but when I do, the headlines are the best
(I prefer trying to read the Finnish-language newsletter because there are things in there that are only relevant to Finnish students (ie. not to me), so I can find out about what regular students are concerned about rather than just the stuff organized with exchange students in mind. Also, cultural exhibitionism and “oh look, people from different countries together!” It’s hard for me to make a serious statement about me and Finnish identity when people think you’re just saying it because you’re here.)
Many of the water taps I’ve seen here, on showers or sinks, have a little lever or button (like the red one here) that you need to push down so that you can turn the handle over to the “really hot” side, like for washing dishes. Otherwise it locks and you can’t turn it that far. The catch isn’t very deep—if you push the handle hard enough it’ll slip through—but it’s a simple guard against you (or kids) scalding yourself(/themselves) by accident.
Photo: All the door hinges are on the side towards its corner, so if people tried to come out of the doors at the same time they wouldn’t run into each other but the doors would hit each other… hmm… There are no knobs because the latch only opens from the outside with a turned key in the lock so you’re gonna pull on the key to open the door anyway. That’s why Finns think doorknobs are such a funny thing.
Apartment doors sometimes have an inner, non-lockable door that opens inward into the apartment with the hinge on the opposite side to the outer door (for maybe if you want to keep a door shut but openable for guests to come in), but the main door to the unit must open outward into the hallway. It’s a safety code thing. Either it’s so that you can’t barricade yourself inside (the fire department or cops can just pry the door open with a crowbar instead of having to kick it), or so that it’s easier to kick it down from inside to get away from an emergency. Maybe both.
Ballerina cookies are essentially the Finnish equivalent of Peek Freans fruit cremes (when Canadians refer to “Peek Freans” they really mean this particular kind of cookie rather than anything under the brand name). The jelly is gummier in Peek Freans, though, and Ballerinas come in different flavors, like raspberry (pictured), lemon, and chocolate.