1. “We call them kyykäärme in Finnish. They are the only poisonous snakes in Finland.” Our neighbour on the bird-watching tower at Siikalahti decided to share this information after I had warned her and her companion there were three venomous snakes underneath us, one climbing the steps to the second level of our three-level tower. “Das ist eine Kreuzotter,” said my Hubby, explaining about the narrow slits in its eyes. Only back at home will I find out what we call the snake in my mother tongue. After all, this is my first venomous snake ever. And it’s called “gad” in Slovenia (and “adder” or “viper” in English).
2. “Seksi? Or is it saksi?” I try to show interest for the impermeable Finnish language by pointing at the picture of an osprey and the Finnish word underneath it. Sääksi. “It’s seeksi,” our new bird-watching friends say and I repeat: “Sääksi.” They seem to look satisfied.
3. “I bet this word means Satan,” I say with some conviction, not knowing where I got this information. I mean: this is definitely my first time ever at a Helsinki campsite watching and listening to Finnish heavy metal fans screaming or screeching “Perkele! Perkele! Peeeerkeleeee!” at the top of their voices. Yeah, the Tuska Open Air Metal Festival has become something to hate that night …
Ah, the pleasure of spending your holiday in a country where you don’t understand anything! 😆
At least I knew some words because dear Kaneli had prepared me for greeting (Terve!) and thanking (Kiitos!) and I had searched the net for some words which I then recognized (kesä, the names of days …). Obviously, a dictionary helps but only if you know the word you need has been changed for grammatical reasons and you are not actually looking at a completely different word than you have assumed … Nice.