AWAY: Searching for friendship in Oulu

I’m sitting in a train, on my way home from Oulu (of all places…) and ponder why I’m humming “Aqua Vera” whilst watching the first season of How I Met Your Mother. That’s when it hits me: I’ve just witnessed my first NESU-Finanssi sitsiparty.

Less than 24 hours ago, I arrived to this northern coastal city with my compatriot Kristoffer Kock, also known as Kocken. Not knowing where we were actually going, we followed a couple of purple overalls hoping that they would lead us to the correct bus that would take us to “destination X” where we would be having our sitsiparty. The theme of the evening was Valentines Day, although in the Finnish language we call it “friendship day”. Thus, we were celebrating the friendship that we have with the different NESU-organs around Finland, and boy what a celebration it was!

Our toastmasters had had the same brilliant idea as Kocken and dressed themselves as the Phantom of the Opera and soon started singing “Helan Går” after an impressive opera performance by one of the toastmasters. I had barely put my glass down before people started chanting “Hanken på bordet!” (meaning that for some odd reason they wanted to have us perform a program) and so Kocken and myself presented the toastmasters with our low-budget gift (no, not all Swedish-speaking Finns are wealthy!) and sang a song for the crowd.

After this abrupt start, the sitz continued with the traditional story of the origin of SAMLING, this mysterious shout people shout many time
s during each sitz. The story changes a bit every time someone tells it, but it always tells a story about how no matter what, NESUits are always there for each other. Thus, it was rather apt to tell the story that honors the virtue of friendship at a sitsiparty with the theme of friendship.

Once Celine Dion’s “My Heart Will Go On” started echoing through the hall, it signaled that the sitsiparty was over and people started moving towards the buss that would take us to the best Oulu has to offer: Kaarlenhovi. This massive bar had everything a student could want, except cheap prices on alcohol. The most memorable moment from that place was when I found the so-called “jam room” where there were a few acoustic instruments you could play. That’s something I had never seen before in my life at a nightclub, so I was in seventh heaven.

What did I learn from this trip to the north, where women fight polar bears and men play Santa Claus? Don’t speak Swedish to the bartender, eat your pizza when you order it and not in the train on the way home and don’t get lost at 4 a.m. Thank you NESU-Finanssi, as Arnold Schwarzenegger said: “I’ll be back!” And next time I promise to join you wherever you decide to go after Kaarlenhovi.

- Kristian Vainio and Kristoffer Kock

NESU-HiV