Just back from a trip to Wollongong with friends and my Rotary debrief. Was great to see my district again.
Uni starts tomorrow! A bit scared a bit excited, it should be interesting to say the least.
Back home in Aus, the weather is waaaaay too hot.
No floods or cyclones or fires or any other sort of natural disasters near me though.
Played paintball today and got a bunch of nice bruises for my efforts but it was really fun!
Debrief next weekend and uni starts right after that!
Happy New Year!
Going home in 8 days…
So what’s been happening with me? Well for starters I haven’t updated this in while so here goes.
Life with the Cedercreutz family has been fun, they are a very family oriented family so they love doing things together. I went with Axel and Camilla to Linnanmaki, the amusement park in Helsinki, on its final night which was incredibly fun and had an excellent fireworks display to finish their season. Isabella turned 19 although there was no fancy party she still had a great time.
In Rotary things, the D1420 students had the Estonia tour. It was incredibly fun, we went to Tallinn, we visited some castles, we viewed the Russian border, we had incredible spa and sauna sessions (that seems to be the thing at Estonian hotels), we visited the International Rotary project there, we went to Tartu which is another lovely Estonian city, we went down into an old mine. Overall we generally had lots of fun and got to know all of the new exchange students and meet the Estonian ones.
The tour took four days, then we went back to Helsinki in the night and in the morning we headed off to the District conference. It was quite a sight to see so many Rotarians and especially the District President all decked out in his finest. We attended the opening ceremony for that day and later came back to talk a bit about ourselves and have a chance to thank the District for sponsoring us.
Then it was back home and I had a few more days with the Cedercreatz’s before changing to my next and last family, the Kims’. This family lives in Vantaa. So it takes a bit longer to get to school but that doesn’t matter. They have been really nice to me so far so everything is going well. As it is now the Autumn holiday, 1 week for me, we are going to Riga for 4 days starting tomorrow.
Then it is back to school but on that weekend is District camp so it will be more fun with exchange students. Then hopefully I can hang out with my Finnish friends again, time seems to be running out.
First snow happened yesterday, although it didn’t last long. It’s still very exciting to think that soon everything will be white again.
And I guess that’s all for now, more after Riga.
Nasutus was one of the strangest grossest things I have seen. Although I hear it’s only this bad at my school. It is some sort of strange initiation rite into high school. The equivalent of entering year 10 or 11. They praise their elders as kings and gods and then get marched through the city. It’s really cruel but completely voluntary although I guess there is considerable peer pressure to do it but it bonds the new kids together as a group and then they get a party afterwards. It is not at all endorsed by the school who are completely against it.
School is back on, but lots has happened before I get to that.
I spent some lovely relaxing time with the Pennanen’s on their island Summer house in Inio. It was great relaxation after Eurotour and I got to go rowing, fishing, swimming, sauna, boating and lots of tanning in the wonderful weather.
I went to the RuisRock concert in Ruissalo near Turku. We camped out near the concert grounds as it went for 3 days. I went with some other exchange students and we had an awesome time together. Some of the more well known bands include Ozzy Osbourne, Slash, the Sounds, Billy Talent and the Baseballs. The weather was uncharacteristically excellent with clear blue skies and bright sunshine, temperatures in the +20’s and still light at midnight.
Then I changed families, I am now with the Cedercreutz’s who have a nice place in Marjaniemi by the sea. They are a wonderful family, 2 girls 17 Camilla and 18 Isabella, and one boy Axel, 15. They are very sporty, involved in downhill skiing, floorball and sailing. We just had Axel’s confirmation so I got to meet most of the extended family as well. I joined the rest of our January bunch of exchange students to welcome the new exchange students from the rest of the world as they recently arrived in Finland, just in time for school to start! They seemed a bit shy but we are sure they will warm to us as we did to our oldies.
Now school is back, I had my first day and it seems things will be going back on a schedule and I will have to start waking up at unreasonable times all over again. The school is still the same and everyone was interested in what I thought of an unusually warm Finnish Summer. I thought it was very nice and not way too hot like in Australia. Now the temperatures in Helsinki and Sydney are getting closer together (I can see the temperature in the Metro newspaper) and the days are getting shorter and before I know it it will be dark all the time and then I’ll be home. Time seems to really fly over here.
No photo’s this time, the internet here is really strange and we can’t seem to get me connected so I have to go other places.
So now Eurotour is over and it was a blast. The other exchange students were fantastic as were our Rotarians and Rotex. We went from Finland to Sweden to Denmark to Germany to the Netherlands to France to Monaco, back to France then to Italy to Austria and back to Germany and then home to Finland. It was the most brilliant time exploring different cultures and trying many new things, not getting much sleep but having tremendous loads of fun.
Sorry this is so short but I’m still really tired. Here’s some photos of me in front of cool/interesting/famous things:
So, there have been some cool things happening. School has finished and I did well in my exam. There was a musical from some of the school kids which was really good. It was also quite strange to see my friends acting as completely different personalities, especially Martin. Then we had the annual Norssi v. Ressu games day which even made it into the newspaper. Norssi won, of course, and there were celebrations. I got to finally see the best beach in Helsinki… there were trees on it. That was different. The girls were really aggressive playing Ultimate Frisbee, that was a little bit scary.
Summer has been quite nice. Not all that sunny but still comfortable. I don’t think it gets fully dark anymore. The sun goes down but it still stays fairly light. It’s beautiful to see.
On Sunday we 90 odd exchange students leave for our Eurotour which will be incredibly fun from what I’ve heard. 9 countries in 19 days, several boats and a lot of bus songs. Afterwards there is the rest of the Summer holiday which lasts for a bit over two months, visiting Summer cottages, hopefully going to a concert or two and then it’s back to school.
No photos this time but when I get back from the tour there will be plenty.
Well it seems that Spring came around for about a day and then it was Summer. Everything has turned green except for the flowers which are many nice colours. The grass is exceptionally green and lush looking. It was a nice few days over 20C and Finland was even the hottest country in Europe one day. Climate change…
So on that fine weekend I was with my host family the Pennanen’s at their summer cottage in the archipelago below Turku. It wasn’t very sandy but you can’t have everything. It got up to 29C one day which was a wonderful reminder of home. I got up to things like carting wood, rowing, exploring the island, sunbaking and sauna. I even saw a snake although they are nowhere near as dangerous here as in Australia, they’re not even deadly! Overall it was a very enjoyable break.
Now it is less than a month until the Eurotour. We (around 100 exchange students from Finland and Estonia) are going by bus and ferry through Europe. Countries include Sweden, Denmark, Germany, Austria, France and Italy.
School goes on as usual until next Wednesday when it is time for exams again. After exams and around about at the end of the jakso/term there is a sporting competition between my school Norssi and our rival school Ressu (which my old host sister Petriina is attending). I am on the tug-of-war team and possibly ultimate frisbee. Hopefully the weather will as good then as it is now.
First the new house:
Then at Kesämökki(summer house)
So it’s been a while…
Vappu was great, a huge celebration particularly for high school graduates and university students. There is a hat that you receive at graduation that can be worn at Vappu and then afterward as well. Once the hat is put on a statue then everyone gets to wear their hats and the celebration begins in the traditional Finnish style with lots of drinking. Parents have parties at home, students go to parks and it is a great night. The next day is the actual Vappu day and this is where families go to parks to have an extravagant picnic.
She had a different hat on later.
We had a St. Petersburg trip from the 6th - 9th of May. It was incredibly fun, especially meeting up with the other exchange students again. We got across the border quickly and soon found out that the Russians are quite crazy when it comes to overtaking. Over the four days we visited the Hermitage, Peter the Great’s chamber of Curiosities, several churches and cathedrals. We watched a ballet and a Cossack song and dance performance which was quite extraordinary, there was even a cannon. We also had a bit of free time on Nevsky Prospekt, seeing the shops and haggling at a marketplace. We stopped by at Vyborg on the way back. It was Victory day and there was some celebration. While we were in St. Petersburg we did get to see the army doing a bit of marching in preparation for the celebration although we didn’t get to see the celebration itself. It was a slightly scary place but that just made it all the more exciting.
Here is a link to all of the St. Petersburg photos I have put on facebook, feel free to browse them.