Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Friends in Finland...

I've been to Andorra, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Edisto Beach, the Federated States of Micronesia, France, Germany, Gormania, Guam, Hawaii, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Kapingamarangi, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Majuro, Myanmar (maybe, hard to tell), Myrtle Beach, Nepal, the Netherlands, New Zealand, The Northern Mariana Islands, Orchard Road, Pawleys Island, the Philippines, Pigeon Forge, Puerto Rico, Boat Quay in Singapore, Rattanakosin (Old Bangkok), Singapore, Spain, Switzerland, Texas, Thailand, Union Grove in North Carolina, the Virgin Islands, Wagga Wagga, Yellowstone, and several zoos. But not to Finland...

I have friends in Finland. When I lived in Canberra, Australia, the city there had a small but vibrant community of Finns. Youth With A Mission (whom I worked for there) had a steady flow of Finnish students coming through its training programs. I've lost touch now with all of them. But occasionally I see their faces in my mind and think about our old friendships.

One family in particular used to invite me to their home in Canberra.
They had a sauna they'd built themselves. (They pronounced that word as "SAU-nah," and the "sau" rhymed with "cow.") I could sit in the sauna with them. It would climb into the 80's, which is about 175F degrees. I could stand that; it was almost pleasant. But then one of them would throw a thimble or so or water on the hot rocks and steam would fill the room. I would have to exit the sauna. I could hear them chuckle as I went through the door.

I also remember drinking small quantities of a marvelous liquid with them. It was clear and tasted like berries - berries that were on fire. And if you drank enough of it the liquid made you want to sing. Can't remember what they called it, though.

I had the pleasure of doing a small amount of language work with one Finnish man for one of my linguistic classes at the ANU. Finnish is a beautiful and intriguing language, from what I remember.

Maybe one day I'll get to visit Finland...

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