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LUANN JOHNSON: Okay it's June 9th, 1999. This is LuAnn Johnson. And I am interviewing Jaana, is it Sipila?


JOHNSON: Um, and we're at Bread and Bagels on Broadway in Bowling Green, Kentucky. And it is a public establishment so there will be other people milling around and some background noise. Um, good morning and thanks for coming.

SIPILA: Good morning, thanks for asking. (laughs)

JOHNSON: Um, you are from Finland?

SIPILA: Uh-huh.

JOHNSON: And you work at (indeterminable) Theatre?


JOHNSON: And how long have you been in the area?

SIPILA: Well I first came over, I think it was the end of 1990. And I lived first for a short while in Glasgow...Kentucky. And then I moved to Bowling 1:00Green. And uh...I lived here about four years. We left at the end of 1994. I was gone for about three years and I've been back now again since February of '98. And I live in Horse Cave, Kentucky.

JOHNSON: Okay. So what first brought you to the United States?

SIPILA: It was uh, in Glasgow there was a--well there's still one of the company's that's there is...what do you call it? Like the headquarters. It's a Finnish company that has a subsidiary in Glasgow. And my husband, now ex...then not (laughs). He worked, he was transferred to work here. So we moved, moved over.

JOHNSON: And what were you doing in Finland at that time? Or what was your life like there?

SIPILA: Well I, I worked for the same company. That's how we met. So I was in marketing and working and...



SIPILA: The usual.

JOHNSON: What was um, the decision like to move to the States? What were your feelings about it?

SIPILA: Well I'm, I'm...I, I don't know where it comes from--when I was growing up, me and my family, we moved around a lot. So I, for some strange reason, I loved moving. And I always...I loved languages when I was in school. I didn't have to study hard. I think I have an ear for it. And I always wanted to travel. As long as I remember growing up I always wanted to travel. And as soon as I got my first job and whatever, I was always saving money to be able to travel. So every year, at least once a year, I took a trip. And I always wanted to work abroad. So for me it was just like, "Yeah! When do we go?" (laughs)

JOHNSON: (laughs) Um, so when you got here um, did you continue working for the company?

SIPILA: Uh-huh, yes.

JOHNSON: And how long did you do that.

SIPILA: Oh gosh, it's been so long I can't remember all the details...I didn't...It was less than a year. I think it was something between 6 months and 3:00a year. Because it was more like a project. Project. The company had already started so what, so I was sort of just helping for a while to establish databases, like customer things. And I designed some brochures. And I started a newsletter. And doing stuff like that. And that I was a lady of leisure for a while, and then I found the theatre.

JOHNSON: Oh okay. Well what's your education and your background?

SIPILA: Um...I'm not exactly sure what the equivalent (laughs) are in the U.S. for this. But I've gone through the basic education that everybody goes through. It's 9 years.


SIPILA: Then you can either go to a vocational school or high school, university, college, whatever. So like, I went through my 9 years, my 3 years of 4:00high school. Then I went to (indeterminable) college for uh, 2 years. And I've always studied marketing. And after that I studied uh...I say after all that I still studied in various ways business marketing for like, 6 more years. And I guess my back--the equivalent would be a BA in...

JOHNSON: Marketing?

SIPILA: Marketing and Communications.

JOHNSON: Okay. So when you got to this area of Bowling--of Kentucky...


JOHNSON: How is it different or what were your impressions of it compared to where you grew up?

SIPILA: Uh, of course it's a bigger city. But city, like Bowling Green here, it's a different kind of city than what I was used to. I was used to, you know, narrow...narrower streets and higher buildings and...apartment houses. and things like that. So here everything is like flat...




SIPILA: And low and spread out. (laughs) That was one thing and...But...the most impressive thing ever and the first thing when I came over was that the people are so wonderful here. I think that's the, that's the main thing why I fell in love with Kentucky. Is the people. They're so friendly and helpful and everything. And I still enjoy everyday. I never get used to that. But in the beginning it was almost a shock. Because in Finland people are more reserved. So you don' here, you can um, you greet people, you say hello if you happen to have an eye contact you smile and you nod and whatever. In Finland people are...kind of closed. And we usually don't talk with strangers that much. And 6:00whatever. And I felt so silly in the beginning. I remember when I went shopping or something and then I was you know, doing Finnish things. Pushing my...thing and, you know, minding my own business. And then people--and I'm looking something on the shelf and then the person next to me starts talking to me, you know. Like they knew something about the product. And I go completely, you know, blank. I'm like..."Yeah!" (laughs)

JOHNSON: (laughs)

SIPILA: And then people passing, you know, say, "Excuse me, pardon me." Whatever. Okay. And you know, the eye contact. Because I, I was used to thinking that when you get the eye contact you sort of turn away. You don't, you don't want to do it. And here, you know when that happens people smile and I, I used to do that first. And I, I felt so bad in the beginning. And I felt so embarrassed that I behaved like that. You know what I'm saying?


SIPILA: It made me think that, you know, these people think I'm rude or weird. 7:00And it took me awhile to learn that.

JOHNSON: So in Finland, too. When you, after you make eye contact and you look away, is that considered polite? Or is that, or that's normal?

SIPILA: That's normal. It's just--

JOHNSON: But, is it a matter of politeness? Or respect? Or is it...

SIPILA: (sighs)

JOHNSON: Or is it intrusive to do?

SIPILA: I don't really know where it comes from. And I think things are changing. People are...the younger generation is different than, you know...


SIPILA: I'm, I'm from old school. (laughs) I don't know. Not really. But I think, you know, as the world gets smaller, things get more uniform and stuff.


SIPILA: But um...

JOHNSON: How--so the, the town you grew up in was smaller than Bowling Green?

SIPILA: Uh-huh.

JOHNSON: But it was settled different? What was the landscape? You 8:00mentioned that everything was kind of closer together and...

SIPILA: Okay, okay. Well, well, the time I was, I was living in really small town. So compared to that it's not that much difference. But usually, you know, cities of the size of Bowling Green, they are um...uh...the center of the's...we don't have a town square or anything. But there is a lot of, you know, all the shops and all that is in a very small area. And usually all the buildings are high-rise. So there are are shops on the lower level and apartments on top. And uh...people walk a lot. That's, that's was just thing that I was surprised here. You know, nobody walks anywhere, everybody drives. And you can drive through everything. And that was something I found really fascinating (laughs) in the beginning.


JOHNSON: (laughs)

SIPILA: You know, you don't have to get out of your car! In Finland, it's very (indeterminable), and you need to walk so you can go shopping in a city. I did it with my mother. We just parked the car in one spot and then we can walk around and go to the stores and whatever. And there are really nice walkways that, you know, that it makes it possible to walk. Here sometimes it's impossible, you know, you get run over if you try to walk somewhere. (laughs)

JOHNSON: So what was the experience driving so much more? How was that? Are there different--do you have any driving stories?

SIPILA: Uh...mmm...that's not uh...I--In Finland there is not a lot of roads that are like two-land in one direction. Like there is (indeterminable). I think driving here is more pleasant. I love the automatic. That's also another thing. In Finland most of the cars are um, shift..

JOHNSON: Yeah, manual?


SIPILA: Manual. So but, I prefer the automatic. And then...also the passing is not as dangerous either. (indeterminable)



SIPILA: I enjoy driving here. And of course, you know, the climate. There is no winter and snow and ice and all that here.

JOHNSON: Yeah. (indeterminable)


JOHNSON: Are there things that you miss about the landscape in Finland?

SIPILA: The only thing I miss um...Yeah, in addition to people I love this climate. Because I'm a summer person and I'm always telling that I was born in the wrong country. Because I hated winter. Always. When I was growing up. I didn't like winter sports or anything. But I still like the four seasons. And you have that here. And it's nice, so. (indeterminable)

JOHNSON: That's fine.

SIPILA: (laughs)

JOHNSON: (laughs)

SIPILA: I'll try to stay still.

JOHNSON: (laughs)

SIPILA: So um, what was I saying? Yes. Yes, I'm a country girl. And when I was 11:00growing up my parents always took me fishing and, and...In Finland you can go anywhere in the forest. It's called "Every Man's Right." And it doesn't matter if--whoever owns the land. If it's the government or if it's private or whatever. Everybody is allowed to go anywhere. Because you know, we can't set up fires or you know, destroy anything. But you can go and pick the berries and pick the mushrooms and, you know, wander around and whatever. And that's what I've been doing since I learned to walk. And I love it. I just love it. And that's, that's the only thing I miss. I would love, I would love to go to Finland in August, September...September, October when the mushroom and the (indeterminable) are there. But of course when I work theatre the season's still 12:00going on and it's impossible. (laughs) To get away. But that's, that's the thing I miss. Walking in the forest and...

JOHNSON: Now how do you, do you know land you can walk on around here? Or...

SIPILA: Uh, yeah I know that Mammoth Cave Park, they have trails and--but it's um...I think too busy to even try it. And it's different because you walk with, on the trails. In Finland you go in the wild.


SIPILA: You, you go in the woods, you know, there's no trail. (laughs)

JOHNSON: So you just probably trail blaze it all.

SIPILA: Yes, yeah.

JOHNSON: Um, were there things in the woods that--what kind of knowledge did you have in the woods when you were a kid were there things you had to know to be safe? Where there...

SIPILA: Well, in Finland, in Finland things are pretty safe. We have only one poisonous snake. It's usually--I've seen it a few times in my life. But you know, they run away when they hear voices.

JOHNSON: What's it called?




SIPILA: K-Y-Y. (laughs)

JOHNSON: What does it look like?

SIPILA: And it's really, it's not deadly poisonous. If it bites a real small child it's dangerous but for adults it's, you have to get medication. But um...It's not very big and it has like a...(indeterminable) kind of um, pattern on it's back. And then of course with mushrooms you have to know which ones are poisonous. And since I was growing up doing it I've, I learned to recognize them. And, when I was growing up it wasn't a problem, but today there, the bear population is increasing. So that's sort of a little, a little kind of possibility that you come across with a bear. They come across from Russia. I don't know if they don't--what's happening, why it is happening. But that's increasing. That's something I don't (indeterminable).

JOHNSON: So when you like--

SIPILA: (laughs)

JOHNSON: Would you go for treks for like camping with, with gear? Or was it just a little walk or afternoon.

SIPILA: Uh...sometimes camping, but um, but it was, it's was more than a little walk. When me and my father we go picking mushrooms we leave early in the 14:00morning like 9 o'clock. And we come back like 2 in the afternoon. You know.

JOHNSON: Big bags full?

SIPILA: Full, big bags full of mushrooms. And, and then of course it takes another 4 or 5 hours to work on them too.

JOHNSON: Oh wow. So how old were you when he started taking you along? Um...

SIPILA: I've been doing it as long as I remember. As long as I could follow.

JOHNSON: Was it a family activity?

SIPILA: Uh-huh. Yeah. All of us went. And when my grandmother, as long as, you know, she was living...she hopped along. (laughs)

JOHNSON: How many siblings do you have?

SIPILA: I have one sister. She's younger than I am.

JOHNSON: Was it, was it the typical activity for most families? To go mushrooming?

SIPILA: Um...I think like many people do.



JOHNSON: No how would you um--what would you do with all the mushrooms? (laughs)



SIPILA: Oh, it's uh...There are different ways to prepare them and there are different types. Like some, some mushrooms are totally, completely, poisonous, you know. You can't--and there is one deadly poisonous mushroom in Finland. But then there is one kind that after you boil them the, you get rid of the poison. And then there are--and those ones we usually, you know, you have to cook them or boil them, get out of the--get rid of the poison. And then you um, make a preserve...a mushroom salad.


SIPILA: Out of those mushrooms. You put onions and, and spices and you preserve it like that. And then there are those that aren't poisonous at all that you could basically eat raw. And there are different ways you can fry them.


SIPILA: And then when they're dry you know, soak them in the water again and use them or crush them into a spice. And then there, we can just, you know, cook them in the pan to get rid of the moisture. And then freeze them. And 16:00then during the winter, you know, you can...

JOHNSON: So you would do this...

SIPILA: Use them.

JOHNSON: Like once a year?

SIPILA: Ooh, and they're so good. Mmm, I'm so hungry. It makes me think of my mommy and her cooking. (laughs)

JOHNSON: Well that's a good segue into another question. When you, when you moved over to the states um, what were you able to continue cooking the way you did when you were growing up?

SIPILA: Mmm...Well I haven't been much of a cook.


SIPILA: Anytime. But actually lately I've become more and more. And it's--I guess it's something to do with when you get older. You, you change (phone rings) in a way that--there are some Finnish things that I didn't like when I was younger. But now I actually, sometimes I cook them for myself. And I told my mother, "You're never going to believe this what I did." (laughs)

JOHNSON: What were the...

SIPILA: Like uh, um, I always hated cabbage. And I actually made cabbage soup 17:00one day. First time in my life. (laughs)

JOHNSON: (laughs) Was it your mother's recipe or did you find a new one?

SIPILA: My mother gave me a Finnish book, cook book. And I..looked up some recipes. But when people ask me what's really, you know, Finnish dish...there is not that many that are, you know, totally different from, from what you have here. I'd say we don't fry our food. We don't have, you know, fried chicken or uh, do that thing. But a lot of basically the same. Maybe not exactly the same kind of cooking, but the same ingredients, you know.


SIPILA: Potatoes, meat, know, all that...

JOHNSON: Yeah. Well--

SIPILA: It's a little different ways of mixing things up. (laughs)

JOHNSON: Yeah. Are there any um, spices or condiments that are, are more Finnish?

SIPILA: Mmm, I can't think of any.


JOHNSON: So you've never had a problem finding ingredients around here.

SIPILA: No, and I say...the only difference is that things taste a little different. Meat tastes a little different. Uh, like hotdogs and stuff like that. They taste a little different than they do in Finland.

JOHNSON: That's really interesting.

SIPILA: And they take--it takes a little time to get used to it. And then when you--and first I remember, I missed some of the things that I was trying to find a similar taste. And I couldn't, you know. It's basically it's the same thing, but it tastes different. (laughs)


SIPILA: But when you then, you get used to the, this other taste, and when you go--now when I go to Finland, that stuff tastes different. (laughs)

JOHNSON: (laughs) Exactly.


JOHNSON: So the, the company that you had worked for when you first moved to Glasgow...


JOHNSON: Is it still here?

SIPILA: Uh the....(indeterminable) company is still in Glasgow, but the company 19:00my husband, my ex worked for moved to Scottsville. But yeah, there's still...

JOHNSON: Did um, because it was a Finnish company, were there a lot of other Finnish families here when you first moved?

SIPILA: When we were here...there was one other...and then there one time there was three of us.


SIPILA: Yeah. But now at this moment I don't think there is any. It was's sort of this thing that the company does, is to...when we moved here, it had been operating for three years. But basically it was still kind of starting point. So that's what the company does. Is to get Finns to sort of work with the company in the beginning and then, you know, it will be turned over to local people...

JOHNSON: Oh, okay.

SIPILA: ...wherever in the world it is.


JOHNSON: So um, did you--what caused you to leave the company, or...


SIPILA: Actually when we, we left the states was that uh, we were asked if we want to go to start a company in Malaysia. And we said, "Alright, yeah. We'll go." And that's where I was two and a half years. And basically the same, doing the same thing.

JOHNSON: And why did you decide to return to Kentucky?

SIPILA: Well...when we left here is an interesting thing. I cried. I didn't cry when I left Finland. When I left Kentucky I cried. And...when we got there, for about a week it was interesting. And then I thought, "This is a big mistake."


SIPILA: And uh...and then of course, you know, there's personal things that were going on and...But I hated it. I hated the, the--running out of tape?


JOHNSON: Nope, I'm all set.

SIPILA: (laughs) I hated everything there. And um...and I just wanted to come back. I missed Kentucky. And of course, if I had green card, I had to come back. Had to. Like I was (indeterminable) to do that. I came back every year and visited here.


SIPILA: To keep it up. And uh, then I was visiting here in uh, October--well I left was June or July '97. And that's sort of when I broke up with my ex. And uh, it was October when I came over here to visit again. And then I, of course, I kept in touch with everybody. And I was visiting theater people and, and then one night I was having dinner with Warren and Pamela and (indeterminable), and I wished I--I kept telling everybody all of the time that, 22:00you know, I really want to move back and I need to look for a job and blah, blah, blah. And Warren said, you know, "How would you feel about working for the theater?" And I, you know, fell on (laughs) the floor like, "What kind of person does that? (laughs) Yes, yes, yes!"


SIPILA: That's how it happened. And then, then I went back to Finland and, you know, got everything organized and came back in February and started working in March.

JOHNSON: What, did you have a theater background?

SIPILA: Uh, not in a way that I have actually gone to school for it. In that sense. I've taken a lot of classes and studied that way. But I've always loved theater. And I...and actually the theater, I was a founding member of our local theater, and they had tenth anniversary. In '98 or '97. So, but half of my life I've been involved in theater in one way or another. And I's just my 23:00passion. I love it. I can't imagine life without a theater. (laughs)

JOHNSON: So are you planning on staying then, in the States for the duration?

SIPILA: Well I uh...Well I bought a house. I have a cat. This Sunday I probably have another cat. (laughs)

JOHNSON: (laughs) That sounds permanent.

SIPILA: (laughs) Exactly. And uh...I don't um...after five years I can apply for citizenship. I think that's like my five year plan now. Is to get--I was gone so far that the four years I work here before doesn't count.


SIPILA: I started from zero. Excuse me. And um...And I think that's sort of what I'm aiming right now. Is to do that. Because with green cards...when you're here and working and, you know, you pay your taxes. And basically the only difference for the citizenship is that I can vote.



SIPILA: But...but it's, it feels sort of insecure because there is a certain amount of time you can spend abroad. And you, you know, you are in the danger of losing it if you spend too much time abroad, and whatever. Not that I...But it's not, it's not good enough. I want to be...I want to be just like you! (laughs)


SIPILA: (laughs)


SIPILA: That was from a movie.

JOHNSON: Was it? What movie?

SIPILA: French Kiss.

JOHNSON: Oh, okay. That makes sense.

SIPILA: Meg Ryan talks to this Canadian immigrant um... "I want to be just like you."

JOHNSON: (laughs)

SIPILA: (laughs)



JOHNSON: Well, so when you were packing up to come over here permanently, what kind of decisions did you have to make as far as your belongings? Were there things you couldn't bring?


SIPILA: Uh, well, it's, it's interesting. Because first I left Malaysia, of 25:00course. So when I was leaving there, I had to decide, you know, what's important and what's not. And that's good, there are silly things you take that basically have no value at all, but it's sentimental, you know...


SIPILA: you kept from somebody. And then whatever...And of course I couldn't take everything I wanted, but I also--that's when I was so fed up with everything that I really couldn't care less. I was like, "Just...get me out of here." And that's, you know... But I think I got what I really sort of wanted. Two suitcases. And then the same thing when I left Finland to come over.


SIPILA: I packed.

JOHNSON: Are there any items back in Finland, like family items, that you, that are yours? That you...

SIPILA: Oh yeah. Yeah. There's still stuff in storage there and...


JOHNSON: Yeah. Will that eventually come over?

SIPILA: Hmm...eventually yeah. But I don't think it's, something like historical value. Some photo albums and letters and things like that that I don't really need in a way...


SIPILA: But I want to keep them.

JOHNSON: They're important.

SIPILA: Yeah. To save. Yeah.

JOHNSON: Yeah. What kind of items--do you have any specific items in your home now that you cherish as (loud bang) some of your (loud bang) (indeterminable).

SIPILA: Uh, I have one uh, poster...


SIPILA: It's uh, an old--I think it's a theater um...touring company poster. French. It has a black cat on it. Tournee du chat noir. And it's something...Well yeah, I guess this is a good story. It's a silly story. I got, 27:00not that poster but exactly the same kind of poster from one of my best friends. (clears throat) Gosh, I don't know, 15 years--no. 20 years ago. Anyway, long time ago.

JOHNSON: (laughs)

SIPILA: And she gave it to me. And I can't remember where she got it, but as soon as she had given it to me, she was like, "Why did I give that to you? I love that poster. I want it back." And she wanted, wanted to have it back. Like she was asking me for it for like years. And then at some point--I can't remember when. Maybe it was when we moved here. The first time or whatever. I finally gave up and I gave it to her. I said, "Okay. You can have it now." And then of course I regretted (laughs)

JOHNSON: (laughs)

SIPILA: You know, I love it. (laughs) And then it was before I came here now, 28:00this time, me and another friend of mine, we were just wandering around shopping. And then there was this, like a poster shop, frame place, and I was just flipping through through the posters. And there it was. And I hadn't--because I had looked for it and I couldn't find it anywhere. And I thought, you just didn't exist. It's nowhere to be found. And there it was. And I was like, "I've got to buy this." And then I'm like, you know, "How stupid is this?" You know, "You're moving to, across the ocean, to a whole other country far, far away." And you know, "You need to pack your suitcase." And then I bought this poster.

JOHNSON: (laughs)

SIPILA: And of course, you know, I had to roll it and I had to...make sure it doesn't get smooshed and the suitcase. (laughs)

JOHNSON: (laughs)

SIPILA: Humans are silly.

JOHNSON: A practical item to bring over.

SIPILA: (laughs) Yeah. And of course I brought some uh...Okay, well actually 29:00this is even a better story. You want to hear another story?


SIPILA: (laughs) This is nothing to do with Finland, but it's an item I brought over from Malaysia. (clears throat) I had a friend there, she was an English lady. And we were really good friends. And uh, and one time, she was uh, she had a trip, made a trip with her husband. To Malacca. And when she came back there we were talking on the phone and she said that, you know, there was this interesting thing happened. Um, they were walking and there were these local artists. You know, painters. By the roadside. And they were walking, and she saw a painting she liked. And it was a really old Chinese man who told how he'd been on the same spot for like 30 years. Painting and whatever. And, and she talked to this...person for awhile and wanted to buy that picture. But for some odd 30:00reason there was this other picture that this Chinese man was trying to sell her. You know, "Buy this!" And you would think that, you know, those people are really poor, so you would think that whatever anybody wants to buy, they would just always be happy, but for some reason there was this other picture. He would say, you know, "Why don't you--would you--why don't you take this? Why don't you take this?" And Carol was saying, "Well yeah, that's nice, too. But I really like this one." And then finally what happened was Carol bought the one she liked and the guy gave the other picture for free. And when (clears throat) I was talking to her over the phone, and she was telling me this story, and then she started describing the picture to me. And as soon as she started, the name of the picture is "Thirteen Birds." My lucky number is 13. (clears throat) Blue is one of my colors, and she was telling me how there is this tree, and there is 13 blue birds are sitting in the tree. And immediately I thought, "It's mine. 31:00That is my picture." Of course I didn't say anything.


JOHNSON: (laughs)

SIPILA: And then (laughs)--but I felt like, "You know, it's mine. It's mine." (clears throat) Then some time went past, and then I was leaving and we had our, you know, last lunch together before I left Malaysia. And she had a farewell gift for me. And you know...what it was. It was that picture. And she said--of course then I said, told her, you know, that's what I was thinking. It's my picture. And she said immediately when saw it, she thought about me. But she wanted to, you know, surprise me with it. So I thought there was something mystical there. And then I got it framed in Finland. And it's quite big, actually. And of course it's glass, and it cost me quite a lot to get it framed. And at that point I wasn't thinking--I didn't know that I was coming here. Of 32:00course I wanted, and whatever, but, you know, when and how and...(background voice) So...of course I had to pack that whole thing with the glass and everything in my suitcase. And now it's hanging in my bedroom.


SIPILA: Yeah. Things like that.

JOHNSON: So all of your family's still in Finland?

SIPILA: Uh-huh.

JOHNSON: Or are they--anyone, any relatives in the States that you visit?

SIPILA: Nope. No. My uh...

JOHNSON: How often...How often do you go back? To visit family?

SIPILA: I've gone usually once a year. Christmas time. Uh...but I am thinking of skipping this year. I haven't told my mother (laughs) yet. I don't know how she feels about it, but...Because I have only two weeks vacation. And uh, I want to do something else, as well. And it's quite expensive, as well. So...I'm thinking maybe skip a year but I don't know. Uh, but I talk over the phone. Me and my mother and my father, we always talk Sunday mornings. You know, we take turns.



SIPILA: And call each other. And uh, my sister and her boyfriend, they came over um...when I was here the first time. Ninety, something. So they've been here. And I'm sort of trying to get my father to come over. He might. He just might. But my mother, no way.

JOHNSON: Why is that?

SIPILA: She...she...she's just afraid. And I don't know where I got my genes because I'm so different in a way from my parents. Like they don't speak any languages. And they've never travelled...They just want to be home. know, it's interesting.

JOHNSON: Yeah. Where did you first learn English?

SIPILA: Uh, it's the first foreign language we start. And we started on the third grade. Then we uh, Swedish is actually a second official language of 34:00Finland. Even though there is only like 5% of the population speaks Swedish. So that's the next one we start in the fifth grade. And then, you know, you can later on choose other languages, as well. And, and study more.

JOHNSON: How many language, languages do you speak?

SIPILA: (sighs) I used Swedish used to be as fluent as my English. But I haven't used that in so many years, and I don't...I don't know what would happen if someone started talking Swedish to me. (laughs)

JOHNSON: (laughs)

SIPILA: But let's say I have studied German, French, and Spanish, as well.


SIPILA: But um...(background voices and phone ringing) But to keep it up you would have to use it. So, mine is really is passive at the moment. Somewhere behind.


SIPILA: In the back closet of my brain-- (tape cuts out)



JOHNSON: Like I was saying, are there any items that, when you come home from a visit from Finland you bring along?

SIPILA: (clears throat) Well sometimes, yes. There's--now I remember. One thing when we were talking about food, it's the Finnish bread. The dark, almost black bread. You can't find here. And I--that's another interesting thing. When I was growing up I didn't really fancy that as much. But of course now I would love to have it sometimes. So sometimes I do bring bread...and some candy. Finnish chocolate is the best in the world. Um, I might be a little partial, but uh...

JOHNSON: (laughs)

SIPILA: But it is, I think. Uh...Oh, Finnish mustard. It's really good.



SIPILA: It's different compared to what you have here. Um...And then usually I bring some, you know (clears throat) funny things like uh, a can of Finnish beer to somebody. (laughs)


SIPILA: And you know, things like that. And some Finnish liqueur. I have some bottles that I've stocked up to, you know, if somebody had some, anniversary, or birthday, or something. It's nice to give something, you know, special. And...

JOHNSON: Yeah. What is Finnish liquor? What, what type of liquor is it?

SIPILA: Uh...what is it called? It's made out of the, the berries. Like a cloudberry liqueur. They, they're like the thick, sweet kind. Like uh, the dessert thing that you take a little bit.


SIPILA: And uh...lingonberry, and blueberry liqueur, and...some, you know, 37:00speciality, things like that. There's one I can't, I don't know what's it's called in English. But some, some...things like that. And, what I would love to do is (laughs)--actually last Christmas when I was visiting, my sister gave me a glass jar of those dried mushrooms to bring over.


SIPILA: But I was like, "I don't think I want to do this." You know. "If I get caught in a, in Customs and they open my bag, and then, you know, I'm standing there trying to explain that, you know, "If you eat those, you get..." You know. I might be in trouble. They might not just believe me and take my word for it. They might, you know, arrest me and run tests for the mushrooms. (laughs)

JOHNSON: (laughs)

SIPILA: You know. It, it has never happened. I have never been stopped. And my bags have never been opened. But you know, there is first time for everything. 38:00And I...


SIPILA: I was too afraid to do that. But...that's something I would really love to bring over. Because, you know, here basically all you get is the, the only kind of mushroom, the...

JOHNSON: The white ones, the...

SIPILA: Yeah, what's that called? Gosh...

JOHNSON: I don't know the species name.

SIPILA: Uh, God. Anyway, that's the only thing you can get. And they really, you know, all the different kinds. And we have--in Finland they have their different tastes. So it's not like just a mushroom sponge, sponge. It has flavor. Different flavors.

JOHNSON: Have you tried to go out and gather mushrooms here in the States?

SIPILA: No, I haven't. I haven't had...Somebody did tell me that there are some that you can collect. Maybe I need to look into that. (laughs)


JOHNSON: Um, so...are there, have you found any differences or do you miss any certain things related to traditions or celebrations that you had in Finland growing up that, that you don't have? That aren't American holidays? Or celebrations?

SIPILA: My mother was wonderful, and--well she's still wonderful. But when I was (laughs) growing up, she really kept the traditions going. I was just thinking about it the other day. That in Finland, let's see, First of May is quite a big celebration. Because it's sort of the beginning of the Spring, and the Winter is, you know, loosening it's grip and whatever. So we have uh, there's this 40:00special drink that um, non-alcoholic. It's for kids, that, you know, my mother used to prepare. And specifically for just for that time. And, you know, we make homemade donuts. That's another speciality associated with that time. And you know, you decorate the house with balloons and streamers and...and uh...that's one thing, and--


JOHNSON: What, what was the drink called?


JOHNSON: And what's like? What's it made out of?

SIPILA: Lemons and, and raisins, and...I don't exactly know what all goes into it.

JOHNSON: Is it thick or thin? Or...

SIPILA: Think and a little bit bubbly. And it takes a few weeks to prepare it. Actually I need to take a look at that Finnish cookbook and see if the recipe is 41:00there and see if I, if I can get all the ingredients and maybe prepare it. It's really good. Nice, refreshing drink. Um...then Easter time, I think that's pretty much similar to what you have here. The Easter eggs, and then we grow the little um, grass...and decorate it with the little things...

JOHNSON: What is the grass? Is it like a little garden or a little terrarium? Or...

SIPILA: Yeah, it's from the seeds, actually.

JOHNSON: Oh, okay.

SIPILA: It's a living, living little thing of grass that we do at Easter and...And my mother did all that. She was always, you know, all the traditions we did, and it's, this is interesting. When you have Halloween you go trick-or-treating. In Finland it's Easter when the children go. Basically the same thing as trick-or treat. And we all dress like witches. Witch?


SIPILA: Witch.

JOHNSON: Witches? Yeah.


SIPILA: And then we go around and knock on every door, and we have like a, sticks. We gather, you know--at that time we gather, there's no leaves yet on the trees. So they're just bare sticks. And if somebody doesn't give us candy or whatever we give them the stick.

JOHNSON: (laughs)

SIPILA: (laughs) But the idea is basically the same. But don't ask me why we do it on Easter or where it comes from. I, I do not know.

JOHNSON: Okay. Do, do you have Halloween as well? Or is is that...

SIPILA: It's something new. It's not very much celebrated but its coming, coming more and more. Like Valentine's Day (loud background noise) is quite a new thing in Finland.


SIPILA: We celebrate. And I think Christmas is pretty much the same as you have. Um, New Year...


SIPILA: But, the party in Finland is the Midsummer. Midsummer Night. And it's 43:00actually, it's the opening weekend of the season in Horse Cave. Is the Midsummer weekend in Finland. And that's the time, that's the biggest celebration in Finland. Is when--if you go to a city, you can hardly see anybody anywhere. There's no cars. It's like every place is deserted. Everybody goes to the country. By the lakes they have there, you know. Summer cottages, or they go camping. Or whatever. There is lot of, like, music festivals and things. And everybody just goes out there and, and bonfires and, and uh, a lot of drinking of course. And uh...

JOHNSON: What does it symbolize? Is there a lot of symbolic reference? Or does it have any religious element...

SIPILA: I bet it has some kind of um, background in religion and uh, primitive things. But it's's when the night is as long as the day. 44:00Basically up in the Lapland the sun doesn't even set. It just goes to the horizon and starts rising again.

JOHNSON: (sighs)

SIPILA: And even in, in southern's, it's like you can read a book without turning your lights on on a summer night. And that's the lightest night of the year. And um, there are all kinds of magic things um...Unmarried women. Because of the primitive stuff that comes from somewhere--and I remember when I was a little girl we did these things, you know. You go to the a field and you pick seven different kind of flowers and make little bouquet and put it under your pillow. And the Midsummer Night you will dream about your future husband. Or you can go and find a natural well. And exactly on midnight you go 45:00and look, look into it and you will see the face of your future husband. (laughs) You know, all this comes from the time when the only job women had was to get married. (laughs)

JOHNSON: (laughs)


SIPILA: Take care of the children and husband...That kind of thing happened. But it's, it's a big party. And it's, you know, two or three days. Every single (indeterminable). Nothing happens in Finland during that time. And that--ok the magic tricks, tricks brought my mind that the New Year's Eve--that's another time when we do tricks. We uh, I forgot what all we did. But, you know, you, exactly midnight you have to do this at midnight. You throw salt over your 46:00shoulder and that keeps, you know, keeps the evil away. I don't even remember all the things. But the main thing is we have a little uh, tin things that are shipped like horseshoes. Horseshoe is a lucky symbol. And then we have these little uh, like scoop kind of thing that's made out of metal. We put the tin horseshoe in the scoop. And then of course if you have a living fire, if you have a fireplace or whatever, that would be ideal. And then you, you know, you melt the tin in the fire. But of course if you don't have a fireplace you can do it on top of the stove. And then you have a bucket of gold, gold, cold water. And when the tin has melted you scoop it real fast there and it, it, you know, it comes out in all different forms. And then you look, you know, the shadow. And you turn and twist and look at the shadow. And of course, you know, you can look at the thing itself. And you can, you know, tell your fortune from it. You know.


JOHNSON: Oh, that's so interesting!

SIPILA: (laughs) There are different, you know, things. Like, if there is a part of it that's real small kind of bubbly thing, that means money. And, and you know, it's just a game. It's fun because you can come up with all kind of stories. If you think you see a shape of a ship or whatever you can say, "Ah, I'm going to be traveling this year." And, you know, whatever. (laughs)

JOHNSON: And you do that for New Year's?


JOHNSON: Is it--do you also do like, in America we do New Year's resolutions. Is that kind of instead of? Or in addition to?

SIPILA: Uh-huh. Both, yeah. And then there's, you know, all kinds of (indeterminable). You know, you have to break a plate to...I wish I could remember all this. And then you have to wear something red. I can't remember that. But, it's a lot of fun.

JOHNSON: It sounds fun.

SIPILA: (laughs)

JOHNSON: So you're planning on, on (indeterminable) citizenship here.


SIPILA: Uh-huh.

JOHNSON: Um, when you--if and when you like, start a family, is that something in your plan?

SIPILA: No, I think I'm happy with my cat. But, yes? (laughs)

JOHNSON: Yeah. But if you had a family, would, what traditions would you--do you think you'd be maintaining a lot of these traditions that your mother had done?

SIPILA: Oh yes, yes. Yes. Definitely. Yeah, yeah. And uh...and if I know correctly also, I will have a dual citizenship. I won't lose mine so I'll be both. But yeah, I think it's important. I think all those things. And of course the older you get the more you value them.


SIPILA: And, and you see the value more than when it was exactly happening. And I think the most important thing that I'm most grateful for my parents is love for nature, and animals and all that. Because that's--I got it so young. 49:00(laughs) You know. Started that. But that's something I really would pass on if...


SIPILA: If that would be the case, yeah.

JOHNSON: What about language. Um...would you want your family, or your children to speak Finnish?

SIPILA: I think so. Yeah, yeah. To be able to talk to their grandparents and...(laughs)


SIPILA: Yeah. Right now I have the only Finnish speaking cat in Kentucky. (laughs)

JOHNSON: And how did you accomplish that? (laughs)

SIPILA: I don't, I talk Finnish to my cat. (laughs)

JOHNSON: (laughs) Oh my gosh.

SIPILA: No really. It's fascinating because see, I think she knows the difference in a way that--now I've been learning my lines for the play. And I do it out loud. And every time I start talking English, she gets nervous. She comes to me and she's like, "Meow. Meow." You know. "What's happening to me?"

JOHNSON: "I can't under--"

SIPILA: But I've done it for awhile that she's getting used to it. But in the beginning she couldn't figure out what's going on.


JOHNSON: "You're confusing me."

SIPILA: (laughs) "What are you saying?"

JOHNSON: "Where is my real mommy?" (laughs)

SIPILA: (laughs)


JOHNSON: Well, I think I've kind of (whistle blows) exhausted most of my questions. Are there any, anything you'd like to add? This is going into an archive, so...for like future generations to possibly to you and hear...

SIPILA: Oh my goodness! You should have told me that first.

JOHNSON: Oh, I thought I did.

SIPILA: I'd be more sophisticated. (laughs)

JOHNSON: Oh, you were fine.

SIPILA: (laughs) Gosh. I don't know!


SIPILA: Maybe, yeah well--okay. One thing I will--the language thing that's kind of interesting is, when we talk about, you know, sayings. And jokes. What happens to me quite often here, and I don't know why it happens. When somebody tells a joke, I understand everything. Until the punchline comes. And then I'm 51:00lost. And sometimes (laughs) you know, if I'm in a familiar surroundings with familiar people I'm like, you know, "I don't, I didn't get that." But many times I'm in a place where I don't feel like I can do that, and I'm just, you know, laughing with everybody and wondering, you know, "What was funny?" (laughs)

JOHNSON: (laughs)

SIPILA: But it's very interesting.

JOHNSON: Because it's a lot of word puns? Or, or...

SIPILA: I don't know. It's, it's really fascinating. But it's happened so many times. And, of course it's always like, you know, "I thought I spoke this language, but I guess I didn't." But it, it's, those are the most difficult things to translate are the jokes. Because a lot of times it's a language thing.


SIPILA: And then the other thing is the sayings. There's a lot of same, same kind, and then there are the little different variations. And I guess my favorite is that you say, "Two birds with one stone." In Finland we say, "Two flies with one swat." But, they're so similar that when you hear it, you know exactly what it means. Yeah.

JOHNSON: I know what I want to ask you.



JOHNSON: So, since you moved here um, is there a large, is there any significant Scandinavian um, community in the area? That, is there anything that you miss about that? As far as cultural traditions or just interactions with...with other Scandinavians?

SIPILA: Canadians.

JOHNSON: No, no! (laughs)

SIPILA: (laughs)

JOHNSON: People from your region of the world?

SIPILA: Not really, no. No. No.


SIPILA: No, because I don't think people themselves are that different. You know. There might be, you know, different traditions and like I said, the Finns are maybe a little reserved. More reserved than Americans. But you know, the core of the human, it's the same wherever you go, I think. And uh...not really. I'm, I love being here. This is where I wanted to be and I'm so happy to be here. I'm still sort of, you know, a few feet above the ground (laughs). Even 53:00after almost (laughs) a year and a half.


SIPILA: Everything's good. Life is good.

JOHNSON: Good. Well I hope you have a good theater season.

SIPILA: Yes! Everybody who's listening here (laughs) this is Horse Cave Theater's 23rd season starting. So 50 years from now it'll be 73rd season starting, right? So come and see a play. (laughs)

JOHNSON: (laughs) Good promotion. Always a marketer.

SIPILA: (laughs)

JOHNSON: Thank you very much.

SIPILA: You're very welcome.