Monday, December 31, 2012

Top posts 2012

Reindeer in Lapland
I have collected five posts which I liked the most from the year 2012.

1. Students in Turkey live in a different way than Finnish students
2. Great story how to travel by hitch hiking in Turkey
3. Research to answer question if students in a relationship cheat on their partners during exchange period
4. Getting to know the less modern part of Turkey in a roadtrip
5. Unexpected move by the bus driver in a high way

Here top posts from the previous years 2010 and 2011.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Temperature inside

Finland is well known for being a cold country and Spain is well known for being a hot country. Is it more comfortable to be inside regular Finnish house when it is - 30 degrees outside or  in Spanish house when it is 30 degrees hot outside? Finnish houses are well prepared for cold weather so inside a Finnish house you are comfortable in - 30 degrees. In Spain you can definitely feel the heat of 30 also inside a house you are not fully comfortable because of the too hot weather. Based on my experience Finnish houses are better prepared for typical extreme temperatures of the country.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Movember

Mustache
This year I decided to participate Movember campaign and let my mustache grow for whole November. I previously put photo of my one week beard growth and my one month mustache is not even close my Turkish friend's one week mustache.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

My Facebook friends

This is my 5th year hanging out with international people. Therefore I decided to find out where are my Facebook friends from. The most of my friends are from Spain, Turkey and Finland. From each of these countries I have around 100 friends. Then I have around 30 friends from Germany, Italy, France and Poland. Having friends from many European countries makes definitely feel more European. In total I have friends from 46 different countries.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Break in theater

In turkey I saw a theater performance and a movie in cinema. Turkish student theater I saw in the beginning of my stay and as it was in Turkish I could not understand much. Therefore I enjoyed the most singing and dancing parts. In theater it is common to have a break in the middle of the performance. In Turkey we were surprised in the cinema when they stopped the movie in the middle and announced that there is a break. At least in Finland there are no breaks in cinema.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Finding accommodation

I have followed discussion about finding accommodation in the city of your host university. Each year few hundred exchange students start studies in Kuopio and Joensuu but student housing company is not always able to offer accommodation for all the foreign students. Finding flat for one semester or two semesters from the private market is complicated in Finland. Even after one month stay some students are still looking for accommodation in Joensuu.

When I went to exchange I decided not to stay in student dormitory. I took a risk and went to my both exchange destinations without knowing where I will be able to live. In both cases I was able to find myself permanent accommodation from the private market within 24 hours.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Dormitory for women in Turkey

One big student dormitory for women in Ankara
My Bosnian friend Amer wrote about his fairly positive experience in dormitory of men in Turkey. I talked also to Bosnian women about their experience in dormitory of women and their experience was not as positive as Amer's experience.

Turkish women were not open to foreign women who were staying in the same dormitory. For example Turkish tried to get foreigners expelled by claiming that their foreign roommates were having lesbian orgies in the dormitory. In that particular dormitory 50 % of women wore a scarf. I was told that they did not take shower regularly and when they removed their long coat the smell was very bad. I did not really hear positive about the dormitory for women.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

How are you bro?

Turkish people like to call each other bro or sis. They ask "how are you bro" or say "ok, bro". In Turkish it would be "nasılsın abi" or "tamam kardeşim". Even when you meet for the first time you are called right away bro. Calling you like a family member is one way for Turkish to show their friendliness.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Female supporters

Supporters of Kalpa
One boy in the middle of girls 
On Friday evening I went to see European Trophy ice hockey match Kalpa - Jyp. Naturally home team has the most fanatic supporters in one section and usually in the standing places if available. I have seen live sport event in Sweden, Spain and Turkey and always the loud supporter section have been full of young men. Surprisingly in Finland the supporters were mostly young women and girls. I wonder if other ice hockey team's supporters are also mostly females.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Studies in Turkey recognized

Few weeks ago I visited offices of University of Eastern Finland and handed out academic transcripts from Gazi university. Now I have been granted 19 ECTS from Turkish language studies and 20 ECTS from business studies. I completed 4 courses in business studies: Management Science 1, Production and Operations management 1, Production and Operations management 2 and Management Information Systems. Still I have to show that I have advanced worth 8 ECTS in my master thesis during my stay in Turkey and after that I can get CE-degree

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Similarities between Finnish and Turkish language

The famous fish lake in Urfa
Turkish has 60 million native speakers and it has some similarities with Finnish. According to Wikipedia similarities are that words do not have gender, you add to a word different endings and there is a rule how particular vowels fit to a word. There are also Turkish words what are written and said exactly in a same way in Finnish but have totally different meaning. Here few examples: nakit in Finnish sausages; in Turkish cash, sana in Finnish word; in Turkish to you,  rahat in Finnish money; in Turkish comfortable and sanat in Finnish words; in Turkish art.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Birthday of my blog

Little planet
Today is birthday of my blog. I have been writing now three years. Since April 2010 I have been following statistics about visitors in my blog and here I am going to share some statistics. I have had 3400 unique visitors in total. There have been visitors from 91 different countries so it have been a good choice to write in English. Top ten list how people have found to my blog are different variations of my blog's name Parmvoo, Ankara snow and hairy women.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Paper work

Yesterday I handed out academic transcripts from my exchange year to my university so now I am waiting how many credits will be accredited. I reached B1 level in Turkish language so I have possibility to get CE-degree. I was glad to see that especially one guy in the language center was really excited about my exchange year experience.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Ramadan

At the moment there is Ramadan (Ramazan in Turkish) in Turkey. That means fasting for one month. One friend of mine who was still in Turkey explained me how fasting have effected to life in Turkey. People are more tense because of hunger, non smoking and hot weather. At eight in the evening all restaurants are prepared to serve dinner for people. Everybody is not following the Ramadan so during the day you can see people eating but less than normally. Especially following Ramadan for people living in Finland will be very difficult because there is very few hours without sun in Finland in the summer time.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Turkish breakfast

Breakfast table
While travelling in Turkey I had to eat breakfast outside of home and then the only option in the morning is to eat typical Turkish breakfast. Typical Turkish breakfast consists, tomatoes, olives, cucumber, two different kind of cheese, boiled eggs, white bread, bread  with meat or cheese stuffing, simit, different kind marmalades and tea.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

6 reasons to travel by hitchhiking in Turkey

Joanna with Kinga
On the road
Midyat
My friend Joanna traveled a lot during her one semester stay in Turkey. It seemed that she was more time travelling than in Ankara. Luckily I got to know her in the short time she spent in Ankara. I think traveling around by hitchhiking Turkey was brave and impressive so I asked her to write a story about her interesting experience. Read on to find out how she survived.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Do exchange students cheat on their partners?

1. Introduction
Last year I made a research about weight gain of exchange students during the exchange period so this year I decided to make different kind of research. Exchange students have the reputation that they cheat on their boyfriends/girlfriends who are in their home countries. Also one friend suggested that this kind of research and I thought that it would be interesting to find out if Erasmus student cheat or not.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Beaches of Kuopio

Many foreigners think that Finland is always cold. To show that Finland is not always cold I decided to shoot a video.


Monday, July 23, 2012

Turkish flag

Castle in Kaiseri
Flag of the destination country is a common souvenir for exchange students. When the exchange period ends students like to collect signatures from their friends to the flag. Turkish have a lot of respect for their flag and therefore they were not happy to see when people wrote something on their flag. Also you should never wear Turkish flag on a waist because it is disrespectful and somebody might get angry about it. One thing what you often could see on a Turkish flag was picture of Atatürk.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

5 landscape photos from Turkey

Castle in Cabadocia

Unique rocks of Cabadocia

After sunrise in Nemrut mountain

View near from Nemrut mountain

The center of Ankara

Monday, July 16, 2012

Hot water

During my stay in Turkey everything did not work always properly at home. I had to survive some days without hot water, there was no running water for one day, Internet did not work for few days and no electricity for one hour. Always before taking the shower I had to let the water run from 10 to 20 seconds before I got hot water. So it is very nice and saves water that in Finland I can get hot water after one second.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Turkish in Turkish

In Turkey I was studying Turkish in Turkish. Everything from new words to grammar was explained in Turkish. Just sometimes teachers used some English as they knew very little English. Studying the language only in target language is different compared to studying a new language in some language what you already know. In Finland I had already studied English, Spanish and Swedish with help of native Finnish teacher who used also often Finnish when teaching us a foreign language. Grammar was taught always in Finnish. Especially in the beginning it was hard in the Turkish lesson because basically almost all the words were new but after a month it was already much easier to understand what the professor was explaining. I believe that as teacher was speaking only Turkish all the time listening skills were improving fast.

Now I have borrowed from a library Turkish books to continue studying Turkish. The books are Finnish so similarities between Turkish and Finnish are pointed out. Turkish taught in Finnish helps me to understand better sentence structures and grammar. I read through already the first book of two book series and most of it was already familiar to me. 

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Is it acceptable to smoke weed?

Water pipe
Circle
Culture and religion have an interesting effect how acceptable it is to consume certain products. It is interesting how the order of pig meat, alcohol, tobacco, water pipe and weed varies on a list how acceptable each product is. The lists are made based on the image what I got after living in Turkey, Spain and Finland. The lists are from the most acceptable to the least acceptable. Of course the order of the lists varies among different people in the country but these lists try give the general point of view of the country.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Exchange report Turkey


Batikent
I made an exchange report after my exchange year in Spain and also after Turkey I Wrote one. Also this time I translated it from Finnish to English for you . By clicking "read more" below you can read the whole report.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Helsinki

Beach on an island

Olympic stadium
Before returning to my home city Kuopio I spent few days in the capital of Finland. On Sunday I went to the European championship of athletics in the Olympic stadium. When I was walking around Helsinki the funny thing what I realized  was that I know much better the capital of Spain and Turkey than the capital of Finland.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Back in Finland

I have returned now back to Finland. Now I have done Campus Europae Exchange year in Turkey and Spain. Also I did three month internship in Spain.  I will still continue the blog but I will not be posting as regularly as before. For example I will translate my final report of my exchange studies and post it to the blog. I hope you have enjoyed reading my blog and special thanks for everybody who have been commenting blog posts. At the moment there is no plan to go abroad but I hope to discover new countries in the future.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Is Turkey safe?

Police
Generally it seems that people in Europe think that Turkey is more dangerous than European countries. For example when I said to my parents about the idea to go to Turkey they suggested if I could choose some other country instead of Turkey. Also I have read blog comments that people who are travelling this summer to Turkey are worried about the safety in Turkey because of the current situation in Syria. Some Turkish consider eastern Turkey unsafe but not because of the current situation in Syria.  In our trip to Eastern Turkey on April we were closest 15 kilometers to the Syrian border and everything was fine. Some Erasmus friends for example went from Ankara until to the border of eastern Turkey by hitchhiking and they also returned alive. After travelling to eastern Turkey and living 9 months in Ankara for me Turkey including eastern Turkey seems a safe country.

Before Turkey I had never seen big groups of policemen but here you can see them almost everyday in the center. Many times policemen are watching over demonstrations and once I saw 20 police cars heading fast to some destination. Still daily life is going nicely in peace. Turkish people for example respect much more possession of other people than Spanish. Here people do not steal or destroy your belongings right away if you leave or forget it somewhere.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Circumcision

Muslim men get circumcision. The operation is generally performed before the third grade in primary school and after that you become a real man. When you have recovered from the operation a party is organized. The idea that your family and friends are celebrating your penis sounds funny. I have been actually asked by a Muslim person if I am circumcised or not and I have to to admit that hearing that kind of question from a person who I have just met was very unexpected.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Friday in the metro station

Praying moment
Underground area of the center of Ankara
Friday is an important day for Muslims. The central metro station kızılay in Ankara is always crowded by walking people but on Friday in the midday people is sitting on the floor because there is not enough space in the mosque so people spread all over the station. Most of the people have carpet but also carton and newspaper seemed to be suitable for the ritual. The ritual consists of listening imam and praying which takes in total 45 minutes on Fridays

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Clothes in hot weather in Ankara

People
More people
The weather hot weather is now hot in Ankara. Temperature in the shadow is 25 celsius. On the street you can see women who seem to be wearing as much clothes as in the winter time: long jacket and scarf. Also you can see women who are wearing summer clothes: dress or skirt.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Dolmuş


Dolmuzes in the center of Ankara
Public transportation in Turkey has one special characteristic. Public transportation is not organized only by one company. There are numerous private mini buses called dolmuş. Each dolmuş driver has a license from the state and then they start to drive the chosen rate. Dolmuş are peeping when they see a possible customer waiting on the street. Dolmuş do not have official stops so people can get in wherever they want. One ride costs 80 cents and you have always pay by cash.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Beard

The difference
Turkish men are generally much more hairy than I am. Here you can see the difference of five day beard growth between me and one Turkish man. You can barely notice my beard after five days as Turkish has a clearly visible thigh beard. Also children who might not even had puberty yet have hairier arms than I have. As current fashion is to keep hair minimum I have an advantage.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Turkish dessert

Baklava
Naturally there are also many Turkish desserts. The most well known is baklava what is often served with ice cream. Making baklava is not easy so people buy it from pastry shop. Baklava is made of thin layers of dough sweetened with syrup and honey. There is also nuts especially pistachio is popular. The taste of baklava is very sweet. The texture of Turkish ice cream is very thigh and it does not melt as easily as typical ice cream in Finland.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Atatürk

Picture of Atatürk on a building
People visiting Atatürks mausoleum
Mustafa Kemal Atatürk is considered the most important person of Turkish history. He led the national movement which gained the independence of Turkey. The hero status of Atatürk can be seen in many ways: in almost all the cities there is a street named after Atatürk, Important constructions are named after Atatürk like Airports, stadiums etc., the most popular tattoo in Turkey is a signature of Atatürk, most of the homes have a picture of Atatürk on the wall and All the Turkish lira notes has a picture of Atatürk. Of course there is also a day owned to Atatürk. Finland or Spain do not have a person who has same hero status in their home country like Atatürk has in Turkey.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Eating out in Ankara

Example plate
In Ankara the cheapest option to eat outside is not McDonald's. The cheapest option is chicken döner kebab. In Ankara menu in McDonald's or in Burger King is 4 - 5 euros. With the same price you can also have a nice plate in a nice restaurant like the plate in the picture. There are also plenty of restaurants which offer home food for 2,5 euros.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Board games in Turkey

Backgammon in Turkish tavla
In turkey there are two board games what are popular: backgammon and okey. In the evening you can see especially older men drinking tea and playing these board games. Sometimes you can also see some young people playing but playing these games is the most popular among older men. I have also learned the rules of both of the games in Turkey.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Final exams of second semester

Examination
First final exam week has passed but still the second final exam weeks is left. I had my exams during the first week so I do not have any exams left. When I entered to the class room for the examination I noticed that before the exam many students were preparing themselves little pieces of paper to help them in the exam. Also some students were writing notes to the wall next to them or to the seat in front of them. The fact that they were preparing notes to cheat in the exam did not seem to bother anyone. In the exams there were two supervisors and other one was checking around all the time so there was some difficulty to cheat.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Flight from Turkey to Finland

I booked my flight from Turkey to Finland. My flight is from Istanbul to Helsinki at 20:40 on the 28th of June. Estimated travel time with a change in Riga is 5 hours and 30 minutes. The price was 134 euros. So I have 37 days left in Turkey.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Erasmus students attacked by a man

Night time
I consider Turkey as a safe country. Last weekend two Erasmus student girls had a frightening experience as they were walking on the street in the midnight to go out. When they were walking towards to the center of Ankara a van stopped next to them and one man attacked one girl by catching her and spraying pepper spray to her eyes. Other girl was able to help the girl escape and they ran safe to a open shop. It was strange that from the shop nobody wanted to call a police and the girls could see the van outside waiting for them to leave the shop. After waiting for a while a friend came to take their safe.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Spots for praying

Inside of a mosque
I have already written once about praying in Turkey. The only place for praying is not a big mosque. There are small mosques everywhere for praying. For example you can find small mosques almost in all the gas stations, in metro stations, middle of a field etc. There is not always a proper place for washing feet before praying so people use the sinks. Therefore in a toilet you can see people washing their hands after using a toilet and people washing their feet to get ready for praying. In Turkey the floor of the toilets is always wet because when you wash the feet water sprinkles everywhere.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Ice hockey as a profession in Turkey

Match in Erzurum
In the ice hockey tournament I had a chance to speak with ice hockey players of Turkish league. In  the highest level of Turkey foreign players can make money for living. They are offered apartment and salary around one or two thousand euros. Players who would not earn anything in ice hockey countries like Finland, Sweden, Canada etc. are good enough to make living with ice hockey in Turkey. For example in Turkish national team there are players who have started ice hockey when they were 12 years old as in Finnish national team players have started ice hockey when they were 5 years old. Turkish do not have a chance to train outside when ever they want in the winter time like Finnish. Therefore many players who are ready to an adventure could come to Turkey to play ice hockey. There is still limit for foreign players in a team.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Ice hockey tournament ended

Me on the ice
We have now returned from Erzurum. We got eliminated in the group stage by goal difference. One team won all the matches and other three teams won one match. We had the best goal difference among the teams in the same points but according the organizers goals conceded and made against the team that are not in the same points are not counted. Another team had better goal difference among the teams in the same points and therefore we got eliminated unfairly. I enjoyed playing ice hockey even though my team had quite different view than me how to play ice hockey. I noticed that my stick handling for ice hockey is good but my skating and playing hard needs more improvement.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Ice hockey tournament in Erzurum

Ice rink in Erzurum
I am at the moment in Erzurum to play in the ice hockey tournament of universities in Turkey. There are seven men and women teams. In our team we are 9 players and a goalkeeper. We played our first match against team of Erzurum and lost 4 - 3. That was my first ice hockey match with full ice hockey equipment. As it was match of men tackles are allowed and I took four big hits and gave pass for one goal. We were defending the whole match on our half and trying to give our two best players chance to score. Basically we were playing the whole match with 5 players because there is a big difference in the skill level of the players. The best player of our team plays in the national team of Turkey and the worst player has started to learn skating one month ago.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Turkish sauna

Turkish sauna in Turkey is called Hamam. We decided to find out how it is. We entered to a hamam and we were guided to a dressing room which reminded me of a hotel room because there were four beds. Dressed up in shorts we went to a big warm room where everything was marmor. In the middle was space for lying down for the treatment provided by hamam and around cabins for cleaning yourself. In the cabin you had a sink where you mixed nice water for yourself by using hot and cold tap water. After cleaning we were advised to go to a small hot room. Small hot room felt like Finnish sauna without throwing water.

Finally we were ready for the treatment of hamam. Hairy Turkish man with big belly peeled my skin with a glove designed for that. Peeling did not feel very comfortable but was not hurting either. Peeling took just few minutes. After peeling I could see clearly how my skin had been peeled off. Then I cleaned myself again with water and went back to get more treatment. Second treatment was that a man put soap on my body. Then he soaped my body by massaging me in the same time for few minutes.  Then I washed of the soap and I got wrapped in to towels. The cost of hamam was 11 euros.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Driving in Ankara

View from Atakule
When we rented the cars for the roadtrip I had to pick up the car and I got a chance to experience the traffic and driving culture of Ankara behind the wheel. I have already written that you have to be very careful when you cross the street and how Turkish park everywhere. I picked up the rental car at seven in the evening. My route was seven kilometers and it went through the center of Ankara. On the way there was few places where the traffic was very slow. People crossing the road everywhere was disturbing and cars were not exactly going on their driving lane. Driving experience was not too bad but driving seven kilometers in the city center took one hour.

Monday, April 30, 2012

Roadtrip ended

Mardin
Urfa
We have survived back to Ankara. Before going we were afraid that roads might not be good but the roads in Eastern Turkey were good. We had some problems with one rental car because few times it just stopped on the road. We learned that it is not a good idea to rent a car which has been driven more than 300 000 kilometers. Each person of our group had to put 65 euros for gasoline. Average price what we paid for sleeping one night was 11 euros. We did not have problems to find sleeping place for 15 people. Only for Memrut we booked our sleeping place 5 hours before our arrival.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Second roadtrip update

Sunrise from Memrut mountain
Dressing style in Eastern Turkey
Harran
I am writing this update from near Memrut mountain. Road to Memrut was not in bad condition even the guides warned that roads might be in very bad. Before arriving to Memrut in various cities you could also see men wearing scarves and trouser like in the picture. This kind of dressing cannot be seen in Ankara. Especially in Diyarbakir the locals were very keen on getting to know us. All the time somebody was saying hello or asking how are you or what is your name. People joined us to get to know us better in our sightseeing walk.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

First roadtrip update

Road from Kahramanmaras to Gaziantep
4 people on one motorbike
We have now arrived to Urfa. The trip has been going well so far and roads have been in good condition. Eastern Turkey I have seen more women with scarves than in Ankara. In the cities you can see more motorbikes and wearing helmet is not very common. Usually there is more than one person going with a motorbike like you can see in the picture.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Roadtrip to Eastern Turkey

Roadtrip plan
Today early on the morning we will start a roadtrip to Eastern Turkey. We have rented two cars for the trip. The planned route is 2035 km and estimated time for driving is 30 hours. We have nine days to complete the planned route. Our destinations are: Kayseri, Kahramanmaraş, Gaziantep, Şanlıurfa, Mardin, Diyarbakır, Malatya and Sivas.

I hope to be able to make blog updates on the road.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Bazar

Bazar hallway
Turkey is well-known for bazars. One big building with many different little shops or one neighborhood with many little shops. You can find many pirate products. Clothes from Adidas, Nike and from other famous brands. Also pirate video games are available, electric domestics, tailoring services and many other things. Sellers try to speak to you to make you enter their. When thinking about buying it is common to negotiate the asking price in bazar.