Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Our Järvenpää Visitors

A delegation of high school math and physics teachers from our sister city of Järvenpää, Finland, visited Pasadena last week.

For obvious reasons they visited Blair High School, Polytechnic School, Caltech and JPL; they also enjoyed being tourists, taking in the sights including The Huntington and Venice Beach.

And they visited Pasadena City Hall, where they learned (from yours truly) about the history and architecture of the building.

I had the pleasure of accompanying Mayor Bill Bogaard and Judy Kent, his field representative, to Järvenpää last June; Patsy Lane, director of our Human Services and Recreation Department, was there for a professional exchange a few years ago.

While in Järvenpää, Patsy, Judy and I became friends with Leena Ritala, the manager of international affairs for the City of Järvenpää.

Here's (l-r) Patsy, Leena and Judy as we walked to lunch at the Westin Tuesday of last week.

On Friday there was a luncheon for our Järvenpää visitors and special guests at Caltech's Athenaeum organized by the Pasadena Sister Cities Committee.

Mayor Bogaard presented a proclamation, accepted by Pasi Ketolainen, celebrating the 25th anniversary of the Sister City relationship between Pasadena and Järvenpää. Pasi was wearing two hats on this trip: He is president of the Järvenpää Chapter of the Finnish-American Society and he is a high school physics teacher.

The great Finnish pianist Janne Mertanen, who played for us during a reception and dinner in Järvenpää last June, is currently on tour in the U.S. What a pleasant added bonus to have him perform for us on Friday (he flew down from San Francisco). I was doubly fortunate to be seated next to him at the luncheon, and we caught up with each other's goings-on.

Then on Friday evening Patsy, Judy and I took Leena to dinner at Central Park Cafe. It was a lovely evening filled with food, fun and friendship.

On Sunday Patsy, Leena, Tuija (one of the teachers) and I enjoyed the Music Under the Stars concert in front of Pasadena City Hall.

The delegation headed back home on Monday (with the exception of Janne, whose U.S. tour continues). Yesterday Leena sent an email that reads, in part:

"Safe and sound back from Pasadena from our 'it never rains in California'-days. Thank you so much for the many new impressions, scientific challenges and feelings given during the days of my first ever visit to States - but not the last if I only manage to get my luggage back from Paris..."


Margaret said...

What a fun time. I hope they learned a lot.

Cafe Observer said...

I enjoyed this posting very much, PIO.
And all the colors of the photo of the 3some with Citihall behind is magical.

(Did you say math & physics teachers?! Hire them!! Or, at least hold them for ransom.)

Jean Spitzer said...

Sister cities. How neat, and great that you got to entertain them.