I'm just over in Finland living the life. No big deal.
It's been over a month since I blogged, and I have done seriously so much, and in my mind it's not in any particular order anymore... just one big blob of good times.
I had those "old dances"..... kind of like prom... but not really. Read my previous blogs if you have no idea what I'm talking about... it's mentioned somewhere. But that week, we had practice a LOT for it, and then on Thursday evening we had the dances where everyone's family came and watched- and I did my speech :)
It was so much fun! Probably actually my favorite thing I've done in Finland. And I wasn't even nervous for my speech until like halfway through I realized what I was doing and kind of freaked out, but I managed to finish it, and did pretty well, I think.
(Sorry... no pictures, they're all on facebook. If you actually know me and you're reading this, then you're most likely my friend on facebook)
The next day we danced 3 more times, for different schools. It was fun, but the last time, everyone just wanted it to be over I think... it was a LOT of dancing for the week.
Then on Friday night Aunt Gail and Uncle Doug arrived in Finland! But actually before that, my english teacher had called me while I was on the bus to Turku to meet them, and said that the reporter from the dances really liked my speech and wanted me to e-mail it to him so he could quote it in the article! So, I was in a pretty good mood, if you can imagine. (There ended up being a picture of my dance partner and I on the front page of the newspaper with that article! Pretty awesome!)
With AG & UB that evening, we went to my host family's house, and ate some food and had a good time. The next day we went to my 1st host family's house, and did the same thing again! Then we ended up going to Lapland!
In Lapland we did so much awesome stuff! We stayed in a cabin which was pretty much right on the lake. The first night, we went xc skiing and as we were coming back to our cabin (we were skiing on the lake) we saw the NORTHERN LIGHTS!!! They weren't fabulous or nearly close to anything you see in pictures of them, but they were still there!
Then, we had rented out the sauna on the lake which had a path all lit up to a hole in the lake to dip in after sauna. It was so fun! Not nearly as cold as I thought it would be though, so that was nice. I ended up going I think 3 times. And one time I rolled in the snow... MUCH colder than going in the water. Plus, the snow was like a meter and a half deep, so I couldn't exactly get up quickly.
One day we went dog sledding! We each had our own team of 4 dogs and we went on the trails for almost about 6 hours. It was so beautiful in the woods! So much snow can stick to those damn trees, it's ridiculous... but makes for a very pretty setting!
Then another day we went xc skiing. I think it was about 17 km, and since the most I had ever done in my life in like the 3 times I've been skiing was much less than half of that... I was hurting the next day. But we skiied out to this cute cafe that had opened just a few days before and enjoyed some makkara (sausage) and warm juice.
That night, we went to the ice hotel! First we went to sauna, and then had dinner in the ice restaurant. It was so cool! Everything... the tables, walls, chairs... was made out of ice. They had to put your food and drinks on a piece of wood... otherwise it would slide off (which happened to uncle doug a few times). But we had some reindeer (of course!) and some cloudberry cheesecake and other various desserts between the three of us. Sleeping in the hotel was not nearly as cold as you would think. You don't just sleep on the ice.,.. they had actual beds, and then sleeping bags for everyone. Our room had trolls in it I think as decoration. Each room was decorated differently (meaning the ice of the walls was carved differently). It was such a neat experience though, and definitely something I will never forget! They had 29 rooms I think, and it only took them 3 weeks to finish building... and yes, they build it from scratch every year. It doesn't just "stay up" all year. They have summer in Lapland, too.
After that, we flew back down to Helsinki for a night, and ate dinner at "the tractor bar". Decorated with old tractors and such. The next day, we went to Lahti for the Finlandia ski race which Uncle Doug participated in. It was really cool to see all of the skiiers from everywhere around the world, all coming together just for their love of skiing.
Then, it was back to school for a week for me. Nothing out of the ordinary happened there. But on Friday, I met up with AG and UB again, but this time in Helsinki for the weekend. We just checked out the city, went to markets and of course did a little shopping. However, (and I think Aunt Gail would agree)... my favorite thing we bought was a pastry from the market hall. It was crunchy and sugary on the outside, and fluffy and chocolatey on the inside. I've actually been considering taking a trip to Helsinki just to get me some of those.
Our hotel in Helsinki though was cool. It was an old jail, renovated to be a hotel. But they kept one room just like the cells had been so you could see what it was like. It freaked me out a bit, haha. But I was really glad AG & UB got to visit Finland and see what it's like, and what my life is like here! (and hearing them try to pronounce things was pretty hilarious)
After that, it was back to school another week, and then cruise with everyone in my class to celebrate after the "prom". That was quite the experience... definitely Finnish... and definitely crazy. But nonetheless, it was fun!
That was the very short version of everything, but now you know!
Today I'm headed to a hockey game with some exchange student friends. It's the last game of the season.... and I have yet to check off "go to a hockey game" from my bucket list!