Before the visit, our Talent Call winners were asked to bring something that represented an important part of them. On the first day, they showed their items during the welcome breakfast and explained the significance. Some were their favorite snacks, others were cultural symbols from their country or were deeply personal.
Audrey Kow, a full-stack web developer from Singapore and her husband Ryan Ho brought a taste of home. Their favorite morning drinks are Milo energy drink, Audrey’s favorite and Old Town White Coffee, Ryan’s favorite.
Andrius Dvinelis, a field service engineer and his partner Viktorija Zepnickaite, a manufacturing scientist from Lithuania followed suit with Pergalē chocolates, which have been made in Vilnius, Lithuania since 1922. Accidentally forgotten at the hotel was a pack of UNO cards because he and Viktorija love games.
Jinu John, an IT specialist and his wife Meera Baby, a software tester from India brought everyone Banarasi silk shawls. They are named after the city Banaras, in the northern state of Utter Pradesh, where they are manufactured.
– In India, it is a practice to honour your guests and it is a mark of respect. So we give the shawl and flowers, said Meera.
Maris Staris, a branding and advertising professional and his wife Ilze from Latvia, presented a Latvian woven folk belt, or josta. They are usually made of linen or wool and can also be decorated with metal, leather and beads. The colors and patterns are representative of one the regions of Latvia. The belt was Ilze’s and is made of wool. She said she chose it during midsummer a few years ago. It is from Engure, a fishing town just northwest of Riga.
– I like to say it found me. It’s hard to describe, but it is about the energy level. You choose it intuitively, Ilze said.
Yllka Curri, a software engineer from Albania, brought refrigerator magnets with traditional Albania costumes for everyone. She also presented a onsie that her oldest daughter Sindi wore as a newborn baby.
– She was very small when she was born. I bought clothes for premature babies and they were still too small. We left the hospital after three days and even though we were told she would be this small and she was healthy, it was still difficult. This was our first child. Now Sindi is a vibrant five-year-old who loves ballet and painting and doesn’t stop talking and asking questions and impressing us every day, Yllka said.
During the Tall Call visit, one of the most attractive features about Finland was its world class school system. Yllka said she saw Finland as a place for her children to grow up.