...and a Happy New Year

"New Year's in Jyväskylä"

Happy 2012 from the future, everybody! I am currently sitting on the couch about 5 hours before midnight, but this post is automatically scheduled to post itself at 12AM on January first, Finnish time. So by the time you read this, I will have likely done some, or possibly all of the following:

  • Eaten salad
  • Eaten cocktail weenies
  • Eaten tiny carellian pies
  • Played board games with Kaisa and friends
  • Wandered into the 23F-or-so degree weather and watched the fireworks over the city
  • Imbibed a number of interestingly-flavored and festively-colored ciders

...so as you can tell, the New Year here isn't actually a whole lot different than the New Year elsewhere. It'll just be a lot colder.

One exception to the norm is a particular tradition that I may or may not be observing (It depends on whether or not we can find some tin). In it, revelers take a piece of horseshoe-shaped tin, melt it over the stove (or fire, I suppose) and drop gooey mass of liquid metal into a bucket of cold water. After it cools, you pull the twisted mass of metal out of the bucket and attempt to tell your future by interpreting the interesting shape the former horseshoe has been twisted into.

In Other News

It's been chilly all day. Despite the sun actually coming out today, it's weak, early-morning level shine wasn't enough to melt last night's snowfall in the slightest. Personally, I'm perfectly okay with this, because I haven't seen nearly enough snow for this latitude to be satisfied. Apparently, this time last year most of Finland was covered in about half a meter of snow. But as the Finnish saying goes, "Years are not brothers". (You can thank Kaisa's father Reima for that one.)

Had lunch at a local Tex-Mex place called Amarillo that was really more "General American food" than anything else. It did a pretty admirable job of mimicking the "forgettable southwestern American food restaurant" vibe, right down to the cheesy playlist. Their salsa was almost indistinguishable from their ketchup though, which was a darned shame. Kaisa assures me it was spicy, but I'm not certain I buy that. It would appear the Finnish palate is a bit more spiciness-averse than the average southern Californian's.

That's all for now. I'm aware this post is sadly pictureless, but I intend to remedy that within the next few days. I've got a whole bunch of pictures sitting on my camera I've been meaning to upload for a while. Hopefully I'll be able to bombard you all with pictures soon.

Until then, happy new year!

\~EDIT\~ It is now 1:19 AM and 2012 over here. Kaisa and I biked into the city to see the fireworks. We were in a hurry to avoid missing the end, and so it ended up feeling a lot like what I imagine biking through a war zone is like. Streets somewhat deserted, people yelling from all sides punctuated by flashes in the cloudy sky, booming noises and a sense of urgency. But since there was no threat of injury or death it was actually just a lot of fun!

The picture up top is a shot from across the harbor about 20 minutes after the first set of fireworks ended. Apparently it's tradition for the city to fire off fireworks near the city center, and then from the other side of the bay, amateur fireworks enthusiasts reply in turn in less well-choreographed, but more enthusiastic bursts.