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by Smitha Thomas
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Smitha Thomas
• National Board Member of
YWCA India
• Rotary GSE
(Group Study Exchange) Fellow
• Head, Content and Creative ipsr solutions ltd.
Tornio was great as I got to stay with a family for the first time. My hosts Matti and Tarja who were teachers by profession, were great people. Tarja took me to a rehearsal of an all woman’s choir she was part of. The theme was love. They had a repertoire of Finnish, Swedish and English songs in quite an eclectic blend of classical, folk and rap.

My hosts Matti, Tarja and their son Tomas
My hosts Matti, Tarja and their son Tomas

Crossing the border

Our business visits included visits to the famous Lapin Kulta Beer Brewery and Outu Kempu Steel Plant. One is amazed at the automation in these factories. Finland is one of the most automated companies in the world. But one adverse effect is that there is a high rate of unemployment due to this.

Outside Haaparanda church
Outside Haaparanda church

A unique thing about Tornio is that it is a border town. So Tornio in Finland and Haparanda in Sweden are known as twin towns. On my first evening in Tornio I went over to Sweden (yes, it is as simple as that!) for sightseeing. There is no border police, no visa checkers or whatever you call them. It just takes fifteen minutes to reach Haaparanda from Tornio.
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Vishu Onam thiruvonam 2011
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