Lizzy, Outbound to Finland

Hei!

Ok so I’m not sure why but I just felt like doing a journal entry because I have a lot of emotions running through me I want to share. So basically an update is that I can’t update you on everything that has happened since my last entry because so.much.has.been.done, and so much is going to happen. I’m going to see Phantom of the Opera and get to see backstage! Then I see Cinderella in December. Lapland is in less than a month! My birthday is soon too. I swear I’m having new experiences everyday and I loooveeeee that so much. I had my district camp not too long ago in Suomenlinna where we exchange students stayed in a hostel together. Exchange friends are all I could ever ask for. Everyone is so kind, funny, and the coolest people you’ll ever meet. I love them with all my heart and I’m always so happy to be around them. It’s crazy to think I now have best friends from all over the world. We did a rowing for herring event where we got to row in the Baltic sea and see Helsinki from a different perspective. My first host family has been amazing. They have really helped me take an easy landing in my new life here and taught me so much (and showed me so much) about Finnish culture. I couldn’t be more grateful. This Saturday I repack my things (which have somehow multiplied) and move to my new host family in Helsinki. I’m a little nervous about the change. After 2 1/2 months of knowing my bus numbers and routes I can take, and all the normal routines I had- everything changes. But I’m so so excited for this new change. My next 3 host families are all like best friends and live super close to each other. They all have little girls and 2 boys and I honestly cannot wait!! Though I’m sad to leave this host family I know that it won’t be my last time with them. It feels like I’m going on Exchange again by packing up all that became familiar to go to even more unfamiliarity. Getting used to the swing of things and how the family works. This past week was Sysloma or autumn break. I traveled up to Vierumäki to ride Icelandic horses, ice skate, rope climb, zip line, swim, hike, laugh, and make memories. Then to Viitasaari to visit my host parents home town. Then to Mikkeli to walk around the town and make a new friend. It was amazing and I will forever rememeber my host parents surprising me with an early birthday present to ride horses and singing “paljon onnea” to me at breakfast. My school is really cool. This Jakso, which is like term I guess?.. I’m taking health, PE, musical theater where we’re writing our own musical in Finnish, Spanish and English. It’s quite nice. And recently the language has started to click for me. I can understand so much now it’s crazy!! I’ve had so many conversations in Finnish and I can understand the conversations I hear sometimes and I slowly know more and more of what’s going on. And it’s so cool!!!! Ok. But time to get real here because I know some people think Exchange is the best time of your life 24/7... and while this has been the most amazing (almost) 3 months I’ve ever experienced (yet), like many wise Exchange students have said before... it’s also been some of the hardest. Some days I miss home like crazy. Some days all I want is a hug from my mom and to hear the sounds of my dad playing guitar and the familiar smell of nighttime popcorn and a history documentary my parents would watch. I miss some of my favorite foods, some activities. I miss my hometown & football games & my dog. I miss doing stadiums with my sister. I miss my friends. I felt really homesick for a while and missed so much about home it would bring me to tears. It’s still been a little bit hard finding local friends because everyone is so busy and I feel like a burden for them to have to speak English with me. But then as I talked to my wise new best friends on exchange they reminded me that this isn’t forever. I’ll be home again one day whether I like it or not. Even if that day seems forever away. It will come sooner than I think. I could spend these next 8 months I have here dwelling on what I’m missing back home. Or spend all my time thinking about what I miss most. But I’ve learned that that does no good. I decided to break contact with back home and though some of my friends didn’t understand why and got mad- I knew that it would help. And it did. I deleted Instagram and have stopped checking Facebook expect to update relatives occasionally. But I don’t scroll through the feed. I know that when I look back on my time here I’m going to regret feeling homesick. But while I’m here these emotions can be hard to shake. But I’ve noticed I’ve become more positive and I look at things differently already. I know i’ll Read this much later and say “ha ha!! you fool. So young and naive- you had no idea”- but for now I’ve realized that there’s always a solution to problems and problems that seemed huge back home don’t even seem like problems here. Ha past Lizzy- you’re so over dramatic- you thought that was hard? Try not being able to understand anything going on & constantly making mistakes and not being able to express your apologies correctly. But when I’m asked “why Finland?” Or “why Exchange?” I have no answer. I’m still trying to find the right one. I don’t know what made me want to do this so badly but I’m so happy I did. I’ve learned more than I could imagine and mature more everyday... ok well most days. The days where everything seems to go wrong that I cry and eat out of the ice cream tub- I’m still thankful for those days because they’ve made me stronger. I’d rather be crying and eating ice cream while Finns walk by me staring than back home so... that’s something. But I am so happy here. Even when I’m frustrated or annoyed or mess up. I’m still happy deep inside. Which is so amazing that no matter what I always have this little hint of happiness in my heart. I’m so thankful for my family and friends. They truly are amazing I can’t express it. They mean the world to me and I appreciate them and all the little things in life (like Publix baby carrots) so much more now. Exchange makes you feel so many emotions man. From wow I really want some Chipotle even tho I’ve only had it a few times back home. To MY DOG. To isn’t this the best thing in the entire world look at this. This is my life... wow. To- ok I miss my mom. I want my dad. They’re my rocks and I would do anything for them. But it’s all an experience. one I couldn’t be more thankful for. Seriously. Through sickness and health, for better or for worse. Ok I’m procrastinating because I’m supposed to be packing. Haha

Moikka <3

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