Towards the horizon

Ylä-Karjalassa harjoittelijana oleva Matthias Bellgardt kertoo arjestaan Suomessa. Matthias on Suomessa pääsiäiseen saakka Hyvärilän Horisontti-hankkeen kautta.

At Work

At Work

In my time here, I work at two different places. At Monday I work at Närekartano as some kind of IT specialist. From Tuesday to Friday I am at Ylä-Karjala. Here I take pictures, work with Photoshop, archive old pictures and last but not least write this blog.

If I had to describe the Finnish working culture in one word, I would say calm.

You could hear a pin drop. It’s not, that they don’t talk, they do it less frequently. They even have a small talk from time to time, I guess. I don’t know for sure, I can’t understand what they are saying, but they seem to have fun. I don’t mind, I myself am not a talkative guy either.

At the coffee breaks there is normally always chatter. I like those breaks, because I have the chance to chat a bit with everyone. Sometimes there is silence. Once I felt a bit uncomfortable, when about ten people remained silent for a minute, a long minute. The famous Finnish silence.

At the newspaper I have a hard time with the computer or better with its default language. They have no license for any other language than Finnish. Before I can use any software, I had to translate every entry and command in the menu. I have now a collection of translation notes near my keyboard, so I can look up. That’s also a way to learn Finnish.

Speaking of keyboards: I struggle with the layout of the keyboards here. I am used to QWERTZ not QWERTY. That means, besides some other changes, that the Z and Y keys are interchanged. It hits me every so often and then I mutter in one’s beard.

I like it that if you get a task, you get free reign to solve it. No one is sitting in your back and monitoring you. Results matter, not how you accomplish them. I was a bit confused in the beginning, because I only got some short instructions and then I was free to go. You have to ask, if you want help or more information.

Shooting photos is my favourite task here. I can go out and explore the area. I can see places, I normally wouldn’t visit. I still feel a bit awkward to stroll around and photograph seemingly random stuff, while people staring at me. Once in a while people start to talk to me. For example, while on my tour an old man talked in Finnish to me. Even when I said en puhu suomea for two or three times, he didn’t stop. He seemed excited and I think he wanted to tell me something about photography, because he pointed at the camera.

Like I said at the beginning I work at Närekartano at Monday. I do some IT related stuff there. At their second hand shop for example, I put Ubuntu, an operating system, on all of the public computers or fixed some drivers. The best part of the job is the food at Närekartano. It’s really good and also inexpensive.

I have to use a bike, which I borrowed from Hyvärilä, to get around and to my workplaces. For insurance reasons I can’t use a car at work. Now that it became warmer and the streets are free from snow and ice, it is much more comfortable to ride a bike. Before that, I often hated it. Especially when the snow started to melt. It was like driving on eggshells. I first liked the snow, but now I would be glad, when it’s gone.
Next time I’m in Finland, it will be in summer.



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