According to GOOGLE, the hardest language in the world to learn is Icelandic. It's a mess of sounds and notions with twirls of the tongue and vibrations of the lips which if most people could do they would be making adult films. You need a Masters degree in linguistics to understand Icelandic which is why there are barely two-hundred thousand people living on that rock in the middle of the ocean. Europe stuck them there because they're freaks. Second on the list is Finnish. And like their Icelandic kin, the Fins have opted to create a language so impossible to understand - or write - that no one dares to learn it. When spoken, it sounds like coded gibberish spoken between two six-year-olds on a playground. Even the Chinese think the Fins are hard to understand. And forget trying to spell anything in Finnish - just remember the language was created by heavy, heavy drinkers (maybe you need to be heavy, heavy drunk to understand it) a point made more interesting by the fact that there is no word for "please" in the Finnish language. They just say "gimme" or "I want."
For fun here's zero to ten:
zero - nolla
one - yksi
two - kaksi
three - kolme
four - nelja
five - viisi
six - kuusi
seven - seitseman
eight - kahdeksan
nine - yhdeksan
ten - kymmenen
and here are some of the sounds animals make in Finland:
Dog - how how
Cat - Mow mow
Pig - rrr rrrr
Chicken - kot kot
Horse - he ha
You get the idea. Ask Minna to give you a description when you see her.
The point is, it's a tough language. I have learned, "Thank you" and "Sauna" in Finnish; they are "key-tos" and "sauna" so I'm solid as far as that goes.
The Fins know their language is a wreck and they wisely make their children learn English, Swedish and another foreign language alongside Finnish in school. But that doesn't mean that any of it stuck in their minds. I took eight years of Spanish and I still can't order a meal at Mi Ranchito without using English. "Yo quiero tres tacos and a glass of water. Por favor." Hey, at least I learned "thank you."
If you want to know what languages are third and fourth; they're Hungarian and English. That's American English not Standard British English. I'm assuming Stupid American Teenager Text Message English is truly the hardest language in the world to learn but you need to have at least a rudimentary knowledge of Standard English before you can butcher it down to S.A.T.T.M.E..
In exactly 30 days from now (now you know, so you don't to have to ask) we are hitting the road for Finland and further adventures beyond our American shores. According to the various websites, Finland ranks second in number of disc golf courses just behind America. Of course, America has tens of thousands of courses and Finland has just under 400; so the drop is considerable. But it's interesting that Finland of all places should be the country to really embrace Disc Golf and not other countries with more space. Why not Chad? Or India? I think this says a lot about how slow Canada is in keeping up with America. Canada is the second largest country in the world (area) and it barely has 50 courses. Finland is 65th in overall size and apparently they are using all that space for Disc Golf.
In between now and then there are tournaments to be played, BBQ to be consumed, courses to be revisited, discs to be given away and creditors to be avoided. We spent our off-season down-sizing and then down-sizing again so now we're left with just a single drawer of clothes and a few odds and ends to amuse ourselves until we leave. We're taking our discs on the plane as our carry-on bags and letting our clothes get mangled up under the plane. If something is going to get lost it's not going to be our frisbees. The biggest issue we have is what to take with us and what stays here? AND how do we watch KU games from Europe?
A lot of people have asked so we thought we would answer these questions now.
1. How long will you be gone?
2. Where are you staying?
4. Do foreign chicks like Americans?
1. We have no idea. It could be as little as six weeks or as long as a year. It will be the longest or shortest "90 days of disc golf" segment we've ever undertaken. Our return tickets say six weeks but our desires say a year. The winter Olympics are in Russia next year and it would be great to go see them even though they are an hours drive from Chechyna. Is it worth the risk? Maybe. We would like to play a lot of the countries and see what there is to see. But we would also like to be back in time to play our favorite tournaments next year... So no answer yet.
2. A cottage on a lake in Finland. And yes, it's as awesome as it sounds. We'll post pictures. And when the weather begins to turn cold we're headed to Southern Europe (Italy, Malta or Greece) to ride out the cold weather OR we'll come home.
3. It's four reasons. 1. Medical. I need to have the veins in my legs repaired otherwise I won't be able to walk by Christmas. 2. Minna hasn't been home to see relatives and friends in three years and she needs to see them as much as they need to see her. 3. Touring. The Disc Golf tour in Europe is picking up steam with tournaments in every country every weekend. We are going to play a tournament in a new country every weekend including a tournament in Israel (maybe). The first tournament is the European Open. I will be reporting live from the event RIGHT HERE AND JUST FOR YOU so I hope you're reading; and for DISC GOLFER in the fall issue. The Euro Open will be held about an hour from our cottage in Nokia, and it replaces the USDGC on this year's NT rotation. There is footage on YouTube of the course from 2011 and I recommend looking it up that way you can follow along with the reports. 4. Because we can.
We will post photos of the countries, courses, tournaments, people and other stuff we remember to take pictures of but we won't have the iPhone with us so give us some time to figure out a system. We may have to go back to the crude method of a digital camera, but we don't own one or we can't find it, I can't remember.
Thanks for your support. If you have any European suggestions for us regarding sights to see, courses to play or food to avoid, send us a message.