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
Hi/low -10°C/-13°C (14°F/9°F)
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
Hi/low -10°C/-20°C (14°F/-4°F)
The temperature was -14°C (7°F), 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 didn’t 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
Hi/low -13°C/-22°C (9°F/-8°F)
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 -20°C [-4°F]), 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
Hi/low -15°C/-19°C (5°F/-2°F)
Off to the Opera
Pirjo Thompson, our sixth-grade teacher, arranged for her class and the
children’s parents, along with John and I, to attend the opera “La Bohème”,
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 one’s head is in your way.
3 February 2002, Sunday
Hi/low 4°C/-9°C (39°F/16°F)
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 women’s 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 bride’s father attending the wedding, because he had
been part of the Argentina government in the 1970’s, 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.