Midsummer Pond(ering)

Midsummer sun 2017
Midsummer Eve 2017, Time 03.39 am

Today it’s Midsummer Eve and it’s time to pond(er) about why it’s celebrated. It’s a big day for some in Finland. I think it’s just another reason to get drunk. And damn, Finns are fond of that stuff. Yuck, I rather eat dirt. Fortunately, being drunk is not that cool anymore among young people. Midsummer is the longest day and the sun don’t go down all night. Especially in the North of Finland. Everyone wants to know how the weather will be like so there’s a lot of news about it weeks in advance. One day the weather is gonna be hot and the next rain. As it seems, it’s gonna be cool and rainy. I don’t really mind that. Rather that then a heatwave.

A lot of people go to their summer cottages and celebrate the Midsummer there. But a lot also stay in the city where events are held. In some places, people build a Maypole where they put different flowers on it. Then later people dance around the pole to live music. It’s usually accordion music. This tradition comes from Sweden so Finnish Swedes has taken this tradition as their own. But it’s also become popular among Finnish speaking citizens.

bonfire
From Pixabay

Another tradition is the Midsummer bonfire (Finnish; Kokko) Unless there is a forest fire warning, then it’s forbidden to light one up. It’s a big pile of wood that is lit up in the evening. It used to symbolise banishing evil spirits but now it’s just tradition where people gather around it to watch it burn. It’s just a big fire so it’s nothing special really. When you’ve seen one you’ve seen them all. But it is a beautiful sight I don’t deny that. If you ever visit Finland in the Midsummer that’s the one to see. That and of course the whole Midsummer in general.

Midsummer is not only about big bonfires and Maypoles. Also, many music festivals are popular. You could say Midsummer is the beginning of festivals. Many bands and artists who come from abroad are amazed how light it is outside. It depends on the weather though. Usually, it’s only dark a few hours and then it becomes light again. It’s a bit of a myth saying it never gets dark in the Midsummer because that’s not entirely true. Maybe if you’re in the North there’s a better chance. This year people will feel cold when it’s cloudy and windy at the festivals. Rather them than me.

I don’t really care about Midsummer. It’s just two days and then it’s over. I don’t care about festivals, bonfires or Midsummer magic. The only good thing is less traffic and some neighbours are away. I just want to close my eyes and wish Midsummer would be over soon. I won’t be going anywhere this year. Last year I went to see a bonfire with dad and then we went home. Now I don’t know if we go since the weather is the way it is. I don’t mind at all. I just too lazy to bother about the whole thing. If other people want to celebrate Midsummer it’s their business. Every year someone drowns or accidents happen and this year won’t be different. People really should drink less and be more careful out there. I guess that’s one way of getting rid of people from this planet.

So that was my Midsummer pond(ering) Lastly but not least. Here’s a tongue twister in Finnish. Try that if you can. Happy Midsummer Everyone!

Kokoo kokoon koko kokko! Koko kokkoko? Koko kokko
(trans. Gather up a full bonfire! A full bonfire? A full bonfire.)

Io sono una donna molto bella e famosa

wavy Italian flag
Made with Canva

I tried to learn Italian once and that’s a sentence I remember the most. It means, “I am a very beautiful and famous woman” I’ve been to Italy when we went to Europe after my sister died in 1983. It was in a town called Cervinia. It’s famous for their ski resort. Unfortunately, I don’t have photos because they’re in slides and I don’t have that kind of scanner. I don’t remember much of the trip so I can’t tell you much. It would be nice to visit Italy again but the money is always the issue. Learning the language is not as easy as you would think. Especially trying to remember it. I know the greetings and such but I couldn’t speak it. I used to think I was good at learning languages but apparently, I’m not. Some people can learn multiple of languages but I can only 3. That’s more than a lot of people so it’s not bad at all. My dad can only speak Finnish so I’m usually the translator when we’re abroad.

They say if you learn Italian, learning Spanish will be much easier. There’s a lot of the same words in both languages so maybe it is so. Some say French is an easy language to learn but I think not. There seem to be a lot of these apostrophes. But C’est la vie. I’m amazed when I hear someone like the Serbian tennis player Novak Djokovic speaking French. Actually, any non-French speaker who knows the language. I could never manage that. Even learning Italian is a challenge enough for me. I don’t think my brain can hold that much information. I have so much else to remember. Like with every language, you need to use it regularly and I don’t think I do.  That’s one reason why I haven’t continued learning it. I do have a few Italian friends I follow on social media but if I chat with them, we use English. Life would be so much easier if you could speak a language if you travel to another country. E.g. if you visit Italy, you can speak Italian or if you go to France, you can speak French. Then we didn’t need to learn any language. It would already be in our blood.

You can find sites on the internet if you want to learn a language. Learn Italian in 5 minutes per day for example. You can also download their app. The downside is that you need to create a profile. Or I don’t know if it’s one though. You also learn other languages on the site. A shame there’s isn’t Finnish. If you want to learn that there’s a lot of options online and for free. There are videos on Youtube where Finns teach the language. It could be easy for me to say the language is easy to learn but sometimes it’s not even easy for me. That’s because my mother tongue is Finnish Swedish so the grammar can be tricky. This article says it all how Finnish is hard to learn and even teach. For me Italian is hard so I can imagine how a foreigner can find learning Finnish an impossible task. I wish I could speak Italian like I do with my 3 language skills. Learning is always fun. Google is a great tool for this if you want to know how to pronounce something. It doesn’t always translate things correctly but at least you can hear what something sounds like.

So grazie ‘Non sono una donna molto bella e famosa’ I am not a beautiful and famous woman but I can try to learn Italian. It’s such a beautiful language but so is French. But I can only learn one new language at the time. Even if I don’t use the language it’s still nice to know some in case needed. Speaking the language is one challenge and how to spell things is another. Words I know in Italian but I need to check the spelling on Google translate (something they do right at least) Buongiorno! Buonasera! Buonanotte! wherever you are. I’m off to learn Italian. Or try to at least.