The University of Oulu has a very nice idea for exchange students… Its called “kummi family” and is a programme where they match up exchange students with local Finnish families. It’s a way to be in the hearth and heart of Finnish living.
So, they sign up. You sign up. And someone somewhere matches you up (a bit like online dating???) Then you get an email to tell you the names and contact details of the family that you have to contact (again, just like online dating). Generally, things work out well for both parties (not always so with online dating), but I think if it doesn’t you can opt out (hopefully in a way that is not too awkward, like online dating).
So, with a little divine intervention, I got to meet up with my kummi family. They are a family of four… Mom, dad (both in their late thirties) and two boys (8 and 11 respectively) all blonde, smiley, intelligent and athletic. The mom has her doctorate in chemistry and 8 year old was rated in the top thirty players of his age group in the city. The older son does ballet (yes, I’ve already been invited to the end of year show) and the dad is a bit quieter but a really nice guy. They go cross-country skiing from their house through the forest and have invited me to come along with them. Eek! That’s why I had to go on a cross-country skiing course last night.
Both boys go to the international school and so both speak great English. the parents are also fluent. We chatted for ages and they showed me around their beautiful home. Its a modern double story home with beautiful wooden surfaces throughout. Any type of designer would eat their heart out. They have their own sauna (as do most Finnish homes) which they use regularly. In the garden that opens straight on to the forest (no walls) the boys have built a massive mountain of snow that they tobbogone off. Funzies.
For dinner we had DELICIOUS lightly fried salmon with small boiled potatoes and salad. I chatted to the mom about salmon and she said it was the cheapest fish they have in Finland. Oh. Ok then. As you were.
And so, I’m very happy with them and I hope they are with me. I look forward to many fun times with them and experiencing some of “real” Finnish life with them.
Disclaimer: I have never taken part in online dating.