Thursday, February 21, 2013

Week 8; wedding memories

Most of the wedding memories we talked about this week were nice; people have attended weddings where the happy couple has really been happy and beautiful and deeply in love, and also the wedding arrangements have been working very well. There was actually only one wedding memory of a dreadful wedding. In this occasion, many of the guests got too drunk and as a result, started to pick a fight with other guests. Understandably, the rest of the wedding party felt very uncomfortable and couldn't get home fast enough.

Some of the participants in the discussion groups have been married for a long time. In fact, there is one student who will celebrate her 50th wedding anniversary with her husband this August, and an another one who will have her 30th wedding anniversary in the spring! Those are quite remarkable achievements in today's world where divorce is not only possible but actually quite a common solution for many couples.

I thought that next week we could talk about two separate topics: first we could discuss weddings a bit further (compare wedding traditions in different countries and cultures), and then we could also talk about some current events (like for instance the Nordic World Ski Championships in Val di Fiemme).

Friday, February 15, 2013

Week 7; souvenirs

I think my idea of talking about different souvenirs and different cultures worked quite well. In all of the groups we seemed to run out of time because people had so much to say, and especially on Tuesday we barely got through everybody's souvenirs. I think we all got some new information on different sights as well as good tips concerning these places. Also some cultural aspects came up; for instance, two ladies have both visited Jordan, and we talked a bit about some things a western (female) tourist must be aware of when travelling there. On Monday we learnt a lot about the Americans and the American culture, because one of the participants in that group lived in the USA for some time. He was able to reflect some aspects about the country and its people through a Finn's eyes, and I think we all found it interesting to listen to. It was also very intriguing to hear about some other places as well, because some people have visited quite exotic places or places few people get to go to. For example, one person was allowed to visit a monastery which is usually not open for everyone. In order to get a visit, you'll have to have recommendations on your behalf, and even if you do, you still might not get to visit the place because the number of foreigners per group is strictly regulated.

Next week we are going to talk about weddings, and memories concerning them. I've asked people to think about stories of memorable weddings; wonderful or terrible. We might also watch some photographs, who knows. The reason I came up with this idea is that I'm actually having my 10th wedding anniversary with my husband next week. We intend to celebrate the occasion, and therefore weddings and anniversaries are on my mind pretty much right now. It's nice to look back to my own wedding, and it will be interesting to hear what kinds of wedding memories people have in our discussion groups!

Friday, February 08, 2013

Week 6

This week we familiarized ourselves with the outcomes of a Grundtvig -project called Memory Matters - the Making of Social History. I explained what the Finnish, Polish and English partners did within this project, and then we focused on the Irish partners' results. They used short films as a means of recording and preserving social history (traditions, customs) to future generations. We watched three short films in class, and even though we had some technical difficulties with the sound, people said that they found this topic very interesting. In the first film, the Udder Way, we saw and heard how milking a cow has changed over the years during the past few decades. A Day in the Bog showed us how the Irish people have long lifted turf and used it as fuel. In this short film people used traditional tools that have been used for turf lifting, and I must admit that it seemed that those rather simple tools are a useful way of making turf blocks. In the third short film, called the Box Iron,  we saw four ladies talking about how difficult ironing was (and still is!) with a box iron.

Next week I thought we could talk about cultures and cultural differences. For that purpose I'll ask people to bring some souvenir(s) to class. An ideal item would be something that is typical to that particular culture, and something that brings back memories to the person who brought it. The idea is, of course, to talk about the observations of different cultures people have made when travelling, and perhaps compare them to our culture. I'm actually really looking forward to these discussions. Let's see what we'll come up with!

Friday, February 01, 2013

Week 5

On Monday and Tuesday we translated and compared proverbs in English and Finnish.

On Thursday my original idea was to go through the results of a Grundtvig -project our adult education centre was recently involved with. You see, four different partner countries co-operated in a Grundtvig -project called Memory Matters - The Making of Social History in 2010-2012, and it is interesting to examine what the four partner countries were able to achieve. The Finnish partner -our adult education centre- worked on memory schools for senior participants, and was able to formulate a useful concept. The memory school study groups were established in Suonenjoki and Vesanto, and they had meetings every week for one and a half hours at a time during the study term. Every other meeting was dedicated to tasks intended to activate the brain, and theoretical information on brain functions. In every other meeting the participants concentrated on reminiscing (looking back to sth); for instance, memories connected to their childhood, grandparents, household tasks, school etc. The memories were first written down on paper and then read aloud and tape recorded in class. This way it is possibe to preserve these valuable memories to future generations, and it was actually one of the key objectives in this project to begin with.

The other partner countries involved in this project included Poland, Ireland and England, and next week I thought we could examine what for instance the Irish did within this project. The idea was that all the participants focuced on different things within this project, so for instance the Polish or Irish participants didn't have their own local memory schools, but their preservation of social history was carried out in an entirely different fashion. We'll look into that next week.