The Swedish ch-dilemma

Having spent in total a few months of my life in Sweden, I noticed that English-Swedish sometimes can bring forth some confusion. It’s particularly the ch-ish sound that causes the trouble. Some Swedes namely pronounce cheap exactly the same as sheep. When visiting my friend Melissa at her exchange location Växjö I noticed she shares the same passion in mentally noting down these ‘unproperlypronouncable’ words. Since the nights were long and the days dark and rainy we thus had plenty of time to collect a nice set of -ch words and to come up with some dialogues. In the video below you can find the result!
By the way, Swedish is sometimes rather hard for foreigners, so the Swedes could in return make fun of us in our first attempt to pronounce a city name like Linköping (wrongly pronounced with a big fat K of course). In this case the k is pronounced rather sj-like. ‘Liensjeuping’. Fooling around with this resulted in playfully naming Swedish ‘kaffe’ as ‘sjoffee’, which is of course nonsense.

 Hallå!
Guess I soon have to go back once to my beloved Finland in order to observe its nice inhabitants a bit more. I noticed lately that also Finns have some word constructions in English which are difficult for them to pronounce. I’m talking about -cion words. Some examples: decision, which suddenly sounds like ‘desison’ then. Or reaction, ‘reacson’. Attraction, ‘attracson’. Hej, I only notice now that then actually the Finns and Swedes have the same problem, only at another part of the word. This sharp shhh-sound is just not made for them. Not really sure if they like it to have something in common though…
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Deense pepernoten in Litouwen

Een aangename verrassing; tijdens een lange wandeling op een zonnige maandag middag kwam ik een supermarkt tegen van de Finse keten Prisma. In Estland kocht ik aldaar altijd mijn portie drop en knäckebröd, dus ook dit maal beproefde ik mijn geluk. En verrek, salmiakki, het zwarte Finse goud, nog beter! Niet zoveel keuze als in Nederland of Scandinavië, maar het kon er zeker mee door. Ook nam ik een pot pindakaas mee met op het etiket PINDA (spatie) KAAS – seimig und lecker. Hollandser dan dat kun je pindakaas toch haast niet beschrijven in het Duits. In het koekjesschap vond ik tot mijn grote verbazing pepernoten in een nogal kerst-achtige verpakking. Ze zagen een tikje bleekjes en droegen de naam pebernødder. Ok, ze hebben dus ook pepernoten in Denemarken? En deze eten ze tijdens kerst i.p.v. Sinterklaas? En, het overschot wordt vervolgens gedumpt in een Finse supermarkt in Litouwen? Hm, wat toch weer een ontdekkingen! En verrek, ze waren nog lekker ook. Wel een beetje anders dan de Nederlandse pepernoten (of zoals de Pietjes Precies me nu streng zouden corrigeren: kruidnoten). Ik vond ze wat meer amandel-achtig in vergelijking met de Nederlandse lekkernij. Weet je wat ik trouwens de allerbeste combinatie vind? Nederlandse kruidnoten met een glas karnemelk, en dat ze dan zo lekker week worden en in je mond uiteenvallen. Dit zal voor een aantal misschien wat kotsneigingen opwekken, maar serieus, het is heerlijk.

 Deense pepernoten uit een Finse supermarkt in Litouwen verorberd door een Nederlandse die nodig haar pepernoten quotum (slechts 2 zakjes) van 2013 moest opkrikken. Gelukt! De portie Heksehyl (ook Deens trouwens) was eveneens geweldig, ook al dachten de Litouwse middelbare scholieren die ik vorige week les gaf daar anders over. 

Finland in my ears

Hello from snowstormy yet sunny Kaunas! The weather has been acting a little crazy here lately but unfortunately I didn’t manage to spot a ‘snowbow’ instead of a rainbow yet. Would be interesting to see how that would look like though. My days are filled with thesis writing and I currently reached the phase in which the quantity is ok (50 pages in around one month, not too bad), but that the quality is very much in need of some detailed shaping. My topic concerns female media and sexual objectification and I must admit I slowly start to understand why men are so puzzled by female behavior. In order to clear my mind from this often contradictory topic I please my ears with some (this is a coincident) Finnish delights. I’d like to share two instrumental masterpieces with you which I consider to be worth listening to.
This first piece is some classical music by the Finnish composer Jean Sibelius. ‘Intermezzo’ is part of the Karelia Suite (1893) and I don’t know about you, but when playing it out very loud I so feel it. In my eyes all the similar sounding pop songs nowadays cannot top something as powerful as this. The Karelia Suite comes forth from Sibelius’ love for the in that time Finnish region Karelia with its many beautiful lakes and forests. Having experienced Finland myself several times, I can understand Sibelius’ connection between his musical expression and Karelia’s breathtaking nature. The optimistic nature of Intermezzo always touches such a happy note, yet, ending moderately, like Finnish enthusiasm. I’m personally very interested in how Russia eventually got hold of Karelia with the consequence Finland had to give up its biggest part of that region. If you coincidently have any literature or stories about this topic, please let me know! Google street view led me though some almost abandoned places which used to be happy Finnish towns with a lot of flourishing employment possibilities, but which are now covered with cheap looking Russian shop signs. I definitely want to explore this rather untypical destination once, but only armed with mosquito spray. What if Russia would just give back Karelia to Finland in exchange for Crimea ;-)?
The second song which I love to listen over and over again is the instrumental version of Nightwishes Song of Myself. I noticed that I like the songs from this Finnish band better when being just instrumental, without singing. This could easily be a track of one of my adventurous ballooning movies actually. Nightwish can be categorized as playing symphonic heavy metal, and especially this symphonic touch attracts me a lot. Always when I listen to Nightwish I think back of some awesome ballooning fun in France during the 2011 edition of Mondial Air Ballons. I used two of Nightwishes tracks for the short movie I made about my flights there.

This blog almost seems to become a worship Finland space, ha!

Deutschsprachige Filmtage in Kaunas – Wolfskinder

No English, no Dutch, but today’s post will be in German for a change.
Heute mach ich es mal ein bisschen anders. Ich werde mein Perfektionismus zur Seite schieben und euch allen ein Post auf Deutsch anbieten. Natürlich mit die typische Fehler die Deutsch sprechende Holländerinnen Vielfaltich machen. Das macht mir jetzt nichts; ich möchte es einfach mal versuchen. Warum ich für diesen Beitrag die Deutsche Sprache gewählt habe ist weil ich hier in Kaunas die Deutschsprachige Filmtage besucht habe. In verschiedenen Orten durch ganz Litauen, von Vilnius bis Marijampole und sogar Klaipėda zeigten die Filmhäuser aktuelle Deutsche Filme. Der Erstaufführung in Kaunas trug der Name Wolfskinder. Es hat mich sehr gefreut das der Darsteller diesen Film, Rick Ostermann, auch da war um einige Frage aus dem Publikum zu beantworten. Es war ihm scheinbar ein bisschen peinlich vor den Anfang schon ein Paar wunderschöne rote Rosen geschenkt zu bekommen von ein alter Herr.
Meine Sprachkenntnisse ist zur Zeit nicht ausreichend einen riesen Rezension mit einer ganze Menge detaillierte Information hervor zu tragen, also konzentriere ich mich nur kurz auf die Hauptlinie des Films worüber ich euch gern erzählen will.
Wolfskinder handelt sich um zwei Bruder aus Preußen. Ihre Mutter betet ihr nach Litauen zu fliehen, weg von den Hungersnot und auf der Suche nach einige Bekanntschaften in Litauen die ausreichend zu Essen anbieten können. Die Wege des beiden Bruders trennen sich, und während der Film wird die 14-jährige Hans auf Seine schwere Reise begleitet. Er macht kräftige Entscheidungen und guckt der Tod mehrmals tief in die Auge. Den Sowjetischen Soldaten aus dem Wege gehend lernt er im Wald mehrere andere Wolfskinder kennen. Ich war unglaublich beindrückt von die Schauspiel Fähigkeiten des jungen Schauspielers. Die Kinder waren alle noch so jung, aber doch ist es ihn gelungen ihre Gefühle von Angst, Panik aber manchmal soeben Freude an mir herüber zu bringen. Über das Ende werde ich nichts erzählen, das ist an dir selbst um heraus zu finden. Erwarte auf jeden Fall nicht zu viel Aktivität weil der Film sich eher langsam abspielt. Das bedeutet aber nicht dass mir die Film nicht gut gefallen ist, im Gegenteil, es war sehr wissenswert jetzt endlich mal etwas über diesen Unterbelichten Thema der Deutschen Geschichte zu erfahren. Viel relativ alte Leute haben sich den Film angeschaut und die meisten verkündigten am Ende dass das Leben der Wolfskinder in Realität noch viel grausamer war. Eine Besucherin hat es gar nicht gefallen und sie erzählte Herr Ostermann und der Rest des Publikums ohne sich dafür zu schämen dass sie nicht einverstanden ist mit wie die Litauische Kleinbürger in den Film dargestellt werden. Ihre Meinung nach waren die Bauer gar nicht so Herzlos. Wütend lief sie den Saal aus. Für mich war es auf jeden Fall eine gute Chance etwas mehr über das angstfällige Leben während der Krieg zu Erleben und wie so unglaublich viel kleine Kinder plötzlich wie Erwachsenen funktionieren müssten.

Shameless anger

I’ve noticed that whenever Lithuanians are a bit pissed, they don’t do any effort to hide their dissatisfaction. This kind of behavior easily tickles my laughing muscles, which often makes the whole situation even worse. Yesterday evening I stood at the bus stop close to the dormitory I live in. It’s always kind of packed there, so I prefer to have my discount card and coin money ready without having to dig into my rather unfeminine velcro purse while just having a hint of moon light. As long as I’ve lived here, my inner city bus tickets have always cost me one Lita, which equals 30 eurocents. My bus arrived and I stepped towards the bus driver, a lady, 40+. She wore an antique pair of glasses and had some high cheekbones with a fair layer of I-get-my-share-of-sweetness. 
When wanting to obtain a bus ticket one has to place the money in a little movable shelf which is integrated in a plastic wannabe-glass window. As soon as the money is placed on the anti-slip coaster, which once was ocean blue but turned into an indefinable brownish shade now, the little shelf has to be pushed towards the bus driver. Normally, she’ll then get the money, print you a teeny-weeny bus ticket, pushes the little bill through the shelf towards you and then the deal is done: you’re the proud owner of a Kaunas public transport ticket with which you can travel from one side of the city to another for only 30 eurocents. Yet, I didn’t manage to complete these steps straight ahead. 
While she hit the pedal to the metal I tried to keep up standing straight while showing my student-ID through the wannabe-window, which would get me my 50% discount. She pushed the shelf back as hard as she could, with my money still in it. She furthermore shouted something incomprehensible, but  it surely wasn’t anything to comfort a poor Dutchman desperately trying not to fall. I frowned and pushed the shelf with my one Lita coin towards her again. She screamed and made me think of Mrs. Trunchbull from Roald Dahl’s classic Matilda. I asked her in a friendly tone what was wrong. She ignored me. There were some women in their early thirties standing relatively close to me. I asked them what to do in order to obtain a ticket. Helpless; none of them spoke one single word of English. I wonder if a crash course in Lithuanian could have rescued me out of this situation though. Eventually one women with overly manicured finger nails tapped onto the plastic shield. The number she pointed at stated 2.40 Litas. Only then I noticed that the price for a bus ticket had been raised. The discount price stated 1.20 Litas and was thus increased by a big fat six eurocents. 
Now I understood my confusion. The stickers stating the new prices were printed on the same old yellowish paper as the old ones, so no wonder I didn’t see a distinction straight away. While the bus driver hit the pedal once more, I made a little balance dance while digging into my backpack in search for a small 0.20 cents coin. All I found was 0.50 cents, and thus 1.50 went into the shelf which I carefully and with a sense of hope on my face, pushed towards the fanatic driver once again. Finally, her nails scratched the coins from the brownish coaster. The ticket machine made a robot-like sounds and there it was, my very own ticket, including the change: 0.10 cents. Apparently she charged my stupidity with 0.20 cents which she just kept for herself. She can surely buy a small onion from that money and I hope it’ll make her fart so loud that she can burst out in laughter – just for her to notice how liberating the opposite of anger may feel. 
I found myself a free seat in the bus and quickly watched the same showpiece once again. Five young lads entered the bus. They were either very cheerful because of the alcohol in their blood, or because they had just played some basketball; that’s also possible. All of them quickly dropped the money in the shelf and went to the back of the bus to giggle on. They were however also not aware of the price change that came in force since the first of march. The bus driver started to scream, but the plastic did a good share of dimming her noise. The bus stood still and she suddenly came out. The wannabe-window appeared to be a wannabe glass door as well. She screamed through the whole bus, demanding the boys to each pay their 0.20 cents, or else she’d kick them all out (at least, that’s what I understood from her body language).  With a big smile on their faces the guys one by one dropped by with their coins. Smiles also appeared on the faces of the other bus passengers. A rare sight, so many strangers, smiling! Lithuanians! Even though I’ve been living here for a while now, this country keeps on surprising me, and that’s exactly what I love so much about residing here. 
The passengers’ moods were rather good but the bus driver still seemed a bit frustrated. When we rushed towards the Southern part of Kaunas, far away from any bus stop, she pushed the button that opened the automatic bus doors. A wave of wind screamed through the bus, refreshing it from its rather stuffy aroma.  I could almost see the moist of the bus driver’s anger steaming up her plastic shield. She rushed by a few stops without stopping, and I fanatically started to search for a stop button since my bus stop was in sight. No buttons to be found, so I stood up just to give the driver a hint. She stopped, and even nicer, she didn’t even flatten me in between the automatic doors when I got off. 
I walked into the darkness and fulfillingly looked back as soon as the bus accelerated again. Pity the driver didn’t look at me anymore, otherwise she would have earned a smile and wave. Interesting how people can get so furious. I can imagine the language barrier wasn’t in my advantage, yet, the driver just seemed to scream to everybody not being aware of the ticket price change. Well, this was surely not the first time something like this happened to me. Some people here seem just not afraid showing their deepest annoyances. They probably have their reasons, but I can’t help it’s rather entertaining from time to time. My smile then slowly but steadily transformed in my neutral focused look again, about to discover a little lesson: do not listen to a dramatic piece of Prokofiev on full sound while walking through a dark neighborhood, because you’ll consider every random guy walking around there being a potential criminal/rapist/anything else negative. Everything turned out to be fine in the end, luckily.
 Old vs. new ticket