Finland is a land of blond gentle giants. Teenage boys stand 6 foot 2 – the women all look fit. Too, in their manner, in the way they look out on the world, at the way they peer down on me when I ask, “Do you speak English?” and they say “Of course, ” they come across as quiet, ponderous people. They are a multilingual race. Most speak Finnish, and Swedish, the language of their close neighbor, and English, the international language of business.
Sitting at the 4th Enterprise Architecture Conference held at Aalto University (Finnish: Aalto-yliopisto, Swedish: Aalto-universitetet), where I had come to hear my older brother Steve give a presentation on EA, I am impressed by the charisma of the conference director, Mika Helenius, as he launches the start of the presentations on Thursday (Finnish: torstai, Swedish: torsdog). The talks are all given in English, though English is not the first language of most of the conference participants.
After the conference we had a nice buffet dinner at the university. Mika sat me next to a university student getting his degree in computer science. I talked to him about my long career in computer science, and about my coming trip to Russia where I planned to visit crystal mines. He seemed interested, so I showed him sample crystals I brought from home, crystals I had hand dug in Arkansas. When I saw the sparkle in his eyes, I let him have the crystal of his choice.
On Friday Steve and I walked about town, mostly over to Market Square and the wharf. There we found a tourist market with berry stalls, handicraft stalls and food stalls with salmon, crayfish, octopus, and vegetables. I had fried crayfish with vegetables – most excellent, and blueberries for dessert (the berries are large and light and sweet).
After dinner tonight with a colleague of Steve’s, tomorrow we fly off to Thailand.