Mitä kauemmas kotoaan matkustaa, sitä useammin saa vastata kysymyksiin maansa ominaispiirteistä. Suomesta aprikoidaan ensimmäiseksi, että eikö siellä ole kauhean kylmä, mutta myös kieli, vapaa-aika ja ruoat kiinnostavat. Päätimme erään toisen vaihto-opiskelijan Helena Ahlforsin kanssa järjestää joukolle ranskalaisia ja muita vaihto-opiskelijoita tyypillisen suomalaisen aterian.
Keittiöiden varustus ei täällä ole kovin kummoinen, uunista ei tietoakaan ja keittolevyjä yleensä kokonainen yksi kappale, sekin alitehoinen. Hyvin kuitenkin pärjättiin yhdellä ylimääräisellä irtolevyllä vahvistettuna ja ilta oli onnistunut, tässä ruokalistamme:
- alkuruoaksi vaaleita lohileipiä ja aitoa suomalaista kuivattua
ruisleipää voin ja kylmäsavuporon kera.
- alkuruoan jälkeen vodkapaukku selityksineen siihen liittyvistä tavoista
- pääruoaksi lihapullia, perunamuusia ja tuoreita vihanneksia
- jälkiruoaksi vaniljajäätelöä ja mustikoita, sekä maistiaisiksi salmiakkia
Yhtenä viikonloppuna piipahdin kuuluisassa vuotuisassa Geneven autonäyttelyssä ja tapasin pari viime kesän työtoveria. Kahtena viimeisenä viikonloppuna olen käynyt laskettelemassa, nyt taitaa lumilautailukausi olla ohi. Säät lämpenevät koko ajan, parhaimmillaan on mennyt jo 20 astetta varjossa rikki.
Ensi viikonloppuna lähden kahdeksi viikoksi Marokkoon, sekä vaeltamaan vuoristoon että tutustumaan muihin maisemiin ja sikäläisiin kaupunkeihin.
Lopuksi vielä kuvia tanssia harrastavien INSAlaisten kolmisen viikkoa sitten järjestämästä hienosta esityksestä:
Salut tout le monde - Hello everybody,
The longer one is away from his homeland, the more questions are asked about the characteristics of his country, especially the mundane, daily life. By far the most common question about Finland is "It is awfully cold there, isn't it?", usually followed by inquiries about the language, how are the studies, free time and what we like to eat.
Properly answering the last question needs something concrete. I and Helena Ahlfors (another exchange student) decided to organise a Finnish dinner for a group of our best international friends. Given the number of nice people here it was hard to decide who to leave out, eventually we came up with a list of about dozen names and set the date to Sunday evening, 11.3.2001. Nine of them arrived, so we were 12 in total, including Helena's Finnish friend (who also happened to be Helena) who had come for a visit.
The apartments at INSA aren't especially well suited to organise large feasts. I live in a double room, Helena has her own but shares the other facilities with a French girl. The kitchen is equipped with one sink, a fridge and only one underpowered cooker plate, no oven. The electric system adds its own twists, I have a rather good separate plate that works fine in the older buildings, but constantly blows the fuse in Helena's apartment. Fortunately another less powerful one can be used. Apparently the designers have assumed that everybody eats in the campus restaurant and uses the kitchen just to warm up an occasional cup of hot chocolate.
As mentioned, the equipment set some constraints, but we were lucky to have a few authentic Finnish items to compensate, and came up with the following menu:
- wheat bread sandwiches with salmon, salad and dill
- authentic Finnish dried rye bread with butter and cold smoked reindeer (also Finnish melted cheese as an option)
A vodka shot
- accompanied with an appropriate song and explication of the habit
- meatballs with traditional brown sauce
- mashed potatoes
- fresh vegetables: tomatoes and red pepper
- vanilla ice cream with blueberries
- "salmiakki" sweets (a Finnish speciality)
Due to a shortage of equiment and time, we had to use powder instead of real potatoes, Helena was unhappy for slightly burning the sauce, but overall the evening succeeded very well and we received lots of thanks. One hint for others trying to organise something similar: when the nationalities of guests range from Finland to Italy, specifying the time in the invitation doesn't guarantee that everybody actually arrive on the same moment...
Three weeks ago I also made my first weekend trip with my Moroccan roommate, who doesn't usually go out much, partly due to personal preferences, partly to financial reasons. The event attractive enough for him and two Tunisians was the world famous annual car exposition at Geneva. Ferrari and Bugatti had the most crowd around their booths, but my favorites were Lotus Exige of the sports cars and the new Mini among the more affordable models.
Geneva is a considerably more lively place during summer than winter, but the river flowing through the center while reflecting the evening lights is always beautiful. As the sugar on top, I had the opportunity to meet two of my workmates from last summer and chat with them Saturday night.
Weather in Lyon never gets very cold from a Finnish perspective, but in January and February going out without a jacket isn't wise. Now those times are beginning to be history. March has brought along a very nice spring weather, temperature being generally around 15 degrees celsius, occasionally going up to 20.
Spring is also the most popular season to go skiing, and being this close to the Alps I have taken advantage of it. One whole weekend with the CS department at La Plagne and a Saturday at Tignes/Val d'Isère with Helena (on a trip organised by the ski club) made a nice ending to my snowboarding season. An interesting feeling to throw most of the clothes and the bonnet in the backpack, you really don't need them on sunny days. The negative side is that on the lower ends of the slopes the snow is melting fast, I prefer a bit colder weather for skiing after all.
On my next trip, I will be searching for even warmer sunshine by switching to another continent. Expressing my gratitude to French university schedules for including a two week Easter vacation, I'm heading for Morocco, starting next Saturday. My travelmates are once again from the Mountaineering club of INSA so one week out of those two will be spent out in the nature, the main goal being Mount Toubkal, 4167 meters.
I close this episode to a set of pictures from one recent highlight of campus life. INSA has several dance clubs, which combined their efforts to organise an almost two hour performance two weeks ago. The quality of the photos is mediocre due to the tiny flash of my camera, but the show was great.
Arto Teräs --- See http://www.iki.fi/ajt/ for contact info