Europarty on the Lutheran church steps.
So I guess the May festival that I
spoke of earlier is actually celebrated internationally as Labor Day everywhere except America. Surely you all knew this already, but someone could have told me. I thought it was just for the Finns. Man, they do it up pretty big in Helsinki, though, and probably all the rest of Finland, as well. The celebration here starts Friday afternoon and goes until around midnight on Saturday night. Apparently in other parts of Europe people use this festival as a platform for staging riots and protests and spouting out political/religious drivel. Not so, here.
Coveralls and white hats. It's an epidemic.The college students have pretty much taken it over in Helsinki, and in true college kid fashion, they like to party. They all wear these coveralls of varying colors with different company patches on them. I never really figured them out, but man did I want some of those. Give me those coveralls and some new white-blonde hair, and I'll look about as Finnish as they come... with just a touch of something else to keep them guessing. In addition to the coveralls, the students (and just about everyone else, it seems) wear these ridiculous white hats. And if you're not wearing a white hat and coveralls, you're dressed in some sort of costume, usually of the super-slutty variety (only for girls, of course). And if you're not dressed up in any way at all, you're a foreigner and you don't belong, so take your big camera and go back to where you came from. Nah, everyone was pretty friendly to us, probably because they were so drunk. Matt and I spent most of our time just walking around staring at people, while weaving around those who looked like they were ready to puke. In case you haven't heard, one of my biggest fears is being hit with vomit. That and snakes are my two bugaboos.
I'm trying to get Matt to grow his hair out like this.
Saturday, May 1st, was the picnic day, where everyone goes out and (you guessed it) picnics all day. We heard people get out super early in the morning and stake out a spot for the rest of the day. Some people take it a step further and set up big tents with buffets and do it up fine dining style. Everyone drinks - a lot, it appears - and people bring their boom boxes; sometimes even choreographed dancing ensues. The party was surprisingly crazy considering there were no alcohol vendors and no live bands performing... and that all the partiers were Finnish. And it was a mere 38 degrees, which would drive most people indoors, but not the hearty Scandinavians... They live for the cold. Matt and I kept pointing out how different a party like that would be in the States... I think we'll bring it back home with us for next year. I'll be taking orders now for the college-student coveralls. Sizes S-XXL.
Picnics in the park.
In other news, go team U.S.A for stopping the alleged "bomb plotter" at the airport before he flew away to the relative safety of his homeland. In light of the recent economic crisis coupled with that "minor" oil spill, I'd say we needed that win. On a related note, CNN beats these three stories to death every day, all day. Yesterday the "breaking news" for the entire day was that they caught the bombing suspect. I feel it stops being breaking news when it hits the 12 hour mark.
On the local front, Matt still hasn't started working yet, and the refinery is about three days behind... maybe they shouldn't have taken three days off for May Day and they wouldn't be in this predicament. Matt is pretty bummed out because this means he will probably have to miss his little brother Geoff's high school graduation (I think he's mostly sad about missing the party. I believe he was promised some good home cooking and Pennsylvania beer... come to think of it, I'm pretty sad about that, too). Ahh, but there will be other graduations. Assuming either Laura or Geoff finishes college, and they'd better. They've got to keep that Correnti family name intact. Believe me, there's a lot of pressure there. I'm doing my part.
In spite of the sun dance I do to the gods every morning, the weather seems to be getting colder here. It snowed and rained all day yesterday, though nothing stuck. We went for a long walk yesterday anyway, and were soaked through by the end of it. It wasn't all a loss, however, as we found a Finnish thrift shop and Matt got a great t-shirt that says "Murra Myytteja" on it (in case you didn't know, that means "break myths", at least according to Google's translator). We looked up the website on the back and it turns out it's actually advertising a civil engineering firm. What with Matt's disdain for anything and everything civil engineering related, I don't know that he'll be wearing it much. Maybe he'll give it to Nick.
Matt looking short.
And now for the real news: Matt got re-assigned to the same job in India. We knew it was coming, but dammit, it still doesn't feel good. In my effort to appear well-adjusted and mature, I think I glossed over just how bad India is when we were there last time. I'll save it for later, but for now, just know that it's worse than you can imagine, and we have to go back. Forever. It's scheduled for May 15th, so either it gets pushed back (cross your fingers) or Matt will probably have to go from here to there. No one wants that. No one.