, we headed home to decide what we wanted to do for dinner. We decided to try a restaurant that I had seen in the Lonely Planet book. We headed to Haukipudas , which is 20 Km north of Oulu. As we were heading out of Oulu, Sandra said that she had heard that on All Souls Day families light candles and they place them at the tombstones of family members. So we decided to check out the Oulu Cemetery. Yes indeed, families were placing candles near the headstones. The cemetery looked beautiful, all aglow with candles. Now we were ready to head to Sarkyneen, which in a restaurant that is in a 150-year old cowshed. It has been transformed into a cozy country-style restaurant that serves gourmet Finnish food, so says Lonely Planet book. It was a good meal, but I wouldn’t call it gourmet, although the atmosphere was fun.

On Sunday, we had fun looking at pictures John had taken of our past get-togethers. Then we took Sandra to the bus. The gang decided they would like to see the Tietomaa Science Centre.  It is in an old factory building and is considered Scandinavia’s oldest and largest science museum. We saw a fabulous Discovery Film on the elephants of Africa. You should have seen the gang become one big group of children trying out all the hands on exhibits. Around 1600 we left to take Marie-Camille to the train, but not before going to the top of the tower. What beautiful views of the Oulujuki (Oulu River) and surrounding areas were seen from our tower at the science centre. After seeing Marie-Camille to the train, Lori, Dave, John and I headed home for dinner. After dinner we showed them our pictures of Ireland, since Lori and Dave were going there for next weekend.

I was off to school the next morning and John took the Heintz's into Oulu to do some shopping before catching the noon train to Kuopio. What a wonderful group of people! We can’t wait until our gathering in Tampere for our Thanksgiving celebration.

Mary Ann

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Dave, Sandra, Mary Ann, Marie-Camille and Lori around the table in Oulunsalo. (3100)

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Marie-Camille, Mary Ann, Lori and Sandra with the policeman guarding the market square in Oulu. (3109)

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A fisherman on the Oulujuki. (3112)

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Dave, Lori, Marie-Camille, Sandra & Mary Ann at lunch in the Radisson. (3113)

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Lori and Dave Heintz, from Kuopio, on our way to Mary Ann's school. (3104)

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Tietomaa, the Science Museum is a must-see for anyone. (3132)

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Mary Ann training for the ski jump. (3125)

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Lori, Marie-Camille and Mary Ann starting to explore another floor of the Science Museum. (3115)

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Marie-Camille and Mary Ann saying goodbye at the Oulu train station. (3134)

Last Update 2003 11 14

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