Vincent Gerritse

Introduction

Vincent Gerritse is a Dutch Nova College intern working for the City’s Communications and Tourism services for the Spring 2015. You can read his impressions in the Dutch Diaries of Lappeenranta.

Time passes, feelings grow

Kirjoittanut Vincent Gerritse  Luotu 05.05.2015

As time goes by, the time seems to go faster by the week.

Now that I’m three months into my internship here in Lappeenranta, the end is coming closer and closer. April has passed like it was just one week. There has been rain, sun and more snow. The surroundings are changing by the effects of spring. And a lot of new experiences I would love to share with you.

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April started with looking towards Easter. You could see it in the stores. All kinds of Easter attributes were sold like Easter eggs, small yellow chicks, and all kinds of food related to the holiday. It was a surprise when I received a package from home, because I did not expect it. Wondering what it could be, I was joking to my family by phone about some chocolate Easter bunnies hiding inside the box. And indeed, two chocolate bunnies, packed in soft paper hiding inside. My parents did not forget our family tradition!

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At our apartment we did not do anything special for the holiday. Lucky I had the chance to go to the Wolkoff Museum, which was decorated in the spirits of Easter. I had heard of the museum but I did not visit it before. It was so nice to see how a family would live all those years ago. Of course it was not an ordinary family which used to live there, but still you could imagine a lot of attributes that would be similar in every Finnish home by tradition. The way the kitchen is build, the furnaces to keep the house warm, the decorations. And if you look to the Easter decorations, some things are similar to Holland, but others aren’t. Finnish people eat different food than we eat in Holland and in Finland people grow grass on a small surface and use this as decoration. I always like to see how people do things in other countries, and this is a good example.

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From Women’s Prison to Culture Center

I also had the chance to go to the new Cultural and Event Centre Kehruuhuone at the Fortress for a sneak preview. This centre is located in a 200 year old, recently renovated building which used to be a women’s prison, a spinning room what Kehruuhuone means in Finnish. The way the building is renovated represents old features of the building like the old wood and the style the buildings would look from the inside. This in combination with the way the inside is decorated makes it a perfect combination of features from the old and the modern times. I went there with my internship Supervisor and colleagues from the tourist information. We had a lunch and coffee and got some information about what will be done inside this building. During the lunch there was also some very nice Karelian music performed by three local girls. The centre provides a chance to enjoy a meal or a beverage or to enjoy some cultural events like music or dancing.

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Elk Spotting

Last weekend the parents of my roommate visited Finland. They rented a cottage in Taipalsaari. Taipalsaari is a small village very close to Lappeenranta and   easy to reach by car and bike. The village is surrounded by nature and from here you have a great chance to go into the nature by foot, bike and car or even a small boat. We took a small boat to go to a small island on the water. It is exciting because you are surrounded by water and you can hear the complete silence. During the day we went to a point from where you had a very nice view over the Lake Saimaa. On the way to this point I was looking out of the cars window and in a blink I spotted an Elk. For three months we were hoping to see one, and now finally we did. I imagined those animals to be big, but not this big! Sadly we were in the car when we have seen the animals, so we were not able to take a picture. I will make it my mission to get a picture of a wild Elk!  

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We closed the day by building a nice campfire and having some marshmallows. From this point the sunset was so beautiful. Even at 11 PM you could still see the light from the sun on the horizon, and on the other side the moon. I had never seen the moon shining as bright like this. It is such a nice feeling to enjoy the warm fire, listening to the sound of nature and think about how life would be if you would live here.

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The life up here might me a little too quiet for me, but I have been developing this dream to have a nice cottage by the lakeside and visit it a few times a year. Get away from the busy daily life in Holland, take a moment for yourself and think. Just think. Think about life, what you want to do in the future. There is no better way to do this than by sitting by a fire in complete peace, looking up to the sky, the moon and the setting sun. In my last blog I already said that it will be so hard to leave this place. And from now on, I can truly say, part of my heart will remain in the beauty of Finland!