Sunday, June 18, 2017

BCK in TKU

I'm baaack in Funland! And yes, I am aware that I have been back for almost 2 weeks but I've honestly been so busy, and I haven't had time to sit by the computer. But here's a recap of the last couple of weeks:

My trip back went pretty smoothly, my flight was a bit delayed but that didn't really bother me much. And I was greeted with sunshine in Finland, which felt wonderful! All in all the weather has been great, and the flowers close to my parents house were in full bloom.




It was pretty much back to reality as soon as I got back. I started working just days after coming home and a week ago on Sunday we also moved into our new apartment. I have to say that I am absolutely in love with this place, it's even better than I imagined!


Other than moving and working (which have been the two main happenings) I've made sure to meet up with my friends, and I also performed at a birthday party with some songs. Even though these past few weeks have been hectic they have also been wonderful, and I have a feeling that this summer will be awesome!

Lunchin' on our new balcony

Feels good to be back at my old gym//Essi came to Turku!//Been biking all over town


My beautiful hometown... this picture was taken just before midnight!

Monday, June 5, 2017

Goodbye, Nottingham!

I feel like for weeks I've been writing "the last few weeks" and "the last few days" and now it is quite literally the very last day of my exchange. Tonight after midnight I will take a taxi to the bus station, from there I'll take the bus to Gatwick Airport, from there I take a plane to Helsinki and then another bus to Turku. These past 4 months have been exciting, challenging, at times hard but mostly I feel gratitude for getting to know so many new international friends and for getting to travel around the UK. So in this last post I thought I would just summarize a few of the highlights of the trip, as well as offer some advice to anybody thinking of going on exchange!

The first few days were a little bit nerve-racking. I was alone in a city I had never been to before, living completely alone, no roomates or boyfriend, for the first time ever. I quickly noticed that all of the practical stuff - finding buses, fixing student ID cards, buying comforters and pillows - was no problem at all. The other thing I worried about (and I would soon find out that I wasn't the only one) was making friends. How would I find the other exchange students? What if they're into completely different stuff? I had read online that since I was coming in the middle of the semester, there weren't as many activities organized as say when fresher's is. Luckily, I didn't need to be worried at all, NTU organised some lunches for new exchange students and all of us there instantly clicked. So my advice for future exchange students is to just go to events, even if you don't know anybody. Basically all of the other international students are in the same boat as you, so even if you don't have the same interests, you can at least connect on that!


Now the one thing which I will certainly remember from my time in Nottingham (however maybe not so fondly) is my accommodation. I live in a student hall, and after much deliberation I chose Raleigh Park because it was cheap, relatively close to the city center, it was easy to book, they had short term tenancies and there were security guards on duty at all times (this criteria mostly calmed my mother down). Even though living in a student hall has been messy and sometimes very noisy, I still think I made the right decision. Money wise it was a cheap alternative, and I would rather save while living here (4 months is after all not so long) and then invest in something better at home. I also felt quite safe living here (despite people stealing my stuff from the fridge and an actual fire which left somebody hospitalized (if there's one thing I've learnt about English students is that they seriously need to take some home economics classes...)), and the security guards were actually really helpful. I also didn't know until after I moved here that Radford (which is basically the area I live in) is actually considered a bit of a dodgy area (I also learnt that Nottingham used to be called Shottingham so yeah, maybe could've looked into it a bit more before coming here, lol). But in the end, I survived  and now I get to move into my new apartment at home, yay!

The best thing about going on exchange is the fact that it is truly the one time in your life when you can - and should - travel. In the last few months I have been to York numerous times, climbed mount Snowdon in Wales, tasted whisky in Scotland, looked at street art in Glasgow, seen the Phantom of the Opera in London, hiked in the lake district, had the best pulled pork ever in Leeds and so much more. It has truly been awesome and what has been even better is that I have done it all with my boyfriend. I feel truly lucky that me and André managed to do our exchanges at the same time and not so far from each other. We have managed to see each other almost every weekend, and our travels have given us memories (and instagram pictures) for a lifetime!










Lastly I'm so happy for all of the friends I've made. Friends from Sweden, The Netherlands, Belgium, France, Germany, Austria, Hungary, Malta, China and Thailand (hope I didn't forget anyone..). It has been so interesting to compare the different customs and traditions in different countries, even those of other European countries. Yesterday for example I found out that Germans apparently feel embarrassed to buy toilet paper? What a weird, random and funny thing. So to anyone of you reading this - thank you for being my friend and if you want to come and visit Finland, there is always room on my couch! 
















All of that being said, I am so ready to go home. I can't wait to see my family, my friends, our dog Maya. I can't wait to start working (really need the money, exchange is not cheap ya'll), I can't wait to see my relatives that are visiting us in the summer (that's you Tessa!), can't wait to cook food in my kitchen (and not just with a frying pan from poundland), can't wait to just sit on the couch and watch TV, can't wait to start playing basketball again, can't wait to stay up late and it is still light outside because the sun doesn't set in the summer. Nottingham was nice and all but in my opinion, Turku is just the best city for me!

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Here comes the bride

Moomin is one of the most beloved children's book series from Finland, and this week I came across this quote which not only is a great example of some melancholy and bittersweet Finnish philosophy, but also is a great reminder when times feel tough. The rough translation: "There is a lot in in this world which cannot be understood, Moominmamma said to herself. Then why should everything be the same as it usually is? Probably storms only exist, so that afterwards there will be a sunrise. - Moominpappa"

Like I mentioned in the last post, yesterday I went out for the last time here in Nottingham. The plan was originally to go to Bierkeller where they streamed the Champions league finale but when we got there we realized that the place was completely packed (the English do love their football) and the only person who actually wanted to watch the game wasn't answering the phone, so we went to Yates instead. They actually also streamed the game but we sat at the outside terrace, where there was plenty of room and no TV screens. 



We (or I at least) actually had a great time at the 'pre-drink' although it did get a little cold towards the end. We also found a goodie bag that someone had left behind from a hen do, and all got to try on a veil! In the end we all agreed that Kerstin looked the best in it, so she was crowned the bride. We also managed to stop by Las Iguanas for some 241 drinks, before heading to Ink.




Kerstin - our bride to be! 

I actually really like Ink, although it's a bit like a labyrinth, but I like the music they play a lot. I was in the middle of the dance floor when I checked my phone and saw that André had texted me about another terrorist attack in London. I immediately didn't feel like dancing anymore. My party mood just went away, so I figured I might as well go home. This was the third terrorist attack in the country during my exchange, and each time it's just as shocking and horrible. Sometimes you just think of all the things that happen in the world, and can't help but feel hopeless. Yesterday I felt a bit hopeless when I came home. And I really started missing my friends, my family, my boyfriend.

But in the morning I felt a little less hopeless. I started packing, I had burgers at Five Guys with Kerstin, I met up with Lisa, Elle and Betül at 200 Degrees for coffee, I bought some strawberries. Despite terror the world keeps on turning, and today especially I tried to cherish all of the little things, the wonderful and small things I really want to remember from my time here in England!

Saturday, June 3, 2017

School is out!

...well, in Finland at least. Today is the last day of school for many students in Finland (actually, university students usually don't have classes after the 1st of May) which means that my facebook feed was filled with pictures of students in summer wear and flowers in their hands. I want to take this opportunity to day congratulations to all of the students graduating, and also to my little brother for his excellent report card!

Facebook also showed a bunch of 'memories' from the past, most of which were "the last day of school" related, so I thought I could share them here on the blog!

2010

In 2010 I was in the 9th grade which meant that I was graduating from primary school/high school. The last days of school I remember were filled with lots of activities. There was a floorball tournament where each class competed against each other and the winners faced the teachers. My class ended up winning the whole tournament! I also got an elbow in my lip which made my teeth go through my lip. I still have a tiny scar on my lip from that.


On the second to last day of school we had a talents show and it was the first time I sang solo in front of everybody. I had always been singing in school choirs and groups but now people would hear only me sing. I was pretty nervous but in the end it went really well! Lots of people came to me after the show and told me how good I was. It was also the first time me and my friend Emppu performed together, which is something we still do on occasion to this day!
Posing for a picture in the school bathroom was a must

On the last day of school I remember eating ice cream with my class, taking lots of pictures with my Canon (rip, baby) and getting a scholarship! I used that money to buy my first ever ticket to ruisrock!


























2011

In 2011 I had just finished my first year at Katedralskolan, and I had made lots of new friends. Me and my friend Ansku took part in a play set in the middle ages which honestly sucked. We showed it at the school's 'spring party' which was a day before graduation I believe, and people would start clapping before the end of the play in hopes of it ending. In the end people literally started walking out :D At the dinner afterwards I was already laughing about it!













2012

To celebrate the end of the school year in 2012, we went to a summer cottage of my friend Nelli. We had also been there the year before and we had such a great time. This time though, there were wayy more people and in the end it got a little bit too crowded. So crowded that I didn't have a place to sleep in. I tried sleeping on the trampoline outside, but it was too light and the mosquitoes were killing me. In the end I think I slept a couple of hours under a table on the floor.

This was also the summer I got mono and my eyes were so swollen. I thought it was allergies which would have been weird because I never had them before. But since then, I've actually gotten hay fever! Just a couple of days ago I had to buy some anti histamine cause I couldn't stop sneezing!































2013

2013 was a big year graduation wise, because I graduated from upper secondary school and got to put on my white graduation hat! The day was at first celebrated with the ceremony at school, then at home with family and friends (and I was surprised by how many of my relatives who lived further away could make it) and in the end in the city center with my friends. My family had moved into a new house just days prior to the party, so it was definitely a bit of a hectic week but luckily all the renovations were completed in time! From the celebrations in the city I remember my friend trying to sneak out drinks from the bar in her purse and spilling cider all over her bag. I also remembered waiting in line for a taxi for probably an hour.

When I started Uni, graduation or last day of school wasn't as big of a deal anymore, because everybody has deadlines at different days and classes are finished in May, after which you basically just start working. But the last day of school has always been something I've really enjoyed, because it is truly the first day of summer! And today I will celebrate it by going out for the last time in Nottingham!