yesterday I experienced a genuine peice of Finnish summer life: carpet washing . You bring the carpets to the washing place, which is usually adjacent to a lake. You soak the carpets in lake water that is piped up to the washing basins. Then you scrub them with small bristle brushes on a board laid across the basins ( the boards are about 2 feet by 7 feet). Then you ring out the water in a rolling thing ( I don´t know it´s name) and hang them up to dry! It´s quite a scene, all the multicolored carpets hanging there! I the afternoon I biked about 10 minutes with Ilona to the new shopping mall. It is very nice, all new looking and with good lighting. I had never heard of most of the stores, but they didn´t vary much from American ones. After that we drove about 45 minutes to a family friends´ summer cottage. It was beautiful and so hard to describe! The cottage was fairly large (for a cottage), surrounded by a lawn, gardens and trees. The lake was right there, beautiful and peaceful. We ate a huge dinner which included the following: chicken, vegetables,sausage, corn and peaches, all grilled...bread, more bread and two kinds of salad!! I was impossibly full. The Finns went back for seconds and thirds though! I have heard it said that Finns eat alot, and it is true. Breakfast, lunch, dinner and evening snack are the major meals, and they are full blown meals. People don´t snack randomly as much. Even though they eat alot, they are all fit becuase the food is so healthy and fresh, and they exersize more. It´s something I wish we did back home! Dessert was amazing as well, pastries and stawberry cream cake!!I went to the sauna with the girls... it was relaxing and helped me digest.
One thing that I found challanging yesterday was the language barrier. At dinner, everyone was talking, laughing and telling stories in Finnish, just babble for me. It was sort of lonely. A couple of times I caught myself slipping into self pity and depression... and had to shake myself out of it. I quickly found that the best way to do so was to turn to someone and start talking... in english, but still. At least 5 people there spoke English, and the man who owned the cottage liked to ask me questions about American politics and my opinions of Finland. Anyway, now I know how to help myself when I start feeling sad and culture shocked. And it is still only Thursday!!! How bizzare.
I tried to put some pictures up here, but failed. Does anyone know how to do this? If so, I would be grateful for the tip.