Monday, December 30, 2013

Top Posts 2013

Green Horizon
This year I have been less productive blogger than previous years but still I am going to name the top posts of the year 2013.

1. Different drinking habits in different countries
2. Some people are more friendly in Facebook than other
3. I had a chance to visit Germany and see my friends there
4. Awful Polish way to make movies understandable
5. Playing floorball in Polish ekstraliga

Top posts from the previous years 2012, 2011 and 2010.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Disco polo

Disco polo is a music genre in Poland and it resembles Euro dance. You can hear disco polo especially in Polish weddings. There are clubs dedicated to only disco polo and also a music channel which plays only Disco polo. Though in a trendy/fashionable clubs disco polo is not played at all. Disco polo has a reputation of trash music so the most of the people say that they hate disco polo. Here one example song.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Match against floorball champion of Poland

Now we have played against the two best floorball teams in Poland. We lost those matches clearly but we were still able to score some goals. Previously I have been unhappy with the numerous faults and hitting stick all the time. I was happy to see that best teams of Poland actually play floorball and are not hitting the stick all the time. They also know to move in the right way on the field. Despite of the losses I enjoyed more playing against the best teams than the matches where we have gotten better results.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Floorball Ekstraliga Poland

ULKS Josefina
This year I am playing in ULKS Josefina floorball team in Polish Ekstraliga. In the team we are 6 players and a goalkeeper from Łódź and rest of the team is from Warsaw. This weekend we played two matches in Łódź against team from Krakow. We lost both of the matches (7 - 6) and (5 - 3). I am not very happy how we play as starting a slow attack is very difficult. I have tried to explain how to move to make it easier but in the match seems that nobody remembers anymore what I have explained. I feel a bit frustrated as  the team play is not working well. Here you can see the league table.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Unpainted houses

Example
In Poland you can see many houses which look unfinished because owners have not bothered to paint them. Therefore in the suburbs you can see many grey houses. For example in the picture you can see very big yard, ugly fence, grey house and garage. Probably house looks nice from the inside but money has been saved by not putting any effort to the fence neither to the looks of the house from the outside.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Nicknames in Poland

In Poland nicknames are very commonly used. To give some examples of nicknames: Katarzyna is Kasia, Alexandra is Ola, Jakub is Kuba, Joanna is Asia, Tomasz is Tomek and so on. It is much more rare to hear the official name than the nickname. Seems also that in Poland there are also much less variety in names than in Finland. For example when I look at the list of the women working in human resources in our company half of them are having the same name.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Hollywood movie in a Polish way

This weekend I had two floorball matches in Siedlec. Our team is for the first time playing in Polish league called Ekstraliga. We traveled by bus and there was a TV in the bus so we could watch a movie. On the way back we watched Hangover. The movie was not dubbed and not with subtitles. The movie was made understandable for Polish by one narrator who repeated the whole dialog of the movie. In the background you could hear a bit the original dialog. Same monotone voice repeating men and women. Already dubbed movie is worse than with original dialog but a movie with narrator is even worse. I would never want to watch a movie with Finnish narrator. Subtitles is much better. I wonder if they use narrator only in Poland or also somewhere else instead of dubbing or subtitles.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Green arrow light

In Poland green arrow traffic light has different meaning than in Finland. When you have green arrow light in Finland you have completely free way and you do not have to look out for anything. When you have green arrow light in Poland you have to look out pedestrians because they have green light in the same time and you have to look out traffic stream going by trying to find a decent free space to turn right. At least I have impression that cars turning right look out carefully not to run over pedestrians.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Polish men

I have noticed that among Polish men it is very common to be bald or have very short hair. Also I have an impression that here you can see more bodybuilder type of men in the street picture than in Finland. Dressing style does not differ much from the basic Finish style but here you see much less people dressed up in alternative way.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Floorball tournament

This week I had a floorball tournament in  Łódź. I am having now double role in the team as I act as a coach and a player. For coaching I need translation help from English to Polish because many players in the team do not speak very good English. In the first day we won two matches and lost one match. In the second day we won and lost one match so we finished third out of six teams. I am happy for our performance in the tournament.  The problems what we had in the matches should be trained in the trainings. 

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Large containers of food

In each country you can find similar products in supermarkets but when you find some product in large container you can say that product is highly consumed in that country. In Spain you can find five liter containers of Olive or sunflower oil, in Turkey you can find five liter containers of natural yogurt and in Finland you can big variety of candies in 500 gram bags. In Poland sauerkraut is eaten a lot in different kind of forms.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Bike taxi

Bike taxis waiting for customers
Piotrkowska is dedicated for pedestrians though taxis and bikes can enter to the street also. As Piotrkowska is wide there is space for bicycles in the middle and therefore you can take bike taxi or ride your own bike in the middle. In the main streets of Madrid or Ankara it would not be possible to take bicycle taxi because streets are so full of people that it is not possible to ride with bicycle in such crowded streets. A ride with bike taxi around two kilometers costs 1,2 euros in Łódź.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Birthday song

Happy birthday song tends to follow same melody everywhere. All languages have their own lyrics for the same melody. For example in English, in Finnish and in Spanish version the melody is the same. In Poland happy birthday song has different melody. Meaning of the lyrics is also different. In a nutshell Polish are wishing a person to live 100 years in their happy birthday song.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Work for Finnish speakers in Poland

Today Finnish newspapers Iltasanomat and Iltalehti published a short article how knowing Finnish can get you a job outside of Finland. I got work in Poland because I know Finnish.  Knowing local language Polish was not a requirement. I communicate in Finnish with the customers but inside the company I communicate in English. Just by having a look on open position in Polish employment website with keyword Finnish gives 42 open positions. Working in Poland for Finnish people is not very attractive option as you earn much less in Poland compared to Finland. In daily life earning less does not make that big difference as everything is cheaper but when you want to travel you have more limited options.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Enjoy your meal

I have noticed that in Poland people really like to wish a nice meal. When I am sitting and eating people who I know at least in some extent always say "smacnego" which means "enjoy your meal" in Polish. If they wish you a nice meal they might just walk by so it does not mean that they would sit with you or stay talking with you. If somebody would say to me "enjoy your meal" in Finland I would expect the person to sit and eat with me. Moreover it is not that common to wish a nice meal for your friends with who you eat in Finland.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Small water pipe

Small water pipe
In Poland you can find bars where you can smoke water pipe like in Turkey and Spain. In Poland having small water pipe like in the picture is common. Especially among women it is common to smoke water pipe. You can see people smoking small water pipe in a tram, shopping mall, street or nightclub. It does not smell so smoking it anywhere is acceptable.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

How to greet in Poland

Before I have written how people greet in Spain and in Turkey. Polish have also their own rules for greeting. When you meet for the first time with same sex or opposite sex you shake hands like in Finland. After establishing some kind of friendship with the opposite sex you give one kiss. Polish men like to shake hands and women give kiss to their female friends. When man and woman have a close relationship they might exchange two or three kisses.

Friday, July 5, 2013

Rack for waiting with bike

Waiting point
In Lodz there is one long bicycle road which goes through the city. In many points you have to be waiting traffic light to change from red to green. For these waiting points there are racks which makes waiting more comfortable. You do not have to get off from your bike and you can move quicker after the light changes to the green. I had never before seen such racks for cyclists.

Sunday, June 30, 2013

How people drink in Poland, Finland and Spain

Polish have the reputation of drinking a lot of vodka. When Polish go out and drink they drink in a different way than Spanish or Finnish. Here I will explain how I see the drinking culture when drinking with friends in Poland, Spain and Finland.

In Poland people might be drinking only vodka the whole night. Among friends they have few bottles of vodka and they like to drink it as shots. They might be taking one shot every ten minutes and after shot having a little sip of juice or soft drink. In bars they also serve shots where they mix different flavors. There are also many different vodkas which have flavor of lemon or something else.

In Finland people usually drink many beers and if they want to get more drunk they do it by taking shots. Shots are treated like some extra for beers. Drinking with friends also involves often sauna. Drinking rum or whiskey is rare because those are more expensive than vodka. As alcohol is very expensive people tend to buy the cheapest.

In Spain people like to mix vodka with different soft drinks. It is important to put first ice, then pour the alcohol and last the soft drink. Spanish also tend to prefer more rum or whiskey instead of vodka. The most typical place to enjoy your drinks is outside in a park even it is illegal. In Spain you can find also bars what are specialized in serving shots but in my opinion there is stronger shot drinking culture in Poland than in Spain.

Naturally in every country you can find people who drink beer, take only shots, make drinks or drink all kinds of alcohol in a one night but the descriptions above is in my opinion a typical way to drink with friends in each country. I would say that in each of these countries people like to drink to get drunk.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Dogs wearing a mask

Dog with a mask
In Turkey my flatmate got bitten by a street dog. In Poland you are more safe from dog bites because it is fairly common that dogs wears a mask like in the picture. Not all dogs wear it but it seems to be much more common than anywhere else I have been. On the other hand some owners let their dogs run completely free in the city center.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Sales booth on the street

Strawberries on sale
In Poland it is not so strict that where you set up your sales booth. This lady has appeared to sell strawberries in this spot next to the rather busy cross but she is the only one. There are also another ladies who are selling strawberries in another cross on my way to work. My guess is that they are not paying any rent for their spot. The lady in the picture was still in the same spot when I returned from work so police had not sent her away. In Finland you see sales booths only in a market place.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Beer with syrup

Polish beer
Spain is not the only country where beer is mixed with something. In Poland mostly women like to mix their beer with strawberry syrup or with some other flavor. This syrup has a strong taste as you need add just little bit. Syrup gives different color and taste to the beer. I also tried beer with syrup and it makes beer taste more sweet. It is also common to drink beer with a straw. Not only the girls use the straw, you can also see men drinking beer with a straw.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Floorball match in Warsaw

Yesterday I had the last floorball match of the season in Warsaw. That was my third match and third goal in Poland. Here you get all the time hits on stick and pushing from back. All the time faults so not proper floorball. Even two sticks broke in the match. We lost the match 7 - 5. For the next season some tactical training is needed.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Piotrkowska

Statue in Piotrkowska
In Lodz there is basically one street called Piotrkowska where all the social life is happening. You can easily switch to different place as everything is close. There are basically all the bars, restaurants and night clubs. That makes that the street is always full of life. There are not many shops for shopping though near the both ends of Piotrkowska you can find a big shopping mall.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Dangerous football matches

I want to see a football match live in Poland but I will wait for the next season. When I said the idea to watch a Polish football match I was told that I should go with Polish friends and not with foreign friends because it might be dangerous for foreigners. I was told that some people go to the matches to find a fight and foreigners would be perfect targets to release their aggression. So foreigners should keep their mouths shut and just watch. It is hard to believe that going to football match would be that dangerous. We will see next season.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Can collectors

Yesterday I went to open air student festival in Lodz. There were collectors of empty cans like in Finland but in Poland you do not get 15 cent deposit from a can. One kg of cans are worth one euro when you sell it and still there are people who see that it is worth to collect cans in Poland. In Finland you earn many times more as a can collector. Though in Finland you have more competition.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Learning Polish

I have been trying to learn Polish but I have not dedicated as much time for language learning as in Spain or Turkey. For example I do not know numbers above 10 so it is hard to understand many situations where numbers are involved. So far I have been mostly learning Polish by watching Youtube videos. At least language exchange event gives me a chance to speak Polish every week.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Bike rack

Bike rack in Lodz
Bike racks are very different in Lodz compared to Finland. In Lodz the most important function of the bike rack is that you can attach your bike with a lock to make sure that nobody steals it. In Finland the most important function of a bike rack is to keep your bike standing. There is no need to attach your bike as bikes get rarely stolen in Finland.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Floorball in Lodz

I joined already to a floorball team in Lodz. I was happily surprised about the level of the team like in Spain. Here also training session is divided between three different teams like in Spain. First team trains in one half and girls train with juniors on the other half. We have training sessions two times in a week. So far it seems that training here is a bit more intense than in Spain.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Bicycle

My bike
I bought a bicycle as tram is very slow in Lodz. Tram shares often the lane with cars so it cannot advance freely without cars on the way. There are some lanes for only bicycles but I have to use also lanes shared with cars on my way to work. After the snow melt I have noticed plenty of bicycles in the traffic. Lodz is very flat compared to Kuopio, Ankara and Madrid so that makes Lodz more comfortable for riding a bicycle. My first bicycle journey did not start well as I drove straight to a big hole on the ground and my back tire got flat. I do not have any tools to fix it so I have to take my bicycle for somebody who can repair it.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Hand shaking

Street view from Lodz
I already learned to shake hands in Spain but in Poland men shake hands even more often than in Spain. For example my team mates in floorball shake hands when coming to training and when leaving the training. In Spain I did not shake hands with my team mates that often. Also people who you have seen few times but not talked to them might offer you a hand if you see them in a new location.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Night life

I have been few times in night life in Lodz. I noticed that here it seems to be much more common to dance and give spins to the girl. You can see more couples dancing together holding hands than in any other country where I have been. Of course you can see here also groups dancing in a circle.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Green light street crossing

In Turkey people cross the street anywhere without hesitation. Poland is similar to Finland when in to comes to crossing street. People respect the red light for pedestrians in Poland. The secret is that the police gives you a fine if they see you crossing the street with red light. The fine is around  25 euros.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Debit/credit confusion

So far I have been using my Finnish bank card for paying but it makes shop assistants always confused. Shop assistants do not expect that with my card you can pay with credit or debit so they start to call their collagues, pull off my card or something else. I just try to advice them to choose debit option but they have difficulties to understand me. Still I have been always able to pay. I have just received Polish bank so I can start to use it soon.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Expectations for Lodz

When I mentioned to my Polish friends that I am moving to Lodz many said that I should have chosen another city. They said that Lodz is ugly and there is not much things to do. It is true that Lodz is not beautiful and here are not famous touristic attractions. You can see old buildings which or not in good condition and most of the trams are very old and slows. Lodz is still big city and I believe that in a big city you can find plenty of things to do in your free time.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Flat in Poland

View from my window
Living room
My flat in Poland is new and it is in good condition. I have two flatmates Spanish and Finnish. The flat is quite well located but not exactly in the city. Rent is cheap only 75 euros. My room is small so I will be hanging out in the living room.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Alcohol 24h

24h shop
In Finland alcohol retail is strictly controlled and you can not buy alcohol from shops during the night. There are plans to restrict alcohol even more in Finland. In Poland there is no problem to get alcohol as there are shops which have specialized to sell alcohol around the clock.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Byrocracy

My first day at work included filling a lot of documents. For example contract, residence information and opening bank account. In every form was asked name of father and mother. also mother's previous last name was asked. I found it strange because in Finland you don't have to mention anything about parents when you're 18.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Moving to Poland

The blog have not been updated very frequently in the past 9 months but in the future I have good reason to start updating more frequently because I am moving to Poland. I accepted a job in Łódź and the plan is to stay for two years. This will not be my first time in Poland as previously I attended Polish wedding and visited Gdansk and Warsaw. My objective will be to learn to speak Polish which I have now studied for 4 days. Therefore in the future I will be focusing more on writing about Polish culture.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Trip to Germany

In Darmstadt
In Marburg

After the X anniversary of Campus Europae I had a chance to visit my friends in Germany. I visited four different cities (Cologne, Frankfurt, Marburg and Darmstadt) during four days in Germany. During those days I Met with six of my Erasmus friends who could show me around. It was great to see my friends and thank you very much for your hospitality. Here you can see blog post of Chencho about my visit.

Public transportation is expensive in Germany like in Finland so I decided to use carpool website to travel between cities. Also I had chance to enjoy 200 km/h speed in non speed limit autobahn when my friend took me from Frankfurt to Marburg. In Germany there are no gates when entering to the public transportation so anybody can access them even without paying. In Spain and Turkey your ticket opened gates to enter the public transportation. Basically it seems that in Germans trust more that users of public transportation will pay even there are no gates controlling who can enter.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Graduation

I have now officially graduated from University of Eastern Finland so it is time leave student life behind. I earned also CE-degree by finishing my master degree, completing at least 45 ECTS in each of my exchange years abroad and reached B1 level in Turkish and Spanish languages. Therefore I have been invited to Luxembourg for Campus Europae 10th year celebrations on 7th of March. During the same trip I will have a chance to see few friends in Germany so I am looking forward for the trip. This will be my second visit to Luxembourg and my first time exploring Germany.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Facebook friend requests

In Turkey I asked from few female Erasmus friends if they received many Facebook friend request from Turkish men and they replied that every week they received friend requests from Turkish men and they confirmed that they received more friend requests in Turkey than in their home country. I decided to ask if female Erasmus students receive many Facebook friend requests from Finnish men. They said that they have not received that many friend requests from Finnish men. Somehow Erasmus students seem to be a bit isolated from Finnish people and are not able to make friends with them. There might not be any Finish students in the same class for example. In Turkey I received more than 100 Facebook friend requests from Turkish people as exchange students in Finland receive less than 20 friend requests in Facebook. I think this is one sign that Finnish people are less social than Turkish.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Spanish group dynamics

I had a discussion with one Spanish guy who have been living for few years in Finland. In his opinion Finnish are much more independent than Spanish. I have also noticed that Spanish like to be more in big groups than Finnish. I have witnessed during all the previous semesters Spanish forming one big group in Finland and in Turkey. But last semester Spanish exchange students did not form one big Spanish group even there were at least 15 Spanish exchange students in Kuopio. All the Spanish knew each other but they never formed a Spanish group. As there is not one big Spanish group I have been speaking less Spanish than in previous years. Often I have been speaking English with my Spanish friends.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Comic of cultural differences between Spain and Finland

Main characters of the comic
I have been thinking about creating a comic about cultural differences between Spain and Finland. I have written down a bunch of story ideas and finally I have found somebody to do the art work. I have been working with Sab_ca who is drawing the stories. The project has been just started so releasing will take time. There will be two main characters Spanish Fernando and Finnish Timo who will be facing different everyday situations. My inspiration has been my exchange year in Alcalá de Henares, internship in Madrid and all the Spanish friends I have got to know during last five years.