AROUND LA WITH AVA®: MAY-nia

Ava Anttila by Jonny Kahleyn Dieb

Ava Anttila by Jonny Kahleyn Dieb

AROUND LA WITH AVA®: MAY-nia

What is so fair as a beautiful day in May??

What is so fair as a beautiful day in May??   Nothing –when some 150 fine Finns show up at your home with smiles on their faces..

What is so fair as a beautiful day in May??
Nothing –when some 150 fine Finns show up at your home with smiles on their faces..

Nothing –when some 150 fine Finns show up at your home with smiles on their faces, ylioppilaislakit [graduation caps] on their heads, and the promise of Summer in their souls. Add some homemade Finnish Sima, some Spanish Cava, some Danish Carlsberg on tap, some California Savingon Blanc, and a ‘groaning board’ buffet of homemade traditional Finnish foods. The scents of sausage, salmon, and herring are magnetic for Finns, of course.   Now, you have the prospects of a flurry of fun reminiscent of the best of times in our homeland.

The scents of sausage, salmon, and herring are magnetic for Finns, of course.

The scents of sausage, salmon, and herring are magnetic for Finns, of course.

On 2 May, the sky was as blue as the Finnish flag flying high on the 30’ flag pole. The air was as fresh as at a Finnish lakeside cabin. The sun was pleasantly warm. The Finnish American Chamber of Commerce had invited all local Finns to celebrate VAPPU as their guests. And, people responded in such an enthusiastic way that reservation requests exceeded normal capacity in such numbers that a ‘waiting list’ was established before an imaginative Board member suggested ‘phasing’ arrival times so we could welcome all who wished to attend.

n 2 May, the sky was as blue as the Finnish flag flying high on the 30’ flag pole.

n 2 May, the sky was as blue as the Finnish flag flying high on the 30’ flag pole.

And, so, suddenly my festively decorated back yard was ‘Chock-Full-of-Finns’ having fun! To quote hardworking FACC Board member Eila Kopra, “…it was a blast!!”

To quote hardworking FACC Board member Eila Kopra, “…it was a blast!!”

To quote hardworking FACC Board member Eila Kopra, “…it was a blast!!” (double click to view larger photo)

The smile on my face stemmed from the vivid recollections of 30 years of the FACC facilitating the camaraderie and networking of Finns from all walks of life and the sharing of the Suomi traditions that bind us together as cultural kin.   My muse, the late Greta Peck, taught me that people love a party. She knew that it is hard to fuss when you are having fun. And, the FACC was back to doing that most satisfying of FACC business! I am sure Greta was smiling too.

The Finnish American Chamber of Commerce had invited all local Finns to celebrate VAPPU as their guests.

The Finnish American Chamber of Commerce had invited all local Finns to celebrate VAPPU as their guests.

Spring On Steroids?

Does it seem to you like this May has been a “Spring on Steroids”? Somehow, since Easter, there has not been a moment to sit down or to catch a breath.

Sisu Is In the Heart, FACC’s Vappu, Mothers’ Day, Cinco de Mayo, the Scandinavian Festival at Cal Lutheran, Suomi Kirkko services/coffees, the Consulate General’s Friends of Finland planning meeting, Finnish elections, garden tours, mandated Fire Department brush clearance, venue openings, spring festivals of all kinds—all leading up to Memorial Day weekend which is celebrated early this year! It is like flowers bursting open and blooming all over the place.

And, it seems, half of the people on this planet have May birthdays!!

Annual Scandinavian Festival

Finland stood proud as Consul General JP Markkanen and the Katirilli Dancers enthusiastically represented Finland at the Annual Scandinavian Festival in Thousand Oaks.

Consul General JP Markkanen and the Katirilli Dancers at the Annual Scandinavian Festival in Thousand Oaks

Consul General JP Markkanen and the Katirilli Dancers at the Annual Scandinavian Festival in Thousand Oaks

FACC Board member Joann Scott had her traditional Travel By Scott booth to help us all plan our Summer trips.

Word went out about the FACC Vappu Mayday party and registrations began to pour in.

Friends of Finland Working Meeting

Consul General Markkanen hosted a productive working breakfast meeting at the Consular residence. A group of active Finns participated by sharing news of their programs for the remaining year, as well as, hearing preliminary plans for Finland’s 100 Year Celebration.

Consul General Markkanen hosted a productive working breakfast meeting at the Consular residence (double click to view larger photo)

Consul General Markkanen hosted a productive working breakfast meeting at the Consular residence (double click to view larger photo)

Sima

What does every Finn have on mind in late April? It is time to make Sima, of course!

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For whatever reason, the lemon trees in our City of Angels have had a rough time. Well, at least mine did. This was the first year, ever, that it was necessary to buy lemons to supplement the meager crop on the normally trusty tree that sits outside the dining room window. [Perhaps it’s the drought –or, maybe, we are being too conscientious in listening to our Governor’s pleas to conserve water. At times it seems he wants the whole state to become his last name!]

his was the first year, ever, that it was necessary to buy lemons to supplement the meager crop on the normally trusty tree that sits outside the dining room window.

his was the first year, ever, that it was necessary to buy lemons to supplement the meager crop on the normally trusty tree that sits outside the dining room window.

This year I could have used our usual bumper lemon crop. With the FACC Vappu Party pending, much Sima was needed—if our calculations were correct, we would need up to 10 gallons [= 24 1.5 liter bottles] to serve the large crowd we hoped would attend. There was a lot of mathematics, metric conversions, and logistics to make the Sima production work. Considerable advance planning had to go into unconventional concerns such as coming up with a sufficient quantity of empty 1.5 liter wine bottles (and corks) in which to ferment and store the tasty lemon product, once produced. After all, someone had to make full bottles empty so they could be sterilized and re-filled—right? It is tough work, but someone had to do it in a timely manner. Oh, the sacrifices we make to serve Finland!!

My family Sima recipe has been presented in years past in Around LA with Ava®. You know the basic ingredients and the traditional process: lemons, brown sugar and white sugar, yeast, and cool clear water–peel, slice, boil, strain, cool, sterilize bottles and corks, pour, cool, cap, refrigerate—pray.  Repeat as necessary to get to 10 gallons!   Don’t forget the raisins—three per bottle to announce ‘done’ when the raisins rise to the top of the bottle to signal success in the fermentation process.

My family Sima recipe has been presented in years past in Around LA with Ava®. You know the basic ingredients and the traditional process: lemons, brown sugar and white sugar, yeast, and cool clear water--peel, slice, boil, strain, cool, sterilize bottles and corks, pour, cool, cap, refrigerate—pray.  Repeat as necessary to get to 10 gallons!   Don’t forget the raisins—three per bottle to announce ‘done’ when the raisins rise to the top of the bottle to signal success in the fermentation process.

My family Sima recipe has been presented in years past in Around LA with Ava®. You know the basic ingredients and the traditional process: lemons, brown sugar and white sugar, yeast, and cool clear water–peel, slice, boil, strain, cool, sterilize bottles and corks, pour, cool, cap, refrigerate—pray. Repeat as necessary to get to 10 gallons! Don’t forget the raisins—three per bottle to announce ‘done’ when the raisins rise to the top of the bottle to signal success in the fermentation process (double click to view larger photo)

This year’s project involved most every large pot on the premises ‘cranking’ on a 6 burner stove. At times I felt like one mad Finnish scientist with pots bubbling on burners, sheets of calculations, piles of bottles and corks to be sterilized, and lots of late night steamy windows suggesting to neighbors and passers-by that something nefarious was happening in the kitchen!

Sisu

On the Sunday preceding the FACC Vappu party, I had agreed to host a ‘Sisu Circle’ for the Sisu Is In the Heart project. This unique project is sponsored by the Consulate General of Finland and Finlandia Foundation National [and others].   It seeks to weave together expressions shared in discussions in ‘story circles’ built around Finns and Finnish-Americans in communities around the United States. The premise of sharing Sisu stories brings focus on the importance of communicating with younger generations about the concept and the experience of Sisu.

Sisu Is In the Heart,

Sisu Is In the Heart (double click to view larger photo)

Park Cofield (Project Director) and Saara Wacklin* (Community Manager) orchestrated a wonderful program which included a presentation on the history of Finnish vaivaisukot [“pauper statues”]. Park brought the statue puppet of his own Grandfather he is working on as part of the project.

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After lively, focused discussions took place, the ‘circles’ were combined into one ‘community circle’ at the end to share the day’s experience and revelations.

Once briefed on the Sisu project, progress, and plans, the large group broke up into three individual ‘story circles’ under project leaders.   After lively, focused discussions took place, the ‘circles’ were combined into one ‘community circle’ at the end to share the day’s experience and revelations. Consul General Markkanen was present –as were many other thought and action leaders from the Finnish community.

*Saara was Producer of The Snow Leopard’s Den in Santa Monica last Fall.

Closing the Loop

The Sisu Circle came ‘full circle’ in the following weekend’s Vappu Event. All generations of living Finns were present from beautiful babies and lively children to seasoned citizens –all enjoying each other’s company, their good times rooted in their Finnish connection, and their good spirits lifted by the music of the Alek Hautanen Band. The Sima, champagne, and Carlsberg may have helped a bit!

All generations of living Finns were present from beautiful babies and lively children to seasoned citizens –all enjoying each other’s company, their good times rooted in their Finnish connection, and their good spirits lifted by the music of the Alek Hautanen Band.

All generations of living Finns were present from beautiful babies and lively children to seasoned citizens –all enjoying each other’s company, their good times rooted in their Finnish connection, and their good spirits lifted by the music of the Alek Hautanen Band.

Park and Saara were present as guests, along with Consul General JP Markkanen and his wife Tuula, both among many donning their ylioppilaislakit. One enterprising American graduate wore his ‘mortar board’ as a tribute to his Finnish kin’s tradition. Another Helsinki tradition is for a student to climb the Havis Amanda statue to put a ylioppilaslakki on her head—we did not attempt to recreate that feat even though we heard that this year the cap arrived by ‘helicoptering’ drone!

All generations of living Finns were present from beautiful babies and lively children to seasoned citizens..

All generations of living Finns were present from beautiful babies and lively children to seasoned citizens..

Taking a Pass

In the week between Sisu and Vappu, I had the opportunity to attend a dinner with The Right Honorable Tony Blair, former British Prime Minister. A few years back, a similar intimate gathering with Margaret Thatcher was so memorable I really wanted to say ‘yes’ to the invitation despite the awkward timing. This was an event of the revered Pacific Council on International Policy where discretion is the rule and decorum is the standard for events.

In the week between Sisu and Vappu, I had the opportunity to attend a dinner with The Right Honorable Tony Blair, former British Prime Minister.

In the week between Sisu and Vappu, I had the opportunity to attend a dinner with The Right Honorable Tony Blair, former British Prime Minister.

Our City of Angeles draws our national political figures [not just because we are the ATM of American politics] and world leaders of every ilk. LA provides the ultimate stage (literally and figuratively) to promote and publicize their message in what often feels like the center of the universe. The opportunities to experience, meet, and interact are endless here. As far as we are from the Continent, getting to hear and interact directly with world leaders without the blather and filter of media is always a refreshing experience.

The rumblings of escalating attendance numbers from Eila (registrar pro temp) after the Scandinavian Festival for the pending FACC Vappu event were so overwhelming that I said “no” to the lure of world political luminaries—there were gallons of Sima and a mountain of Finnish food to prepare!!

Other Pleasant Distractions

In addition to the big FACC Vappu production, the SCAN Foundation meeting in Palos Verdes was gearing up for important happenings leading up to their Summer activities, including their big Midsummer Party on June 27th.   As Finland’s representative on the SCAN Board for the last several years, it was important for me to attend the scheduled planning meeting to give my “two cent’s worth”.

On arriving home after the SCAN meeting, I checked the 10 gallons of bottled Sima and found the raisins rising in the bottles temporarily ‘stored’ on the dining room table. To my chagrin, those many bottles had started to pop their corks and spilled Sima was leaking off of the table and on to the hardwood floor!

After reattaching the corks, washing off the many bottles, and cleaning up the table and floor mess, I decided that, if the dining room chandelier was not to be obliterated by popping corks, the 24 1.5 liter bottles needed to be moved to the unheated, fully tiled, handicapped bathroom with a floor drain just off of the dining room. The planned fermentation had moved to the point where it was OK to put the Sima under refrigeration—but not tonight!

Alek Hautanen

Alek Hautanen

The next day, the Alek Hautanen Band members came to discuss the FACC expectations for their pending Vappu engagement and to check out the premises for optimum performance. As we sat around the [neat and cleaned] dining room table with our coffee and cookies discussing Vappu music, strange disconcerting popping sounds came from the nearby bathroom. Of course, the ‘noise’ caught everyone’s attention. Even with what I knew, I could not keep from snickering!

Those sweet young men were amused—and helpful, as we scrambled to save the ‘exploding’ bottles and re-apply the corks. All were maniacally rescued and refrigerated.

That madcap episode was like an old “I Love Lucy” episode!

A Super Soldier Celebrates

It is one thing to discuss Sisu as a cultural trait in a sociological study of our forefathers [and mothers]; it is an altogether different matter to celebrate one of those who defined the trait by their actions and lives.

I was honored to be a guest as one of our two remaining local Finnish War Veterans, Mark Salo, celebrated his 90th birthday.

I was honored to be a guest as one of our two remaining local Finnish War Veterans, Mark Salo, celebrated his 90th birthday.

I was honored to be a guest as one of our two remaining local Finnish War Veterans, Mark Salo, celebrated his 90th birthday. [We have two Lottas, too.] Mark is not only a Finnish War Veteran, he is an American War Veteran too, having served in the Korean conflict. Talk about blooming where you are planted –some people just take care of business!

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The event was hosted by Risto and Robert Salo and families at the iconic 1920’s Tam O’Shantor Restaurant in Los Feliz, just a few blocks from Mark and Eeva-Liisa’s home.

The invitation asked for no gifts, but a message for a remembrance book was welcomed. Of course, I could not resist honoring that request. [My message to Mark is in the Afterword.]

The event was hosted by Risto and Robert Salo and families at the iconic 1920’s Tam O’Shantor Restaurant in Los Feliz, just a few blocks from Mark and Eeva-Liisa’s home. The loving and proud Salo clan [including Mark’s brother Sulo and Sulo’s daughter Linda] arranged an homage to Mark that included presentation of a flag stantion by Pauli Majamaki of Suomi Kerho to Mark for his role as one of the original Finnish Club founding members. The birthday cake featured beautifully depicted Finnish and American flags, as well.

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The legacy of awesomeness of the Salo family is what the Finnish community stands for –as is the way they raised their children, lived their lives, and honor their countries –a fine and proud legacy indeed. It was such an honor and joy to be included as a guest at this occasion.

The legacy of awesomeness of the Salo family is what the Finnish community stands for...

The legacy of awesomeness of the Salo family is what the Finnish community stands for…

Party On—If the Weather Holds

Stepping out of the dark, traditional, clubby Scottish Tam O’Shantor ambiance that was a cool respite from what had been our very dry, very hot LA normal, I suddenly faced a knock-out downpour of rain!   This ‘hostess-to-be’ [tomorrow!] for the Sisu Is In The Heart event planned as a garden venue because of the large number of guests experienced a little ‘gear-switching mania’ running down the 101 Freeway to get back to work!

FACC Vappu Event

Looking back, it was amazing that just six days after the Sisu Is In The Heart program, the FACC hosted one of the most special and touching assemblies the Finnish community has experienced in many years. What a week!!! We got to study Sisu, to celebrate the longevity of a Sisu soldier, and to experience the need for Sisu as we geared up for the happy hoards who arrived to welcome Spring in a wondrous Finnish way. The Finnish blue skies and the generations of smiles enjoying their Finnish heritage at work made me smile!!

Sometimes it is fun to be a Finn.

Creative Solutions to Joyous Problems

The FACC Vappu party was so popular that a waiting list became necessary. As noted, that wonderful problem was solved by creating a ‘second shift’.

President of the FACC Michael Berlin welcomed the multi-generation crowd and introduced Consul General and Mrs. JP Markkanen.   Dr. Berlin gave background about Vappu history and traditions. As hostess, I shared local history of past events and remembered our own “Havis Amanda”, the late Greta Peck, who is always in our hearts.

The Finnish American Chamber of Commerce and Vappu were linked for decades because of Greta. For so many years, Greta Peck was our gracious and lovely hostess who made sure Vappu was properly celebrated by welcoming us all to her home.

The Finnish American Chamber of Commerce and Vappu were linked for decades because of Greta. For so many years, Greta Peck was our gracious and lovely hostess who made sure Vappu was properly celebrated by welcoming us all to her home.

The revitalized FACC set out to rekindle a great tradition that was always an energizer for Finnish pride and participation. I tried to duplicate much of the menu we had at Greta’s home in years past, including my grandmother’s Pih-mummin Makkara and Finnish potatoes with dill which Greta used to ask me to make ‘back when’.

One of many memorable Vappu celebrations at Greta’s was one where a beloved and productive Consul General from the past, Maria Serenius, met the Finnish community for the first time during her tenure here. The new Consul General learned quickly that there were enthusiastic Finns around LA and that the FACC was a reliable ally for promoting Finland by both word and deed.

One of many memorable Vappu celebrations at Greta’s was one where a beloved and productive Consul General from the past, Maria Serenius, met the Finnish community for the first time during her tenure here.

[Coincidentally, I received an e-mail from Ambassador Emeritus Serenius just after Vappu. While she is now officially retired after serving as Finland’s Ambassador to Turkey and Finland’s Ambassador to Latvia, she continues to serve Finland in an advisory role on Mideast affairs.]

More Vappu

Among the many distinguished Vappu guests were Mikko Setelä of Rovio and his wife, Marie. The Setelä’s kindly provided exciting Angry Birds raffle prizes. The Rovio created Angry Birds also had a busy month having participated at the 137th White House Easter Egg Roll in Washington, DC. Over 30,000 enjoyed those White House lawn festivities, especially posing with the Angry Birds characters.

Among the many distinguished Vappu guests were Mikko Setelä of Rovio and his wife, Marie.

Among the many distinguished Vappu guests were Mikko Setelä of Rovio and his wife, Marie.

The Angry Birds game [released in 2009] became an instant phenomenon and is now the most downloaded ‘app’ ever!  In good Finnish tradition, Rovio is now focused significantly on educational issues while cooperating with NASA and the National Geographic Society in making learning fun and engaging for children.

The Angry Birds game [released in 2009] became an instant phenomenon and is now the most downloaded ‘app’ ever!

The Angry Birds game [released in 2009] became an instant phenomenon and is now the most downloaded ‘app’ ever!

Finnish actress Nina Sallinen served as the FACC’s Vappu Raffle ‘Celebrity Prize # Drawer’ and ‘Presenter’ for the Raffle.   Our Star added a Hollywood spark and a touch of class that put an even bigger smile on the winners’ happy faces!

Mothers’ Day at the Finnish Lutheran Church

A special Mothers’ Day themed service was held with the Reverend Jarmo Tarkki officiating at Suomikirkko in Santa Monica. This was a special occasion, indeed, as the Reverend Auvo Naukkarinen of the Temppeliaukkionkirkko (The Rock Church) in Helsinki delivered the sermon.   Readers included Anita Finifrock in English and Pirkko Bastecki in Finnish.

This was a special occasion, indeed, as the Reverend Auvo Naukkarinen of the Temppeliaukkionkirkko (The Rock Church) in Helsinki delivered the sermon.

This was a special occasion, indeed, as the Reverend Auvo Naukkarinen of the Temppeliaukkionkirkko (The Rock Church) in Helsinki delivered the sermon.

Finnish Mothers are revered and respected. The Annual Scorecard Index by Save the Children ranked Finland as the 2nd best place in the world to be a mother (after Norway, this time). The study rates 179 countries based on 5 indicators related to maternal health, education, income levels, and status of women. The US ranked 33rd.

The Annual Scorecard Index by Save the Children ranked Finland as the 2nd best place in the world to be a mother.

The Annual Scorecard Index by Save the Children ranked Finland as the 2nd best place in the world to be a mother.

AFTERWORD

Vappu 2015 Menu

Keisarinsalaati Suomalaiseen Tapaan (Finnish Caesar Salad)

Makarooni Salaati (Macaroni Salad with Olives)

Kaalisalaatti (Green Cabbage Salad)

Musta Papupaprikasalaatti (Black Bean Salad with Red, Yellow, and Orange Peppers)

Sillisalaati Kurrikastikkeessa (Curried Herring with Green Grapes and Red Onions)

Ruisleipä Viipalietä (Buttered Rye Bread)

Keitetty Lohi Tilli Kastikkeen Kera (Poached Whole Salmon with Arugula Pesto Dill Sauce)

Savustettu Kinkku (Smoked Ham)

Pih-mummin Makkara Ja Sinappi (Tomato, Cheese, & Onion Stuffed Pork Smoked Sausage with Mustard)

Pih-mummin Makkara Ja Sinappi (Tomato, Cheese, & Onion Stuffed Beef Smoked Sausage with Mustard)

Suomalaiset Paistetut Perunat (Finnish Pan Fried Potatoes with Dill)

Pinaatti Piirakka (Spinach Pie)

Purjo Laattikko (“Leek Box” Casserole)

Porkkanat Kastikkeessa (Carrots in Brown Butter with Balsamic Sauce)

Juustotarjotin (Assorted Cheeses, Fruit, Crackers)

“Täytekakku Trifle” (May Day Spring Fruit and Cake Trifle)

Pulla Paistos (Bread Pudding with Vanilla Sauce)

Kahvi (Coffee)

Sima (Homemade Finnish Fermented Lemon Mead)

Carlsberg on Tap

Modavi Sauvignon Blanc

Cava de Espania

AVA ANTTILA’S ODE TO MARK SALO AT 90

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Back in 1997, the Finnish American Chamber of Commerce took on a most rewarding project –one that continues in my life today. That year marked the 80th year of Finnish Independence. The FACC leadership and membership were dedicated to get to know the Finnish War Veterans and Lottas in our region.   We enlisted and got the support of all local Finnish organizations. We diligently sought out all Veterans and Lottas to give them honor and personal recognition as our guests at a grand event.

We wanted to hear from each Veteran and, individually and collectively, to feature them as our Guests of Honor. A special Program was planned. Finns and friends of Finland turned out in record numbers and with great enthusiasm. The President of Finland sent his personal greeting and message of appreciation to our Honorees. Veterans and Lottas were invited to submit photos and brief biographies which were assembled into a special Memory Book. A Wall of Honor showed more history and memorabilia from the Winter War and the Continuation War. A full orchestra played a rousing march as the Veterans and Lottas entered the packed ballroom to a standing ovation—eyes front, backs straight, chests expanded and bedecked with medals hard earned. What a memorable assembly. Finnish Pride on parade!! There was not a dry eye in the house.

In doing the research for the Program, there was one name that stood out among the heroes and heroines we were going to honor. This individual had not only served Finland in war, he had also served in the American armed forces during the Korean War. This amazing dual patriot was Mark Salo.

It has been fun to get to know Mark and his wife Eeva-Liisa through the ensuing years. My mother and father (Ari and Raija Anttila) so enjoyed their interactions with Mark and Eeva-Liisa at the Finnish Church, the Veterans Support Group, and other gatherings of So Cal Finns. We continued to be impressed with Mark in his willingness to be supportive and helpful. He served the Church and the Veteraani Tuki in leadership positions.

Mark epitomizes the finest Finnish character trait of noble, quiet dignity. He does things competently with a generosity of spirit, not bringing any attention to himself. He is a true gentleman.

What a grand occasion to celebrate Mark on his 90th birthday. I will be looking for him at Finland’s and his 100th Birthday!

MARK, you make the Finnish community proud!

Best wishes for good luck, good health, and great happiness!!

PALJON ONNEA!!

Advance voting in the United States for the parliamentary elections of 2015

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Advance voting in the United States for the parliamentary elections of 2015

Advance voting for the parliamentary elections of spring 2015 is possible in the United States on April 8 – 11. The parliamentary elections take place in Finland on Sunday, April 19.

Every Finnish citizen who has reached the age of 18 years not later than on Election Day (April 19) is entitled to vote in the 2015 parliamentary elections regardless of the place of residence.

A passport or other official identity card must be presented at the polling station. It is also good to take the notice of your right to vote with you, but it is also possible to vote without it.

A person entitled to vote who lives abroad will be notified by post if the register office of his or her last place of residence in Finland has the correct address.
List of polling stations and opening hours on the website http://tulospalvelu.vaalit.fi/E-2015/en/uap_840.html

 

Further information on the embassy’s website www.finland.org and

 

Embassy of Finland, Washington
Tel. +1-202-298 5800,

 

Consulate General of Finland, New York
Tel. +1-212-750 4400,

 

Consulate General of Finland, Los Angeles
Tel. +1-310-203 9903,

AROUND LA WITH AVA®: Flower Power

Ava Anttila by Jonny Kahleyn Dieb

Ava Anttila by Jonny Kahleyn Dieb

AROUND LA WITH AVA®: Flower Power

Coachella Bound

The road trip to the Concert venue was complete with psychedelic vans, “magic buses”, cars with signs, RVs side-by-side with stretch limousines –all caravanning out toward the desert for the Easter weekend session of the Coachella Music Festival.  It was like Berkeley and the days of Woodstock, all over again!!  Those were the days!!!

 It was like Berkeley and the days of Woodstock, all over again!!  Those were the days!!!

It was like Berkeley and the days of Woodstock, all over again!! Those were the days!!!

Just like the ‘good ole daze’, the road was crowded with vehicles filled to overflowing with bare-chested, tanned, excited young people with “Coachella” signs and painted slogans—someone’s adventurous progeny sharing rides for the big happening.  One car had painted a sketch of a snail and the labeling word “Slowchella” on its side*–an appropriate ‘moniker’ for the state of the traffic out to the desert in Coachella Valley!

* The reference was likely a recollection of last year’s notable art: a 30-foot-tall snail slowly slithering its way across a field. 

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…the road was crowded with vehicles filled to overflowing with bare-chested, tanned, excited young people with “Coachella” signs and painted slogans.

The Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival [commonly known simply as ‘Coachella’] started in 1999.  Coachella takes place over two Spring weekends in Indio, California—near Palm Springs.  Continuous music (hip hop, rock, indie, …) takes place on several stages among sculpture installations in the midst of what was once a polo venue in the California desert.  It is one of the largest (and most profitable) music festivals in the United States.  Last year’s festival has been estimated to have made over $60 million.

Hot Rocks Rock Hard

Apparently this year’s Coachella tickets sold out immediately.  They ‘ went like hotcakes’ or niinkuin kuumille kiville (like onto hot rocks) even though ‘regular’ tickets cost $450 per person per weekend [the steerage level cost only $375]!   And, boy, were there hot rocks out there in that 100º+F heat even before they cranked the hot rocking music!

Actually, Coachella has become so ‘in’ that premium packages have begun to evolve in our ‘see and be seen’ society.

I was tempted to ask, rhetorically, how people can afford such steep admission rates in this ‘iffy’ California economy, but I remembered that we all choose our priorities, all fun has a price, and making decisions is part of growing up.  Actually, Coachella has become so ‘in’ that premium packages have begun to evolve in our ‘see and be seen’ society.  Oh well, it is a very well run, well publicized, and social media hyped event.

Who ‘s News/What ‘s New?

This year’s festival included Arcade Fire, Lorde, Outkast, The Replacements, Pharrel Williams, Beck, Queens of the Stone Age, Preservation Hall Band, and many others.  [Yes, the old ‘coots’ from Preservation Hall in New Orleans still kick jazz that rocks in the 21st Century!]

The security for such an event is cleverly designed and involves specially activated bracelets that are sent to you along with your ticket materials in a fancy, cigar box like container.  They know you are coming from a mile away—literally!

Crocheted tops, layered long skirts, and floppy sun hats are perfect for the 100º degree weather and seemed to abound

Crocheted tops, layered long skirts, and floppy sun hats are perfect for the 100º degree weather and seemed to abound

For the adventurous, camping and RV spots have been available on site for the last few years […show me the way to go home!].  Recent additions have included showers, charging stations, and free Internet/WiFi facilities.  At Woodstock, the only showers came from the sky—and left lots of mud behind!  No mud (but lots of sweat) in the desert.

Ambience and glamour seem to have taken over Coachella.  For those dropping in for VIP tents, lawn parties, and late-night mansion soirees seeking to be free of the “carpoolchella” sweat snarled traffic, a $1,500/30 minute flight on SurfAir provided roundtrip convenience.  Or, you could enjoy life in a $6,550 “safari” tent (for two) that includes concierge service [whatever that means].  The paparazzi are there to catch photos of ‘whatever’ as long as ‘whomever’ is in frame.  Some celebrities try to go incognito—some celebrities bring stylists along for preparing their Coachella wardrobes/styles that will be watched and copied as new ‘trends’.  [Doing both when the paparazzi are nearby is the new PR gimmick.]  Clothing companies are promoting their lines and their brands.  Crocheted tops, layered long skirts, and floppy sun hats are perfect for the 100º degree weather and seemed to abound.  It is clear that this has become America’s most glamorous Music Festival and a “must be seen” destination for Young Hollywood.

Sounds like next year’s “…sooo last year” to me!

Old School/New School

Jackknifed trucks, downed motorcycles, and the normal Friday get-away traffic were relatively painless for me since my Son was driving the family van with GPS traffic apps that he actually knows how to use, 4+ freeway lanes our way, and a rolling Cineplex showing Disney movies to the most precious human cargo—the little ones.  While he was sweating the details of idiot drivers, alternate routes, and fuel consumption, I stopped video watching long enough to produce a great charcuterie: bacon wrapped blue cheese stuffed dates matched with French cheese (Delice de Bourgogne) on Finn crisp, which I passed front from the back seat.  Except for the children wondering what the ‘funny smell’ was, the trip was quite pleasant even with a GPS suggested detour through Chino.  The Chino jaunt took us along surface roads lined with prisons on one side and cattle grazing behind their enclosures on the other side.

Was that smell cheese or Chino??  Or, were we just getting close to Coachella???

Splash Down

Jumping into a cool swimming pool at your destination is a nice punctuation point to a pleasant trip.  I so enjoy breathing in the lovely desert air—it feels so fresh and ‘light’.  Turning down the RPMs for several days makes the ‘voyage’ worthwhile.

 I so enjoy breathing in the lovely desert air—it feels so fresh and ‘light’.

I so enjoy breathing in the lovely desert air—it feels so fresh and ‘light’.

The Springs in Spring

An Easter family reunion with my younger generations happened at The Springs in Palm Desert this Spring.  I was the only Boomer around and did my best not to spoil everyone else’s fun with ‘been there/done that’ stories. Though I was daydreaming of the past… Flower Power rock concerts attended in the ‘60s and ‘70s: Jimi Hendrix, Iron Butterfly, the Rolling Stones, Glenn Yarborough, Sonny and Cher; in the ‘80s: Oingo Boingo, Poison, the Rolling Stones… . 

Spring is the perfect time to make a drive to the desert, or anywhere out of LA.  Spring flowers abound.  That is what Spring is all about.

The wildflowers put on quite a show.  Here, in our City of Angels, orange poppies (the California State Flower) are popping out of cracks in the sidewalk, as well as, exploding on the sides of the freeways.

The wildflowers put on quite a show. Here, in our City of Angels, orange poppies (the California State Flower) are popping out of cracks in the sidewalk, as well as, exploding on the sides of the freeways.

The wildflowers put on quite a show.  Here, in our City of Angels, orange poppies (the California State Flower) are popping out of cracks in the sidewalk, as well as, exploding on the sides of the freeways.  Even with California’s serious drought (and alleged lack of Seasons), Spring is here –and the flowers prove it!

Of Poppies and Flower Power…

Marimekko’s Unikko celebrates its 50th Anniversary.

Maija Isola’s iconic Unikko (poppy) print pattern dates to 1964.  This year is a big celebration.

Maija Isola’s iconic Unikko (poppy) print pattern dates to 1964. This year is a big celebration.

Maija Isola’s iconic Unikko (poppy) print pattern dates to 1964.  This year is a big celebration.

Probably every Finn has some item with the Unikko pattern.  Sometimes you cannot stop creative impetus—or “Flower Power”.  Apparently Armi Ratia (the founder of Marimekko in 1951) was adamant that there would never be a “floral” pattern in the Marimekko line.  Somehow, Maija Isola’s creative spirit won out –and, look where we are now!

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I ran into Tuula Markkanen, wife of the Finnish Consul General in Los Angeles carrying (wait for it…wait for it) a Unikko bag, of course!!

Morning coffee comes from a Unikko tin and is drunk from a Unikko cup set on a Unikko tablecloth poured from a Unikko pot held by a Unikko potholder before the day starts but after drying off from our shower with a Unikko towel which we store in a Unikko bag along with our cell phone in a Unikko pouch, next to our Unikko notebook, Unikko cosmetic bag, and Unikko eyeglass holder. Whew!!  I am out of breath and worn out—and that was just the first minutes of a Unikko day.

Apparently Armi Ratia (the founder of Marimekko in 1951) was adamant that there would never be a “floral” pattern in the Marimekko line.  Somehow, Maija Isola’s creative spirit won out –and, look where we are now!

Apparently Armi Ratia (the founder of Marimekko in 1951) was adamant that there would never be a “floral” pattern in the Marimekko line. Somehow, Maija Isola’s creative spirit won out –and, look where we are now!

As I was contemplating all of this glamorous history and composing the ‘clever’ construct, I went to the Post Office on Sunset and Barrington.  I ran into Tuula Markkanen, wife of the Finnish Consul General in Los Angeles carrying (wait for it…wait for it) a Unikko bag, of course!!

Consul General Markkanen had the Finnish American Chamber of Commerce Board for a business breakfast meeting at the Consular Residence recently. We were all inspired and delighted with the lovely Spring table that was set with the pink and green Unikko tablecloth.  Darn, I had the exact pattern in matching clogs I could have worn for the occasion!  There I was in my new Marimekko Converse ‘high tops’ that matched my outfit.  I doubt that the Consul General noticed, however.

Darn, I had the exact pattern in matching clogs I could have worn for the occasion!

Darn, I had the exact pattern in matching clogs I could have worn for the occasion!

So, Unikko is ubiquitous.  Don’t you find a smile on your face and feel a twinge of Finnish delight when you get a glimpse of that pattern while out and about anywhere in the world?  Someone else loves Finland too—whether they know it or not.

A Marimekko Flower Child Hosts A Global Cultural Event

My Berkeley classmate of ‘then’, Joanne Jackson (famous woman LA architect, ultimate Finnophile, and Marimekko fan) hosted an event featuring international scholar, Kalpana Sharma.  Ms. Sharma was in LA by special invitation to speak elsewhere on her decades of writing about women’s issues in South Asia.

My Berkeley classmate of ‘then’, Joanne Jackson (famous woman LA architect, ultimate Finnophile, and Marimekko fan) hosted an event featuring international scholar, Kalpana Sharma.

My Berkeley classmate of ‘then’, Joanne Jackson (famous woman LA architect, ultimate Finnophile, and Marimekko fan) hosted an event featuring international scholar, Kalpana Sharma.

Joanne’s home is her own beautiful architectural creation with an awesome view and a most interesting visual perspective of LA.  That magnificent setting was the scene of the event.  Joanne’s assembled friends responded with interest and enthusiasm to Professor Sharma’s presentation.  Her research and her vast experience as a reporter, columnist, and author of four books made for an informative session that offered perspective on current day India and its upcoming elections.  Ms. Sharma’s lifelong pursuit has been to advance the rights of India’s 500+ million women in a fast-changing society.  This world we live in is fascinating, indeed.

LA can be such fun and so stimulating.  Spending an evening in a beautiful home as the guest of the person who conceived and executed that beauty would be a great time for most anyone.  Add in interesting guests such as, for example, Freida Mock [an Oscar winning filmmaker, producer/screenwriter and co-founder of the American Film Foundation whose documentary on Anita Hill has just been in theaters] and other comparable talents who listen to, consider the work and thoughts of, and pose questions to a UC Berkeley Visiting [from India] Professor from their own perspective and you have to go home thinking: Wow, that was fascinating—can we do this again next week?

pending an evening in a beautiful home as the guest of the person who conceived and executed that beauty would be a great time for most anyone.

pending an evening in a beautiful home as the guest of the person who conceived and executed that beauty would be a great time for most anyone.

While I do not have the capacity to synthesize the evening’s dialogues, unequivocally I can say accept any such invitation you receive.  When the focus issue(s) is outside of your expertise, competence, or comfort zone, there is even more reason to be there.  I think we all benefit from an occasional reminder of how connected we all are globally –with our cultures and with the issues we face.  Our solutions are often disparate because our histories, cultures, and processes are disparate.  If we learn nothing else, we learn how important it is to be informed and to stay engaged.

What a wonderful, stimulating life we can live right here in Los Angeles!

THINGS TO PONDER CATEGORY

 ...who took the first bite of a lobster or a crayfish—and why?

…who took the first bite of a lobster or a crayfish—and why?

Did you ever wonder how the very first person decided ‘something’ was edible?  For example,  who took the first bite of a lobster or a crayfish—and why?  Dead, they become slimy and they smell.  Live, they are really hard, difficult to handle, and they bite back—really hard.

An Edible California Flower: The Artichoke

The same goes for the California artichoke.  Some who encounter this ‘armored flower’ for the first time (even now) wonder what to do with it.

Some who encounter this ‘armored flower’ for the first time (even now) wonder what to do with it.

Some who encounter this ‘armored flower’ for the first time (even now) wonder what to do with it.

When my family first moved to the Bay Area in Northern California as immigrants, some local people took us to Castroville, the “Artichoke Capital of the World”.  There we saw field upon field of tall bushes with strange looking green, spiky flowers.  As a kid from Finland, I did not ‘get’ what all the excitement was about.  Confusion reigned when ‘they’ talked about eating these strange ‘things’.  Then, when I was instructed that to eat one, you had to painstakingly remove each leaf individually and ‘scrape’ the bottom off with your teeth!  After all that hard work, you got to the inedible center with a dry, scratchy, hairy thistle inside that needed two handed surgery to remove.  [Not exactly a kid-friendly ‘happy meal’ prospect to this then 7 year old!]  It took several years before I warmed up to artichokes but, since then, I am fascinated by them.  Playing with artichokes can be rewarding if done properly.

When my family first moved to the Bay Area in Northern California as immigrants, some local people took us to Castroville, the “Artichoke Capital of the World”.

When my family first moved to the Bay Area in Northern California as immigrants, some local people took us to Castroville, the “Artichoke Capital of the World”.

When Springtime comes (and the ‘flower’ prices drop) cooking, serving, and eating artichokes is actually a treat.  Artichokes are a special California ‘delicacy’ that I often prepare for my Finnish visitors who stop in when they are exploring California.  [Yes, that delicacy descriptor is used intentionally, but cautiously!]

When Springtime comes (and the ‘flower’ prices drop) cooking, serving, and eating artichokes is actually a treat.

When Springtime comes (and the ‘flower’ prices drop) cooking, serving, and eating artichokes is actually a treat.

Once you know how to handle artichokes, there are some fun ways to serve them.  Begin with my secret to perfect artichokes:  just boil the heck out of them!  The rest is easy—and tasty.

Ava’s Way To Play With Artichokes

(aka: ‘Artichokes For Dummies’)

Preparing Artichokes for Boiling:

Pull off the little leaves on the stem and discard

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Cut off the stem (optional—keep stem if you are going to cut into quarters)

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Cut ¼ of top off of artichoke with a serrated knife.

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Trim tips (if desired) of the bottom leaf layers with a scissors
(This will keep the tip thorn from ‘biting’ the leaf remover during dining.)

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Put the artichokes in pot with water enough to cover

Add a sprinkle of garlic salt and the ‘squeeze’ of half a lemon

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Cover and boil for 40 minutes to 1 hour depending on the size

Artichokes are done when a skewer or toothpick (poked in the ‘bottom’) meets no resistance and/or a leaf pulls off easily

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Remove each choke from the water and cool upside down so the water can drain

If serving hot, keep covered with foil until serving time.  Serve individual artichokes with melted or browned butter (bagna cauda is also nice).  This makes a nice first course.  [Be sure to have a ‘used’ leaf collector dish (known in Finland as a risteiliä) available for the debris.]

For an appetizer [as featured in the photos on the yellow platter], place one artichoke on a serving plate and spread out the outer leaves gently. Remove and discard the light- colored leaves.  A hairy hockey puck-like ‘choke’ is left.

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Remove the remaining hairy center of the choke by pulling or cutting carefully with paring knife.

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Remove any ‘fuzz’ gently with a spoon.   Put a container of your favorite homemade dip near or even in the artichoke bottom.  [Tell your novice guests that to eat an artichoke you put dip on the bottom of the leaf (wide end) and pull that bottom section of the leaf (inside down) over your bottom teeth to scrape off the dip and ‘meat’ –discard the leaf and repeat as desired.]

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The artichoke “money-piece” is the remainder round bottom left after the leaves have been cleared.  Many consider this their reward for all of the work.  The heart can be cut into small pieces to be eaten with a fork and knife by itself or to enjoy the dip remaining.

Some Recommended Artichoke Dips

Mayonnaise, plain

Mayonnaise, with curry powder

Mayonnaise, with cumin

Mayonnaise, with lemon juice (add dill for a Finnish touch)

Note: In a future column I will share my fabulous, but easy artichoke

tree centerpiece I have been making for years.  It will be a fun project !

Vappu Party

LA Realtor Maria Rowe –a new addition to the Finnish American Chamber of Commerce Board, hosted a Vappu party on May 1 as is Finnish tradition.  Consul General and Mrs. Markkanen joined FACC Board members, new and old, for the festivities, the refreshments, and the good company of fellow Finns.  Fun was had by all!

LA Realtor Maria Rowe –a new addition to the Finnish American Chamber of Commerce Board, hosted a Vappu party on May 1 as is Finnish tradition.

LA Realtor Maria Rowe –a new addition to the Finnish American Chamber of Commerce Board, hosted a Vappu party on May 1 as is Finnish tradition.

It had been a long time since the FACC had a Vappu party.  This year’s celebration brought back memories of what had become an annual tradition of fun Finn times: Vappu at Greta Peck’s home, the California Yacht club, and even one at my home that was dubbed “Silli de Mayo” because the celebration day fell between May 1 and May 5 (Cinco de Mayo is the Mexican holiday celebrated enthusiastically by all in LA).  No, don’t worry, we did not serve herring tacos!

Those FACC Vappu parties were lots of fun.  We had homemade sima, makkara, song sheets, and a great sing-along!!

Thanks to Maria for ‘raking the coals’ and breathing some oxygen onto the embers of the memories.  Hopefully, the flames will burn brightly again in future years.

Pacific Council on International Policy

Proving that it takes stamina and a facile mind to thrive as a Diplomat in Los Angeles, Consul General Markkanen quickly shifted gears and led a delegation of local Finnish leaders to a major international policy event in downtown LA the very next day.

Proving that it takes stamina and a facile mind to thrive as a Diplomat in Los Angeles, Consul General Markkanen quickly shifted gears and led a delegation of local Finnish leaders to a major international policy event in downtown LA.

Proving that it takes stamina and a facile mind to thrive as a Diplomat in Los Angeles, Consul General Markkanen quickly shifted gears and led a delegation of local Finnish leaders to a major international policy event in downtown LA.

The exclusive California Club was a proper setting for what was billed as “A Conversation with The Honorable José Manuel Barroso, President of the European Commission”.  Barroso, the former Prime Minister of Portugal, who is serving his second consecutive term as President of the European Commission, spoke on TRANSATLANTIC TIES THAT BIND: Deepening EU-US Cooperation.  The Honorable Mickey Kantor, a former member of President Clinton’s cabinet as Secretary of Commerce, introduced the guest speaker and former United States Ambassador to Finland and to the European Union Rockwell Schnabel moderated the program’s lively question and answer session regarding the current European situation.  The large audience was populated by thought leaders and super stars from many local and worldwide endeavors.  With the Russian bear licking his chops in Eastern Europe, the titled Cooperation has major consequences for our Worlds.  Of course, the local Diplomatic Corps was out en force.

Driving home after such a thought provoking and informative event, I had a moment of flashback to a similar occasion 11 years ago when, as President of the Council of European American Chambers of Commerce, I had the honor to welcome then President of the EU Commission in Washington, Dr. Guenther Burghardt to an event we sponsored with the venerable Los Angeles World Affairs Council.  That was at the time the EU was beginning its rapid expansion and Dr. Burghardt’s presentation EU Enlargement: Confronting New Unknowns anticipated some of the possibilities that are today’s realities!

In the interceding decade, the Europe Union has blossomed; it has bloomed, evolved, matured, and survived a multitude of problems and issues.  Some were anticipated, some were not.  Some were easy, most were not.  Going forward will certainly not be challenge free.  Where the opportunity occurs to be witness to the movers and shakers as they anticipate problems and grapple with solutions, be there!  Connect the ‘dots’ between what you hear and what happens—it is fascinating.  And, know that the people who build the ‘roads’ from here to tomorrow are worthy warriors who often work out some of their most difficult challenges just so they are prepared to answer the questions they are afraid some member of their audience may ask!

I remember vividly having breakfast with former President of Finland, Tarja Halonen when she was Finland’s Foreign Minister and was in Los Angeles for a major policy speech to the World Affairs Council.

I remember vividly having breakfast with former President of Finland, Tarja Halonen when she was Finland’s Foreign Minister and was in Los Angeles for a major policy speech to the World Affairs Council.

I remember vividly having breakfast with former President of Finland, Tarja Halonen when she was Finland’s Foreign Minister and was in Los Angeles for a major policy speech to the World Affairs Council.  Our small morning ‘coffee clatch’ gave her the opportunity to try out responses to important questions involving Finland’s position on joining the EU and adopting the Euro.  Of course, she was exceptionally well prepared before she left Helsinki—after all, she was a major player in the formation of those positions.  Still, her response to one of our intimate group’s questions about the pending NATO participation requirement for full EU membership was telling.  First, she took a slow, deep breath and smiled.  After a pause and a fleeting glance at the ceiling, Minister Halonen bought time by declaring the question to be interesting, important, and difficult—given Finland’s vaunted Neutrality.  Without hesitation, but with clear indication that she was thinking of her answer as she was giving it, she smiled broadly and turned off any need for follow-ups with her answer.  A few hours later, after her fine speech to hundreds of ‘movers and shakers’ at the World Affairs Council luncheon, the same question was asked by an audience member.  Again without hesitation but with clarity of conviction and a twinkle in her eye, the future President of Finland, Halonen gave exactly the same answer she had formulated around the breakfast table—with exactly the same results!  Her breakfast audience had smiled approvingly—her luncheon audience roared with applause!  Just another fun day in LA.

Living in one of the world’s greatest cities, our own City of Angels, we are fortunate to draw such distinguished leaders to our stage for important discussions.  I cannot help but feel that seeds are planted at these occasions.  I have been present in the past as the ground was cleared and cultivated, the seeds planted and nurtured, and life cycles evolved into fine, if not perfect, products.  As complicated as the world is today, the process really does work over time!  So, while Juha (J.P.) Markkanen as Consul General has stated that foreign policy in not on his agenda, he has reaffirmed in his goals and theme of “cooperation”.  By fostering Finland’s active participation in events such as the Pacific Council on International Policy program building US and EU ties and by sustaining the relationships with highly visible friends of Finland such as Ambassador Schnabel, the Consul General practices a most effective form of foreign policy.  This Spring’s cultivation and seed planting is bound to ‘blossom’ ahead.   May a thousand Finnish flowers bloom from each seed planted here in LA!

I admire the ‘sowing’ effort, will help with the watering, and, hopefully, will be around to enjoy the blue and white blooms!!!

Stay tuned.  More beautiful things will happen.

End Note

Southern California is a fabulous and fun place to be any time of year.  Occasionally really stimulating things happen here, if you know where.  Seek them out.  Your scribe has lived, raised my family, and worked in Los Angeles for a lot of years.  Sharing the good, the bad, and the fabulous/ugly is what AROUND LA WITH AVA® seeks to do.  All things Finnish are celebrated just ‘because’.

ALWA topics are catholic—work, play, sight-seeing/sightings, local ‘hang-outs’, public/social service, travel, faith, food, people, LA/desert life, fun, events past and pending, history, politics, the future of the world…whatever.  Whether you are an intellectual, a celebrity or just one of us; a diplomat, a visitor or just one of us; a ‘mover’ or just one of us ‘shakers’; a planter or just one of us pickers welcome to AROUND LA WITH AVA®.  We applaud those who plough, plant, water, weed, and harvest ideas and actions that make our world a better place.  Grow where you are planted.  Keep on keeping on—but, do stop to smell the Unikko!  Better yet, take a sniff and carry the stem to the next person who invites you to a session where new ideas are explored!

Sharing the good, the bad, and the fabulous/ugly is what AROUND LA WITH AVA® seeks to do.

Sharing the good, the bad, and the fabulous/ugly is what AROUND LA WITH AVA® seeks to do.

 

EUROPEAN PARLIAMENTARY ELECTIONS 2014: ADVANCE VOTING IN THE UNITED STATES

EUROPEAN PARLIAMENTARY ELECTIONS 2014: ADVANCE VOTING IN THE UNITED STATES

The European Parliamentary Elections will be held in Finland on May 25, 2014. The advance voting is arranged abroad between May 14 and May 17 2014, the exact dates vary in different polling stations.

Entitled to vote in the European Parliamentary Elections in Finland is:

  • Every Finnish citizen who will reach the age of 18 by May 25, 2014.
  • Every citizen of another Member State of the European Union, who will reach the age of 18 by May 25, 2014 and whose municipality of residence is in Finland.

Voters are required to present valid photo identification to the election officer. It is recommended to bring along the notice of the right to vote, but that is not a prerequisite.

Information about the advance polling stations in Finland and abroad and their opening hours are published at the elections website of the Ministry of Justice, www.vaalit.fi, and on www.finland.org website. More information about the elections can be obtained also from the Embassy in Washington (+1-202-298-5800), the Consulate General in New York (+1-212-750-4400) or the Consulate General in Los Angeles (+1 -310-203-9903).

The following advance polling stations will be open in the United States:

 

Washington D.C., Embassy of Finland

3301 Massachusetts Avenue N.W.
Washington D.C. 20008
Tel.  +1-202-298 5800
Open:
May 14-16, 2014 4pm-7pm
May 17, 2014 10am-2pm

________________________________________

New York, Consulate General of Finland

866 United Nations Plaza, suite 250
New York, NY 10016
Tel. +1-212-750 4400
Open:
May 14-16, 2014 1pm-7pm
May 17, 2014 10am-3pm

 ________________________________________

Los Angeles, Consulate General of Finland

Consulate General of Finland
11900 W Olympic Blvd, Suite 580
Los Angeles, CA 90064
Tel. +1-310-203 9903
Open:
May 14-15, 2014 12.30pm-3pm
May 16-17, 2014 10am-1pm

________________________________________

Denver (Highlands Ranch), Honorary Consulate

10197 S Stephen Place
Highlands Ranch, CO 80130
Tel. +1 303 3462502
Open:
May 16, 2014 5pm-8pm
May 17, 2014 9am-1pm

________________________________________

Ferndale, Polling station

(WECU) Whatcom Education Credit Union
5659 Barrett Rd
Ferndale WA 98248
Tel. +1 360 961 4000
Open:
May 17, 2014 9am-2pm

________________________________________

Honolulu, Honorary Consulate

Chateau Waikiki
411 Hobron Lane
(5th floor party room)
Honolulu, HI 96815
(door code ##352)
Tel. +1 808 943 2640
Open:
May 14, 2014 9am-1pm

________________________________________

Lake Worth, Honorary Consulate

523 Lake Avenue
Lake Worth, FL 33460
Tel. +1-561-582 2335
Open:
May 14-16, 2014 10am-5pm
May 17, 2014 10am-3pm

________________________________________

Portland, Polling station

Finlandia Sauna Products Inc.
14010-B SW72nd Avenue
Portland, OR, 97224-0088
Tel. +1 503 684 8289
Open:
May 16, 2014 12pm-8pm
May 17, 2014 9am-3pm

________________________________________

San Diego, Polling station

House of Finland
2212 Pan American Plaza
San Diego, CA 92101
Tel. +1 619 993 4436
Open:
May 17, 2014 9am-1pm

________________________________________

Seattle, Polling station

Living Hope Lutheran Church
Finnish School of Seattle
7305 208th Avenue Northeast
Redmond, WA 98053
Tel. +1 425 885 7320
Open:
May 17, 2014 9am-4pm