Sooooooo this happened a long time ago, but yeah. July was a crazy month okay? I went to New England for the week of Independence Day, I worked a week of camp, then I spent a week in Disney Springs, Florida for KKPsiTBS NatCon 2017, then I had my last week of camp. And then August started and I spent a week with family in Iowa. So now I’m finally sitting in my own home able to write to you about the most important part of my pre-study abroad experience – getting my Finnish Residence Permit approved.
So. My week in the Historic New England during the most patriotic week of the year:
Mom and I got off to a good start. flew into Philadelphia International Airport Sunday evening from KCI. It was the first time I had been on an airplane since I was four years old. Unfortunately, the two planes we flew (we stopped for lunch at Midway in Chicago) were not very smooth landings at all. But taking off was breathtaking! And looking at the view from up there was awesome. Also, I love seeing how uniquely people spell my name. I asked her to spell it so she could pronounce it. Most of the time people give up and just write “Cali.”
Day Two: New York City
The first thing we did Monday was get the business stuff taken care of. So we woke up early and drove from Collingswood, NJ (a suburb of Philly – also, the place where we were staying) to NYC. We had about two hours to kill before our meeting so we drove around and I was so struck by how tall the skyscrapers actually were. I’ve seen tall buildings. There’s a couple sky scrapers in KCMO, and I’ve seen a few in St. Louis. Heck, there’s tall buildings in Las Vegas that I’ve seen. But these were insane. I was most struck by the height of these skyscrapers than the height of the Rocky Mountains.
Soon enough, I had my meeting with the Finnish Consulate. I was so nervous.
During the meeting, I found out that I had left out a piece of the paperwork – a passport size photo. So we had to quickly go find a dinky literal hole in the wall drug store around the corner to take a really ugly mug shot (I looked like a recovering dug addict. For your own eyes’ benefit, I’m not showing you.) When we came back, I was still super nervous because they had to check over the rest of my paperwork and it turned out I still had one document missing. Thankfully, I had the document in my email so everything turned out fine. I got my finger prints taken, and the ladies told me I likely had nothing to worry about and I’d know the verdict for sure within a couple weeks.
I left the consulate with a sigh of relief.
The rest of the day we spent walking all over Manhattan. We took pictures with street people (of course they wanted money), we watched artists perform in Central Park, we saw Balto, we miiiight have taken a selfie behind ABC doing a news bit, we climbed all the way to the top of Rockefeller Center and saw the top of St. Peter’s Cathedral *and* the Statue of Liberty. We found the only coffee shop in Manhattan that wasn’t Starbucks (it felt anyways). We found JUILLIARD AND THE MET! We explored Amazon Books. We rode the subway down to a quaint special diamond in the rough dinner spot to eat super overpriced pizza.
One of the coolest places was the sidewalk in front of the New York Public Library.
Guys. New York City is the place to be if you like walking.
Day Three: Independence Day
The next day we slept until noon. Because of the aforementioned exercise. But that afternoon, mom and I went sailing on the river with one of our hosts. That was pretty relaxing. Also, nature is my favorite thing. God’s an artist.
And that evening we went into Philadelphia to celebrate our Independence in the place where it happened and that was pretty freakin’ cool if you ask me.
Fireworks might be my favorite thing. Also, if you want to experience it a little more, you can go watch a bit of the show on my Instagram here.
Day Four: Cape May, New Jersey
Remember how I said nature is my favorite thing? Yeah. I have lots of favorite things. But don’t let the others know. Anyways, the next day we went to the beach and it was beautiful too! Albeit, freakin’ freezing. Don’t go in the Atlantic ocean. Ocean is prettier in the Caribbean. And warmer. But this was pretty cool, and we watched saw some wildlife.
That evening, we went a wandered around this super cute hammock orchard in Philly and my camp counselor’s heart exploded omg! There was also a really cute little skating rink and carnival and gah. It was a beautiful summer place.
And to make this day even more special! This is the day that the decision was made and I was officially made a Finnish resident from August to December! This girl was made a happy camper and it made being in these hammocks even cooler. gah.
Day Five: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
This day, we drove around Philly. We got Philly Cheesesteaks at *the* place. We saw lots of murals, we say the Liberty Bell, all the buildings from National Treasure (cuz that’s what I associate them with), and we toured the mint. It was a good day.
Day Six: Washington D.C.
Yeah, we made it around this week. D.C. is really big by the way. And in case you’re confused, the White House and the Capitol building are two different places. I knew that, but I still managed to get confused when I saw it in person. I was pretty stoked to get to see everything! My mom was pretty excited to see the back of the penny in person since you know… her name is Penny. I was excited because I just really wanted to see the Lincoln Memorial. Also, did you know that there’s more stuff in that building than just that statue? Cool, huh? Mom was also on a mission to get all the way across the grounds to the Washington Monument. Unfortunately, the elevator is busted right now so we couldn’t go up (rumor has it, it was Spider Man’s fault.) But I got to lay down on my back and wonder what it’d be like to be up there. It’s so big!
Before we got to this end though, we walked through all the street vendors, gardens, and we visited the Smithsonian Air and Space museum! Guys! Remember when I said we got to see all the National Treasure places? Well today, we also got to see the rest of that *and* all the Night at the Museum stuff, too! We got to see the real-life, actual first airplane. Wow.
AND OMG WE WENT TO THE LIBRARY OF CONGRESS THERE WERE SO MANY BOOKS!
The LOC holds over 150,000 children’s books. We got to go into a little room full of just a pinch of them. There was Harry Potter in six languages including brail. My life was made.
Also, I lost a friendship bracelet in there. Please take a moment of silence as you view the last photo ever taken of it before sometime later between this photo and when I realized it was missing. It’s the purple one with the sticking up broken string:
Also, just so you know, D.C. is almost as exhausting as Manhattan (I didn’t take a screenshot that day, but there were 22,718 steps that day.)
Finally it was our last day. So we celebrated with pedis.
And then we were off. Coming home was a beast. At our layover in Chicago on the way home, our flight was delayed three hours. Cool. So we got home at 1am and I started back at Camp Chippewa when I woke up again. But the trip was so darn fun! And I received my Residence Permit card about a week later in the mail. 100% successful trip. And honestly, the delayed flight was annoying, but seeing the dark city from the sky was amazing.
“The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.” – Eleanor Roosevelt