Taylors in Finland

The Grand Adventure

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



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Pretty quiet on the Northern Front
21 January 3 February 2002

John had caught a bad cold during the beginning of January and my turn was after our weekend in Jyvaskyla, so we have played it low key.


25 January 2002, Friday
Sunrise/sunset 0928/1533
Hi/low -10C/-13C (14F/9F)

Everyone scoops snow here. It is not unusual to see both children and adults clearing the walks and driveways. Today I caught Kalle, Ossi and Marjo clearing the backyard. Saturday was my turn along with Kari from the other side of the house. It is probably my imagination but I seem to have the biggest pile of snow out front!


27 January, Sunday
Sunrise/sunset 0922/1540
Hi/low -10C/-20C (14F/-4F)

The temperature was -14C (7F), the sun was shining, so we decided to take a walk over to Oulu Bay. As we walked it was one of those magical moments when we looked skyward there was a fine ice glitter falling that was sparkling in the sunlight. Our route was about four Km in total. We were actually inside the city limits of Kempele. When we got to the bay we watched the snowmobiles going out over the ice. John and I walked out and could hear this deep, hollow sound that gave us the willies. Needless to say we didnt stay out on the ice very long. On our way back we stopped at a local pub to have an Irish Coffee. By the time we were home the sun was setting and my feet were numb, but it was an invigorating walk.


29 January 2002, Tuesday
Sunrise/sunset 0916/1547
Hi/low -13C/-22C (9F/-8F)
Ice Hockey

John I went to another ice hockey game with our neighbor Kari Salin and his friend Juha from work. After a quick pizza and a quicker walk to the stadium (it was about -20C [-4F]), we watched the local team make it a victory, number 20 out of the last 21 games. Just like our major sports, there are cheerleaders, the appropriate sounds over the sound system and enthusiastic fans. The puck moves fast and sometimes I had to find it by watching the players only to realize sometimes that one player was faking an opponent out by moving his empty stick like he was pushing the puck. The wall is used deliberately in a lot of shots as a quick way to move the puck down ice or to ricochet it like playing pool. It was a fast game and fun to watch.


1 February 2002, Friday
Sunrise/sunset 0906/1557
Hi/low -15C/-19C (5F/-2F)
Off to the Opera

Pirjo Thompson, our sixth-grade teacher, arranged for her class and the childrens parents, along with John and I, to attend the opera La Bohme, by Giacomo Puccini. The leads had outstanding voices and it was a very enjoyable evening. We were impressed how attentive the sixth graders were throughout the performance.

John one thing the teatteri had I have not seen before was a digital display above the stage opening that displayed the lines in Finnish as they were being sung. The Oulu Teatteri is a fairly new building and the acoustics and seating were great. The seating is more like a stadium where every row is about 14 above the previous row so everyone has a good view of the stage and no ones head is in your way.


3 February 2002, Sunday
Sunset/sunrise 0900/1604
Hi/low 4C/-9C (39F/16F)

It was another glorious, sunny Sunday. It snowed both Friday night and last night, so everything was fresh and very white in the bright sunlight.

I had been invited to join an international womens group and today we met to have fun making winter hats. They sometimes go to concerts, go ice skating, or cross-country skiing, or go for hikes in the forest and pick berries.  They meet once a month and there are about twenty women that come, when they can. Today there were six women, which was a nice size group, since it gave me a chance to visit with them and learn more about their cultures. It was interesting listening to the conversation.  Someone would say the Germans would do it this way and someone else would ask how would they do it in Sweden, Russia, the Netherlands and the United States? We discussed the royal wedding in the Netherlands and how the people there opposed the brides father attending the wedding, because he had been part of the Argentina government in the 1970s, when the dictatorship eliminated 30,000 people. Would people in the other countries represented think their country would oppose the father attending the wedding, etc.?

After we returned home, John and I took a brisk walk around the neighborhood, enjoying the warm winter day.

Mary Ann

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Kalle, Ossi and Marjo clear the walk in their back yard. (2535)

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Kari Salin, our neighbor on the other side, is just starting on his driveway (out of picture to left). (2543)

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And, of course, it is my turn, I'm dumping snow from the front walk.. (2556)

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Mary Ann, on Oulu Bay, with other people farther out and the pulp mill in the distance. (2564)

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Those are new homes and apartments along the shore line. Out here the ice sounded hollow and we did not linger. (2566)

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The boat launch area we took a picture of last fall. (2568) Click on 3139 to see last fall's photo for comparison.

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One of the streets on the way back from the pub. (2570)

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The cheerleaders never had a chance to rest. (2572)

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The player is not even waiting for the puck to land on the ice before passing it to someone. (2573)

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The program for La Boheme. (LBPC)

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The Oulu Teatteri is actually over the bay. The sailing ship in front is a floating restaurant. (0100)

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The car Sunday morning. (2578)

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The snow plow has cleared the street but the driveway is mine to clear. (2580)

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Our street. (2581)

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The women's club at work. (177-127-0023)

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The group and their hats. The "sewing" club really did sew this time. (177-127-0018)


Last Update 2002 02 05

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