Quite some time ago, I bought my half-Finnish man a Finnish language CD-rom and course book. He'd expressed regret at never having learned the language at home. His mum spoke it and Timo and his two brothers did make some Finnish noises when they were children, but the language didn't really stick.
He didn't really get very far with the course materials. His version is that I was too bossy when trying to correct his pronunciation and whilst learning all the swearwords was of some use, he didn't feel inspired enough to continue.
Now that we're married and the course materials have gathered quite an impressive layer of dust on the top shelf of our bookcase, the greatest thing ever has happened: Katja's newly minted husband has declared he wants to learn Finnish. He's English through and through. Voilà, my husband now feels like this is some sort of challenge; the gauntlet has been thrown.
With his mind thus properly focused, Timo has made impressive leaps towards being able to understand the finer points of Viivi and Wagner and can't be too many years off being able to understand the other great literary W - the Finnish national treasure, Mika Waltari.
Current progress is still mostly focused on greetings and suchlike. So, okay, we're some distance off reading Sinuhe (The Egyptian) in the original language. But I'm convinced with his new found motivation, he will get there!
Whilst reading out loud some words intended to stretch the foreign mouth's ability to handle Finnish vowels, Timo fell in love with "höpö höpö" (which roughly translates to "poppycock" or "nonsense"). It's one of those delicious words (well, a pair of words really) that sounds appropriate for the intended purpose. Just like the English "poppycock".
The following chapter - on questions and appropriate answers - was highly entertaining because, in the style of "that would be an ecumenical matter", I suggested "höpö höpö" could be used as an answer to everything. Just try it and see!
Meanwhile, we've been trying to think of where to take Timo's Finnish cousin and his girlfriend when they visit London in November. I don't really want to see Avenue Q again (as brilliant as it was, we've got the soundtrack now and may have over-played it juuuuust a little. But then, can you blame us? "The internet is for porn" is even on my iPod). Anyway, I've suggested Monkey. Now that it has moved to its dedicated venue, maybe we'd stand a chance of getting tickets. I was so gutted for having missed it the first time.