Since I don't want to see a comment saying ”too long, did not read” I decided to provide cliff notes for the story, just skip all the way to the end. The Epic of Lappeenranta
Once upon a time the rulers of the heavenly kingdom of English Philology sent out their messengers all across the country to deliver an important message. The bravest adventurers of the kingdom were summoned together to take part in a legendary quest in a land far, far away.
Six fearless rogues answered the call, backed up by their minions: 14 creatures of the night, each one more horrendous than the other. The six mighty adventurers each had their own special ability: the hairy pizza-chef could bake the world's greatest pizza using nothing more than pieces of plastic, cardboard and his own magical ability. May peace rest on his soul, for even he was not thick-skinned enough to withstand the diabolic heat of his magic oven.
The sad matador was the most depressed creature to ever walk the Earth, yet she could bring a smile on everyone's face in a blink of an eye just by raising her glorious eyebrows, thicker than wool and blacker than Death itself.
The fairy queen of England lived in a tiny closet, but every day she amazed her companions by coming out of her cozy prison to catch footballs flying around like shooting stars, usually with her hands and sometimes using her precious face.
The mysterious flight attendant could turn stools and a few mattresses into the most glorious vehicle the world has ever known, moving people from country to another in a matter of seconds with no turbulence, lost luggage or delayed arrivals.
And then there was the Swedish tour guide with red hair brighter than the sun and longer than the winter in Siberia. His main task was to keep the children quiet and calm, consuming the souls of the restless ones so that one could see the joyfulness of childhood leaving their bodies forever. All that was left was blank numbness. The Swede was the only adventurer who did not volunteer to join the glorious crew, as he was forced to take part by the grunt he called his wife.
The most powerful of all the adventurers was their self-announced leader, a red-haired devil with her roots in Scotland, carrying the McCloud family name with pride. She was the master of public transportation and took great responsibility in making sure the rest of the group woke up every morning, a task a lesser heroine would not even dare to consider to take upon herself.
Our six heroes lived lives of gods for the duration of their exhausting quest. Every morning they woke up when the rest of the world was still covered in the gloomy mist of night and begun their task. Every morning they had to reconstruct the world from ashes and blow life to its hollow core. They formed the deep seas of Europe from magical blue mattresses and constructed the breath-taking mountains of the Alps from whatever they could get their hands on, piece by piece.
Every morning they had to face the relentless hordes of children and guide them safely through the dangers of the Earth: the endless, dark French canal, the bottomless blue seas and the frightful heights of the mountains. They had to fill the children's minds with a new kind of wisdom, providing them with vital knowledge about the English language, the language of the gods. With the help of their heretic minions they also provided the children with a glimpse of insight on the variety of languages used by the laypeople of Earth: Swedish, Russian, German and French.
After five long days of excruciating effort the task was finally completed. All the lost children of the Lepran kingdom had been guided towards the heavenly light, to choose the right path in their lives to become teachers, linguists and translators instead of filthy plumbers and janitors of the Underworld. However, teaching language to a child is much like slaying a dragon: if you don't handle your sword with great dexterity and care, the evil beast will consume you in a matter of seconds. Unfortunately, like every truly epic quest, even this one was not finished without casualties. The pizza-chef will live forever in our warmest memories.
Cliff notes: What? Kielipäivän tempaus organized by AinO-keskus, language workshops for 3rd graders Where? In Lappeenranta When? 16-21.1.2011 Why? To help them choose the right path in their lives, to get them enthusiastic about language studies and to help them choose their first foreign language at school. How was it? The best things: adorable kids, an amazing group The worst things: most of the teachers acting totally ignorant, chatting with each other and making annoying remarks about everything we have worked for