Nice hedgehog

Trip Start Feb 24, 2005
Trip End Jul 06, 2005

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Thursday, May 12, 2005

Met Dads colleague Heikki, and the change from a youthful communal house, to Science institute, was amusing. Heikki is bearded and studious and loves classical music. Funny to listen to talk of voles and insect plagues at the breakfast table in the cafeteria. I spent the evening alone in my nice clean room, everyone gone home for the weekend.
Heikki helped me contact the parrish in Pieksamaki, the town where my Great-Great Grandparents immigrated from. Without specific dates we can find no record of them, but I feel familial here anyhow. Being somewhere where I look so much like the rest of the populace, and where my name is easily pronounced and always spelled correctly, is close enough to roots for me. Eveyone says, "But your name is Aili, how can you not speak Finnish?" I even have a "name day," like everyone else in most of Europe, a day when children with specific names get treats and attention. This Septmenber 17th I will celebrate my name day with enthusiasm, wherever I am.
I really had hoped to make it up north into Lapland, but my funds are needing to be carefully budgeted, and the train and lodging would cost me nearly three hundred dollars. I have to set aside my dream of reindeer for another time, a warmer time. There is still a meter of snow up north, and I am ill prepared for winter weather, having left behind my winter clothes as the spring followed me north.
My favorite words in Finnish are "Kiva Siili" which mean "nice hedgehog". As a child one reads storybooks, Beatrix Potter and such, in which there are hedgehogs. We don't have them in North America, but here you can see them snuffling around the garden at dusk. I was thrilled, to the amusement of my hosts, who further encouraged my hedgehog enthusiasm by having me listen to a popular Finnish rock song about the siili.
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