Thursday, December 27, 2012

Survived Doomsday

As many of you are aware no Doomsday happened on the 21st, in fact it was a normal day. There are still a few new agers saying things happened that day but are unable to provide any more solid evidence than 'look inside your heart' or 'do the research yourself'. Typical unintelligent response for these type of people.

Well I know I am writing this on Christmas day but this blog is not my Christmas blog, that will be separate and done on Boxing day or maybe the day after as here in Finland they have a 3 day celebration.

So the biggest thing that we have had since I last wrote was the graduation party for Tanja's best friend, Tiina. She graduated as an Engineer and Tanja had offered our apartment to hold a party so people could come and congratulate her. So this meant we had to get the entire flat shipshape. We had help from Sonja and Päivi on Wednesday, we got the place hoovered and most of the stuff away. Tanja got her hair cut whilst this was going on, so she was 'supervising'. On the Thursday we had the Finnish lesson at the chapel. I had a talk on Sunday and decided to give it in Finnish, so I took it with me to the class and spent the last 30 minutes giving it. It took me to whole 30 minutes but we'll practise it. Then we went to do our Christmas shopping as well as get ingredients to make 3 cakes for the party. We spent over 100€ on the Christmas shopping but we did buy cheese and other things that will be obviously more than for Christmas day.

The rest of Thursday night was used up making the three cakes. The first one was a plain three layered Strawberry cake. The second was Chocolate sponge with a middle plain layer filled with Banana & cream. The third cake is something they call a sandwich cake, it is a Finnish thing. It is bread with two layers of a ham, gerkin, mayo and mustard mix and then a layer with an egg butter mix. Then it is covered in cream and I am not entirely sure if I like it or not yet, very undecided; however Finns seem to love it. On the Friday I spent the day cleaning up the last bits, going over the kitchen a third time and just making sure the house looked and smelled nice.  Then at 4 Tiina and her family arrived so it was all hands to action stations for setting up for the party.

We covered up our table and put the food on it. Then Tanja unveiled the great plan.... she had earlier that week printed off loads of photos of Tiina, then she put them into picture frames and put them all over the house. Later on a few people commented that I was only in three photos in the entire house, so I know my place in this relationship.

People started arriving from 6 and within an hour the house was fully buzzing with people mingling. Tanja and  I went into the 'study' and called it the VIP room, several of our friends also joined us and we had a good laughed. We talked about all getting together on New Years Eve, how I was getting on in Finland, what everyone is up to, what we all doing over the xmas season and several other topics. Overall the night was very fun, I know I enjoyed it. 

Everyone left at coming up to ten, so as a reward Tanja and I decided on getting Pizza from town (Oulu really needs to get on the home delivery wagon). We managed to get the bus with five minutes to spare and ordered two pizzas from one of our frequent pizza places. After finding out that ten minutes outside in -20oC is a really long time, we got on a bus home. The driver was only going to the Hospital stop which is not far from our flat, about 7-10 minutes but as he got to the final stop he asked us where are we going, when we said we only live at the next stop and we were getting off here, he told us he will drive us to the next stop. That was nice, there are some nice bus drivers out there. Ate the pizza whilst watching the new Batman, it wasn't bad but I am not entirely a fan of the new Batman. Tanja was fast asleep on the sofa for almost the entire movie but it was because she was tired not because it was boring..... I think.

When Saturday came we didn't set the alarm for the first time in a while. It was Tanja's first day of the Winter Holidays. We didn't get up till after midday but I was so rested. We then had a visit from our home teachers who talked about Christmas Spirit and about how we can rediscover it. After a good discussion and general chit chat, they left. Then Tanja dyed Sonja's hair, whilst I went over my talk in Finnish. I got it down to 20 minutes first time but on attempting the second time I couldn't get my head around the words and became disheartened. I then gave it another try and still made it 20 minutes. I'm not entirely sure what we did for the rest of the day but I am sure we just chilled.

I woke up on Sunday and before even getting dressed I was reading my talk again to see if I could get it shorter than 20 minutes. This would be my last practise. I got it down to 16 minutes which I was thrilled with. I then got all suited and booted, grabbed both the English and Finnish versions of my talk and then we headed to church (Päivi, Tiinas mother was giving us a lift as she came to pick up a cake that was left on Friday). We asked the Branch President if it was ok if my talk took sixteen minutes as I wanted to do it in Finnish, he said ok. So I start at the front facing the congregation, the first time up front and before the whole thing starts I already start breaking out in cold sweat and my hands become clammy. So after the Sacrament  a musical piece by the missionary Sisters and Heidi Laitinen, it was my turn. I was not feeling well at all, my tummy felt like it was a butterfly park, my hands felt like they were not responding to my requests, my legs felt slightly weak. Well I couldn't back out now, I could change it too English but I had no translator ready and that would defeat the point of why Tanja translated it for me and my practising then asking the President for the extra time. So with a deep breath I put my head down and began to read. I heard a ripple of what appeared to be giggles but not giggles of mocking but of shock. I know when you are giving a public speech you are meant to address the audience but I was reading in a different tongue than my mother one. It was hard, I had to think about how every letter was pronounced  how the word was constructed and how to approach the next one. After what seemed like an age I finished my talk and got off the stage fairly quick, I passed the President who whisper Thank you. As I was getting to my seat I was thanks by three elderly ladies and then Tanja's Grandmother. I sat down next to my wife who showed me sixteen minutes and forty four seconds, not bad I thought. Tanja told me that when I started talking in Finnish, a lot of members turned to look at her, that must have been when I heard the giggles. Overall we thought it went well and I know many people got the drift of what I was saying. This was what I talked about:-

You are the light of the world
Good Morning Brothers and Sisters.
Please bare with me as I attempt to give this talk in Finnish. I originally was going to do a talk based on the Shepherd story presented in Luke 2, but as I was going through some research I had inspiration to do a talk on another subject.
In Jesus' famous Sermon on the Mount he says 'Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.' That's Matt 5:14-16 (KJV). In the Nativity story the Shepherds went to see the newborn Jesus,“And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child. And all they that heard it wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds.” These humble Shepherds became the First Evangelists of the Dispensation of the meridian of time. They left their flocks, a rare thing for Shepherds to do, obeyed the commandment receive from a heavenly messenger and then they testified of the miraculous birth of Jesus Christ.
We should be like the Shepherds of Luke, proclaiming the truthfulness, not shamed by the world we live in. We are living in an age where being a Christian is a stigma, there have been several articles this year alone where Christians have been persecuted because of their faith and not following the ways of the world.
What are some of the ways we can strengthen ourselves and become a beacon for others? We should continuously study the scriptures and apply them into our lives. In 2 Nephi 15:24 we are given this promise “And I said unto them that it was the word of God; and whoso would hearken unto the word of God, and would hold fast unto it, they would never perish; neither could the temptations and the fiery darts of the adversary overpower them unto blindness, to lead them away to destruction.”, we are promised protection if we hold on to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We will also find it easier to hear the spirit and strengthen our testimonies. Our testimonies can be powerful tools in helping keep us strong in the face of adversity and also in spreading the Gospel.

We should pray often. D&C 19:38 tells us Pray always, and I will pour out my Spirit upon you, and great shall be your blessing—yea, even more than if you should obtain treasures of earth and corruptibleness to the extent thereof.” We are promised that be praying often we will be treasured by the spirit and receive blessing and are warned off the things of the world. This is similar to the warning Jesus told us about storing up worldly goods in Matthew 6:19.

Be Christlike. Paul says in 1 Corinthians 11:1 “Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ.” We cannot be a beacon onto the world if we are doing the same thing as those of the world. If we steal, we cannot tell others not to steal. Christ laid down the perfect example for us, Paul followed Christ's example as closely as he could and we should follow that example too. But we have to be wary of getting prideful in our Christ-likeness, we are warned in Matthew 6:2-4 “Therefore when thou doest thine alms, do not sound a trumpet before thee, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. But when thou doest alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth: That thine alms may be in secret: and thy Father which seeth in secret himself shall reward thee openly.” So be humble. 
Jesus says in Matthew 5:16 “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” So let us be a light unto the world, be able to stand out of the crowd and praise his name.

I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ Amen.

After the whole service we went to the family home. Janne was not very well, sick the day before, and so he and his Mother stayed at home. The dinner was a nice stew with mash potato which I lapped up. When Tanja and I got home, we took a wee nap which lasted till nine at night, we slept a few hours over. The rest of the night was spent chilling. The next day we had to be up at nine so we could spend the day with the family, Christmas eve is the first day of Christmas here in Finland.

I will write another blog about my three days of Christmas soon, I hope you enjoy this and had a Merry Christmas. 

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Fighting the Winter Blues

As you can guess from the title I have been feeling down lately. When you live in the UK and British Isles most of your life you think that 7 hours of light is not a lot and during the winter it gets dark quickly. However, in Finland at this time of the year we get just over 3 hours of light. Over the last 4 weeks I have seen the sun on 4 occasions and the night sky twice, the other times it has been white or grey clouds. I have suffered from Depression for a very long time but had over the last two years come to manage it fairly well, with little episodes every so often. However, it has slowly been creeping up on me since about October I think. Tanja has been very supportive of my mood swings, which go from very low to very high within minutes of each other, she has been joking about me being on PMS. So for the last four days we have been turning on a 'Bright light' an hour before having to get up and I have also been taking Vitamin D and Multi-vitamins in an effort to help my mood. As I speak, though, the clouds are breaking and we have a beautiful orangey-red sky. I know the old poem of 'Red Sky in the morning; Sailors Warning' but pfft..... I'm gonna see the sun! Hopefully.

Over the last few days a breeze has gotten up, it is like a normal Manx day breeze but here in Finland I have not felt much wind. With it, this breeze has brought a terrible chill. When you breath in with your mouth open your teeth tingle; when you breath through your nose it is like hundreds of tiny icicles are coming in. You learn new ways to keep yourself warm. Like tucking your t-shirt in and putting a jumper over that before your coat, giving you layers. Using a scarf to cover as much over the lower half of your face as possible and a hat to cover as much of the upper half as possible. Gloves become essential and I am grateful for the mittens I received from Tanja's Grandmother in February, they are ten times better than the thinsulate ones I had. The best thing I have in my arsenal of winter clothes is thermal underwear, basically Boxer shorts that go all the way down, so in effect boxer trousers ["or male leggings" -Tanja].  I put them on, tuck them into my socks and with my jeans over them my lower half is fairly comfortable in the cold outside. I can now understand why my father has a pair for winter in Belfast.

Tanja and I added another thing to our inventory of random things we have done. Alongside dropping a watermelon out of the window of the 5th floor, drawing a pen moustache on my face at a restaurant and other hilarious and random things ["like trying to explode a marshmallow in the microwave.." -Tanja], we produced and ate a doughnut burger. That's right, we made meaty burgers and got sugared doughnuts and then made a cheese burger with all the bits and bobs and then ate it..... why? Why not?! We were inspired by the movie 'Seeking a friend for the end of the world', it was a good movie, Tanja and Sonja were laugh-crying ["talk about the PMS.." -Tanja] at the end, I was sort of open mouthed, stunned.

Last night I went to chapel where the missionaries were holding a Family Home Evening. It was fun, we had a spiritual thought about how if we imagine people as they can become, rather than what they are, they can achieve greatness. So for an activity we had small cards with our names on it, then we passed them round the group. Everyone wrote something positive on the card. Well, I got mine back and someone called me Scottish........ really?.......... well he only met me once before, so I am sure I can forgive him. ["Dude, the same person called me 'a loving mum'!!!" -Tanja] To finish off the evening we went carolling in the near by neighbourhood, however in Finland door to door carolling is not common, in fact it is almost unheard of. So we didn't get anybody taking us up on the offer. I think it would be better if they went carolling somewhere, like in the city centre or outside a market instead of knocking on doors. We finished the night by getting Pan pizza in the centre, they were good. Finnish Pizza places don't really do Pan pizzas (Deep dish to those who don't know) but this place does a 24 cm one with any 4 toppings for 7€. I had Kebab, Chicken, Salami and Majoneesi (Mayonnaise but different from what we get in the UK). Tanja had Reindeer, Chicken, Blue Cheese and Onion. Both pizzas were good and we were both pleasantly full by the time we got home. On the subject of food, I had one of the nicest tasting meals just the other day, a taste from Tanja's childhood. Her family used to have Chicken legs cooked with rice (sort of porridge type rice), so we had this on Sunday. Tanja put it in the oven before we went to church and by the time we got home it had been about 3 and a half hours in the oven. The chicken was beautifully cooked and the rice had all the flavour of the chicken juices and with just a wee bit of salt and pepper it was out of this world. Well, shall we just say, there was nothing left in the pot. Also on the topic of food, Tanja and I bought a turkey for Christmas dinner as they were on offer at the German Shop (Lidl to those that don't know) but as we have no space in our freezer it is pleasantly sitting on the balcony and is still nicely frozen down to the fact it stays in the minus all the time. I have heard many people clean freezers out this time of year because the contents stay frozen outside whilst defrosting. I know we have used the cold outside to chill bottles of pop as it is quicker than in a fridge. 

I don't think there is anything else. Well, I will have to start writing on a notepad small bits and pieces so I don't forget them when it comes to writing my blog. Hope all my readers/friends are having a great time where ever they are and I will write soon. My beautiful wife is going to go over this blog before it is posted, so there  won't be any spelling mistakes this time. ["or as much, at least." -Tanja]
["My husband rocks!" -Tanja]

Monday, December 10, 2012

My first week of December

So I have survived my first week of December  The coldest it has been was -27oC on the 4th and the warmest it has gotten is a boiling -5oC. So as you can imagine I have been experienceing a different kind of weather than back home. I have even had my beard turn white and freeze, which was interesting to say the least. My upper body has been wrapped up very well with layers, however my bottom half has been suffering, so we recently bought two pairs of thermal underwear.

So the white stuff has arrived and not going away any time soon. Tanja and I got off the bus the other day and walked from the local hospital home (about 600 metres give or take) and I made a snow angel, which I instantly regretted on the count of how cold I got very suddenly. We also walked though about 2 feet of freshly fallen snow for no other reason than because I wanted to. Then Tanja attacked me with snow to the face, the joy we both had that night, even though we were freezing by the time we got in.

This past week also saw Itsenäisyyspäivä (Independence Day), a very important day in the Finnish calender and history. For the first time since the 12th century Finland became free from any controlling body (it had been part of the Swedish and Russian Empires). When the October Revolution gathered steam and had taken over most of the industrialised part of Russia, the Bolsheviks issued a declaration for rights of self-determination, which included secession. On November 15th 1917, the same say as the Bolshevik declaration, the Finnish Parliament issued a statement claiming sovereign rights for Finland. A Declaration of Independence was drawn up and was formally accepted on December 6th 1917. The newly formed 

Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic officially recognised the Republic of Finland on January 4th 1918, being the first country to do so. However the newly formed Republic was not to be left in peace, only 52 days after they became a sovereign nation, a bloody civil war erupted. However that's for another blog.

So what happens in Finland on Independence Day? Well for starters almost everywhere closes, of course the usual essential services are open. There is also parades held at war memorials around Finland and a big religious service held at Helsinki Cathedral. I attended the Oulu parade at the memorial, it was very cold and we were stood outside for only 30 minutes but standing still meant it felt like longer. Various groups laid wreaths on the main memorial and 2 other memorials in the cemetery. I noticed that Finnish Soldiers march a lot differently to British soldiers, I thought it looked like they were swinging their arms in a joyous manner. 
The current President and the three previous ones with their spouses. The last time four Presidents were together  at the ball was in 1974 (I think)
Father and Daughter
All suited and booted

So not much more has happened (that I can think off). Oulu river is frozen over but not enough to walk on, the sea is also starting to freeze over. Winter is truly set in now.

We also watched the Finnish classic, Tuntematon sotilas (Unknown Soldier), a film adapted from the novel of the same name by Finnish author Väinö Linna. The film revolves around Machinegun Company's experiences during the Continuation War of 1941-'44 between Finland and the Soviet Union. The novel is based on Linna's own experiences from the war. It may be fictional but is considered to be realistic, very gritty and shocking in places.

The highlight of the day is the Linnanjuhlat (Castle Ball), a reception held at the Presidential palace. It is broadcasted on TV and many Finns get together and watch the some 2000 guests (this year there was 1,800) line up and shake hands with the President and First Lady whilst criticising the dresses that people wear. I have to say there were some interesting gowns present and I did enjoy the 'show' but didn't understand a word that was being said.

The previous day I had attended with Tanja a concert held by a Military Band, it is in honour of Veterans of Finland's wars. The theme for the night was Finnish Composer Jean Sibelius. I really did love the performance.

I also got turned down for a job for the first time. I was a small term job at the place when Tanja and I got married. They wanted someone who was fluent in Finnish, but it's ok, these things will happen but something will come up. I did make my first €30 though, which was an upside. Myself and a Friend did a Build a Burger lunch at a local University project called the Business Kitchen. We only had 20 people interested when we went to buy the stuff on the Tuesday (4th) but had 30 people turn up on the day and everything was eaten. We noticed a few things that we will need to improve upon next time, like more plates and cutlery. Better service times and sittings, an more equal control of the product. We are hoping to do a tex-mex day in the first few weeks on January. So with that money I took my wife out to a Chinese Buffet. It was very nice but I felt so stuffed at the end of it. We also got out 'Brave' from the video shop, a good movie but the storyline wasn't that original.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

..... Then I took an x-ray to the Knee!

Like the title suggest I recently had an x-ray on my knee. In August 2011, my knee gave way after going out with some friends bowling. I went to hospital and spent two weeks on crutches before returning to work. However the knee has been giving me trouble ever since, days when it locks completely and I cannot walk very far, the problem is though the waiting list on the Island was 2 years. I went to see a doctor here in Finland last week who described my leg as 'löysä' which as you can probably work out means loose. Tanja told me she could actually see my leg moving when the doctor was pulling on it. So after the appointment we scheduled to go for an x-ray on Tuesday morning at 0740, which is not the best time to go for x-ray as you are half asleep when the technician is giving you instructions to follow. The results came the other day saying there is no sign of fractures but there is damage and so I am now in a queue to see Orthopedics.

I am still waiting for Kela to process my paper, which is annoying as it has been there for a month now and I cannot get any support until it goes through. I am planning on plastering the town next week with my CV to see if any place needs a chef, even if it is for the holidays.

I am not sure if I told you all but my wife has put me on a fish fingers and noodle diet because I told her it was my favourite food and she wants to see how long it will take for me to get sick of it. I am currently on my second week of it, but am lucky because we eat out at family every week. On Tuesday evening Tanja made me Fish Fingers and Noodle pizza, it tasted..... interesting to say the least. As you can tell from the pictures it is very yummy.

It has been mega cold all this week, not been any warmer than -10. It has been so dry too, I go outside and within minutes my ears are stinging if I am not wearing a hat and my hands turn a curious shade of blue without gloves. I will see this winter as a learning experience, of that I have no doubt.

I was invited to the school again this Thursday but instead of giving a talk, I was there to help cook with students of my Father in Law's class. At first it was like trying to get blood from a stone getting the students to do the work but soon they settled down and all but one contributed to the dinner. Overall we made cottage pie (but tomato based and topped with parsnip mash), coleslaw (made with yoghurt), bread rolls and Apple Crumble. The students loved eating the final result. It was fun for me too, even if most of my contribution was hand signing and pointing. On the same day we went to the parents house and made deep fried mars bars, I had made them for Jani before he left for England and now Mother and Father wanted a try. Mini Mars bars work a lot better than full size ones if you don't have a deep fat fryer I discovered. We also deep fried some strawberry chocolate, it wasn't half bad.

Not much has happened. It is the first of December so I have brought up the Xmas decorations from the basement, it is snowing outside, which means soon it will be a white blanket and I can create my massive ice lolly for no reason other than I want too. The rivers are freezing over and so the sea cannot be that far off. So till I write again my friends, have superfun.

Monday, November 26, 2012

What I miss/don't miss

Well I have been in Finland now for just over 2 months, so I have decided to write a blog about what I miss from home and the things I do not miss.

Whenever a person changes places and lives somewhere else, there is always a shock to the system. Sometimes, if you just move towns or cities, it is as simple as just not knowing anyone and learning the layout of the new place. When you move countries, you have to factor in things like culture shock, new products, language, etc.

What I miss about the Isle of Man (and by extension the UK):-

The familiarity of the place where I grew up. I knew almost everywhere on the Island, knew how to get anywhere and could walk through the street and bump into many people I knew. I know I am new here and so it will come in time but Finland is a massive place and I will never come to know it as intimately in 250 years like I know the Island in the roughly 20 years I have lived there.

My Friends. When you live in a place for a while you gather friends and get to know many people, sometimes on very close levels. I have many close friends back on the Island who I could confide in. I also knew many people in numerous professions and so if I ever needed help in a particular area, I seemed to have a friend who could help me out.

English. Now most people in Finland do speak English, however Finnish is their language and so they talk to you first in that. Also many know only basic English and so conversations can be very short. Studying Finnish will help the block that sometimes occurs  but like all things, it takes time and practise plus a hell of a lot of confidence.

Shopping. Back on the Island I could go into the store and know exactly what I wanted, how it tasted, if I liked it etc etc. In Finland I have to learn everything anew, things like tastes (milk tastes different, cheese too and other things), they also have different products from the UK and so I have experimented a lot.

Work. I will find work in Finland, of that I have no doubt, however my last job was great. It was hard, sometimes pulling 70 hour weeks, doing stupid amount of covers with only one other chef on, but we were all good friends, we all had a laugh and were like a family I feel. I hope I can find a job that is similar to it.

What I don't miss:-

The lack of variety  On the Island you seemed to get the same thing over and over again, whether it be in the shop or daily life. Here you go into a shop and you have the choice of several different brands. You can find things that don't even exist on the Island. In terms of food, it is an exciting time for me as a Chef.

1 and 2 pence.  In Finland they do not use 1 or 2 cent coins, the smaller coin is 5 cent, so your wallet does not get cluttered up with small amount of coppers because everything has a 99p at the end.

Weather. For those who have lived on the Island know how strange the weather can be, like days of a fine mist that soaks you through to the skin within minutes of stepping outside, fog so thick you cannot see your hand in front of your fast and then disappear so fast you had to double take.

The stupidity of the system. In Finland almost everything is computerised. When my wife went to change her name, it was all updated on Computer and all official organisations like banks, police etc got the update. Going to the doctors means just going on time and then you get called, on the Island you turn up on time, report to a receptionist and then wait for 30 minutes (if you are lucky) to be seen. All petrol stations have pumps you can just pay by card. I know the UK is catching up but it is still a few years behind, it is very funny in some regards.

The same menu in places. The Island has a nasty habit of having a similar menu in all restaurants of the same nature, i.e. Pubs always have pies, fish and chips, lasagne etc, Chinese have the same menu just different numbers etc. In Finland it appears catering is a serious career and every place has an array of dishes that are different from other places of the same nature. I can confirm my taste buds have been taken on a wild ride since arriving here.

I cannot think of anything else at present but I am pretty sure there are a few more missing and not missing. I hope you enjoyed this blog, I appreciate all the comments left on here or sent to my email/facebook. Time for me to go for lunch, have superfun my friends.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Talking to School

Sorry to those who follow for not writing anything in a while. I thought I hadn't done anything of note to write about but having looked back I think I have been wrong on that count.

The first interesting thing that happened was on the 3rd of this month I was re-baptised into the Church. It is a long story as to why I needed to be re-baptised but the main jist was I had much opposition in the beginning and I left. I then spent 2 years trying to reverse the effects but had even more opposition. However, when I look back I know that I wasn't strong or faithful enough the first time round and so when the inevitable hard times came I just crumbled. In the 4 years since I was first baptised I have grown up a wee bit and am stronger now in the faith and with the support of so many friends I have made it. I know the biggest support was my wife, who has put up with so much from me about the situation, like my depression, my disagreements and downright rudeness about certain Church policies/members. She has been an amazing example to me throughout it all and it is one of the many things that I am eternally grateful for in my wife.

So when I was baptised in October 2008 it was done in the sea, on the West Coast of the Island at a place called Glen Wyllin. I chose there because my Grandparents ashes were scattered there, it was a place I had been throughout my childhood with my Gaga walking the dog, Fred. It was very cold and the sea was rough, myself and my baptiser, Ron Clarke, were covered by waves at least 3 times before I went under officially. It was a good baptism, many people attended and I knew it was the right thing to do. This time, after getting the approval from the Mission President back in October, I decided it was best to have a baptism in the front where it is nice a warm. Markku, our Branch President, suggested we could be baptised on the 3rd of November as there was another baptism taking place before it. I asked Tanja's Brother, Janne, to baptise me and her Father to confirm me.I only wanted a small baptism, with the Family and a few close friends. Unfortunately one of my friends broke her foot on the night and so she and her husband spent the next few hours at Casualty, which meant another friend had to babysit their child and another friend was unwell. But I did have Tanja's family present, Tiina and the Missionary Couple and Sisters there, plus Markku who was in charge of it. It was a very good, quick and simple service. I was glad the end of a long journey was over but also knew it was the start of another long journey, but one I am prepared for.

After the injury, my friend Iida, was on crutches to support her foot. Tanja and I had said if we could help in anyway we just had to be contacted. Later on that week Iida asked if I come round to help. It was good to spend time with an old friend again and we caught up and spoke about many things, some of them including books which we both love. A couple of hours later her mother arrived to 'take over' from me but we had walnut ice cream before I left, which is rather tasty. We also talked about Finnish things, like the history and traditional songs. I really enjoyed it all, having friends is good, no matter who or where you are, friends are very important.

Another exciting thing I did was do a talk at a local school. A teacher at my wife's workplace had once asked who I was when Tanja and I had gotten the car from her father one day. Upon hearing I am from the Isle of Man, she asked if I could give a talk to her students. So I had given two talks to her classes on my two previous trips to Finland. Well, she approached my wife and asked if I could give another talk to her culture class. There was no way I could refuse, I love the Isle of Man and telling people all about the wonderful Island I came from, so I spent a week preparing a slideshow and a talk to go with it. I thought the talk would last about 30/40 minutes giving a 10-15 minute Q&A at the end, it turned out my talk was about 20 minutes but I did get asked a lot of questions which helped bulk it out. At the end she thanked me and I gave her one of the Finnish/Manx flag pins. Well I know I will be invited to do another talk in the future and now have a base in which to improve on my original talk. It was really good to talk about my Home and about all the interesting history and folklore, I saw enough smiles and chuckles to know that the students enjoyed it.

Well that is all for now, not much else has happened. Hoping that work will come soon. I am going to see the new Twilight tonight with Tanja and two friends, i've seen the other ones so I have to see how it all ends. Will not leave the next update 3 weeks this time, I promise.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

I like Big Butts!

Yep, that's right, I like big butts. I mean they are so big, come in different shapes but are roughly all the same, they rock gently when moving, are so much fun to be on and eating on one is just an experience.......... no i'm not some weirdo, i'm talking about boats. Ever since I saw 'Finding Nemo' I have called boats, Butts, and now my wife also calls them such.

So why were we on a butt? Well Tanja had come up with an idea back in September that we could tag along with the rest of the family to a trip to Helsinki and then get on a mini-cruise to Tukholma (Stockholm to those who don't understand Finnish). So we left at 0700 on Tuesday morning with a nice warm -2oC to help us knock that fog that forms in your head when you sleep out of our heads. After picking up her two brothers we hit the road. Our butt was leaving till 1730 and Helsinki is only about a 6 hour journey but we had to leave so early because of breaks to stretch our legs and also food. On our first stop we encountered our first bit of snow, about an inch and very much near ice than snow but still I was excited. Our second stop was for Brunchfast (basically brunch but for those who didn't have breakfast) was at Scan Burger, a small fast food chain, and I got some massive burger that decided on the first bit to try and escape. It was a tasty burger but nothing special, however that chips were good, stayed hot and crunchy till the end of the meal, not like the soggy, cold McDonald's ones.

We soon were dropped off at the docks in Helsinki and waited to board our butt. It was really funny because we had to sit outside the waiting room waiting to get in, then had to wait some more to get onto the butt. When we get to our cabin and I was impressed. We were on the top deck and it was a fairly big room, enough space to spread out. We were soon under way a leaving Helsinki harbour. I went outside to watch Helsinki sink away in the distant. We passed through the Kustaanmiekka strait between the fortress island of Suomenlinna  and another small island. Then we were out in the open sea, the Gulf of Finland to be precise.

The crossing was very smooth, you could hardly tell that we were on the water. At 2000 we went for our dinner, it was an 'autumn' buffet and man it had everything. I managed six plates, 2 starters, 2 mains and 2 desserts, yeah I know what you are thinking but hey I'm on holiday. They had a lot of game dishes, bear stew, roasted deer, moose casserole, cold smoked reindeer, game mousse etc as well as numerous other dishes. Some were not all that tasty like the mushroom terrine but some were out of this world like the game mousse on small rye breads. The desserts were pretty sweet too, the tiramisu was a bit overpowering though. After getting really, really stuffed we retreated back to the cabin for our wee nap. The nap lasted a while but we wake up to watch something on the TV and pop open some alcohol free sparkling wine. Soon after we decided to call it a day and fell asleep to the vibrations of the butt.

In the morning we went to the breakfast buffet which was also very good, it was very crowed though. Smoked salmon, gravlax salmon, all different kinds of bread, eggs, bacon, and numerous other items were on offer. I managed four plates washed down with tropical and orange juices whilst admiring the scenery of the islands and coast of Sweden. We were soon docked and disembarked near Gamla Stan (Old Town in Swedish and where the Royal Palace is), after hearing the name of the place I automatically equated it to Gangnam Style and once we found a sign I did a small dance next to it (video will be uploaded at some point).

Gamla Stan was very cool. Narrow streets that reminded me of Peel back on the Isle of Man. The streets we all cobbled and with stairs going to parallel higher streets, it was similar to Bayeux in France which I visited and stayed in when I was 18. We soon came to the Royal Palace and that place was big. You could feel the history of the place. It had Guards posted at various places around the building. A small fact I found out, after the assassination of Gustav III of Sweden in 1792, the Royal Guard always carry loaded weapons. With this fact in mind, it is a good idea not to go up and pull faces at these guards like the tourists do to the Guardsmen in London.

We crossed the bridge going through to back of the Swedish Parliament and into main centre of Stockholm. We went through the main street that seemed littered with tourist shops (we the usual fun, cheesy and random nick nacks). After travelling around, we stopped to write some postcards and then decided to return to the butt. It was leaving at 1630 so we wanted to get in around 1530. As we were heading back we passed a few guys fishing opposite the Swedish Parliament building, soon one caught a fairly big Salmon. After walking passed the front of the Parliament building, we passed the Palace again and this time we saw an inspection of the guard. But soon the fun was over and we were back on the butt in our cabin, exhausted.

We relaxed until the butt pulled away and I went to watch us leave Stockholm behind. Then it was another buffet, however not much had changed, only a few things. I am never eating white fish tartar again but the Game sticks were very nice. After only managing 5 plates this time Tanja and I went shopping in the tax free shop for some goodies. We were soon back in the cabin watching TV, washing up, chatting about the day and munching on small cheese and meat sticks. I went out to watch us dock at Mariehamn in the Åland Islands and then returned to the cabin to call it a day.

In the morning Tanja and I slept until about 30 minutes before docking as we had opted out of breakfast. After getting everything packed and washed ourselves, we had docked and were disembarking the vessel. We walked from the harbour to the hotel that the rest of the family were staying in. A smart idea, it is a self catering hotel with no reception, all you get is a code that works from the day you booked till midday the day of our leaving. The beds were very soft, i'd say too soft for my liking. The day was sunny but a little nippy on the wind. After grabbing brunchfast in Picnic (a sandwich chain store) we headed back to the hotel room to get suited and booted. Jani (Tanja's younger brother) was going to be set apart as a missionary. As we only had one car, Tanja and I elected to go on the metro system. We got to the mission president's house about ten minutes after the rest of the family got there, the taxi had dropped us at number 16 and not 6 but he came and got us when he realised the mistake. The setting apart ceremony was different to what I thought it would be and i'm not entirely sure what I was expecting. Everyone said there bit with lots of tears to accompany the wishes of good luck and miss you's. After Jani was set apart, the family were offered cookies and drinks and I was taken into a small office by the mission president. Today I was going to find out about a chance to get rebaptised into the church. Well we got the green light, it has taken two years of constant struggle, pain, hurt and upset but finally the road has come to an end. This is the right move I believe for me and now it is up to the branch president in Oulu for how we go from here, I am talking to him on Sunday about it. The president and I joined the rest for cookies and drinks.

2 and a half hours after we arrived at the Mission home, we all squashed into the car (Janne, Tanja's youngest brother lying over us three in the back) and headed to find a place to eat. We decided (after some debate) on an Italian place called Mario. Tanja and I were banned from taking the meatball pasta for two by her mother, think she had visions of us recreating lady and the tramp at the dinner table. The meal was good, I had taken a grilled Chicken breast with Goat's cheese, roasted vegetables, herb potatoes and balsamic sauce. The guys took burgers, which looked pretty good, coming in baskets with 'newspaper' greaseproof paper. Tanja took grilled chicken breast with garlic mash and a citrus sauce. Her mother took a pasta dish and her father took the same as me. It was very tasty and we all decided (except Janne) to take dessert. Mine and her mother was chocolate brownie, Tanja was citrus panna-cotta and I cannot remember what her father and Jani had. The brownies came in jam jars and Tanja's came in one of those jars with a lid fixed by a wire, it was good looking and had a novelty factor. After this Janne and I were 'abandoned' to find the Metro system and get to the hotel. We flipped a coin and elected to go in one direction of the shopping centre, luckily for us it was the right direction and we were soon on a metro tram on our way to downtown Helsinki. We must have looked like a pair of young men who worked in the business sector, being all suited and booted as we were. We got out of the tram and walked about 15 minutes in 0oC to our hotel. By this point I was bushed, my legs were cramping up and as soon as I got into our room I got undressed and lay on the bed, paralysed. After watching some random TV shows and got a few move pages into the book I bought in Stockholm I turned off the light and went to sleep.

When I woke up in the morning I peered through the curtains only to see white, it was like some giant had dusted the street with icing sugar. We packed up all our stuffed and took it to the car, we wished Jani goodbye, as this would be probably the last time we would see him for about 2 years. We then headed into town for breakfast which we took at Stockmanns. After this, it was time to do some sightseeing. We went to the harbour and bought some Bebe's (they are a Finnish tart with fruit jam and icing on them) at the market there, passed the Presidential Palace, took a look at the bridge of love, climbed the steps at the Cathedral and then went inside the World Trade Centre. It was at the WTC that we met up with Janne and went to the 'America' store, which is a shop that stocks foodstuffs from England and America. I sneaked in a packet of pork scratchings and got a couple of cans of Irn Bru. Tanja and I spent 50 Euros there but we did get a lot of goodies. We soon headed back to the hotel where we waited with her mother for the father to come and pick us up. We then all went to Chico's for lunch, chicos is one of Tanja's favourite restaraunts, it is an America style restaurant. Tanja and I had mini burgers for starters, I had the cajun chicken kebabs for my main. Everything seemed to contain some form of spice in them and soon we were all talking about the tingling in our mouths from the chillis etc. For afters Tanja and dared Janne to get the Big Dream dessert which was six balls of ice (strawberry, vanilla and chocolate) with caramel sauce, whipped cream, chocolate bits and M&M's. He managed it all, how he did it I have no idea but he did.

Then we parted ways with the mother who was going to do some shopping before going on a plane. We (Father, Janne, Tanja and I) were going to drive the way back to Oulu. We left at just after 1500 and after a few stops, travelling through patches of snow, fog and ice we arrived back home at just after 2200. After checking up on my emails, editing the photos of the trip, I retired to bed.

So overall it was an great trip. I got back to a letter from my father and also got a letter back from the registration place and I have a social security number for Finland. So not long left before I am fully sorted in this amazing country. The snow is about  6 -10 inches outside and I am going to now brave a walk to the store to get some lunch. Hope you all have superfun my friends.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Animal Noises

Well I promised to write another blog before the wife and I left for our trip this week, so here it is.

Tanja and I were talking the other day and the topic moved somehow onto animal noises. Now I have heard that different countries have different 'sounds' for animals and they even made a joke about it during an episode of Family Guy. So Tanja and I had great fun laughing at the different noises Finnish and English Animals make.

 So as we know Cows go moo, Dogs go woof woof, Ducks go quack quack, Horses go neigh, Pigs go oink oink, Roosters go Cock-a-doodle-do, Sheep go Baa and Owls go hoot hoot. Well in Finland they make totally different sounds. Cows go ammuu, Dogs go hau hau, Ducks go kvaak kvaak, Horses go ihahaa, Pigs go röh röh, Roosters go kukkokiekuu, Sheep go mää mää and Owls go huhuu. So as you can see completely different.

On Sunday I cooked for the Family as Tanja's Brother Jani is going away on his Mission this week. So her mother asked would I cook and could I do Lamb. I made a Roast Lamb dinner that I marinaded for two days with Rosemary, Lemon and Garlic and slow cooked for three and a half hours, it was so gorgeous, very tender. I accompanied it with Roast Potatoes, mashed carrot and turnip, home made stuffing balls and Gravy.  We also had Salad, Various breads, Cheese, smoked Salmon, Ham and Salami. Only in Finland can you possible get a roast dinner with Salad and bread. It went down well with everyone who ate. One of the best things about it was her Grandma ate, I had been told that her Grandma cooks for others and not the other way round very often, so I was pleased with myself. For dessert I made Sticky Toffee Pudding and we also had Ritva's Winter Dream (It is cream, rahka, domino biscuits and caramel sauce. Very nice). By the end of the meal we were all stuffed, so stuffed that I couldn't even think about a bowl of Mämmi, which is a Easter dessert made with malted rye and molasses, which I enjoy but not many others I have met do.

I got some good news on Friday, I got my Registration papers back from the Police. So I officially have a Right of Residence in Finland which is great news. That is stage 1 of 3 completed to become fully registered in Finland.

So now, we are just sorting out what things to pack to take on our trip to Helsinki and Stockholm. We both cannot wait to go on the mini cruise but we also know that by the end of the trip Jani will be a missionary and we won't see him for 2 years. He will be missed by all but he will have a good time in the UK and he will benefit from it, as I am sure we will all learn from his experience.

So I will write with pictures etc from our trip when I get back. So until then have Superfun my friends.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Twenty Sixthaversary

On Wednesday Tanja and I have been happily married for 26 days.

You all must be thinking, what's so special about 26 days. Well nothing really except, those that know Tanja, 26 is her favourite number. So what did we do for this 'special day'? Originally I was going to cook a full three course dinner but unfortunately I have not been so well these last few days. So instead we got pizza, but before pizza I created a starter which consisted of toasted rye bread topped with grilled cheese, cashew nuts and cheddar cheese.

It was nice but it needed something else. Tanja and I thought either cream cheese on the bread or maybe a savoury marmalade of some sort. Whilst we ate this and the Pizza, we had the Proposal on. Those who have not seen the movie, it is very good, funny and well put together. For dessert I made Blueberry and White chocolate Panna Cotta. Tanja loves both those flavours and so I couldn't possible go wrong on this account.

For those who would like to recreate this, here is the recipe:-

  • 3 cups fresh blueberries (substitue thawed and drained frozen blueberries)
  • 1 cup water
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 sheets of unflavour gelatin
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1 vanilla bean, split and seeds scraped (substitute 2 teaspoons vanilla extract)
  • 1 cup whole fat buttermilk
  • 100g bar of White Chocolate

First put the Blueberries, Water and Sugar in a sauce pan and reduce by at least half. 

Put the cream, vanilla pod and beans, honey in a sauce pan, bring to boil, then cover and leave for 30 minutes. Break up the white chocolate and add to buttermilk, heat up the buttermilk until all the white chocolate is melted. Melt the gelatin in a little hot water and pour through a strainer into the cream mix, remove the vanilla pod and combined the buttermilk and cream together.

Blitz the Blueberries until smooth. Then pour half the cream-buttermilk mix into the blueberries and mix together. To assemble the panna cottas, spoon some of the mix (either one) into a glass (we used wine glasses)  and leave for 20 minutes in the fridge. Then spoon the opposite mix on top carefully and put back from 20 minutes. Then pour the rest of the mix on top and leave for 2-3 hours in the fridge before serving. I hope you enjoy the recipe.

I didn't get Tanja a gift as I presumed she would state that she didn't know about gifts and so didn't get me one. Well appears she got me a gift and so I felt a little bit daft......... oh well got the rest of our lives to make up for it. Tanja bought me a book which contained tradition Finnish recipes from the different regions of Finland. 

So how have my studies been going? Not bad, I only went to class once this week though because of feeling unwell and I left early because of feeling unwell still but I am going to the class that is held at the local LDS Chapel tonight. In a week I have learnt a lot and got confused a whole lot more. Pronunciation is very important as I found out, Kylä means village but Kyllä means Yes and then Vireä means active but Virheä means Green. So as you can see for learner like myself, we could be misunderstood very easily.

It snowed as well the other morning but it only lasted an hour or so before it turned to rain. I do like fall, I mean real fall where the colours on the leaves change to fiery reds, bright oranges, greenish yellows and all other amazing colours. The downside though it has been so wet lately that everywhere looks a little dull and sad but soon the snow will come and everything will been pure white and shiny. It will also mean time to make snow tunnels and do random things in/with the snow just because we can.

Well I think I will sign off now, got housework to do. I will write another blog entry before next Tuesday, Why? Well Tanja and I are going down to Helsinki with her Family, on the Tuesday till Thursday morning Tanja and I will be going on a mini-cruise to Stockholm in Sweden and then on Thursday we will see her brother Jani be set apart as a Missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. He will be serving in the Manchester Mission in the UK, who knows, he might serve some time on the Island. We come back on the Friday and we might stop off Parola Tank Museum, I hope we do. 

So that's all from me for now. Näkemiin (See you later)

Sunday, October 14, 2012

The tastes of Home.

So what have I been up to since I last wrote on my blog?

A friend of Tanja's and I, Sonja, texted Tanja the other day to inform us that Lidl was selling Manx cheese. So we decided that we would have to go and buy some of this Manx cheese on Friday. I went to meet up with a friend and have a catch up before going to see Tanja for when she finished work at 3. I had persuaded Tanja to come to the Northern Ostrobothnia Museum (Pohjois-Pohjanmaan museo in Finnish). It was a pretty cool museum, they had an exhibition about the Doghill Kids which is a children's storybook series first written in 1980 by Mauri Kunnas. Within the exhibition there were headbands with ears so children (or in this case Tanja and I) could be the different characters in the books.

They had a section on the shipping industry of Oulu, which was a big factor in the towns growth right up until the mid- 1900's. An area about fishing, they had a video of traditional fishing and they were catching Nahkiainen (European river Lamprey) in the Oulu river. There was an exhibit about the military history of the area, this was of much interest to me because of my other blog. So I spent at least 15 minutes within this area just taking photos.

They had a very interesting area on the Lapps, they had a 'grave' which showed that shamanism was alive and well in Northern Finland/Lapland. On the ground floor there was a scale model of Oulu from 1938, two years before it was bombed by the Soviet Union during the Wars.

So after an hour and a half of dragging my lovely, understanding wife around the museum, which I found highly interesting but think she only found half as interesting, we met up with Sonja to cycle to get Cheese. It turned out that the Manx cheese was put under the company name Deluxe and they had three different kinds of cheese, Vintage Manx, Mature English and Mild Coloured Scottish. Turns out all came from the Isle of Man creameries and so we bought the Mature and Vintage.

It tasted so good. We finished that night by watching the Snowwhite movie and the new Underworld, which was accompanied by meatballs and pasta and 12 euros worth of Sweeties. The Snow white was a good movie but the Underworld was a let down, they had changed the director and writers and it appeared it was just fight scene after fight scene with no real storyline but just bits thrown out there and not explained.

What other things have I been up to? Well I went to the local library. Now that was fun, it is massive, spread out over 4 floors, tons of books but sadly most were in Finnish. they have a big archive section which I am sure I will make use of in the future. 

I saw the Northern lights for the first time the other night too. Amazing, words fails me on how to describe it to you. It was only one ribbon and very faint at times. It lasted about 20 minutes, a dull, hazy green, constantly changing shape but wow, breathtaking. I love this country and that made me fall deeper in love with it. I feel so privileged to know that I can see that regularly throughout the winter.

Anyway it is late here and so my bed calls. I hope to write some more on my other blog soon.

Hyvää yötä (Good Night)

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Back to School


Well I have just come home from my second day at 'School'.

I am lucky that here in Oulu they have a lot of expats from all over the world. They have many language courses for those willing to learn. I found a course at somewhere called Villa Victor which is a international activity centre for immigrants and Finns. It is designed to helped ingratiation and prompt understanding between Finns and those who have moved to the local area.

 I am enjoying the learning, it is really hard though as Finnish, like I explained in an earlier post, has a different background than English and as such many words and grammar constructions are totally different from what I am use to. I have tried learning from CDs and books but it just helps to have an interaction. I feel I have learnt move in the last two days than I have in the last year I have been trying to learn. We have about 6 people in my class, all from different places, like Greece, Thailand, Hungary and Spain. We all get on and the teacher is pretty cool. So far we have learnt things like how to shop, asking how you are, countries, numbers and other basic things. So now I have till next Tuesday to relearn and help stick in my mind all my notes from the last two days.

Today is also the first 'Flag Day' since I have arrived. Flag days are specific days in which a Flag is flown in honour or celebration of something like Independence Day or a historical event. Todays Flag day was in celebration of the Birthday of Aleksis Kivi who wrote the first significant novel in the Finnish Language Seitsemän Veljestä (Seven Brothers), it is also the Day of Finnish Literature

I was thinking the other day that even though I am not homesick there are some things I do miss. The most important is the familiarity of the surroundings I had back home, I knew most of the places on the Island and knew how to get everywhere, the people I knew, the people you bumped into randomly (even though it has happened here in Finland at least 4 times). Another most important thing is my friends, I do have friends here in Finland and I am slowly meeting new people but back home I knew people for many years, knew their likes and dislikes and some people I could even have a pretty good guess at what they were thinking. Another is working, I know I have only just got here and will get work eventually but working here will be different and maybe I won't get employment in the same area of work as I am use to. Also I have not seen a single jar of Bovril anywhere.............. think I am going to have to ask my Father to send me some over.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Star shaped Omelets and Gangnam Style.

Sometimes you really should not say something to your wife that she will make you do at some point in the future. This happened when, after watching the Gangnam style video, I stated I could dance like that.

Well I can now safely say that maybe I should reduce my dancing career to dark nightclubs where no one can recognise me and everyone else is dancing like a loon.

Learning a language can be really hard but learning Finnish is just harder, for those who speak English, English is part of the language family called Indo-European and has many things in common with German, Swedish and other Western European languages like grammar construction, words, pronunciation etc. Well Finnish comes from the Uralic language family and has very little in common with English or Western European languges. Even basic words and letters are pronounced differently than we English would pronounce it. I mean 'Y' is pronounced 'ew'. So I have been struggling to learn from CDs that I have acquired but it is just noise and I have such difficulty sometimes understanding them. But today I rang up a place that offers courses for beginners and as off next Tuesday I will be going to 'school' in a manner of speaking. I cannot wait, get to see new sites, learn new things and hopefully start putting some language together.

My Wife has been an assistant in a music class for this week instead of her normal student and as such I have had the pleasure of making her packed lunches this week. I bought her a pink hello kitty lunchbox a few months back but we then found out her lunches would be paid for when she was with her Student. Last night we decided to make omelets but using star shaped pastry cutters that we in a drawer. The first two examples didn't worked but like true pioneers we perceived. We soon produced 6 different flavoured and sized Star shaped omelets, one even contained candy eggs that you get in Haribo sweets.

So fun was had by all. But now I better sign off and do some house work. Enjoy everyone.

Monday, October 1, 2012


Well doomsayers did say 2012 would be the end........... for Oulu, we had a Zombie Invasion but luckily they didn't bite anyone and went home after an hour or so walk around the city.

 It was very cool, having never seen one of these fabled Zombie walks that happen all over the world, it was something different. Last year, the Oulu Zombie Walk had about 200 people taking part, this year I think they may have done a wee bit more than that. Everyone seemed to have fun and there was a big crowd of tag a longs and people lining the main streets watching.

The zombie leaders giving an inspirational speech

Even Zombies obey the traffic signs

Some are even literate

Fuelled by monster Energy

I would've hugged him but was holding my camera.

An unfortunate bystander

I also have a video of the event which I am editing, so will post on my youtube account when I have done it.