Sightings, Trends, and Bus Rides

Tidbits about the Finns and interactions on the bus

So, this will be a semi-unorganized post with random thoughts put together.

First, about my nature sighting…

Some of you have already heard because I was SO excited about this yesterday but for those of you who haven’t…I saw a wild hedgehog yesterday. A wild hedgehog walking down the streets of Turku. A few others were gathered around (at a far enough distance away to try to keep the little guy calm) and informed me that it is rare to see them in the city. Mostly, they stay in the country. For this reason, one woman had followed him for a few blocks to make sure he did not try to cross the road before a veterinarian could come to pick him up. I did not stick around to ensure his safety but the woman seemed quite concerned so I’m sure she stayed by his side until he was rescued.

Secondly, about the Finns…

I think it’s a Swedish thing because it’s the Swedish speaking Finns that seem to do it. When they say “ya”…they say it while inhaling sharply - like a gasp. The first couple times I heard it, I thought something went really wrong mid-conversation. Then I realized it just happens all the time. It’s how they say “ya”. I wonder how that got started?

Also, (shout out to Ty), no one here wears flip flops or sandals. And the weather is nice here, too. It was mid sixties yesterday and today with blue skies and sunshine. You better believe that I was wearing flip flops. Shoes have no place in the sun. I feel as though the Finns just get in the mindset of “it’s fall, it’s gonna get cold…might as well put on my winter gear now” because almost everyone is already wearing warm jackets and scarves. Obviously I’m wearing a tank with my flippy floppies. #SunsOutGunsOut

Lastly, about my bus ride…

This morning, I was on the bus to work and writing this blog on my iPad. The bus gets quite full in the morning so all the seats usually fill up. I’m one of the first stops on its route so I get free choice of seating most often. Today, I sat towards the back near the door. A few stops after I got on, a woman probably in her 60’s got on and sat next to me. She pointed to my iPad and said something in Finnish. I told her “Only English for me”, because many here do speak multiple languages. She responded saying “okay”, and then continued talking in Finnish. I could tell she really wanted to communicate so I tried my best to understand. Through pointing, keywords, and hand gestures, we managed to have a conversation for 10 minutes or so. She had asked if I could get Facebook on my iPad. She also pointed to my background photo and asked about it. It’s a picture of me and my dad on my graduation day. I’m in my cap and gown holding my diploma and kissing him on the cheek. I told her “That’s my father” and she smiled and said “Like”. I told her I was from the U.S. and she explained that she knew someone who lived in the U.S. - possibly her son? She pointed to a building we passed and said “hospital”. Turns out she works there. When I asked if she was a nurse or doctor, she said no and pointed to her head. She was asking what the English word was for “knowledge or smarts”. She made a gesture with her arms that led me to believe she was a janitor at the hospital. When I came upon my bus stop, I told her it was time for me to get off and she said “Thank you”, got up from her seat, and put out her hand. I shook her hand and said it was nice meeting her then she pulled me in for a hug. Maybe she has been having a tough time in her life, as well, maybe she feels lonely and needed that conversation, too. Or maybe she’s just a very nice woman. Either way, I am very thankful for that random bus ride conversation. Though we had little to talk about due to our language barriers, it was special.

I hope my posts have been fun to read. I’m very appreciative that you take some time out of your day to check in on my happenings.

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