02 Jun Eeva Simons’s Experience
I heard about Teatime from a friend a couple of weeks ago and I immediately liked the idea – Locals meet Globals – to meet someone from a different country and culture living in your own town, to have a cup of tea or coffee together at this person’s home. It is not so often that Finns open their door to a stranger or even to people they know. It might take years before someone you know invites you to his or her home. But when an immigrant invites you to his or her home, it is a door that opens to a new world.
I got the first invitation last week. I was invited to a person from Iran. It sounded quite exciting, because I don’t have Iran friends, I don’t even know people from Iran – and I don’t know much about this country. It was quite exciting to meet someone who you don’t know and go to his home. I wondered a bit if I should wear a headscarf, do I know how to behave so that I don’t offend him and his culture.
But I didn’t have to worry. When the host opened the door, he was really kind and welcoming. I and my daughters said hi, we shook hands and we went to the kitchen. We felt very welcome. We started to chat around the table even before we got a cup of coffee in our hand. We were talking mostly about the host’s country – its history, language, religion, people, customs. I felt welcome to ask and the host was eager to tell. I got to know a lot about Iran – I was a bit ashamed that I knew so little. But after this Teatime I knew much more and I also became interested to learn more. This is probably one of the goals of the Teatime activity, I guess.
At the end of our meeting I wanted to invite the host to our home. Maybe at my home I get to tell a little bit about my country, something that this person don’t know yet. Or maybe we just drink coffee and chat about the weather and other daily things – who knows. But it can be fun!
I recommend you to encourage yourself – give it a chance! Don’t be afraid – Teatime is great!