Wednesday, 18 December 2013

No job was too small!

When we came to Finland, both Jacob and I were unemployed. Jacob started to look around. I, too, was looking for something I liked to do. 

I did a few weeks in the Oulu University hospital with my nursing background. This was not feasible as I had to look after my entire brood (Indian style)!

Then I saw that the English Cub of Oulu was intending to run English classes for Finnish children. I contacted them. 

The Club Secretary, Pirkko Böhm, asked whether Jacob would do a talk about Indian culture.

Painting of Mother Teresa by Annikki (1984)
1984 Painting of Mother Teresa by Annikki
We constructed an exhibition of all our very rich collections we had brought from India - coins, stamps, antique lamps, my paintings of birds and antiques, batiks, books,  encyclopaedias, magazines and other items from our collection. I myself did the one above one of Mother Teresa. 

Jacob and Annikki (1984)
Jacob and Annikki (1984)

All these were put on display, and I even dressed in a sari! Jacob dressed in his traditional Kerala clothes of the mundu with jubba! [I could not dress in a sari these days as I have outgrown all my blouses! :-)]

It was a great talk as Jacob is a very good professional speaker. He held the audience spellbound. He cleared up many misconceptions about India, but he did call a spade a spade! 

The exhibition was well received. I was pleased with my effort to bring Indian culture to Oulu, my home town. And we made life-long friends.

My English Club English Class students.
My English Club English Class students.
Another of my English Club English Class students.
Another of my English Club English Class students.
As a result of this the English Club of Oulu, which is primarily an organistion to help Finns in Oulu improve their English, asked me to run classes for Finnish children who return from abroad so that they could preserve their English knowledge. Although it was just one hour a week, I did it with great gusto for several years. I had tapes, children's books and I used my own art to teach the chidden. I enjoyed it and I think the children also did.

In the process Jacob and I became Lifetime Members of the English Club, the status we still hold today! 

(Being a Lifetime Member is a good investment as you do not have to pay the membership year after year, you are locked in at a very low price, and the Club has the benefit of getting a larger sum which they can use when in the early stages of its existence!)

Elected as the Chairperson of the English Club of Oulu.
I am holding the gavel!

Later, because of the contribution of both Jacob and me to the running of the English Club of Oulu, I was elected as the Chairperson of the Club. 

During my time as Chairperson we organised many events including a fortnightly talk in English about various issues. Jacob did a wonderful talk about the freedom of the press in India. This was a very controversial period as the fatwa on Salman Rushdie (who was 3 years junior to Jacob from Jacob's school in Bombay, India) was issued at that time!

The moral of this story is that we made some wonderful friends due to a participation in the local clubs of the city, which has lasted us till today. 

It is another part of our Findians Love Story with the citizens of Oulu!

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