For example, last Tuesday, our second day here, we realized in the morning that we'd be giving three presentations that day! (the third audience was the luckiest)
Other days, we have visited and toured one or two or three (and was there a day of four?) public projects and private enterprises - ranging from a pre-fab concrete factory, to a producer of designer linen fabrics, to a fabulous art school (in which I'd love to enroll), to elementary schools and high schools and city administration centers and chambers of commerce, not to name many, many other fascinating organizations.
If we had the time, I think each of us could write a few blog posts a day, based on all the information we're taking in, and the things we're learning, and the cultural observations we're making. But I'd like to mention a few highlights from the last few days in Seinäjoki and Jalasjärvi.
On Friday, Lee and I were hosted by Teemu and Maritta (and their children Samuli, Santtu, and Sanja), in Jalasjärvi. They found out neither of us had gone skiing before - so they decided to take us!
Long story short, they took us to the "small" ski hill, got us strapped into ski boots, and set us up with poles and skis. We had a quick demo on how to "stop" and grabbed onto the ski lift. Lee made it all the way to the top of the hill, but I somehow came unhooked from the lift and fell over sideways before even making it up. I started to sidestep up the hill, and had made some slow, steady progress, when Santtu whooshed over and pointed to a spot lower on the hill where I could just slide in. Oh, of course, I thought! So I turned around, sidestepped down a bit more, and set off.
I tried to cross my skis a bit to slow down. Lee had apparently wiped out about halfway down the hill, but there was no chance I could help him. I said "hei" as I buzzed past him. I was flying faster and faster, bending my legs a little so I wouldn't be so far from the ground for when my ensuing crash would happen. I came upon an unsuspecting skier, and my attempts at circumnavigation failed, so I just sort of yelled "AAAHHH," closed my eyes (I think) and somehow wiped out sideways. When I stood up, I realized my pockets were full of snow, I had not taken out the other person, and that I had made it most of the way down the hill - right side up!
It was exhilarating, challenging, and I would love to do it again, albeit, perhaps, with a few more lessons first, and maybe on a smaller hill.
There are more stories from Saturday and Sunday - involving a concert at the Rhytmikorjaamo (Rhythm workshop / garage) and lots of fun cold-weather activities - but I'll save those for another time (or perhaps another writer? hint, hint, team). We arrived in Vaasa last night, and I am itching to get out and explore a bit. It's a beautiful, old city, right on the water.
Lee, Me, Santtu (our savior!), and Maritta.