Yes I wrote this before I went to Oulanka, so over a week ago, but I’m still publishing it now. Just pretend you’re stuck in a time space continuum again. Also, technically I didn’t ride a reindeer but it pulled a sleigh whilst I gently whipped it, but I prefer my title.
Finland is very good! I went to see huskie races yesterday in the town ,met up with my fantastic kummi family today and went to the reindeer races and then to see some cool Finnish art by the kummi family’s daughter ,AND I got to personally drive a reindeer sledge through the streets of Oulu! Hya hya! The art was in the basement of the cultural centre called Valve, (the Spaniards pronounce it ‘Balbay’), that used to be a police station, so the art exhibits were in the old prison cells down below. The Finnish mentality I have decided is very good , I like the quietness and the not showing off , it makes them very honest and kind, and often a source of hilarious and fantastic moments when you have no idea what they are thinking until they just tell you very straightforwardly.
At a fancy dress party a few nights ago, I was stumbling around the home-made disco back to the fridge, having just punched and been punched by a Hungarian boxer (all in jest I might add), when I bumped into….ANOTHER ENGLISH PERSON. The spell is broken, I am no longer alone. Except that the new guy, Nick, who once lived in Finland for a bit and comes from around Cambridge, seems way more English than I do. For one his English was so good I could barely understand him, and he had the whole Hugh Grant awkward English wit going on. Like most English people and Canadians and Americans , he can’t really speak international English – I find this really hilarious sometimes , when the Americans use words so long and preposterously complex I don’t even know what the hell they’re talking about , and use bizarre countrified slang , mystifying all listeners around. Unfortunately, it means often the native speakers end up hanging out in their own groups, which seems like the opposite of what should be going on. But the English guy was dead friendly, we laughed and joked , but then he joked about how bad us English folks are at learning languages and how we don’t care about bridging the language gap…and I began to wonder if I had accidently departing from being English. He then also jokingly said I was betraying the UK by going out with a German woman and loving all the German stuff and mentioned something about Hitler- and I wasn’t offended, but it didn’t help my feeling of being un-English.I can’t exactly pinpoint what being English is all about in the first place , but sometimes when I get homesick and watch English comedy I do find that some of the English sense of humour isn’t really mine anymore. I still feel pretty English though, especially when I pronounce the soft O in tomato.
At the party everyone was wearing costumes- I was an un-specified strange modern pirate, but there were mice , cats , clowns , a French gypsy , a man dressed as a woman ,a few terrorists, a spider , a penguin , bat woman ,some mafia men, some horror movie murderers, a cave man, a few cowboys. This made me think also. When is a costume hilarious or just poor taste- is dressing as a terrorist too far? Can you dress as a terrorist only if you’ve experienced terrorism, or does this make its worse? Is dressing as a Mafioso too far? Is dressing as a Mafioso cool until an Italian turns up? Is dressing as a pirate cool until someone who was robbed by pirates turns up? Pirates and Vikings were basically as bad as the mafia or Taliban anyway, but pirates and Vikings are a standard costume now. Is it possible to have ‘the free pass’ to dress like something- could a man from Pakistan dress as a Taliban and not be considered inoffensive, or would this be even more offensive? Or is it always offensive? If a load of clowns committed an atrocity would it forever wipe this costume off the list of inoffensive costumes? If you dressed as batman and you met someone who got robbed by a man dressed as batman and was traumatised by the experience, should you feel bad? Who even knows anymore.
Also the other day I went ice skating , which was great fun and I believe there is now hope for me to learn this and become good , but I broke my two euro ice skates in the process , but hopefully we can cellotape them back together.