And so it happened. After two active years of blogging life got in the way and we all kind of.. well, basically stopped blogging. For me it was the furry family member full of energy (I kid you not he’s licking the screen as we speak.. no wait, he’s off to destroying his bed… aargh!).

There’s no de-energyzing this guy. He’s being walked 2-3 hours a day, we train finding smells, learn new tricks weekly and he gets to go hunting on weekends. Rest of the time he terrorizes us. And yet we love him to bits. It’s just that he leaves me no time to blog.

I’m not saying we are saying good bye for good but I don’t see myself blogging much for now.

Happy Holidays, anyway, and until next time!

I don't know which got more pissed during the Christmas card project, Urho or Manfriend. :D

I don’t know which got more pissed during the Christmas card project, Urho or Manfriend. :D

By PIrkko

Three months ago, I set myself, or was challenged to, seriously up my game in Finnish. As I said in the post way back then, the trouble with Finnish, besides being one of the hardest languages in the world to learn, is that no bugger would speak it with me. And I’ve learnt the hard way that practicing Finnish at home is the fastest way to get into an argument. No matter how supportive your partner is.

Probably because of my horrendous accent and how long it takes me to string a sentence together, it is just easier for all concerned, for me to bash out a sentence in English. I’ve experimented with passive learning. Which is all very well and good, but besides an extensive vocabulary gained in girl talk it didn’t really work for me. I don’t really want to listen to Finnish talk radio, or watch Finnish Television. I had experimented previously with Memrize on my iPad but I found it more frustrating than anything else, as it was such a hodgepodge of words and phrases, it seemed almost pointless. I mean, how often am I going to use löpö in a sentence?

So the good folks at the local Tampere-based startup Worddive reached out to me and thought that their software would be the best way to help me, so in exchange for three months free usage and a coffee at their office, I said I’d blog about my experience with Worddive.

Things did not go to plan.

As they say the road to hell is paved with good intentions. It all started so well, I stormed through Finnish One in no time at all, I was sitting at my desk for an hour a day listening, repeating, and typing away. Then, as it so often does, life got in the way. I had to go out into the real world and work. I was in Greece for two weeks without internet access and when I returned to Finland, I was whisked off to work in Lohja sans computer. I just didn’t have the time or the materials, or my iMac.

I had initially held off on installing the app on my phone, because I thought it wasn’t something I would use very much. Language learning was a serious business after all. But, being away from my  computer, and teaching English to Russians, meant that I really wasn’t hearing Finnish anymore, or learning. So I installed the mobile app on my iPhone. This is when my learning patterns changed completely. I can’t remember the last time I logged on to the Worddive Website, because I solely use the app now. I used it whenever I had a *moment*, on the bus, when i got home from work and sat down with a cuppa, just whenever I had a few minutes. It can get addictive, especially the ‘easy’ exercise. Mostly, I found myself taking a posh wee and practicing my Finnish whilst I was on the loo. Which is a great way to start a conversation with your new office colleagues, when you leave the bathroom having been repeating words and sentences aloud.

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Worddive hasn’t made me fluent in three months and I haven’t noticed a massive increase in my vocabulary, I have learnt some new words for sure, but it has done something far better for me. It has consolidated what I already knew, my spelling has improved enormously, and most importantly my confidence has. This has only been a problem with two languages. Learning English and Finnish. Both of these languages I have struggled with spelling and confidence issues when speaking. Which is weird when you look at the other languages I’ve tried to learn: Welsh, Russian, and even Klingon (yes I was a nerdy teen), which I never had a problem with confidence, speaking, or spelling.

You have to remember that with Finnish, I was a essentially a false beginner with a large vocabulary (around B1 level) but no idea how to speak properly or write. This has been the biggest problem area for me without a doubt. Being a mute in part because I have no idea how to use these words in a sentence in their correct form, let alone say them correctly.

There’s no way to say this without sounding like one of those commercials from early morning television, after three months with Worddive, with just a few minutes of practice every day, throughout the day, I was coming into contact with the language in a real tactile way, engaging nearly all of my senses. However, it wasn’t all plain sailing, there was a lot of frustration with the ‘main exercise’ spelling portion of the app, I sometimes wished that the app could be more forgiving by adding a backspace button to undo a mistake, but this has more to do with my dyslexia and sausage fingers than the app itself.

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With Finnish being a phonetic language, getting the spelling right really increases your level of comfort with the language. It helped me to spot patterns in words, to learn how to conjugate the words properly, to see it written down, to type it in, it reinforced it for me. It helped me to pronounce things better, which in turn helped me to begin to speak in whole sentences. I am being understood more, on one of those rare occasions when some crazy person spoke to me. The biggest improvement has come over the last couple of weeks when I have been using the app in conjunction with language lessons at university. Because I don’t think you can learn a language with just four hours a week + homework, or on the bog alone. I also liked that you got regular progress reports via email every Monday morning showing how many words you’d learnt, how long until you reached the next level from A2 to B1, for example, it noticed if you were lagging and warned you if you had set yourself too ambitious a target.

I have enjoyed the past few months using Worddive. BUT, don’t just take my word for it. I’ve been given a few *3-month licence keys* for three people that comment on this post, and then like and share this on FacePants! So please, if you want to challenge yourself to improve your Finnish, enter this little lotto!

By Cai

Twitter: Caijamin Instagram: Cai.bwci

Today marks my fourth year in Finland. Wooop ! Four years.

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And echoing the popular catchphrase of a teenage girl “I CAN’T EVEN”. I’m not sure exactly what it means, but I think it means that I have no idea what to say regarding my 4th Anniversary in Finland. I’m totally speechless. I still loves it here, sometimes I get frustrated, but most of the time, I just like living here. This morning, I was hit with a wave of Finland loving, as I was walking to work, it was cool and the sun was shining, I caught myself smiling and thinking how lovely it all was. Probably because I was in the posh part of Helsinki, and not the suburbs.

HOWEVER. There is one thing that I still don’t understand about Finland. Sure I’m starting to grasp your language. I kind of get the music culture, its not as cold as you say it is, but seriously what’s with the Brit-loving?

I don’t get it.

I don’t get it at all. As a Brit, you grow up with the subconisous understanding that the rest of Europe looks down upon us. That we are unliked by most countries, unsurprising considering that we have invaded all but 22 countries in the world ! But there seems to be something wrong with Finland (and no, Finland was not one of those lucky 22 countries). British culture, even the food to some extent, seems to be revered here.

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Not only do you seem to get the ‘British Humour’, the sarcasm, and the satire, you seem to actually like it.

Our TV shows are everywhere. I’ve not been into a house yet in Finland, that doesn’t have a box set of some old British TV series. There are endless re-runs of comedy gold from the UK, and you also seem to like the WORST of our TV, with such rubbish as Emmerdale running regularly on the TV. Not to mention Gordie Shore is rather popular. I don’t get it.

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A trip to Paris or Rome is not met with the same excitement as a trip to London. It’s strange. When I seem my Finnish friends on Facebook posting about their holidays, their trips to England ALWAYS have the most pictures and the most hype around it. Yes dear, it’s a phonebox and it’s red.

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Why are you excited about the underground? It’s dirty and smelly and crowded. You know that it’s going to be cloudy, it will probably rain, and yet you must go back to England and see everything? You do know that nothing really works very well? It’s cold indoors. It’s expensive. I’d much rather go to Budapest than London. I don’t get it.

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I am constantly bemused by the love of the British Royal Family. The furore surrounding the poshest benefit claimants in the UK in Finland amazes me. I have no idea why you have to ask me consistently about what I think about the wedding or the spawning of the latest royal brat.

I don’t care. In the words of Plaid Cymru’s Leanne Wood, “Ms Winsor, she’s not my queen”. I was telling this story to a Finnish friend, about Leanne getting hauled over the coals for saying this, and they were horrified that “Her Royal Highness Queen Elizabeth” wasn’t given the proper respect that she deserves.

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Did you know there was a group of Morris Dancers in Helsinki? I didn’t. You can find their Facebook here, if you want to join in this wonderful British tradition.

Personally the jingle-jangle of the bells brings back traumatic childhood memories, but for some reason, Finns like it! My hometown had a folk festival every year, so I overdosed on Morris Dancing before I could flee the island. Especially with the words from my wonderfully supportive grandmother, “Out of all of my Grand Children, you are the only one without any sense of rhythm”. She still took me every year dancing. In the vague hope that I might learn.

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Why? Why on earth do you want British Friends? A common reaction when I introduce myself and they hear this accent flowing out of my mouth, is OH MY GOD you’re British. Obviously. I wish I had some British friends. Do you? Do you really? Why? Do you want to practise your english? or is it a status thing? Like I said, I don’t get it.

Three summers ago, I was working in Inkeroinen, I hadn’t shaved in a while, I hadn’t been paid yet, and I was very tanned and generally I was looking quite dishevelled. I was in the shop and this rather charming drunk Finnish man started shouting “vitun karvakäsi” (a lovely term meaning fucking hairy hand). I was the only one in the Isle, so I turned around and asked him what he was saying and apologised for my bad Finnish as I was doing so. He asked me where the hell I was from and why was I in Finland. I told him. I’m from the UK. His entire demeanour changed. He became friendly, he wanted to talk about the olympics, about the queen, and why did we drink tea, was it because our beer was bad? In a flash, he went from hostile aggressive, to friendly, all because I said I’m from the UK. I couldn’t believe it.

Perhaps I’m reading too much into this, but It just strikes me as odd. What would have happened if I had been from somewhere else? but in any case, I still don’t get the love for us Brits.

Finns. You’re almost being American… It’s weird.

By Cai

Twitter: Caijamin Instagram: Cai.bwci 

PS.

I do apologise for the Buzzfeed feel of this post. It’s been a while since I’ve written anything, and you can tell!

What’s up people? Have you been enjoying the summer?,

If you ever were bored and you had your selfie stick with you, we encourage you to try this 😀

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This time we have an interesting story. One day Aleksi was hanging out at Keskustori by himself. He met a random guy at the time called Tommi (who is our friend now) and they decided to do something fun. The result was taking fake selfies with strangers. It sounds crazy but that’s pretty much how it happened. The good place was Koskipuisto, so they went there and turned they normal afternoon to a fun, memorable one 😉 In the link below you can how girls reacted to the fake selfie prank:

Share the video with your friends if you liked it :) Also we would be happy to hear your comments or ideas for potential pranks!

Here is our contact info:

socialengineering358@gmail.com

Subscribe to our channel HERE

Follow us on Facebook!

Follow Paya on Instagram!

Follow Aleksi on Instagram!

Follow us on Twitter!

 

Cheers!

Paya & Aleksi

As a fan of cycling I am more than happy to share some info about a newly opened route called Näsijärvireitti (Näsijärvi Lake Trail). This still still on my to do list, but with a pregnant partner and lots of visits from friends and family it still didn’t fit into my time schedule. 

Anyway here is some info for those who happen to be in Tampere this weekend. Näsijärvireitti is putting up the coolest cycling event of the summer, SUVIAJOT, on 24.-26.7.2015 from Friday to Sunday.

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The event offers free guided cycle trips with different themes and distances (for example Vineyard trip and Chocolate farm trip) breakfast for cyclists and a bold Ride In -bike outdoor movie! In addition you can get free ice cream and first aid kits during the weekend!

 

We encourage everybody to venture along the route themselves or with the guided groups. Just bring yourself to Mustalahti harbour on Saturday (25.7) or Sunday (26.7) at 10.00 am when the guided trips start and choose your own. The distances of the trips will be between 15 to140 km, so something for everyone!

 

More info (In Finnish): www.nasijarvireitti.fi/suviajot

Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CNcknwggxEA

 

The base of the event will be Mustalahti harbour in Tampere.

 

Schedule:

 

FRIDAY 24.7

 

-Do what you want, plan your trip, book a ticket to the Tarjanne-steamship and cycle only one way or do whatever you want!

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SATURDAY 25.7

 

8.00-10.30 Breakfast for Cyclists (5€)

Where: Mustalahti harbour

 

9.00- Vanhat Velot (old velo’s) are displaying some serious bike culture with their old fancy wheels and stately outfits!

Where: Mustalahti harbour

 

10.00 Guided bike trips: Näsijärvi Lake Trail 140 km, Vineyard 55-60 km, Chocolate Farm 60 km, Park Adventure 15-20 km

Start: Mustalahti harbour

Guided by: Kaupin kanuunat.

Cost: Free

 

22.00 Ride In -outdoor movie

Where: Särkänniemi Amusement Park, parking area / Mustalahti

Cost: free (bring some cash for the burgers and candies!)

 

SUNDAY 26.7

 

8.00-10.30 30 Breakfast for Cyclists (5€)

Where: Mustalahti harbour

 

10.00 Guided bike trip: Frantsila Herb Adventure 70-80 km

Start: Mustalahti harbour

Guided by: Kaupin Kanuunat

Cost:free

 

12.00 Guided Sunday trip: Pyhäjärvi Lake Trail 25-30 km

Start: Hatanpää Arboretum Cafe

Guided by: Kaupin Kanuunat

Cost: free

Do you sometimes freeze up when having a conversation? or has it happened to you before? Alright mates take a look at the photo below and guess what we did this time? 😀

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Do you understand me?!

This time we came up with the idea of freezing during a conversation. So what we did was starting a casual conversation with a stranger (with something like asking for an address) and then don’t react to what they say. Basically we just stood still there and froze.

This may sound very easy to pull off but believe it or not keeping the straight face wasn’t that easy :) We invite you to try this on your friends. You will have tons of fun, just put on the poker face and roll. 😉 Here is the video we made, hope you enjoy it:

We are eager as always to hear your opinion, comments and ideas about our videos. Don’t forget to share them with us. Also share our video with your friends if you think it will make them laugh too. We appreciate it.

Here is our contact info:

socialengineering358@gmail.com

Subscribe to our channel HERE

Follow us on Facebook!

Follow Paya on Instagram!

Follow Aleksi on Instagram!

Follow us on Twitter!

 

Cheers!

Paya & Aleksi

It’s been busy this summer. My last holiday week is up and I’ve had the worst holiday stress ever. I didn’t manage to do any of the things I planned to do at home, like wash windows, write this blog and go trough my over floating wardrobe. What I did manage to do, though, was to visit Cafe Pispala for a pancake brunch.

_breakfast__pancakes__cafepispala__aamupala__pannareita__tampere__pispala__tampereallbrightCafe Pispala opened up in the most famous part of Tampere in the middle of small wooden houses overlooking the Pyhäjärvi lake. (I have no picture from outside the cafe at it was raining cats and dogs (and not in a pretty instagramic way) on the day of our visit.)

I was kind of disappointed that Sunday brunch here isn’t the kind where you eat all you can but I assure you, any of the dishes available will be more than enough to fill you up. Refills for coffee, on the other hand, are free which is not common practice in Finland. (Probably as we drink a lot of it. A lot a lot.)

_Sunday__morning__coffee__kahvi__aamukahvi__aamu__sunnuntai__tampere__tampereallbrightThis town has definitely been missing a source of American style pancakes without the plastic diner style decore and now we have it. The pancakes were just as dreamy as I hoped they would be and, of course, served with proper amount of butter and maple syrup.

If you don’t make it there this or another Sunday go and eat there another day as they serve a lot more than just Sunday brunch (I’m just a big breakfast and brunch fan.) Check the changing menu at their Facebook page (they tell it in English too). And if you get lucky with the Finnish summer you might be able to sit outside on their terrace and appreciate the most beautiful part of Tampere while your at it.

By Pirkko

 

Tinder is the swipe-right-if-you’re-into-it dating app that lets you chat with folks who also “swiped right” on you. And it’s up to you whether you want to give your phone number to a match.

Approaching girls at kuskipuisto

Approaching girls at kuskipuisto

“Do you remember me? We got matched on Tinder!”

This time we decided to approach random girls and pretend that we have been matched on Tinder. The idea was to persuade them that we have been matched on Tinder or make a big dramatic and awkward scene if they didn’t remember us and improvise the rest of the conversation. We followed up conversation by “why you didn’t reply to my message” or “it’s always nice to meet in person”, etc.

We hope you enjoy the video. We would like to hear from you guys your weirdest Tinder pickups and conversations. Share it with us so we can all laugh together 😀 Also don’t forget to share your prank & social experiment ideas if you have a good one in mind.

Here is our contact info:

socialengineering358@gmail.com

Subscribe to our channel HERE

Follow us on Facebook!

Follow Paya on Instagram!

Follow Aleksi on Instagram!

Follow us on Twitter!

 

Cheers!

Paya & Aleksi

What would you do if someone asks to borrow your phone? Would you give it to him? You never know what happens next. In this blog entry, we will show you a funny prank, where Aleksi went to Finnish girls and borrowed their phones for a phone call. While the girls are waiting for him to make his call, he secretly calls the girls’ parents, puts the conversation on speaker and asks for some tips to ask their daughters out!

“Where should I take your daughter for a date?”

We were surprised by the parents’ responds. They were open minded about it (quite shocked though). Some of them even mixed it up by a little bit of sense of humor and suggested Särkänniemi as a place Aleksi can take their daughter for a date! 😉 In contrary, some negative replies were also received as you can see in the end of the video.

This idea is originally created by Stuart Edge (an American prankster) and we were curious how Finnish girls would react to it. This was our first video made here in Tampere and frankly speaking a hard one to pull off. Therefore, you can see some shakiness and lower quality, but hey it was our first time, so be gentle to us. :) Share the video with your friends if you liked it  Also we would be happy to hear your comments or your ideas for a potential prank.

Enjoy the video folks:

Share the video with your friends if you liked it :) Also we would be happy to hear your comments or ideas for potential pranks!

Here is our contact info:

socialengineering358@gmail.com

Subscribe to our channel HERE

Follow us on Facebook!

Follow Paya on Instagram!

Follow Aleksi on Instagram!

Follow us on Twitter!

 

Cheers!

Paya & Aleksi

 

 

I’m never one to shy away from a challenge so when Margarita emailed me and challenged me to learn Finnish in three months, I just had to say ‘Let’s do this!’.

It’s no secret that last year, I ranted about Finns not speaking Finnish to me (Puhu minulle suomea, kiitos), and then a few months ago, I thought about it some more and went a bit deeper into my own issues with speaking Finnish (reflections on Immigrant life and learning Finnish). The issue has now become my Finnish Mutism which boils down to confidence and just not knowing enough to speak. Well, I don’t even think it is because I don’t know enough. I think it’s just confidence and lack of practice. I mean, I follow conversations and instructions very well.

So what’s the deal? How will she succeed and cure my mutism? With Worddive (You can read about them here, I don’t do PR) . It’s a Tampere-based startup who think that their software can make learning languages easier and not a tedious painful experience. I’m skeptical. Incredibly so. I’ve struggled with Finnish for nearly four years and I often reach a point where I think sod it, I can’t do this, and take a break for a few weeks.

I don’t have a head for languages, I’m severely dyslexic (Oh I’m a walking contradiction, a blogger / writer / academic / english teacher who struggles with words). It took me seven years to learn Welsh, and now most of that has disappeared out of my head to make room for Finnish.

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So this is what the software looks like. A bit like memrize or duolingo. Apparently, there’s lots of pedagogical research as to why this method works. Seeing, writing, listening, speaking, repeating. Etc. Also, what sets this software apart is that it is adaptive, written by professionals and with trained voice actors. Plus there are points, and charts, and graphs, and reports, and and STATISTICS. I do love a good graph. Progress is so much better when you can visibly see it.

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So. I went to the office in Tampere last week and met the team. I’ve spent a few days playing around with the software and now it’s game on time. I’m starting with Beginners Finnish one to do everything from start to Finnish (ha!). You’ve heard the sales pitch, learn a new language with just a few minutes a day …

So, Today is Monday 15 June, and let’s see if this actually works and improves my Finnish.

Worddive. Challenge Accepted.

 

By Cai

Twitter: Caijamin Instagram: Cai.bwci