Not quite home, but something...

Trip Start Jan 18, 2006
1
7
Trip End May 10, 2006


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Friday, March 10, 2006

i had an interesting realization the other day. a classmate told me that i likely wouldn't have to come back next year if i finish all my classes this semester, that i could just write my thesis from canada. the thought made me feel really sad. i'm realizing that although i am staying connected and close with people back home, and would still call edmonton home, there is something about being in finland that is really important to me, and i am not ready for that to end in 2 months. my life is so much simpler here, i have fewer possessions, fewer memories, fewer loose ends, fewer obligations, yet i have more purpose than i currently would have in edmonton. i came here with a specific goal and i am pursuing it, the further i walk on this path the more sure my footing becomes. certainly being here is not without challenges, and sometimes peace can feel more like lonliness, or is it the other way around... but overall, i can feel that i am building a very tangible and solid foundation of happiness within myself, that is not based on future plans or other people, that is something lasting that will continue to hold me and flow with me no matter what else may come go or change around or within me. being here is helping that process, and i am so thankful for that.

so i will come home for the summer and return to finland in the fall, at least for a few more months...

i received one of these "You know you've been in Finland too long, when..." emails the other day, here are the points that i related to after 5 or so months...

1. You rummage through your plastic bag collection to see which ones you should keep
to take to the store and which can be sacrificed to garbage. (but then, i always did this, didn't i? i also rummage through the recycle bins in the photocopy room for good one-sided paper, and bonus, printing at the uni is free, you just supply the paper...!)
2. It's acceptable to eat lunch at 11.00. (caf starts serving at 10:30)
3. Your front door step is beginning to resemble a shoe shop. (finally, a country that understands)
5. When a stranger on the street smiles at you, you assume that:
a. he is drunk
b. he is insane
c. he is American
d. he is all of the above
6. You don't think twice about putting the wet dishes away in the cupboard to dry.
9. Silence is fun.
10. The reason you take the ferry to Stockholm is:
a. duty free vodka
b. duty free beer
c. to party...no need to get off the boat in Stockholm;
just turn around and do it again on the way back.
d. all of the above (haven't done this yet but it is high on my list!!)
11. Your coffee consumption exceeds 6 cups a day and coffee is too weak if there is
less than 10 scoops per pot. (you miss strong coffee that also actually tastes good, but have learned to accept it)
12. You pass a grocery store and think "Wow, it is open, I had better go in an buy
something!"
13. Your native language has seriously deteriorated; you begin to "eat medicine", "open
the television", "close the lights off", and tell someone "you needn't to!" Expressions
like "Don't panic" and "quite many" creep into your everyday language.
18. Sundays no longer seem dull with all the stores closed, and begin to feel restful
instead.
19. "No comment" becomes a conversation strategy.
26. You hear loud-talking passengers on the train. You immediately assume:
a. they are drunk
b. they are Swedish-speaking
c. they are American. (or canadian. you realize, you are one of them and you sound horrifyingly obnoxious)
27. You give up on trying to find fat-free food and pile on the butter, cream and sugar.
33. You understand why the Finnish language has no future tense.
34. You no longer have to search for the flushing mechanism on the toilet.
36. You no longer correct people who say MAC Donald's.
37. You just love Jaffa! (mmmmm orange pop)
39. You know that "I got a new boyfriend." means "I got laid last night."
40. The next day when they say "We broke up." you know it means " He didn't call."
41. You know that "religious holiday" means "let's get pissed."
42. You enjoy salmiakki. (everything is black licorice flavoured. the candy. the alcohol. the cough medicine. the chewing gum. the air fresheners.)
48. You accept that 80 degrees C in a sauna is chilly, but 20 degrees C outside is
freaking hot.
52. You pass the point of spending more than 50% of your salary on phone calls and
alcohol.
53. The only couple talking in a tram or a bus always seems to annoy you.
57. You seriously consider visiting the sauna more than three times a week.

a few of my own... you text message the person you were just talking to in person to tell them what you really wanted to say... you start waking up at 7am paniced because your body feels it must be after 11am for it to be this light... you no longer secretly laugh at the people riding around on wooden sledges that look straight out of the 30's, you now are considering how handy it would be to have one... you feel annoyed if a professor expects that an assignement be handed in less than 2 months after the class ends... it seems odd that mustard wouldn't come in a toothpaste tube...

here are some really wonderful finnish moments, thanks to conan o'brian...
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RCHwHRL1ASE&search=conan%20finland
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oPVnNNKE-Js&search=conan%20finland
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