Friday, February 17, 2012

One language. Mihin olemme menossa seuraavaksi?

Language is the most imperfect and expensive means yet discovered for communicating thought.  ~William James
Marimekko Unikko wellies

I am not a great cook, I am not a great artist, but I love art, and I love food, so I am the perfect traveller. Michael Palin

The day after Christmas, my husband and I both expressed a desire to go on vacation.  Where to?  Who cares.  We just want to go somewhere.  Now that things have died down a bit more; and life has returned to it's normal daily routines, it's time to look forward to something interesting.  Travel.  I love exploring new areas of the globe.  Not that I've gotten outside of the United States much in my life.  But, even different parts of the state I live in are part of the globe.  I don't have to go anywhere far, but someplace different always seems to refresh me.  I don't even have to really do anything while I'm gone.  Just a change of scenery is enough. 

Our family heads off to Salolampi; Finnish language camp, for the weekend.  This will be our third year attending the family fun weekend.  The girls all spent their earliest years with a grandfather who would speak Finn to them.  They know way more of the language than I do.  I kind of think my brain isn't wired quite right to absorb another language.   I only learned one phrase in my three years of German during high school.  What was the phrase?  Ich habe keine idee.  (I have no idea.) 

But, I can absorb some of the cultural elements of this Scandinavian country, even if I don't think I will ever be able to hold more than the barest of conversations in Finnish.  After the weekend, the sauna song has had repeated appearances in my brain.  I kind of know what the words mean.  Kind of.  And, I can sing the song--mispronouncing words most of the way through. 

Book club cake of the month
Salolampi may not exactly be a new place for me, but it is a break in the routine.  I learn something new, and eat things that I don't usually eat.  I hear words spoken in a language different from the one I usually hear.  At the end of the day I can sit in one of the saunas and breathe in that hot, moist air.  From there, walk back to the cabin through the cold and quiet night.  Now that's refreshing!  A few days of this and I'm ready to get back to my real world.  Laundry, dishes, cooking, working, etc.  And for at least a few days, there will be some Finnish words used in place of English words.  I've already learned to make pulla (cardamom bread) and make that occasionally at home.  I'll get to enjoy lots of it this weekend along with all the coffee I can drink. 

Minulla ei ole aavistustakaan!  (I have no idea.)  I keep repeating it, practising it for the weekend.  Or at least the beginning of the weekend, when my few known Finnish words and phrases are farther back at the edges of my brain.  Thank goodness for google translate to help me prepare.  

And when I'm all Finned out at the end of the day, I will head back to my cabin and my book.  No TV or computer to interfere with my reading.  Bliss. 

Marimekko mug

If you can speak three languages you're trilingual.  If you can speak two languages you're bilingual.  If you can speak only one language you're an American.  ~Author Unknown

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