That’s about the extent of my Finnish conversational skills, aside for anteeksi (I’m sorry/excuse me) and kiitos (thank you). For more ways to be midwestern in Finland, read this cool blog. 😉
Okay, but let’s get real. I have had two of my classes for the semester so far and one is a lecture series of visiting educational professionals – people sharing educational research, visiting professors, and even PhD defendants. The other class is a crash course Finnish language class designed to help international students navigate the grocery store. I mean other things too, but that’s the most important! We are focusing on learning to piece together Finnish text into something recognizable and practice simple conversation. Anyways, I’m pretty darn happy to be here.
I finally feel like I’m pushing toward my degree. None of these classes are actually helping me graduate, but I am finally focusing on being an educator. All of my classes are about teaching language, learning about how kids learn, and learning from expert teachers. I am sooooo excited to be here. I miss my music though. Next week, I’ll get to join a choir for international students so I’m pretty excited to have a bit of the music back and to learn so much from the other singers.
Also, I can’t get over how beautiful my campus is. There are so many routes to classes that are literal walking trails through forest. I look out my window into trees. I look over my shoulder and I see 1800s architecture. Off in the distance are rolling hills filled with lush forest. I’m so at home here, I just wish I’d brought my hammock.
The only drawback to this campus is that everything is far enough away that a bike is a necessity. Which isn’t a disaster in itself, but my legs are burning. It is such good exercise and I’m so glad to have something here keeping me fit, but my goodness I did not expect there to be so many hills when I came to this land of lakes. I guess it just means that I’m coming home healthier!
Not just because of the exercise though, the food here is so much healthier. The student restaurants serve well balanced meals and they have a single plate rule which means that my bunny food portions are normal here! Take that America! Actually, I’ve been amazed at the size of the cups everywhere too. The fast food restaurants all serve water cups as their smalls and I’ve never seen anyone holding a coffee cup bigger than a Starbucks tall. In fact, On campus, a Starbucks tall is actually the larger of the two sizes.
Anyways, I’m finally here doing what I’m meant to be doing and I’m in love with this city. I love how relaxed the whole city is. I love that I only have one class a day, and nothing before noon, yet I’m still taking a full course load. I love how beautiful the lakes and the trees are. I love how simple life is here. Finnish life is pretty special.
“The time to be happy is now, and the place to be happy is here.” – Robert Green Ingersoll