Saturday, February 25, 2017

mysigt.

Thank goodness the weekend is here! For some reason this week I've been so tired in the mornings when I've had to wake up really early. It might also be that I've been pretty busy I guess. Despite that I would describe my week as very mysig which is Swedish for snugly, at least according to the online dictionary. I would rather say that it means that something feels nice and homely. So my week has been nice, and now that I've been here for three weeks, I feel like I know my way around. It's not home, but it feels more homely.

On Thursday I had my day off from lectures, so I took the opportunity to clean the room, go grocery shopping, and I also made some breakfast bars. I saw the recipe of Facebook and I figured I'd try it since I'm really bad at eating breakfast in the morning. Basically I just mixed some dried fruits and some crunchy cereal together with honey and peanut butter, put it in the freezer for 30 minutes, and once mixture had set I cut up the bars, wrapped the bars in baking sheets and put them in the fridge. So now I can just grab one in the morning and eat it on the bus or something!

On Thursday evening I also went to the meet and speak event at Lace House, but before that me, Andrea and Lotte met up for a drink (and a coffee) at a place called baresca. I had a mojito which was really good and the atmosphere was really cool and chill, so I would definitely go back there. The meet and speak was fun too, I got to see many of the international friends I've made here, and talk to some new people too!


Friday was specially exciting, because André was coming to Nottingham in the afternoon. We had a really nice evening - we made some tortillas which were delicious, watched Louis Theroux documentaries and facetimed my family. Today were gonna go to the city for a while, and later on we're also having dinner and meeting up with Andrea who is celebrating her birthday today! So I have a fun day ahead of me, hope you readers also have one! 

In my last seminar of the week we had some groups presenting the texts we had to read for the week. In Finland we've always had lots of presentations in school so I would say I'm pretty comfortable with talking in front of the class and doing it without the support of a paper or notes. But here all the presenters basically read straight from their powerpoints, didn't look even once in the audience, and talked so fast that the only note that I had time to make was the title of the powerpoint presentation! I was quite shocked I have to say - I mean we're University students! I think you should be able to have a presentation without looking at the computer screen!


(Ps. According to the statistics of my blog, most of my readers currently are from the United States! I'm curious as to how this happened, so if you happen to be from the U.S (Or some other country), I'd love to hear from you in the comments!)

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Escaping takatalvi

This week has already gone by so fast, I can't believe its already Wednesday!

After my classes on Monday, I had some everyday errands to run since I had been gone the whole weekend. Going grocery shopping, cleaning the room and doing laundry. Last time I did laundry here it went fine, but on Monday it was pretty much a disaster! When I got the clothes out of the washing machine, they were still soaking wet! I know that this happens some times because honestly, the machines are really crappy and they're being constantly used everyday, so I can imagine that they break down. Since I don't have any place (yet) in my room to put my clothes to dry, I just thought I would try to twist most of the water and put them in the dryer, and hopefully they would get dry. The problem then was that all of the dryers were taken although I saw that most of them had already finished the program. So basically people were being lazy and not picking up their laundry in time, which means that I had to wait an extra 20 minutes... I just find that so annoying!

Eventually, someone came to pick up their laundry and I could put my clothes in the dryer. But when I came to pick them up I noticed that the dryer I had used had apparently broke down in the middle of the program, or a piece inside the dryer had come off, and there were holes in two of my shirts. The other one wasn't that bad, because it was just a cheap top which was pretty worn down anyways. But the other shirt was a shirt I got from André for my birthday, and now I can't use it anymore. Although I have seen that it is apparently in style to wear shirts with holes in them now, so maybe I'll just be fashionable?

So Monday kinda sucked, but Tuesday was a lot better. I had a day off from classes, so I slept in which felt heavenly compared to the 6.45 wake up I have on Monday and Wednesday. I took it real easy in the morning and at noon I went to the city campus gym for a spinning lesson. It was only 30 minutes long and I think the classes I've taken in Finland have been more demanding, but it was still fun to get back on the bike. Plus I got to explore the gym a bit more - so far I've only gone to the basketball sessions so I haven't actually seen what it looks like. It was quite small but everything was new and fresh which was nice!

Later in the evening I went to Anne's place and had dinner with some of the girls. It was really nice just preparing some food (even though I didn't do anything, haha), having some wine and chatting. Those are the kind of things I prefer to do, rather than going out somewhere where its too crowded and too loud. After the dinner we went to check out an Open Mic Night at the Loft in the city campus. First when we got there the first two acts were rappers and they were... maybe it's best that I don't express my opinion in case they happen to stumble upon this blog. But the rest of the acts were playing acoustic guitar and singing, which I definitely preferred!

I also managed to facetime Julle, which was really nice 'cause I haven't properly talked to my friends since I came here//At the Open Mic Night//Started reading the book for next week, just 300 or so pages to go//Chai latte moment

Today I've been to my American Topics lecture and seminar, and although I really enjoy the course the reading is definitely heavy. For next week I have to read Song of Solomon which is over 300 pages long, plus Lolly Willowes for another course. I'll try my best to get through it, but realistically I think I won't make it, unless I lock myself in my room (which I don't want to do). After my seminar I also had a quick coffee with Sarah at Cafe Nero, and now I'm just taking it easy before going to the basketball session at 7. 

Despite the disastrous laundry session and the hundreds of pages I have to read I have one thing to be extremely happy about - in Nottingham today, it was 12 degrees and sunny, and although the wind was chilly, at least it's not snowing like in my hometown! So happy to escape the takatalvi which is what we call the cold spell in Spring!

Monday, February 20, 2017

Clifford's tower

My Sunday in York started off real nice and mellow, just having breakfast together in the room, laying in bed until noon and watching youtube videos, which is how I prefer my Sunday to look, really. We decided to go in to town to have some late lunch, but before that I wanted to take some picture's of the Clifford's tower or York castle, as it is also called. Since we were already by the castle, we thought we might as well pay the entrance fee and have a look inside. You could climb all the way to the top of the wall and basically see the whole city! It was very cool but I'm pretty scared of heights so I was glad to get down from there.



We had dinner at an Asian place called Red Chilli where you could sort of mix and match, and choose different entrees and a main course. We tried the spring rolls, sweet and sour ribs and prawn toast and for my main course I went really basic and had chicken fried rice. But you can never go wrong with that, it's a safe choice!

My train didn't leave until half past 8, but as the hours went by I grew more and more anxious. I had such a fun weekend and honestly, André is my favorite person to just hang with and spend my time with. So I felt really sad when it was time to say good bye. It's not that I can't manage by myself - the days here in Nottingham go by really quickly, especially with classes and hanging out with the other international students. But when you've been together with someone for 2,5 years, and you lived with them for a year and saw each other pretty much daily.. it's hard to go from that to living in a room alone. I guess it's good that we're learning to be apart from each other and I know we're lucky to even be seeing each other this often - many other exchange students will be apart from their SO's for much longer times! Besides, André is already coming here next weekend, so I won't have to spend a lot of time away from him!

One of my favorite pictures I took in York!

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Date night in York

note: I guess there was some kind of problem with the pictures in this post, hopefully I've fixed the problem and the pictures should be visible for all!

It's Sunday and I'm still in York (headed back to Nottingham later today though) but I thought I'd do a blog post about my weekend now, since we're having a rather mellow Sunday and we're not really planning on doing anything special, other than having something to eat in the city.

My trip here began on Friday, and I was at the train station in good time since I came straight from my seminar. After I had collected my ticket I noticed that my train was delayed, and it didn't  say by how much. I had a connection in Chesterfield and only had 7 minutes transfer time so I was a bit nervous because I didn't know when my train would leave and I had no clue how big the station in Chesterfield was. It turned out that some train had broken down and that was why we were delayed. Originally, my train was supposed to leave from Nottingham at 16.18, but I think we were able to get going 20 minutes later. Obviously that meant I would miss my connection, but as luck would have it, my other train was actually 35 minutes late! (Apparently that train had also broken down and they had to get a smaller train to replace it, which meant that instead of 7 coaches it had 5, and people were forced to stand in the train because it was overbooked). So I didn't miss the second train and I made it to York, even if I was 40 minutes late!

On Friday we just took it easy and André had made some delicious pasta for me! We also exchanged belated Valentine's gifts. I got him a book about film directors because he loves film and knows a lot about different directors. And he got me a really cool adidas t shirt that I've been living in for the past two days, basically. And we both got each other cookies. Great minds think alike, right?

On Saturday André had planned a really fun day for us, to make up for not being able to celebrate Valentine's day together. First we took a stroll through the campus, where he lives, and we saw the birds, ducks and even swans that live around the lake here on campus. We also made some lunch together and gradually started to get ready for the evening.





In the afternoon we took the bus to the city and just walked around, taking pictures of the beautiful buildings. I have to say that York was so lovely, especially in the sunshine. There were so many cool and cute shops, beautiful old buildings, and cafés and restaurants which I definitely want to try out! I especially liked walking through the shambles, which apparently have inspired Diagon Alley in the Harry Potter universe. So cool!







Little after 5 we went to see La La Land at the City Screen Cineman, and it's a movie both me and André have been dying to see. And it was definitely worth the wait - I absolutely loved it! I don't want to spoil too much in case somebody reading this is planning on seeing it, but if you love musicals, beautiful cinematography and love, you should definitely go see it!


After the movie we walked to a restaurant called Source, where André had made a dinner reservation for us. Apparently every restaurant in York was fully booked last night, so it's good we had a table reserved. The restaurant we ate at specialized in slow cooked meats, so I had pulled pork and André ate some pulled chicken. It was really good, and they served the dishes with fries, cornbread (my favorite!! I´ve never had cornbread outside of the U.S before!) and coleslaw, which were all delicious. Plus I had a really good glass of wine, so the night was basically perfect.


Today, like I said, I'm heading back to Nottingham, but we do have the whole day because my train doesn't leave until half past 8. But André is actually coming to Nottingham as soon as next weekend, so we went spend that much time apart this week. And I´m definitely looking forward to going back to York too!

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Snapshots.

1. Doing the laundry for the first time here. The good thing is that they have dryers, because I would definitely not have room to dry my clothes in my room! 2. A starbucks coffee date with some of the girls. They never get my name right though... 3. My Sunday started with a basketball training, which is never wrong. 4. After cold and rainy weather the sun finally made an appearance!
1. My valentine's day was spent alone for the most part, but I did manage to meet up with the internationals in the evening and had a skype movie date with André. 2. The plan was to have some pizza at Justine's place. 3. Unfortunately we burnt our pizza - still got a few good pieces though! 4. Sarah is the sweetest girl!

Today I'm just going to take it easy, I know some of the other international students are going to the meet and speak event again today, but since I already went last week I'm not really keen on going today. Plus I am going to York tomorrow (!) so I definitely have to pack my things and clean the room so that it's nice and fresh when I get back!

Today is also Bänkskuddardagen or Penkkis in Finland. It's technically the last day for the seniors in upper secondary school, so they celebrate by driving around the city center in trucks, throwing candy to the people who are watching them. So I wish a fun day to all the senior's (or Abi's, as we call them) celebrating today!

Kinda crazy to think that we had the future president of the United States on our truck...



Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Full Moon Bar Crawl

As promised, here is the post about the bar crawl last week!

The whole event started at a bar called Retro Rooms. The theme was full moon and we got our faces painted with neon colours by Lisa and Josefiina! At each bar we got a free drink, so the drinks, the face paint and the a free admission to the club, which was the last place we went to.





We stayed in Retro Rooms for about an hour and a half, after which we made our way to the next bar which was called Pit and Pendulum. It was essentially a heavy metal bar, and although I don't really listen to that sort of music (despite being from Finland, with the most heavy-metal bands per capita in the world) but the decor and interior design was very cool, plus they had drinks which were named after the seven deadly signs, which I definitely want to try some time!




The last bar we visited was Lace House, but I had actually been there the night before so it was noting new. I have to say that although Lace House is very cool, it was waaay to small for our crowd of a hundred plus people, and the music was SO LOUD (again). You could literally not hear anything and we were all shouting to each other. Plus the free "drink" we got had essentially no alcohol in it, I saw when they made them and the plastic cups in which they were served had not even a centimeter of vodka on the bottom of the glass. So I would say out of the three places, Lace House was the biggest disappointment, unfortunately. 

Josefiina and Lisa decided to take a nap at Lace House 


The club we went to after the bars was called Pryzm. At first I was a little bit skeptic of how the night would turn out - first the security was really strict! They patted down everybody and checked literally every little pocket in my bag. But then again, I know that's only for my own protection, but I did kinda feel like I was at the airport or something. Then when we got in, there were a lot of people who came in at the same time, so it looked like the club was going to be really crowded. BUT as soon as we got inside we noticed how big the whole place was - they had four different rooms playing different music and they all had their own bars, so you could easily get a drink (not like in bars in my hometown, where you have to wait 20 minutes..). And I really enjoyed the music in almost very room. We danced to the Killers, Swedish House Mafia, Grease, Drake... I think there was something for everybody. So I ended up having a really fun evening and I woke up without a hangover!

Monday, February 13, 2017

Comparing countries

Turku today vs How Nottingham felt today...
(Just to be clear, neither of the pictures are mine, the first one is from the site LoveTurku on Facebook and the second one I googled)

Everybody has been posting beautiful pictures of the sunset in my hometown today, while here it was grey, cold and raining 'slask' (a swedish word for snow which is not quite snow, but not really water) and it made me think of all of the things I have noticed in the last week and a half, which are different compared to Finland:

*The houses have terrible insulation. While it's certainly cold in Finland, it is not cold inside of the houses, which is the case over here. For me it's actually quite fine because I'm always hot and if I get too cold, I'll turn the battery on, but I know that many of the other exchange students have very cold rooms and are freezing at night. 

*Dogs walk without leashes. I don't know how true this is for every dog owner, but when I was in Scotland a couple of years ago, and actually today too, I saw that people took their dogs out for walks in the city, but they were walking freely without a leash on. I just think that's amazing - how do they do it? Our dog could never do that!

I still think Maya is the best dog, even if she can't walk without a leash on!

*The taps. Don't even get me started on the taps - you know where you have one tap with boiling hot water and one with freezing cold water. So annoying and inconvenient!

*Small grocery shops. Especially in the city, a lot of people buy their food from small shops such as Tesco's express and Sainsbury's local. I think most people in Finland avoid shopping in small stores, because it's more expensive. Maybe that's not the case here, but I'd rather do my weekly shopping at a big grocery shop than in a small city shop!

*This last one is maybe a little bit strange, but in my University everybody leaves their coats at a coat rack while they have lectures and seminars. At my Uni in England, I have to drag my jacket with me everywhere, which I find a bit annoying. I understand that it is a very big campus compared to my home Univesity, but I guess I'm just used to trusting that people won't steal my stuff. I mean I've left my keys and my wallet by accident (a couple of times, actually) at my University, and I've always found them where I left them or in the lost and found!

Now that I've written it down I realize I might sound a bit negative, but there are a lot of good thing's I've noticed too, like the buses which run every 7 minutes (which means you usually don't have to wait more than a couple of minutes for a bus), the newly renovated campus which has it's own sports hall, restaurant, bar, coffee shop and bookstore and in general I think it's cheaper than in Finland. I still think it's very interesting seeing the differences between two countries, even if they are relatively close to each other!

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Meet and Speak.

Hi again! It's been a couple of days and that's because I've been pretty busy getting to know new people, the city and the campus a little bit better. So here's what I've been up to:

The free lunch in the Global Lounge at the city campus turned out to be packed, so we actually went to the lunch restaurant next door instead with some of the other international students. I think it's quite hard to find a healthy lunch place here - everybody basically eats chips (or as I would call them, french fries) with fried chicken or burgers, and many of the British students just have a bag of crisps (or as I would call them, chips) for lunch. I'm used to eating a real meal as lunch, but luckily you can still get that at my campus (and it's quite cheap too!). 
A few snapshots from Thursday (you can expect a lot of pictures of the wheel!)

Later that same day I met up with the other girls I have gotten to know for some drinks, after which we went to the "Meet and Speak" event at Lace House, where you could meet other exchange students. I actually met a Finnish girl, which was really cool because I haven't met any other Finns in the city yet. She actually said that I was maybe the fourth Finn she had met in Nottingham, and she had already been studying here for a year and a half. Lace House was really cool actually, but it did get quite crowded quickly and the music was waayyy too loud. It should have been called "Meet and Shout", 'cause that's what we were doing. I started making my way home at 11, so that I wouldn't miss my last bus, plus I had classes in the morning so I figured it was best to get a good night's sleep!

On Friday I had the first lecture in my third course, "British Women Writers Between the Wars", and the course seems really interesting, so I'm pretty excited about the lectures and seminars. After my classes I took the bus to the train station to get a railway card which was a whole procedure in itself, and by the time I got home I was pretty exhausted. Luckily I had a few hours to relax before I had to get ready for the Full Moon bar crawl I was attending in the evening. But I think I'll tell you more about that in a separate post!


Just a preview of the bar crawl look!

Today I've been pretty productive, despite not doing any reading for my classes. I vacuumed my room (took me like 1 minute, it's so small haha) and I got myself a laundry card and washed my clothes. I also bought some shoes for basketball (original price was 70 pounds and I got them for 30! I love a good bargain) and met up with some friends in the city center. Everybody was craving burgers after last nights bar crawl so we tried a place called Red Dog Saloon and it was really good! The service was nice, the food was delicious and they had corn on the cob! Everybody who knows me, knows that I love corn so I was a happy camper!

I couldn't have asked for a friendlier group of girls! And all from different places too -  The Netherlands, Thailand, Sweden, France and Finland represented in the picture above!

Thursday, February 9, 2017

The Internationals

Yesterday was another day of new and exciting experiences. 

I had a lecture at nine, which meant getting up at 7 since I always have to save at least 45 minutes for the bus rides, and I hate being in a hurry. The class I had yesterday was called "American Topics - landscapes and cityscapes" and we'll be reading and discussing American (or U.S) literature set in different landscapes. It was very interesting but it did seem like this course required a bit more work than the other course I had on Monday. Also, I have to say that at my home university they don't offer a lot of courses in American literature, so far I believe I've only had one, but I'm excited to get the oppurtunity to learn more on this course! I also had my seminar for the course after the lecture, and my group seemed really fun so I'm sure I'll have a great time, even though the workload is heavy.  

Me and Laury at the lecture

After my seminar I headed to the "Basement Bar" at the campus where they had organized a free lunch for new international students. I was a bit nervous going there, just because I wasn't sure if anybody was going to be there. But when I got there, I was greeted by a table of friendly and chatty girls. I met people from France, Belgium, The Netherlands, Hungary and Sweden, and we spent the two hours talking about our time in Nottingham so far. It was so nice to find some people who are in the same boat as you - n a new city, looking for some company and people to hang out with! So today I'm going for lunch with some of the girls and later we're attending this "Meet and Speak" event, where you can meet even more international students!


After the lunch we all took the same bus home from campus (most of us live close to the city) and while the rest went shopping, I headed home. I was feeling very tired from the already long day, and I definitely needed to rest a bit because at 7 I was going to try out basketball at the city sports hall. I have to admit I was a little bit nervous - although I played basketball for 10 years, I haven't played properly in a couple of year, and I didn't know how good the other people were going to be. When I got there I talked to some of the other people (a few internationals and some girls) and they were all super nice, so the nervousness went away and the excitement kicked in! I also talked to a girl from the Netherlands who had been going to the basketball sessions for a month now and was so excited about the fact that there were other girls there, 'cause usually she was the only girl (and she said that some of the guys were being selfish and not passing the ball to others, especially not the girls...).  Me and the girl (her name is Charlotte, btw) were put on the same team and we (and the others from our team) played so well! Everyone was really surprised at how good we were and were telling us that we should play for the NTU Women's first team! I don't know about that yet, all I know is that I had such a great time and I'm definitely going back (first I just have to buy some better shoes 'cause the only sports shoes I packed weren't really suitable for playing basketball).

I didn't take any pictures from basketball but here is a throwback to when I played in Finland... can you spot me ? :D

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Let's talk about coffee

Today it's been my day off, and it started quite nicely with a good nights sleep and sunshine which peeked through my curtains in the morning. I decided to have a very slow and mellow morning, since I didn't really have any particular plans for today. I also started reading some of the texts for my lectures next week. I have to say that since there is so much to read for each course, I'll have to come up with some sort of reading schedule so that I first of all finish all the texts in time, and also don't get bored of reading. I've already noticed that some of the texts are public domain and therefore you can find free audio books of them online. I think it'll be a nice change, to listen to some of the books rather than reading them!

A little after noon I started getting ready and since I was listening to the audio book for Henry David Therou's Walden (I am extremely glad that there is an audio book available for this work 'cause I wouldn't say it's an easy read...) I thought I might as well curl my hair while listening to the book, just for fun. Once I was done getting ready I took the bus to the city and searched for a place to sit down and have lunch. I noticed a cool cafe called Wired, and ordered a coffee and a chicken and pesto foccacia. I was beyond happy when I saw that they had black coffee,  but it wasn't really the black coffee I was looking for, it was a lot stronger, like a triple espresso shot almost.  I'm finding it difficult to just find a normal cup of black drip coffee with milk here. All of the cafés have lattes, mochas and americanos but really, I usually just prefer a normal coffee with some milk. And since I'm not planning on buying a coffee machine, I'm drinking instant coffee in the morning (not ideal), but I did manage to find the Clipper "Super Special Organic Coffee" at Waitrose today, which my friend Matilda once bought me and is the best instant coffee I've ever tasted! So now I'm so excited to have some good coffee in the morning! Truthfully, I haven't had a good cup of coffee here yet, or at least not the kind I prefer (and sorry people, Costa Coffee is not good).

One of the books I'm reading for my Black Writing in Britain course is The Lonely Londoners by Sam Selvon and from the texts I've read so far, it is certainly my favorite!

The wall at Wired was vigrant, colorful and very cool!

After my lunch, I decided to go to some of the cheaper shops to buy some of the stuff I was still missing. I visited Primark, Tk Maxx and Tiger and managed to get most of the things I needed, such as a plate, some drinking glasses, a can opener, a charger and a hoodie. After a couple of hours of shopping, I took the bus home.I'm not really planning on doing anything else today, other than prepare for my classes tomorrow and maybe (if I'm feeling really diligent) clean the fridge in our kitchen.

Monday, February 6, 2017

The wheels on the bus go round and round...

It has been a hectic day.

Today was my first official day of classes and it just so happens that each day that I have classes, I at first have the lecture for the course and on the same day, either a couple of hours later or straight after the lecture, I have my seminar for the same course. I like my schedule that way - it means that each day I only have to focus on one specific course, and I also have a full day without any classes to prep for the seminars!

The course I had today is called Black Writing in Britain and basically we'll read and discuss literature written by black British authors, which is very interesting because I can't say that I have much experience of reading black British literature. I think we were something like 60 people (maybe?) attending the lecture and then a group of maybe ten people at the seminar. The lectures and seminars were pretty similar to what I'm used to, the one big difference was that attendance was taken through an app! Basically you had to download the official NTU (Nottingham Trent University) app and there you could scan a QR code which was visible on the big screen. I must've pressed the scanner like three times, just to make sure it was working.

After my lecture I hurried to the bus to meet up with André at the train station. Since you need a key to lock my door from the outside, and his bus wasn't leaving until three, we decided that I would go to my lecture and then meet him at the station for some lunch, where I would get my keys and also say goodbye to him. We had such an amazing weekend together and there's really no one else I love to hang out with more than him, so it was sad to see him go. Luckily, it won't be that long until we see each other again!

After saying bye to A, I caught a bus back to the campus and my seminar. I feel like I've spent the majority of today in a bus, 'cause after the seminar I once again took the bus back to my apartment, and I had approximately 20 minutes to change and get ready before I was rushing to the bus again, this time to campus (again). I met up with Laury, the french exchange student I met, because we we're going to play some Volleyball. At NTU they have lots of "play for fun" classes, which means that you can try out or just casually get together with groups of people to play different sports, such as table tennis, volleyball, basketball, rugby and dodge-ball. I wouldn't say that I'm necessarily very good at Volleyball (I definitely am a terrible server!) but it was fun to try out something new with lots of new people! However, my arm is already really bruised so next time, I think I might try out basketball, since it's a sport I can actually play!

After the class, I once again took the bus home (for those of you who were counting, that's 3 times from the city center to the campus in one day! It must be a new record...), and finally I was met with the infamous British weather. Cold, dark, rainy - not so nice but not so foreign either. After a long day of goodbyes and new things, I'm happy to just lay in bed this evening. Tomorrow I'll definitely sleep in, and get going with my course readings!

I don't know what to say about the first picture//Literally only had a 20 minute quick stop at my apartment today//Mondays...