Written by Tia

Love and language

A lot of people have been commenting or asking about the language thing, especially in the beginning of our relationship. I have heard people say that they could never be with a person who doesn’t have the same mother tongue as them. And I get that. It is a big thing, and I have also had my doubts about it.

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Aquí y ahora, Tenerife

I would say that for us both our own language is extremely important, and we’re both really good with our mother tongues. Maybe for me speaking English comes a bit easier, but David’s English has developed so much throughout the time that we’ve known each other, and I’m super proud of him. And in general, coming from Spain versus coming from Finland really gives you kind of different basis with any foreign language.

Being in this relationship has definitely made me more practical with English: I don’t care anymore about using fancy words or aim at perfecting my accent, the important thing is being understood. Nowadays I mostly choose the most functional word (though I’ve never really been the person using inexpensive instead of cheap). I’d also say that my accent has become more Finnish: for example sometimes my r’s are more distinctive.

At the moment I would say that we don’t really struggle with our communication. Of course sometimes when you’re hungry and tired it might be frustrating to try to remember the word for that thing that you can’t even remember in Finnish right now and arghhhhhh!!!

But then again, when you’re hungry and tired, tell me something that isn’t frustrating. (“Hangry” seems to be my state quite often….)

A real pro side of the situation is that when you don’t speak your mother tongue, you have to think about what you’re going to say a bit more carefully. And at least for me it also helps with making sense of my own feelings and emotions and thoughts in general.

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In der Liebe ist Alles, Vienna

One thing that is good is that our common language, English, is not the own language of either of us. Maybe I’m wrong, but maybe in that case, when only one person would be playing in the home field and the other one would always be the guest, it would sometimes be a bit unequal in a way. (If you are in a relationship like that, please do leave a comment and let me know how you feel:-))

I would really like to know David in Spanish, because he is so great with that language. The little that I understand from when he’s properly speaking it, is wonderful. One day! I also hope that one day he will get to know me in Finnish. Also it would be nice that he would for example be able to read my articles and texts and give his opinions about them.

I’m not going to lie. Sometimes I feel a bit blue about the concern of never going to be able to have a conversation with the language I love the most with the person I love the most, but then I just have to have faith in David’s diligence with Finnish. Maybe it’s not even about the having a conversation part, but playing with the language part that I miss the most. But in here I think it’s important to prioritize things in life.

A really important thing is that we are both studying each other’s languages. I personally have no other choice, because otherwise I can’t communicate with David’s family. And I do feel like I’m progressing quite fast. During the spring I was also taking a course at school, and that was really helping especially with the grammar part.

David was attending a Finnish level one course, and he was working hard with it. I’m really happy about that. It’s also important in that way that without Finnish it’s quite challenging to find jobs in here.

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Love is the answer man! Tallinn

Of course there is sometimes a feeling, a fear: “what if we don’t actually understand each other?” But maybe that is a general fear among humans, the fear of nobody truly understanding you, being all alone. A bit more concrete worry is that if there are some misunderstandings, what if they go unnoticed and will cause trouble or hurt feelings? And yet again, I really think that this same worry or risk is present in same-language relationships as well.

Yet another thing is how the language barrier affects not just our relationship but a lot of people around us. But I think that would deserve a post of its own…

Summa summarum: sometimes it’s difficult, most of the time it’s not, and it’s definitely worth it.

– Tia


 

Amor y Lenguaje

Un montón de gente ha comentado o preguntado como llevamos eso del lenguage, especialmente al principio de nuestro relación. He escuchado gente que nunca podrían estar con alguien que no tenga la misma lengua que ellos. Lo entiendo. Es complicado, y yo también tenía dudas al respecto.

Podría decir que para ambos nuestro propio lenguaje es extremadamente importante, y los dos somos muy buenos en nuestras lenguas maternas. Tal vez para mi hablar inglés es fácil, pero el inglés de David ha mejorado mucho desde que nos conocimos hasta ahora, estoy muy orgullosa de él (yo también). Y en general, venir de España contra venir de Finlandia realmente te da diferentes bases en cualquier lenguaje.

Estar en esta relación  me ha hecho mas practica con el inglés: no me importa si usar palabras sofisticadas o perfeccionar mi acento, lo importante es ser comprendida. Ahora utilizo palabras mas funcionales. Podría también decir que mi acento es mas finlandes, por ejemplo: las R’s son distintivas.

En estos momentos voy a decir que no tenemos problemas con nuestra comunicación. Por supuesto cuando estas cansado o hambriento puedes agobiarte tratando de acordarte de esa palabra que ni siquiera te sale en tu propia lengua ahora mismo y… ARGHHH!!!

Pero entonces, cuando estar cansado y hambriento, dime algo que no sea una frustración.

El verdadero lado positivo de la situación es que cuando no hablas tu propia lengua, tienes que pensar acerca de lo que vas a decir con mas cuidado. Y así, al menos para mi esto ayuda dando sentido a nuestras emociones y sentimiento y pensamientos en general.

Nuestra lengua común es el inglés, que no es el propio idioma de ninguno de los dos. Tal vez estoy equivocada, pero quizás en este caso, cuando una de las personas juega en casa y la otra es visitante, podría llegar a haber un desequilibrio. (Si estas en una relación así, por favor deja un comentario y déjame saber como te sientes :-))

Me encantaría conocer a David en español, porque él es un genio con su lenguaje (el amor es ciego, y sordo). Lo poco que entiendo cuando él habla propiamente, es maravilloso ¡ algún día! Yo también espero que algún día él me pueda conocer a mi en finlandes. Sería muy lindo que él pudiera leer por ejemplo mis artículos  y darme su opinión sobre ellos.

No te voy a mentir. A veces te embajona saber que nunca va a ser posible tener una conversación con el lenguaje que amo con la persona que amo,  por otra parte tengo mucha fe en el aprendizaje del finés de David.  Capaz no es ni siquiera el hecho de tener una conversación, sino mas bien el poder jugar con el lenguaje es lo que mas extraño. Sin embargo, aquí otra vez  creo que es mas importante saber que priorizar.

Algo realmente importante es que ambos estamos estudiando el idioma del otro. Personalmente no tengo otra opción, porque de otra forma no podría comunicarme con la familia de David. Ahora estoy en un curso en la universidad y siento que mi progreso es muy bueno y rápido, especialmente en la parte gramática.

David esta yendo a un curso de finlandes nivel 1, y se esta dejando la piel ahí. Estoy realmente contenta por eso. Es también importante destacar que es re complicado conseguir laburo sin finlandes.

Claro, esta ese sentimiento, miedo: “¿y si en verdad no nos entendemos el uno al otro?”. Igual, capaz es un miedo general de todos los humanos, el miedo de que nadie te entenderá de verdad. Una preocupación un poco mas concreta es ¿y si hay malentendidos que pasamos por alto, sin ser notados y causan problemas o hacen daño? Otra vez, siento que este problema también esta prensente en las relaciones que comparten el mismo lenguaje.

Summa summarum: aveces es difícil, mayormente no. Definitivamente vale la pena.

– Tia

Feel the Connection – Šumik

It was a springy day last April when Nejc took us to Šumik. He had been talking a lot about this amazing, fairytale-like place with waterfalls hidden in the mountains, and oh boy it truly was amazing. I think that this trip was one of the most unique things we did in Maribor.

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We were driving up, up, up the side of the mountain. The road was really narrow, and when at one point there was a truck coming down, we needed to reverse until there was a spot so wide it could get past.

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The place is so high, that the spring hadn’t really reached it yet.

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Waterfalls!

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Almost every time David sees water he just takes off his shoes. Like a reflex.

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Or does this. Haha!

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The day got even a more dreamy turn when we visited Nejc’s friend’s place up there. They had this farm with cats and dogs and horses and a pig just walking around freely. The feeling was surreal and my soul was singing with happiness.

This is what our coffee moment looked like:

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– Tia

Saturday Excursion – Lauantairetki

Yesterday the weather was perfect and a friend was visiting Vaasa with a car – what a luxury! There are a lot of really nice nature places around Vaasa, but sometimes they are a bit tricky to reach without a car.

Vaasassa ja lähiseuduilla on niin paljon ihania luontokohteita, mutta autottomana (ja erityisesti kesäsesongin ulkopuolella) on välillä hankala päästä niihin. Eilen Onni kuitenkin tuli Vaasaan autolla, ja me pääsimme retkeilemään.

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We visited Söderfjärden, an actual meteorite crater. An asteroid hit the Earth here some 520 million years ago.

Lähellä Vaasaa on Sjöderfjärden, meteoriittikraateri. Se on muutaman kilometrin kokoinen pyöreä tasanko, jonne osui asteroidi noin 520 miljoonaa vuotta sitten.

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There you also have a model of the solar system in scale. That white ball on a pole in the background of the picture above is the Sun, and inside the magnifying glass kind of thing is Mercury. Neptune is located 2 km from there.

Siellä on myös malli aurinkokunnasta oikeassa mittakaavassa. Ylläolevassa kuvassa taka-alalla oleva valkoinen pallo tolpan päässä on aurinko. Suurennuslasin näköisessä jutussa oleva pikkupallero on Merkurius. Neptunus löytyy kahden kilsan päästä.

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Jupiter was the size of a tennis ball : )

Jupiter, tennispallon kokoluokkaa.

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Our excursion day was effective, we also visited Risö birdwatching tower.

Tehokkaaseen retkeilypäiväämme mahtui myös Risön lintutorni.

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Satu came back from her exchange in Chile just a while ago. So nice that they can speak Spanish with David!

Satu palasi juuri vaihdosta Chilestä. Mahtavaa – Davidille espanjanpuhumisseuraa!

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Such a nice day! ❤ Ihana päivä!

– Tia

Postcards from Ljubljana

Travel throwback to a beautiful day last June, wandering around Ljubljana.

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You shouldn’t miss Metelkova (above) if you visit Ljubljana. It’s an autonomous cultural center, and due to the autonomous aspect people have compared it to Christiania in Copenhagen. There you can find art spaces, concerts, bars and of course a lot of interesting details already in the buildings.

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Rog is another alternative sort of place in Ljubi, with its art spaces and skateparks. It used to be a bike factory, then it was abandoned and squatted, and last summer it was supposed to be demolished. So I stumbled upon a situation when I walked there, with a lot of spectators and construction workers and police officers. Apparently at the moment the demolition is in halt, waiting for a legal process.

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Dragon Bridge. Dragon is also part of the City of Ljubljana’s coat of arms.

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Another surprising element of the day was this peacock in the center of the city!

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There was a “little sister” of Flow Festival Helsinki (highly recommended) in Ljubljana a couple of years ago.

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As you can see, Ljubljana is a beautiful place. And as I was mostly there for short periods of time, I would really like to go again with enough time to really get to know it.

-Tia

Out of my comfort zone: A dance called bachata

When we had one of our first proper conversations, David told me that his favorite things were skating, reading and dancing. These three are all very nice. The dance that he specifically liked was called bachata, and I had no idea what that was.

I’d never been really interested in Latino dances. I knew salsa and that was about it. I have danced for some years, but always as a super chill hobby, and mostly in the early teenage life. And apart from the Finnish “prom”, vanhojen tanssit, I haven’t really ever danced any couple dances, only solo. The dance that I’ve liked most has been West African. So, if I think of all the possible dances for me, Latino ones would have been last on the list.

Then David linked me some videos. That was horrible. “WHAT IS THIS SEX DANCE???”, I thought to myself. Watching them, my face turned completely red, and it was just very uncomfortable.

“Gosh, get a room!”, I thought and knew that I would never ever dance bachata in my entire life.

Of course, that’s not what happened.

For a while David was teaching bachata in a dance school in Maribor, but I never had the nerve to go to the class. Eventually he started teaching me the basic steps, and it was pretty okay. The bachata music all sounds the same, and as a no surprise I didn’t like it very much. The closest thing to Latino music I ever listened was Major Lazer.

For me bachata has caused a huge amount of all kinds of feelings. Should I do something that I’m not so interested in just because my partner loves it? How do I feel about him dancing with other women? How do I feel about dancing with people I don’t know?

To begin with, it’s already pretty difficult as a Finn to let anyone come as close to you as in bachata you need to.

“It’s just dance.” Yes, but also no. Especially if it’s a sensual one, I think there is always something going on underneath the surface. (Remember the scene in Pulp Fiction when they talk about giving foot massages?)

And then again, our instructors at the class are related, so that means that it doesn’t really need to be sexual in any way.

Here again is a huge cultural difference, already between North and South European, but maybe even more between European and South American. A difference of what dancing and physical closeness in general means. If I exaggerate, a Finn’s personal space is something like one meter minimum, and an Argentinian doesn’t even know what a “personal space” is.

For me it’s felt like bachata is like a language that I can’t speak. The biggest problem in the beginning was this huge feeling of inferiority when I compared myself to Latino ladies. Often it seems like dancing and being super sensual just comes so naturally to the majority of them, and there I am like a block of ice, trying to move my hips and failing miserably. I get this feeling and paralyze completely. But luckily this isn’t a huge problem anymore.

If you think about dancing in general, it’s quite scary! You really have to put yourself out there. Especially if you are a beginner, you have to be prepared to look silly and fail a lot until you get the grasp of it.

A situation like that is quite difficult to control, and for me it’s sometimes challenging.

And for me dancing has always been something that manifested strength and freedom, not caring about rules or aesthetics but just having fun. We’ve been always having these mini dance parties with Bea, where we just listen to super good music and dance like crazy around the living room. And suddenly dance was about being feminine and sensual and following rules. I didn’t know how to be – and I’m still in the process.

David just told me that for him bachata is about self expression and doing whatever he wants. I feel like I can’t be improvising yet because I don’t know the basics well enough, so that’s why it still feels so restricted for me.

But then came autumn, I was stuck in Vaasa and suddenly I felt it: I sort of missed dancing bachata. Might have been part of missing David. Anyhow I signed up for a solo mix course at the local dance school. There we practiced salsa, bachata and kizomba, but as it was a solo class it’s not quite the real deal. Still it was super nice and I was enjoying a lot. It started to feel lighter, I started to take myself less seriously.

Now we are attending a beginner course together, and everything is becoming increasingly easier.

Recently one problem has been letting someone else lead me. I think that as a Finnish woman it’s just coded somewhere really deep that I am independent and I will do my own decisions. So, being just there, led by someone else, letting someone else make all the decisions, doesn’t come very naturally to me. But I’m learning.

The road has been long and there are still tons of things yet for me to learn. At this point I am proud of myself and happy that I haven’t let my prejudices and fears stop me from trying.

What Bachata has really taught me is:

  • Let go. It isn’t so serious.
  • Don’t compare yourself to others.
  • Going out of the comfort zone might be painful but usually has good results.

– Tia

P.S. All my friends still call bachata seksitanssi, sex dance.

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“Go outside your comfort zone” “Or don’t if it makes you feel anxious” As seen in Kuntsi art museum’s wall.


Fuera de mi zona de confort: Bailar bachata

Cuando tuvimos una de nuestras primeras conversaciones, David me contó que sus cosas favoritas eran patinar , leer y bailar. Tres cosas son muy lindas. El baile al que él se refería específicamente era bachata, y no tenía ni idea de que se trataba.

Nunca estuve realmente interesada en bailes latinos. Sabía de salsa y ya esta. He bailado por algunos años, pero siempre me lo tome con tranquilidad, y mas que nada cuando era adolescente. Y aparte del baile de fin de curso, no había bailado ningún otro baile de pareja, solo sola. El baile que mas me ha gustado es afro-dance. Entonces, si pienso en todos los bailes posibles para mi, baile latino sería la última opción de la lista.

David me paso algunos videos. Eran horribles ¿Qué es esto, baile sexual? pensé para mi misma. Mirándolos me puse totalmente colorada, me sentía incomoda.

“Vayan a un hotel”, Lo que pensaba y sabía que nunca podría bailar bachata en toda mi vida.

Por supuesto, eso no fue lo que paso.

Por un tiempo David estuvo enseñando bachata en una escuela de baile en Maribor, pero nunca fui capaz  de ir a las clases. Finalmente él me empezó a enseñar los pasos básicos, bastante bien hasta ahí. La música de bachata suena casi toda igual, y no es una sorpresa de que no me gustará mucho. Lo más cercano a música latina que alguna vez escuche fue Major Lazer.

Bachata ha causado un montón de distintos tipos de sentimientos ¿Debería hacer algo que no estoy interesada solo porque a mi pareja le encanta? ¿Cómo me sentiría si él bailara con otra mujer? ¿ Cómo me voy a sentir al bailar con gente que no conozco?

Para empezar, es difícil para un Finlandes dejar que alguien se acerque lo que bachata requiere.

“Solo es un baile” Si, pero no. Especialmente si es uno sensual, siempre creo que hay algo mas alla de lo visible.  (¿Saben de esa escena en Pulp Fiction relacionada con los masajes de pies?)

Pero por ejemplo, nuestros profes son hermano y hermana. Con esto me refiero a que el baile en si, no es necesariamente sexual.

Para mi se siente como si bachata fuera un lenguaje el cual no puedo hablar. El problema mas grande al principio era que me sentía inferior, me comparaba con las mujeres latinas. Es como si fuera  natural para ellas el bailar sensual, por eso, me  comparo y me siento como un kilo de madera tratando de mover mis caderas, fallando miserablemente. Viene ese sentimiento y me paraliza completamente. Por suerte ya no es un gran problema.

Si piensas en baile en general, esto te da un poco de miedito. Tienes que realmente ponerte las pilas en esto. Especialmente al principio, tienes que estar preparado para hacer el bobo y equivocarte mucho para conseguir la base.

Situaciones como esa son difíciles de controlar, y para mi es desafiante.

Llego el otoño, estaba estancada en Vaasa y de repente lo sentí: Era como si extrañara bailar bachata. Capaz era parte de extrañar a David. De alguna forma me apunte en baile latino sin pareja en la escuela local de baile. Practicábamos salsa, bachata y kizomba, pero era como si la clase no fuera gran cosa. Todavía era super divertido y disfrutaba mucho. Empezaba a sentirme mas liviana y considerarlo menos serio.

Ahora estamos yendo a una clase de principiantes y poco a poco todo va mejorando , hasta llegar a ser incluso fácil.

El último problema ha sido dejar que alguien mas me guíe. Creo que como una mujer finlandesa esta en nuestro código que bien profundamente somos independientes y haré todo con mis propias decisiones. Por ello, ser guiada por alguien mas, dejar que otra persona tome las decisiones  no viene de forma natural. Pero de todas formas estoy aprendiendo.

El camino ha sido largo y todavía hay un montón de cosas que aprender. En este punto me siento orgullosa y feliz de que no deje que los prejuicios y los miedo me pararan.

Lo que bachata realmente me enseño:

  • Déjate llevar. No es tan serio
  • No te compares con otros
  • Salir de tu zona de confort podría ser doloroso pero lleva a buenos resultados.

– Tia

PD: Mis amigas todavía le llaman baile sexual.

Las notas de la imagen dicen

“sal fuera  de tu zona de confort” “o no lo hagas si te hace sentir ansiedad”
Lo vimos en el muro del museo Kuntsi

DISPOSABLE DREAMS

At one point in Maribor we got ourselves a disposable camera. Most of the time we forgot about its existence, but then at times we would remember and snap some shots.

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Wandering in Venice in the morning

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Flash has no mercy. This one is from Venice, too.

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Snowing. View from my room.

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Kids

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old skool selfie

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We went to see a courtyard and David climbed up to a balcony.

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Avoiding the camera in Salon

The pictures are pretty much in a chronological order. It’s funny how you can see the “Erasmus effect” happening with time: some extra kg:s ;–)

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Loving Hut. ❤

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Tourists on top of Pohorje, Maribor behind us.

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My last day, at the airport.

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And another one from the same situation…… :–D

The funniest part was when got the pictures developed. They had been taken during such a long period of time, that you forgot all the things there was. So checking each and every one was like receiving a gift! So much fun.