Independent Finns 100 years (#94/100)

Lighting the two candles for Finnish Maiden at 18 hrs

by Ulla Virtanen, TAKK

Birthday is always a time to go back the memory lane. To recall how the concerned person got there. As the celebrated character today is a country – Finland – we have to go back a hundred and more years to the times of not being independent as a state, to the troubled times, to sad events and sorrow FOR and INSIDE the nation. Rolling down the road to present days in Finland, there were the years of reconstruction, remaking the souls and the buildings in 1920’s, 1930’s, 1940’s and still in 1950’s. I wonder whether this all has made us a people with such lamenting songs and gloomy ballads – or is it in the character of Finns? However, there have been many wonderful occasions and matters in Finland throughout these years: solid education for all, good care for the elderly, fancy sports events, creation of many natural parks and engineering competence wonders – to name a few of the brand factors.

Finland is often seen and discussed as Finnish Maiden (Suomi-neito), as Finland geographically DOES seem like a maiden, raising one arm (used to raise two). She was originally called Aura, as the Aura River in Turku, the old capital of Finland. So as a matter of fact, we are celebrating the 100 years of Aura, the blue and white lady with bright eyes, a lot like the Aurora of fairytales; sunrise. Finnish Maiden is a classical guardian character, as so many people around the earth have. Some might even call her the Mother Earth or Finland.

I am wishing this lady, Finnish Maiden now a beautiful birthday, with loads of wisdom and kindness of heart in all local and global matters. I wish she will stay still when the suspicious minds fight at each other, I wish she will be the negotiator of many conflicts as before, I wish she will carry on protecting the mattimeikäläinen (or Joe Public of UK, Pepito Pérez of Spain, Si Anu of Malaysia, Pierre Dupont of France…), I wish she will be the real lady she has been and still is. And I wish she never loses her SISU, the miraculous strength we all live by when all other energy is lost.

To balance the nostalgy and eloquence of the previous lines, let’s take a piece of poem by Jorma Etto, Suomalainen (Finn) with translation of mine there below:

“Suomalainen on sellainen joka vastaa kun ei kysytä,

kysyy kun ei vastata, ei vastaa kun kysytään,

sellainen joka eksyy tieltä, huutaa rannalla

ja vastarannalla huutaa toinen samanlainen: metsä raikuu, kaikuu, hongat humajavat.”

-Jorma Etto


[A Finn is one that replies when not asked,

asks when not replied to, does not reply when asked,

one who loses track, shouts on the shore

and on the opposite shore there is one just the same: the forest blares, echoes, the pinetrees hum.]

Fathers of Finland (#86/100)

What a day, Father’s day. Let’s look at fathers of Finland.

Statistically, 57,3% of Finnish men are fathers, two out of three. The average age of becoming a father in Finland is 31 years. One father has in average 2,25 children and fathers spend in average 4 hours and a quarter with their children under the age of 10, every day. That’s a lot! See ”Isät tilastoissa 2017” and ”Isät tilastoissa 2016” by Tilastokeskus, Statistics Finland.

Historically and socially, fathers and fatherhood came into the picture strongly with the 1960’s and 1970’s, sharing the parenthood with the mothers. 1990’s brought the fathers into the estrade and publicity through ”I stories”, me as a father. Still today, it is the ”Time of the fathers”, as for example Ilana Aalto has shown in her thesis.

Father’s day is every day. One can become father in so many ways. For example biologically, through adoption, through spouse or other form of life events. When talking of the father of the nation, definitely the talk turns to our president, Mr Sauli Niinistö. That, too is parenthood. Many great men of the past times have been fathers of this and that, to mention a few, fathers of literature, of society, of law or of community. Taking care, participating, caring and also needing the children there, whoever they are, is fatherhood. I’d say that our Finnish fathers in Finland of 100 years are very ”pro” in so many ways. Not only in fatherhood.

Happy Father’s Day to everyone!

Connecting the Big Message (#79/100)

In search of the Big Message

Yesterday was a big day. Education Finland (EF here) growth programme had the first workshop in EDUFI, the Finnish National Agency for Education, in Hakaniemenranta Helsinki. EF had the most inspiring guest – or host? – Director General Olli-Pekka Heinonen amongst us for a while. He intrigued me with his request for us all to find and define the Big Message from Finland. The clue that we international education agents all live by and repeat after each other. This is a big task for us and we cannot take it lightly. Continue reading

Joining Forces – Stronger Together (#60/100)

by Ulla Virtanen, TAKK

Lumova and TAKK together

Returning from holidays, there it was. The news on Lumova, Hämeen kosmetologikoulu (Häme School of Cosmetologists) joining forces with TAKK – still continuing under the same name and as it’s own unit. Two approximately 50-year-old-ones are stronger together, more adaptable and more versatile. One hundred like Finland 100. This marriage is very much reforming the vocational education community in Pirkanmaa with combinable resources, possitibilities and opportunities – for all, the students, staff members and employers. Continue reading

Education Finland for All (#57/100)

Education of Finland is unique

The Finnish National Agency for Education (EDUFI) has now the task of boosting Finnish education export, with the new growth programme called Education Finland. Name is simple and nails down the concept. No doubt they are committed to the task. Continue reading

Coffee Break (#40/100)

by Ulla Virtanen

It’s just not a coffee break.

Quickly, coffee!

The fast coffee lane

As the blog space is so tiny, I will go straight to the point: I think one of the wisest decisions ever in the past or in the future of TAKK, HAS been and WILL be, to offer a cup of coffee (or tea) to the personnel twice a day free of charge. (Well, sometimes there’s no time, and sometimes it’s almost three cups… large. Hey, some days demand for it.)

Coffee break, it’s always around 9 in the morning and always at 14 (not 2 pm). There are always some colleagues to meet and issues to take care of at the same time. But the work stuff is not the case, the break together IS. It has been studied by some wise professors, that a human being can only focus efficiently for 1,5 hours in a row. After that the thought slips, seriously. Well, there’s the time for the coffee break. And the talk. And the team spirit.

Coffee with a twist

Continue reading

First of May – Vappu in Finland (#34/100)

Vappu is here!

by Ulla Virtanen, TAKK

And how do we know ”Vappu”, our First of May is getting closer? It’s raining cats & dogs and snow in all of it’s forms one can find….

Rime (kuura), frost (härmä) and little cute snow flakes (hiutale), no no no, but sleet (räntä), slush (sohjo) and real flurry (mylläkkä) are more like it. That’s when it’s finally spring and Finnish Vappu. If we Finns were sensible, we would stay indoors, have a cup of coffee or a shot of strong liqueur or two in the village bar, but no such rational behaviour is detected in the streets and marketplaces of Finland 100 years. Continue reading

Team Finland and Teaming Finland? (#25/100)

Let's be partners - We are not far

Tampere is not difficult to reach!

by Ulla Virtanen, TAKK

Of course this is not the best time to talk about teaming the whole Finland, when our dear City of Tampere is split in two hockey camps: The Lynxes (Ilves) and the Battle Axes (Tappara, yes!). I will talk to the fans of the previous, even though I support the latter, but it is easy to do so, as the BA’s won. For the time being. (In Education we always support the loosing side: Go for it, Ilves!) Continue reading

“Pottuilla” or Not? – April Fool’s Games Ahead (#24/100)

by Ulla Virtanen, TAKK

Finland is a trustworthy country. Yes. Absolutely. One can honestly say, you can rely on Finns. We speak the truth, no matter what (to the extent that it is not so sociable or even polite…). BUT. April Fool’s Day catches us in the Northern Europe as the others around the world. The tradition of becoming slightly fool and saying whatsoever on this spring day to trick the others to do weird things, goes deep in the tradition and is soooo understandable after the loooong winter days.

It's the growth season soon.

Potatoe or potato? Remember to trick your mates!

Continue reading

Topics 100 – Suomi Finland 100 (#22/100)

Officially IN

TAKK International Blog IN!

TAKK International Blog has been accepted to the Suomi Finland 100 programme. For the celebration, our International Blog in TAKK or takki as we call it (meaning coat) is blue and white, pls see the main site header and the beautiful new logo we have the privilege to use. We have reached already more than two hundred visitors, with almost 750 views in 10 different countries. This is wonderful! Now it is time to boost ourselves for the next almost 80 postings. There are many more topics to cover. Continue reading