November 2, 2012
Hej! Hur mår du? Hey! How are you?
So, I'm pretty sure I'm the last one to do a journal... yeah... Believe it or not. It is actually hard for me to describe my exchange. So, I'm going to write and hope it comes out okay.
You would think that it would be very hard for a LOUD, ''touchy-feely'', questionably over excitable person like me to come to a quite, stay AWAY from me, calm country like Finland well... we'll get to that.
First let's talk about ''Where I Live'' (Var jag bor)
I live in a small town (big for Finland) of 50,000 called Borgå. Borgå is a Swedish speaking town in southern Finland. Living in in a ''FinnoSwede'' or ''Finland Svensk'' is almost like living in a totally different country than Finland. FinnoSwedes are said to be almost annoyingly happy but since I'm ''like that'' I think it's awesome. Borgå's main industry is the Neste Oil refinery but since we are only 45 minuets from Helsinki most people that live here commute to Helsinki for work. Although Borgå is a Swedish speaking town about half of of the people here speak Finnish. It's really kind of funny how separate we are even we are so close.
Even though though there is no language barrier (all people in Finland must speak both Finnish and Swedish. Although the Swedish speakers are better at Finnish that the Finnish speakers are at swedish.) Swedish Finns and Finnish Finns won't interact, talk, or even do business together unless they have to. We go to deferent schools, have different churches, different places to hang out. I have no idea why this is and just kind of have to accept it as part of the culture.
FINLAND IS COLD and I love it.
People here find it strange how someone that grew up in a hot place like Florida could love the cold as much as I do. I don't really understand myself. The hardest part about the cold is learning how to wear your clothes and not look really really stupid.
And now you get to find out how I am.
As of now I'm in this sort of weird middle ground where I don't consider myself a true Finn but I know I'm no longer the flag waving American me that sings the nation anthem before he goes to bed. I have lots of friends here and I live an every day life like every one else. Except it's like a million times more exciting because I'm not from here. Being here and living this way is just as shocking and different as going to say Thailand. But in the same way completely different. If you are not an exchange student and what I just said made no sense to you. That okay you are just no an exchange student (yet?) and if it did you're lying.
Becoming an exchange student.
Warning if you decide to try to become an exchange student it is going to be very hard and it will take over your life.
If you really want to change the world this is the way to do it.
The proudest moment of my life was about a week ago when some one came up to me and said ''Next year or ten years from now you aren't going to be that Canadian or French kid that came here. You're going to be Nick the American that wasn't what we thought Americans were like.''
Alright my hand is cramping up and I still have to spell check.
April 19, 2013
Let me tell you about this guy Nick Doolin. Nick will do almost anything at least three times. Once for fun, twice for money, and three times because he's already this far and three is cooler than two. Yes, it is true that Nick is quite adventurous but here are some things that he would never ever do.
He would never avoid standing within arms reach of strangers.
He would never sit and listen to other people talk and not say something.
He would never have a place to go and think.
He would never enjoy being alone.
He would never give up on style for practicality.
He would never sit quite on the bus even though everyone on the bus is his friend.
He would never take a bus. (Like really he has a car)
He would never wear work boots and a scarf to school.
He would never clean his room everyday.
He would never skip a meal to go running in the first rain.
He would never regularly spend an hour sweating to death with nothing to do but sit. (sauna)
He would never any of these things.
And yet here I am. Doing all of them and not understanding how I ever did them different. I'm on the tail end of my exchange and dread the day it comes to an end. I would really like to tell you more but I have no idea how to. My life here sometimes does real. Like it's so perfect how could it be real. Right now I'm just savoring every minuet until I'm back to realality. I just want to say that the best days of my exchange have been when nothing special happens. I get up, go to school, talk to my friends, have coffe, and go home. These are the day that I think I come from here and I'm just living my life, as a Finn.