Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Having a Grand Old Time

(American Food in Seinäjoki )    

(American, Asian, and Tex-Mex in Seinäjoki Shop)

Yesterday was a wonderful day. Made even better by the fact it was a Monday, and that Friday will be my birthday, and on Saturday I leave for a week-long trip to Lapland with all (140 or so) the Rotary exchange students in Finland. And on the sixth of December it will be Finland's Independence Day (going strong since 1917).

It started off as a normal Monday, and became progressively better as the day went on. I was able to understand much of what was going on in class, and in my World Religions class we watched a movie on Japanese culture, so I knew exactly what they were talking about.

After school we had gym, a class I usually fail miserably at, but today I was able to impress everyone in swimming! I felt so proud of myself! I was the top swimmer in the Swim Cooper Test, a 12 minute endurance test, and I managed 575 meters. Not too bad, considering I haven't been in swim team in over a year!

As a present to myself, while waiting to be picked up, I bought myself sukla (chocolate) ice cream to eat on my walk from the swim center to the library in the snow. While the few Finns I passed on my way looked at me a bit oddly, using a spoon clenched tightly in my gloves to eat my prize, I was happy under the falling snowflakes, warm even.

And I was really happy when I got to the library because, well, it's a library, one of my favorite places to be, regardless of what languages the books may be in.

All in all, a splendid pre-birthday afternoon.


Though this may not seem all too relevant to my main blog posts, I just felt like posting something short that describes what I'm feeling right now.  So, to all who read this, I wish a very happy (almost) Joulukuu (December).

Monday, November 21, 2011

Today marks a starting point of my life in Finland : Ensilumi - The first snow.  But more importantly, I had my first cup of coffee. Just a plain black coffee. I've been able to manage without it so far thanks to a healthy diet of tea. Lots of tea. And ruisleipä ( dark rye bread). It's the core of the Finnish diet, I think, along with some added toppings of voi (butter), juusto (cheese), and kurkku (cucumber).

( Maasa taking a walk in the Finnish countryside)

Although I still feel a bit guilty about updating so infrequently, I am using my time to its fullest extent, trying out new activities and adventures. Thinking back on it, there's always so much I want to tell, but by the time it gets up on my blog it's so edited that the original sentiments get lost. But enough melancholy! I really am enjoying myself in Finland, and I am my best to fulfill my duties as an American representative to Finland as an individual to everyone I meet. My Finnish is slowly improving, and I have had quite an experience, coming to terms with learning a language that is most definitely in a class of its own.

I've done several things of worth in the time since I last updated, not least of which is changing host families. I've also gone abroad (from going abroad!), begun my third period at school, and grown up (if just a little).

Estonia was amazing. Last month I was able to go there for my fall break, and I absolutely loved it. I was researching the country over a long term project last year in school, and it was such a rewarding feeling to be able to see what I had studied for so long. Of course, I still prefer Finland, but it was such a fantastic feeling, taking my first extended ferry ride and seeing both the new and the old of the city. It was a mixture of medieval architecture and Soviet apartments, of huge music halls and hidden beaches tucked away between near empty docks.

So, to give you a better idea of what went on, here's a ridiculous amount of pictures. 

That's all for now. 

I just wanted to post a short blog entry to let all who read this know that this account is still active, and that I'm doing well. I'll continue the rest soon. Hyvä Yöta! (Good night!)