Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Rauma Day 026

Google.fi's Dcember 6th logo 
Today is December 6th, Finland's Independence Day.
It's a National holiday. It is not a celebration day like our Canada day, but more like a serious memorial day when people pay homage to war veterans and ancestors whose sacrifices made Finland independent.

There are Flag Days in finland, (days on which you are supposed to raise flag in your backyard) and Independence day is one of those days. Almost every houses in my neighbourhood has a super tall flag pole in their backyard. The flag can also be raised if there's a family celebration like wedding, and a half way raised flag means death in the family.
School closed early on the 5th, like many other public places and stores, and the flag was up.

Do you see the metal frame where my work (collaboration with students) will be installed?

Every Finnish students eat free lunches at school, and so do the teachers. And so do I!!! I've been eating at school, and it's a great way to discover everyday of Finnish life. This meal normally consists of salad, potato, meat or fish and gravy or sauce, the dried bread and butter, and endless supply of milk.

This meal was few days ago, it is salmon and potato in creamy sauce

This is the Day before Independence Day lunch. I got a Finnish chocolate as a bonus.  

table decor used at School cafeteria for the Independence Day.
lunch is over, and the canteen is now closing.

They used to cook various food in this "canteen" (they call a cafeteria "canteen"), but nowadays, there's a central kitchen in Rauma that distributes same food to all the schools in the region.

I wanted to experience something very Finnish for this Independence day celebration, so I went to see Rauma Men's Choir on the eve of the Independence day.

In the Rauma Hall, I was the only Asian, one of very few dressed in colour (pink!), and one of few "younger" generation among the elderly crowd. This hall has over 400 seats and it was packed.

The shy Asian girl has placed herself in the front center of the seats, so I got an excellent view to enjoy the event. It started with a march of the flags, men's choir, break (coffee and dessert time), veterans' choir, more men's choir, Jean Sibelius' Finlandia, finishing with the national anthem.

Table set up for the coffee and dessert break 
On the Independence day, after 6pm, Finns put two candles in each window as tradition.

During the war, the two candles in the window meant that "this house welcomes Finnish soldiers". So, it was a secret sign for sheltering Finnish soldiers from the Russians.

Another interesting Independence day tradition is Presidential Independence Day reception. It's a party for 2000 invited guests at the Presidential Palace. It's broadcasted on TV and I was told that most Finns watch it as a tradition. I think it's like Oscar, so as of tomorrow, I will see newspapers and magazines filled of best and worst dresses of the night.

Here you can have a peak.

It started from 6:35pm, there was a long line-up of dressed up people waiting to shake the president's hand. (btw Finland's president is the lady with the yellow band.) This lasted about 2 hours.

After, it was dance time, and it was a bit weird to see all these guests dancing cramped in the ballroom.  

Rabbit #6
Here is my rabbit #6, which I spotted weeks ago. It's a poster of a comedy called "my wife is like no other".

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Rauma Day 021

December 1st!! Christmas calendar poked! (local newspaper gave this for free last week!)

I can't believe it's been already 3 weeks! Time flies, and I don't know if it's a good thing.

I have committed myself to do a collaboration project here at a school, now I really wish I had more time. But then, I'm going with the flow (time flow) and it keeps my indecisiveness away from me, so it might be a good thing in the end.

There is a sculpture frame left fleshless for a long time at Uotila secondary school. It was made by a local artist Tom Osmosen, and apparently there was paintings on wood panels installed in the triangular frames. The paintings didn't stand Rauma's weather and started to rot badly, so school had to take them down. 

When I was invited to Raumars, I was also invited to do a project to "complete" this sculpture frame with the school students. This project has given me unexpected challenges (thus, insomnia!), but this week, I started "intensive physical work" on the project, and I can say all is going very well so far.

So, now you are wondering "what is the project?" 
I'm putting three triangular boards in the metal frames, and these boards will each have a cutout of a chosen word. What chosen word? Ok, I will give you step by step description. (Because it's hard to explain as a summary)

There are four steps in the process of creating the work.

Step 1: Collections of words. 
On December 17th, Hannele (Raumars' program director) and I went to the Uotila school and made a radio announcement of the project to the entire students. I asked the students to write down three words of their choice, three words what they would like to see on the future completed sculpture. Words that would describe their school, their life, and their dreams. 

about to make the radio announcement!

I had 352 participations to go through, and they wrote down 264 different words. 264!! It took longer than expected because I had to translate each given words. I first wrote them down as a map on a sketchbook, then on card stocks (placed alphabetically to ease finding the word), and then used excel. -_-

The most popular word was Ystävät (91 counts) and Kaverit (76) which both means "friends". And among them, there is Ystävyys which means 'friendship'. So, there is our first word "ystävyys" (pronounced as Ustavus) 
After that was Rakkaus (42) meaning Love, and Perhe (41) meaning Family. How cute! 
The runner-ups are Ruoka (38, food), ilo (33, joy), Terveys (23, health), musiikki (28, music), mukava (23, nice), välitunti (22, break), Välipalat (22, snack) kiva (21, nice), Hauska (21, fun), Onnellisuus (16, happiness), Oppiminen (14, learn), Raha (17, money), Toivo (17, hope)... 

Step 2: Creation of three new fonts. 
Once I knew that the three words are Ystävyys", Rakkaus, and Perhe, I scanned all the handwritings of those words. I expected to find a new type of font, but children's handwritings were all very different, it gave a fuuny odd shape. As the shape would be cutouts in the board, I re-designed as outlines, and the results are the following. 

Ystävyys (Friendship)
Rakkaus (Love)
Perhe (family)

I'm very glad the way they turned out. The students are supposed to paint around these words, so I like that the words are abstract. They look like graffiti, and they will look nice with some colours around them.   

Last week, these words were supposed to be cut with a CNC machine, but some problems occurred, and I decided to cut them by myself. So, that is what I have been doing from this monday. I will post some pictures tomorrow as I will finish cutting them all tomorrow. :) Students will also start painting one of the boards tomorrow, so stay tuned! 

Next post preview: 7th grade students sketching for Perhe panel. :)

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Rauma Day 017

Wow! it's been 17 days since I laid my feet on Rauma's ground! And, my apologies, I've been procrastinating to post updates on my Finnish life. My project at Uotila school has given me unexpected challenges, I've been stressed out. 

Rauma is getting ready for Christmas, and there were lots of happenings on Saturday morning, like Children's choir and Santa's parade. So, I set my alarm to 9am, but the stress has given me insomnia and apparently I slept through my alarm. Duh! I was really looking forward to see the traditional "gnomes' march" at the market after the Santa parade!! So.... I was very bitter when I found out it was almost noon when I woke up. 

But, it was such a rare sunny day, I decided to head downtown regardless.

Here are Raumar's two bikes stationed in the backyard. The red bike is much higher than the green, but long story short, I couldn't find key to the green bike, so I started riding the red one. Now, I have both keys, but I'm already used to ride to red bikes, so here I am with the red bike. Plus, the red beret is so cute on this red bike! (What a great idea for a warm and facy seat cover! Thanks to Hannele ^_^)

There are so many ducks in this river. And time to time, I could spot people standing on this dock fishing. 

I love this bike path. With a river along the road. However, it's a bit scary at night because Rauma's evenings can be pitch dark. 

I normally ride to get to a point B from point A. 
Saturday was so sunny, and I'm already late for the gnome's parade, so I decided to enjoy my ride. And, I found a lovely little bridge that I never noticed. 

My lonesome but joyful picture on this lovely Saturday afternoon.

ok! a close-up. :)
I was about to leave, but found some thing very very odd around the bench. Can you tell me what they are?!!!

I think they are result of: 
1. A pack of wolves were playing around this bench last night.
2. Someone with a very very big hairy white dog was here brushing its fur last night.

I saw a red fox on Thursday in the neighborhood, like two houses next to mine, so I think it can really be answer #1. What do you think?

There are christmas lights installed in downtown. I just realized there is a little santa in this picture! haha. 

Bread truck in the market. The market was about to close when I arrived. I will have to come much earlier next Saturday. 

 I can't wait for Hubby to arrive so that we could buy these together. :)

Now, some storefront pictures. It seems like those long red gnome hats are everywhere in Finland. 

While walking on the street, I saw people peeking on someone's house. It's the little place squished between two stores. Can you spot it? It's got three keyholes to peek through.

I wondered what's in there? O_o Can you take a guess? 

There was a little plaque with a date 2008 on it. I will get informed about this curious installation, and let you know soon. :) 
nähdään vielä! (see you later)