This last week has just flown by – I think it is probably a sign that we’re getting well settled now. While nothing extremely exciting happened, we’ve a couple of interesting anecdotes to share..

I (Brigitte) am going to be presenting an introduction to Photoshop course at the ICC (where I am currently taking part in a Finnish course). The Photoshop course will start the week after I finish the Finnish course. So I have quite a bit to prepare/do in the next 2 and a bit weeks. I will be posting more details on the blog later in case some local readers would  like to join us (you can find more details and see the poster advertising the course here). I am looking forward to this course – teaching a subject that I love to adults (not teenagers… grrr). Should be good.

On Monday I (Pete)  joined the rest of the staff of the geography division to invigilate on the 2011 entrance exams. 700 students registered to take the test,  although at least 200 did not show up – the remaining 500 are competing for 55 places. Those don’t seem like good odds to me, and I felt rather bad for the 90% of the students who wouldn’t (and couldn’t) be accepted. If they don’t get in to Helsinki University many of them will probably have to wait a full year before being able to apply again for a geography degree since most of the departments nationally write their entrance exams on the same day. Nonetheless it was nice to be part of something that the whole staff contingent was involved with.

Tuesday I gave my first lecture in Finland – I spoke to some MSc and PhD students from the Universities of  Helsinki and Oulu about studying the impacts of climate change on sub-Antarctic vegetation. It was quite interesting to re-examine my last almost-decade’s work and to present it to a group that had very little prior knowledge of the region. And it was really good to think about the links to my new projects.

We also met our first “random” South African three days ago – “random” in that he randomly introduced himself to us on the tram. Mauw is originally from PE and was chatting to everyone on the tram – when most of the passengers disembarked he started talking to us. He thinks we could be speaking Finnish fluently within six months – with his help of course.

And in other news… the three city centre eagle owl chicks now have names – Stara, Kundi, and Friidu don’t stray far from the lime light… (see the report here). The newspapers have been keeping us up to date with reports on their flying practise and about their parents latest activities (it looks like the city is safe again for small pooches as no dogs have been attacked lately).

Finally, according to the Metro newspaper, the a record amount of rubbish was left in the Helsinki market square after 100’000 residents gathered to celebrate the Finnish victory in the ice hockey world championship. It apparently cost the city 10’000  to clean it up. I think that equates to rather a bad hangover for the city.


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