Since then, my exchange friend Elisha and I have made Thanksgiving dinner for our families:
And yes, that means we even cooked a turkey! (Two, actually. Because the biggest they could find was like 7 pounds, for 9 people) The stuffing was made from scratch, and we also had sweet potato apple crisp, cranberry sauce, garlic mashed potatoes, and green bean casserole. And for dessert, there was pecan and pumpkin pie. For the pumpkin, there's no canned pumpkin in Finland, so we actually had to cut up a pumpkin and boil it and what not. Thankfully, everything turned out good! And the turkey could not have been better! I think from now on, I should be in charge of turkey for Thanksgiving....
After that, I went to Lapland with all of the exchange students in Finland with Rotary (about 150 people), and we were there for 4 days, after our 16 hour bus ride. We went on a reindeer sleigh ride, a dog sled ride, made ice sculptures (well, tried to), went snowshoeing, downhill skiing, sledding, went to the local high school, and they had some entertainment for the night, ran across a bridge to Sweden, went to Rovaniemi (Santa's hometown) and other stuff that I can't remember at the moment. We also went to a reindeer farm and learned some facts about reindeer.
Obviously, that means I have to tell you them:
A baby reindeer has 3,000 hairs per square centimeter, while an adult reindeer has 1,600. Each herder has a special mark that they put on each of their reindeer's ears. It's pretty official, and they have government documents claiming which mark is theirs and whatnot. Uhm, they used to castrate the reindeer by biting the vein behind the testicles. Yes, that means an actual person would BITE it. But, that's illegal now, and they use a clamp type thing to cut it. During October is "baby starting" (as the woman knowing VERY little English told us... she had to have everything else translated for her... but she told us that!) and the male reindeer lose about 20 kilos in that month... hard work for them! Oh, and last year, the herder we talked to lost 3,000 reindeer because the herd was on the thought-to-be frozen river, and the ice collapsed and they drowned. That's all the facts I can remember.
^that's my favorite picture I took from the entire trip
OH, and in Lapland.... I TURNED 18!!!!!
Which means that when I got back, my family had a party for me with some of the families I had met while living with them. It was really fun and nice to have everyone together. There was lots of good food, which my host mom had thought out, and each had a meaning. Either something about Finland and a certain area I had been to, or just something that she knew I really liked.
The next day... was moving day. I didn't even start packing until 11 that morning, and was in the car to the next family by 11:37.... with 4 bags more than I came with (and that I'm allowed to take on the plane with me at the end of the year).
Anyways, I'm here in my new family now. I do miss my old family (I cried when I left... and for about 3 straight days before I even had to leave at random times whenever I thought about it), but I am really liking my new family. I speak a lot more Finnish, and although it is tiring and I feel like sleeping all the time, I am liking the challenge. I think I will learn pretty quickly if I keep it up.
But that's about it for now. Merry Christmas everyone! Knowing me, I probably won't post before then!
In Finnish (because I know you're all DYING to say this to each other at Christmas): Hyvää Joulua!
I almost forgot! I changed the settings, so anyone can leave a comment now! SO, comment away! :)