Saturday, September 24


Oh man where to begin.
Well, syyskuu means september, which it is. It's coming to an end, rather quickly. About 5 days from now. I can't believe I'm almost 2 months into my exchange. Crazy to think about it like that. So i guess I prefer to say I have about 8 months left. But that still seems like so little time. Right now, I really don't even want to think about ever having to leave. I'll just stay here, and people can come visit, K? K.

Well.... let's go in order of what happened this week.
First of all, on Monday I woke up and my eyes were all itchy, and then at school after the first class I realized they were totally red. So I mentioned it to my host sister and she insisted I call mom to get a doctors appointment. So I did. I leave school early on Mondays to go to Turku for a Finnish lesson with all other exchange students in the area, so I did that, and right after the lesson I went to the doc. Turns out I had an eye infection. Wonderful. So I got some medicine, and was told it should be better in 2 days. And was also told to throw away my mascara and eye shadow. Not cool. Mascara here is so expensive! And luckily I had only used one of my eyeshadows in the past 3 days, so I didn't have to throw away all of them! But the infection didn't go away by Friday, so my wonderful host mom called the doctor and got me a new prescription... which seems to be working so far :) That was my oh so exciting Monday! But I promise my Tuesday was MUCH better.....

BECAUSE I MET THE PRINCE AND PRINCESS OF SWEDEN! That's right, you read that correctly. I decided to skip school and go to the library in Turku where I knew they would be that day in hopes of getting a good picture. I didn't even really expect to even see them at all. Let alone talk to the princess! Well... ok. To tell the truth, I didn't really talk. I was frozen for a while, and then when everyone I was with starting talking, I realized I had the chance to actually talk to the future Queen of Sweden (that's right, I'll be able to say I met a queen!) and so I kind of just mumbled something. I don't even know what it was that I tried to say! But one of the guys I was with (also a Rotary exchange student) thought to give Victoria(the princess) one of his exchange student business cards! So... she now has his phone number! haha. But here are some pics. And no, zoom was not on. We were really that close :)
^^that would be the princess with my friends business card. he had written a little note for her on the back

And then after that we went to Hesburger. But that's pretty much a weekly occurrence. (For those that haven't read the previous posts... Hesburger is a big burger chain that started in Turku)

Wednesday was just a normal day. I went to school, and went orienteering in gym class. This was the second week in a row that we did that. We aren't given a compass, just a map. So, just like last week, my group got lost. Except it was a different group. But it's still fun to go on these little adventures with the people in my class. (By the way... eyes were still not better today.)

Thursday.... I went to school again. Normal day. Nothing too special happened that I can remember. 

Friday! Went to school again. But I get to sleep in on Fridays, so the day started out good! My host mom had called the doctor for some different medicine for me since my eyes still weren't any better. So I got some new medicine. We were going to go swimming after school, but since I still had the eye infection, and my host mom had gotten it as well, we figured that wasn't a good idea. So, we went to my host mom's friend's ranch for sauna! It was dark when we got there, so I didn't see that much. But they have chickens and horses! That was kind of random. But they do, and I think we're planning on going there again sometime in the daylight. But then we went to sauna, and ran out to a pond that they have on their property. It was fun! There wasn't enough room in the sauna for everyone to be on the top bench, and so my host sister got kicked off the top since I'm only here for a year and they get to sauna their entire lives! Oh, the perks of being an exchange student :) 

Saturday... I finally woke up before 11 on a Saturday. Pretty sure that's like the 2nd time since I've been here. School weeks take all of my energy. But today we just cleaned the house. And I decided that I wanted to make no bake cookies, and my host mom needed some stuff from the store too, so I rode my bike to the store and got everything. But then I ended up not making the cookies today. I'm saving that for tomorrow instead. Can't wait to have some no bakes though! They sound amazing. This evening, the whole family (well, except my host dad. He's in Siberia for 9 days for some concerts) went to some French club's meeting so my host sisters could play some music for them. I ended up sitting next to an old woman who actually spoke English as well because she goes there for 2 months every year. Also, we ate a lot of food there, so I was stuffed. 
Leaving there, we went to the video store and picked out a movie. We rented Water for Elephants and watched it when we got home. For those of you have haven't seen it, I highly recommend! It was super good, but definitely a tear jerker. I cried pretty much the entire time. 
And now I'm just in my room writing a blog, and just got done skyping with a friend back home :) 

OH, by the way. I've been wanting lemonade pretty bad for the entire past month. So, tonight I was told there was lemonade at this French club meeting. I got pretty exciting and of course said I would like some lemonade. Only to be let down when a Sprite was put in front of me. But oh well, I'll get over it. But hopefully I can get some lemonade soon!

Also, there were Pringles tonight in the car on the way home, and I asked my host sisters if they ever put them in their mouth and pretend that they're a duck. They NEVER do that. CRAZY! But by the time I thought of that and went to show them, there were no Pringles left. So we're going to have to get some soon so I can show them. They're definitely missing out. 
^that's what i'm talking about. For those that don't know what I mean. 

Anyways... I've been here for almost 2 months, and the only mail I have gotten is from the bank here after setting up an account. So if anyone wishes to send me some love, that would be greatly appreciated :) 
Just let me know and I can send you my address. 
Hope everyone is doing well, and enjoying my blog! 
With love from Finland! 

P.S.... my spelling is really starting to get bad! Thank goodness this blog does the automatic spell check and puts a red line under everything I spell wrong. Otherwise there would be tons of errors! Hopefully this thing caught them all........

Sunday, September 11

So much.

I feel like so much has happened recently and I haven't updated anything. I'm so bad about updating this and writing in my journal. Especially the journal. It's just so time consuming to write out everything that I want to remember, and my handwriting is just so bad so if I really want to be able to read it, it will take me like half of the time I have in Finland to actually document everything. So maybe I'll just start updating this way more and not writing in my journal. Ok, that was a bit of a rant. I apologize. 

This will probably not be in the correct order at all, and maybe I've already written about some of this in a previous post, but oh well. 

The farthest my memory can remember right now that I haven't written about is the day that the first year students were all forced to dress like animals once they got to school, and do strange things during the breaks between classes. I guess the third year students were in charge of it all, and it was to celebrate the fact that they only have 100 days left of school. The only thing I'm really positive about what was going on is that they had to break up into groups (based on what animal you were... tiger, panda, or parrot), and draw one of the teachers. The pictures were definitely interesting. And it was funny to see everyone (or hear, more likely. They were dressed in trash bags, which were extremely loud) dressed like animals. But I felt completely out of place in my classes that were all first year students, since I was the only one not dressed up, and part of me wished that I had to dress up too, but it's all good. (Sadly, no pictures. Sorry.)

So I totally thought that a Finnish class I plan on taking started last week, so I got all excited and told everyone "my Finnish class starts today", but then got home and realized it didn't start for another week. So that was kind of depressing. But now it officially starts TOMORROW. And I'm positive about that this time! :)

On Friday, I went to watch a floorball game with my host sister, Emilia. It was fun to watch since it was something I had never seen before. But.... 
These were Masku's extra players (the team from where I live)....

And these were the other team's extra players....

Needless to say, it wasn't a very exciting game, and Masku kicked some ass. The other team didn't even have a coach with them. But floorball seems like a fun game, and I'm glad I went. 

After the game we went to Hesburger with some of my host sister's friends, and we ended up staying there just talking for like 3 hours. One of her friends reminds me so much of one of my good guy friends back home, it's ridiculous. Like same exact mannerisms and just the way he acts about everything. Being around him really makes me miss the one he reminds me of, but hopefully we can be friends too. 
At one point at Hesburger, my host sister and her friend decided that everyone needed to talk in English from then on. So then no one wanted to talk and it got all quiet. One of the guys just said "i'm speechless.", it was funny, but of course that didn't last very long. But it was worth a shot. 

When I got home from that, I got on Facebook and found out that there had been a bomb threat at my high school back home. The guy had sent out an e-mail to tons of people in the school district, and targeted specific people and it was just really though out. It pretty much completely freaked me out, and I didn't really know what exactly happened or how anything ended, so I didn't sleep much that night. It's so weird being in another country when something like that happens back home, especially when you don't know all the details. It's just strange to know that you can't do anything to help anyone back home, and I just sat there waiting to hear more information about it. It really didn't help when the next day, my internet here didn't work, so I was pretty much not in a good state of mind all day since I hadn't heard anything from home. But thankfully everything turned out okay and no one got hurt. 

But the day that I was worried about back home with no internet was also a very fun day. It was the district welcome party for all of the exchange students. We met up in Turku and then went to a beach to grill some makkara (sausage), and just hang out together. There was about 30 of us in all, and it was so good to be with everyone. The people that I was talking to most of the time talked about so much stuff. We ended up calling ourselves "the deep dark circle", because we talked about a lot of really deep subjects. (Like religion, what we would do if someone back home died this year, if we were worried about anything happening on the anniversary of 9/11... stuff like that) It was good to talk about stuff like that with people that understand you and are a lot like you. Every exchange student already has so much in common, and a lot of our beliefs on everything were really similar. It's like every exchange student has a bond to each other because of our choice to be an exchange student. But we also talked about other things and had some fun, we're not downers like that ALL the time. It was also a really nice day out, and the place we were at was pretty beautiful too. 

Today I went to my host mom's brother's summer cottage to have coffee and some snacks. He and his wife were really nice people (not that I've met anyone in Finland that wasn't nice...). Venla and her friend Arto went with us. Arto is my host mom's friend's son (the host mom's friend also went today), but this kid is amazing! He's 13, and his English is incredible! And he definitely wasn't afraid to use it! He says he learns most of his English from TV, so I guess TV can be a good thing. He was so interested in the US and asked so many questions. It was great to have someone be so willing to talk to me about everything! He was a really nice kid, and keeps saying I need to come over more often so he can practice his English... And he also says he loves to cook, so I won't complain about that! :) 

Now to the completely out of order and random stuff:

I went to play frisbee golf last weekend with my host mom and sister. I had never done it before (despite my mom's many attempts to go play in Cadillac), and it was really fun!

Last weekend I went shopping with some of my exchange friends to get some stuff that I needed... And some stuff I really didn't need. But, I'm taking some of the stuff back, because it took me forever to decide whether or not I really wanted to buy it, and then I did, and now I regret it and am taking it back. Typical me. I should've known I didn't really want it since I debated getting it for so long. 

After shopping, we went and had dinner at a pizza place. That's where I discovered this.... 
Pineapple Fanta. Best pop I've had in my entire life. SO good. And normally I don't even like pop. But I do love pineapple, so it makes sense. Also... pizzas here don't come cut. So we pretty much demolished it, but it was good. 

I almost hate to admit this... but I'm craving some processed food. Everything here is so fresh, but I just want some chips and some frozen dinners. Doritos sound amazing. Also chicken nuggets.
And they put ketchup on everything here! My host sister made pizza the other day, with ketchup as the sauce instead of tomato sauce. And the ketchup is a lot different. It's really sweet and not at all like Heinz. 

I mentioned before how they always play a song at the beginning of the school day, and the other day they played one that just kept saying "nami nami makkara" over and over. Which means "yummy yummy sausage". Everyone was like what the hell is going on. But it was funny, and at least I understood it! :) 

OH! On Friday, I pretty much understood all of my math lesson! I was so excited! & I also came so close to actually answering one of the questions.... in Finnish. But I wasn't 100% positive that he was asking a question. But regardless, I was really proud of myself. Even though it was a lesson on something I learned like 4 years ago. 

My host dad's dad came over today. They give all of their grandkids 10 euros a month, and they gave me that money too. I thought it was so sweet, because he said that I was one of their grand kids now, but they don't speak any English so we only ever exchanged like four words in Finnish. But they're both so nice, and I can't wait to be able to have conversations with them. 

I'm sure I could come up with more random things to tell you, but I'm tired and can't think of anything else at the moment. So this is it for now. Hope you enjoyed it! 

Thursday, September 1


That means adventure. I've been having lots of those lately. Well, I guess you could say this whole year is an adventure... but these things lately are just interesting things I have done that I like to consider to be adventures. But it doesn't really take much for me to call something an "adventure".

So I guess my first adventure would be sailing. I went sailing last weekend with my little host sister's girl scout troop (there was actually only 3 of them though) on a boat called the Hemmingway. We went through the Turku Archipelago, and it was gorgeous! Unfortunately... I didn't really get all that many pictures (at all) of the views because it was either rainy and I didn't want my camera out, or it was windy and rough and we were always moving the sails and I was afraid it would break or go overboard. I did, however, manage to get pictures of the tall ships leaving the harbor on our last day sailing as we were coming it. It was an awesome sight to see! There were boats, big and small, everywhere.

Second adventure... we went to the Turku Cathedral where my host dad had one of his concerts. He plays the organ, and the organ in this church was spectacular. Actually... the entire church was spectacular, but we didn't really have much time before or after the concert to look around, so we are going to go back some other time. But the concert was really good! Much different than I had expected. When I think of the organ, I think of church, and that usually doesn't come with very good music at 9 o'clock on Sunday mornings with the eldest members of my community. However, it was actually kind of exciting, and I would go to one again! We got to go up and check out the organ after the concert, and I got a few pictures.

Last adventure I will mention... Flowpark! So fun! It's a high ropes course, but there are tons of different courses here, and there are different levels. My gym class went (which is all girls) today, and it was really nice to spend time with them and get to know them a little better. I'm definitely looking forward to hanging out with them again! But the high ropes course was so fun! There was a lot more variety of the things to climb on to get to the next platform than any of the high ropes courses I have seen or been on in the US. And there were a lot of zip lines, which I love. Some were short just to get from one platform to the next in the middle of the course, and then every course always ended with a one as well. There was one course, however, that I was too afraid to do! I climbed up and was all hooked in to go... but I just couldn't do it. It consisted of pretty much just holding onto a rope and swinging over to the next thing, which was just a barrel hanging from a cable. That was a bit too much for me, and I climbed back to the ground. And so far, I don't regret that choice. 

That's all that I have to say about my adventures for now... but I'm sure there will be many more to come!