Heading On Our Merry Way!

In Uncategorized, What are we doing now? on May 24, 2010 by Julia

After 3 and a half weeks, we are heading on our way home! Thanks to all Rotarians who were so welcoming and friendly!


My Friend, The End

Dearest followers, this is the end! We have been through 12 cities, had 23 group vocational visits, 17 individual vocational visits and 22 cultural visits, and now it’s time for us to head our separate ways!

Our time in Kalajoki was marvellous.  We visited with ARTEMA (the Kalajoki Vocational College) where we saw various young fashion designers, woodworkers, metal shop-ers, and the like, and saw some truly sensational practical work. The students from the Tourism department took us on a fabulous tour of the college, where we saw an all-wheel drive car;  a map of Finland (given to us as a gift from the college!) with all our stops engraved in it; and a beautiful hand-carved clock.

All Wheel Drive created from scratch by a student at ARTEMA

Traditional Finnish Birch Box, made by woodwork students at ARTEMA

We were also taken on a tour of Kalajoki, and important buildings around the city, before enjoying a wonderful dinner by the sea.

Angela toots on a rooster whistle at Keramiikka Iso-Pahkala

The artist glazes a lighthouse at Keramiikka Iso-Pahkala

The District Conference kicked off on Saturday with a bang – a Finnish Jugband provided entertainment on old washboards, a kazoo, a guitar and a box-bass! They performed some Finnish songs and also a little bit of Elvis! Even the conference’s special guests were invited up for a performance!

Gay Berkley (representing John Kenny, RI president), and Virpi Honkola (District 1400 Governor) perform at the conference

Meeting Australian and Mexican Youth Exchange students at the conference

The topics discussed were very interesting – we heard about the aims of Rotary International, work being done by the Rotary Foundation, and also a very interesting talk by Jens Holm Jensen from Denmark, who has been practicing the tenets of Rotary around the world, running medical support programs in Africa, South America, and even the United States.

District Governor Virpi Honkola ran a terrific show, supported by her husband Matti and the Kalajoki Rotary Club (and other helpers from other clubs in the district).  Everything ran very smoothly – including our Final Presentation on Saturday afternoon, which was very well-received by all.

The Governor’s Ball was smashing good fun, and we took part in various award ceremonies, songs, and much, much dancing! All in all, the conference was a great opportunity to meet new friends (even a few Australians on Youth Exchange!), and reunite with old friends that we have made at various cities along the way.  There were some emotional farewells to boot!

Having experienced so much here in Finland, it was with mixed joy and sorrow that we departed at 6:30 am this morning to leave for Oulu airport.  We now find ourselves in Helsinki Airport, heading our separate ways, but this has truly been an experience to remember.

Map of Finland given to us by ARTEMA Woodworking Department showing the cities we visited in Finland

Our sincerest thanks to all the Rotarians who made our trip so welcoming and enjoyable.  We have all taken so much personally, professionally and culturally from this Exchange, and are so grateful to Rotary for the opportunity.

For now, we say “hei hei” (goodbye) from Finland, and we hope to see many of our new friends in the near future!

Kiitos paljon to all!

Posted May 24, 2010 by Julia


Fish River, A Lot Of Beach

In District 1400, General, Uncategorized, What are we doing now?, Whole Team on May 20, 2010 by Julia

Just arrived in Kalajoki, on a beautiful spring day. Enjoyed a lovely dinner, and the mosquitos have had a snack too. New photos on Flickr.


Unique and special features

In District 1400, Finnish Culture, Rotary, Uncategorized on May 17, 2010 by angela100

Over the last few days we have had the chance to see and experience a number of unique and special features including a salt room, blood pancakes and making brass candle snuffers. The salt room is a room where all the surfaces are coated in salt – apparently it helps people’s breathing – we suggested Will use it since he was suffering with a chesty cough! Blood pancakes were offered at Raahe hospital – apparently good for you – all that iron, you know. Julia was not so sure but Roselyn gave them the thumbs up.

Never have Roselyn, Julia and Angela made anything in a heavy metal shop but today we did.  We are the proud owners of our very own hand made candle snuffers ably assisted by experts at the Raahe Vocational College. The candle snuffer is related to the candle holders made by rotarians in Raahe to raise money for Rotary Foundation. Apparently, the candle holders  commemorate the sad story of two young first cousins in Raahe denied the right to marry and who each night lit candles in their seperate windows to show how much they loved each other until they died. Virpi reckons they’d have been better off eloping instead of lighting candles but if they’d done that there would not be a story.

Once again Rotarians are pulling out all the stops to make our exchange one to remember – vocationally, culturally and above all friendly and welcoming. Thank you Rotarians of District 1400.

Blood pancakes anyone?

Salt Room at elderly persons home in Oulainen

No it's not what you think - it's Julia showing off her hand made candle snuffer

Julia and Roselyn creating their candle snuffers


Roasting in Raahe!

In District 1400, General, Uncategorized, What are we doing now? on May 16, 2010 by Julia

Just arrived in Raahe, and we are roasting in the 27 degree weather! The locals have thanked us for bringing the Aussie weather with us!


So hot the thermometer broke!

We’ve just moved on from Ylivieska to Olainen after visiting in South Oulu Region via Pyhasalmi mine where they are undertaking cosmic ray research and extracting copper and zinc 1.4 kms down under; via Haaparjarvi where we visited an agricultural college and the first Prime Minister’s home; and via Nivala where we visited the museum of the fourth prime minister of Finland and two schools, the city hall and their new district heating scheme. They won’t need the heating in Ylivieska where the temperature hit 28c on Saturday. So hot the themometer broke! They thanked us for bringing the sun from down under after the hardest winter on record – minus 35c.

There have been plenty of opportunities to compare notes on immigration, the Finnish education system, special needs teaching, business approaches and municipal management.

Off to Raahe tomorrow and then to Kalajoki for the District Conference – so hard to believe it is our last week coming up.

At the bell museum on the way to Pyhasalmi

Footie in a suit at the Valikyla School near Nivala

on the roof of the new district heating and energy plant in Nivala

Ready to go underground 1.4kmsa at Pyhalsami copper and zinc mine

Talking to a deaf school boy at Kyoski Kallio School


Champion Doors a company in NIvala that makes hangar doors for airbus

Exchanging banners at Haapajarvi RC meeting

Posted May 15, 2010 by angela100


Arrived in Oulainen

In District 1400, General, What are we doing now?, Whole Team on May 15, 2010 by Julia

Just arrived in Oulainen from Ylivieska.  Posted new photos to Flickr! Next stop Raahe.