Monday, August 15, 2011
I have been in Suomi *(Finland) for just over a week and a day. At the moment I’m typing from my host family’s home, watching sade (rain) fall outside and listening to a basketball game between Portugal and Suomi (Finland) in the background. (Of course, Suomi is in the lead!)
*Suo means swamp in Finnish, so Finland’s true name should be ‘swamp land.’
But to what I want to tell about is my trip to Finland.
On the first night I got there, Sunday night (or Sunday morning for all you in America) I was very tired, but managed to stay awake until elven at night or so, so I was feeling quite accomplished, if tired, on Monday morning among my four roommates.
The parting from my parents on Saturday evening was on the verge of tears, but then again, that’s to be expected, being so far apart from someone you’ve spent your entire life with. But it was a happy parting, and luckily my father was able to stay with Christina Montgomery, fellow Finland exchange student, and me until we entered the plane.
While Christina spent her 10 hour flight being filled with food thanks to an upgrade to business class by my mother, I spent the flight with a 9 year-old Swiss girl and her mother. I learned a bit of German, and was able to help fill in her coloring book, so it wasn’t a bad trade off in the least.
Then came a layover about 3 hours long in the Frankfurt Airport, where we were able to meet up with about 20 other exchange students headed to Finland, mostly from the northwestern USA and southwestern Canada, but also a few from France as well. The best part about it wasn’t the exchange students though; it was at security. Tired and a bit out of it after my flight, I was told by the man at security in German to smile. “If I didn’t,” he warned, “I would be sure to beep while going through the metal detector.” Luckily I didn’t, and he explained this to me in English when he realized I clearly wasn’t German speaking. (A few moments of blank-staring was enough to convince him.)
After another 3 hour flight from Frankfurt to Helsinki (again filled with coloring books!) we arrived happy but tired into a new home. (The only odd bit is that for the life of me I cannot remember going through customs in Helsinki, only in Frankfurt. That, and on neither of the planes did I need to fill out any immigration paperwork.)