My Final Weeks in Finland
Over the past couple of weeks, the realization that my year in Finland is just about finished has really struck me hard. There was one week where, for about three days, I was really sad and not interacting much with the people around me. I had already started missing the people I hadn’t yet left. I realized that it was stupid to be all sad now so I stopped sulking around and have tried to spend a lot of time with my family and friends, just enjoying one another’s company. Thinking about leaving is bittersweet. I am, of course, excited to see my friends, family, and dog back in the states again, but seeing them again means I am leaving everyone here. So feeling excited about going back makes me feel a bit guilty because it is kind of like being excited about leaving. I have family and friends here too now and thinking about leaving and not knowing when I will see them again makes me sad. Anyhoo that’s enough discussion of emotions for right now. I can deal with those later.
The past few weeks have been rather relaxed. We went to visit extended family for the weekend a few weeks ago and it was a nice, little trip. We didn’t have anything to do and so we just spent time with family. One major thing of note from that trip is that I tried this type of candy that I hadn’t ever before. In Finland, a lot of the candy are licorice or salmiakki. I have never been someone who eats or likes to eat licorice. But this specific candy, which was a sort of licorice, was very good. And since then I’ve tried a few others and apparently…I like licorice now? Not all of it and not too much, but I don’t find it as repulsive as I once did.
Two weeks ago we had a spring concert at school. I was supposed to be singing with two of my friends, but unfortunately one got sick and couldn’t come so if was just the two of us singing. And surprisingly it didn’t go that horribly.
In Finland, the first of May is a holiday called Vappu. It celebrated beginning the evening before and continuing into the first. Traditional food and drink of Vappu are sime, a drink made from honey and lemon, and munkki, which are sort of like donuts but made from a different type of dough. My host mom made many in a few flavored. Some of them were filled with canola crime or apple sauce, which I helped with, though I am apparently not that great at estimating how much of the filling should have gone into them and several spilled out or slightly burst through the side. They were really yummy. Other foods that are usually eaten include a potato salad and sausages. On the next morning, we ate vappu brunssi. Our table was filled with delicious things ranging from karjalanpiiraka to chocolate chip pancakes, leftovers salads from the previous evening to fresh fruit. It was all very good and I was very full after eating that brunch. Later that day there was a Finland vs. U.S. hockey game which the U.S. apparently won, though I didn’t watch.
The next day there was a gathering in Helsinki for the exchange student. One of my friends and I decided to meet for coffee or brunch beforehand. We had a coffee place that we were trying to find but couldn’t quite and didn’t fancy walking around in the cold rain for any longer so we decided to go for a traditional American meal of McDonald’s. After hanging out for a few hours and shopping a bit, we met up with the rest of the exchange students. For lunch we went for Italian and I had my Italian friend order for me. I had pasta which was really good, though it wasn’t as cooked as I would have liked it to be. With our group we went to this place where we could see all around the city and then went again to suomenlinna. We had coffee and hug out with the other students for a little while before the two of us who weren’t planning on spending the night headed back to the main land.
The next day I had my spring dance performance. It went well and I didn’t fall and hurt myself badly immediately before going on like I did at Christmas which was a plus. The next day was our last ballet class. Only half of our class showed up but it was a really good and fun last class here.
For our music class, we put together a short concert for children and have been traveling sound to local preschools to perform. The concert includes kids song that they are interactive in and a few Disney songs. Even though we haven’t sang all that great at many of them, the children seem to have had a fun time.