Part 5 - 29/5/2009 - Happy Hour

Mrs Motivator, meets Green Goddess, meets Finland's got talent..................confused, well that is what we thought. Let me explain. This is another blog where you will need to use a little imagination though.

We went to a breakfast meeting this morning organised by one of the local banks. It was very well organised and at first had all the feeling of a fairly traditional breakfast meeting. The food and coffee were excellent and there was the normal amount of conversation for a group of people that do not know each other. Of course, the fact we don't speak the language that well, makes it more challenging, but you get the idea. Anyway, after a leisurely breakfast we moved into the room for the presentations.

The first presentaion was fairly straightforward, since it was about the economy and banking products - a sales pitch. Being fairly familiar with these, it was not too hard to follow the inference even in Finnish. All seemed calm and sedate - not too far outside of the comfort zone. Then followed an orderly handover to the next speaker, usual introductions. As she walked across the room, I remember thinking to myself that she looked an interesting character and then....................

BANG!!! - the starter released the blocks and off she went. Please don't get me wrong, she was very good and from what we understood, it all made good sense. Now, I am guessing that her profession is management psychology or something simlar and she had a very upbeat and dynamic presentation style. But then came the fun part. Not one, not two but three intervals of audience participation. Now, the Finnish people are not usually renowned for being outgoing and so given my default character, I have some sympathy here. So, round 1. Not so bad on reflection, everyone stand up, stretch up to the roof and then punching the air. Good for getting circulation going and energising the mind. Then sit and another talk.

Round 2 was a little more, well adventurous. Everyone stand up. Music, yes music, starts. Quite a gentle and relaxing piece. Everyone turn to the left and then, in time to the music, begin to massage the person next to you. Then, after a few minutes, rub their backs to release all the tension away. Then turn around and start all over again. OK, this is not so bad and I have experienced this before. Then however, we decided it would be good to put all the tension back by hugging the person either side of us, to which you can imagine there were some interesting responses. There were the firm and full on hugs, those who knew one another. Balanced with this though was the rabbit in the headlight hug between those who had only met in the last 15 minutes and had already got far closer than planned with the massage. Still, no life casualties, although a few left the presentation soon after (these could have been genuine other reasons, but I have my suspicions!!)

And so, all sit again. Well, another short and energetic session followed. Not sure how much people took in during this session, since most were probably terrified about what else was coming. And they were not too dissapointed. Round 3. Stand up and more music. This time was much more upbeat though, I guess Finnish pop, though could have been anything for all I was listening to the words. This time was a full on aerobic session. We had dancing and punching and rolling the shoulder, thrusting hips etc. most entertaining, not least because most were not really dressed for this. Now the clever and well postioned people in the room, left before this started, but we were blocked in, nowhere to go. We all survived and as if to prove a point at the end most were smiling and cheerful. Actually, most were probably a lot more energised than they have been in weeks. But the moral to the tale is that you need to have an open mind, be flexible and oh, always remember your gym kit.

And so to other points. Not much here and I will update more soon. I am preaching this Sunday and then we are all going to Lapland on Monday for a final few days in the cabin before it is sold. No doubt more pictures and stories will emerge then. For now, God bless and take care. Neil.