Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Catch-Up Time!

Wow…since I blogged last a lot has happened! I’ve attended a Mustachetische, been to Helsinki, spent time with my Friendship Family, and survived my first Suomi *snowfall*.
The Mustachetische on September 30th was a blast. It consisted of a party at Rentukka (the bar that is right next to my flat), and the theme was ‘Tight, Bright and Hairy.’ So everyone was in neon spandex, and had some form of mustache on- girls and boys alike. North Americans planned the party, so I helped work the entrance money point for the first hour and got to draw mustaches on a lot of faces.  It was nice to see my handiwork on the dance floor for the rest of the evening. You can see from my outfit that I had fun dressing up for this one.

Italian Dinner!

The next day I ate dinner at Antonia’s house and she made more traditional Italian food. It was sooooooooo good (as always.) I decided to make apple cream pie for desert, but it took longer to cook, so by the time it was done we were having coffee. They invited Quique and Laly to join Bergen, Ludovica, Valentina, Celene, and I. From the first bite Quique took of my pie, he started calling me his wife. (I'm not sure how to break the news to Tanner.) At this point in time, we are still married but it’s a little rough. Somehow Bergen became our daughter, but since she looks nothing like Quique…well…he suspects that infidelity on my part was involved. I caved in and admitted it was the UPS guy. We’re trying to work through it for the sake of our daughter, but it’s a little rough right now.


On October 2, we went to Helsinki and it was amazing. It was the first and longest 'real' train ride I've ever been on, and once we got there, I got to see everything from beautiful Lutheran churches, to the Finnish Castle – Suomenlinna.
There were two churches – known as the red, and white churches. The white one was absolutely beautiful, but the red one had a certain charm to it as well – because it seemed so different and grand in comparison with its surroundings. They were both Lutherin, because Lutheranism is the predominant religion in Finland.

In the Senate Square there was a really neat display called ‘The Buddy Bears’ which promotes peace and acceptance between nations. The exhibit comes from Berlin, and there is a 6-7 foot bear for each of the 142 countries in the United Nations. Each country got to decorate their bear how they wanted for their country. Bergen and I felt right at home when we saw the Statue of Liberty there, so we took a picture with it.

Also while we were there, Quique decided to legitimize our relationship, so he took me to the most romantic spot on the square…and well…the picture says the rest.


Later we went and visited the Suomenlinna (the castle off the coast of Helsinki.) The Suomenlinna is one of the main reasons that the capital of Finland was moved to Helsinki. It is also a National Heritage site, which make it really safe because no country can bomb it without the rest of the world taking offense. To get to the island you have to take a ferry. Upon arriving, you can walk around the island for however long you want, you just have to make the last ferry ride, or you have to stay in a hostel or hotel there over night. The only cost is a 3 Euro round trip ferry ride, so it was a really neat place to go and it was very cheap!

Cough, Cough
After the Helsinki trip I was fairly sick for a while so I didn’t do much. I got a very sore throat, which developed into a cough, then I had no voice, and my sinuses started to hurt terribly, which soon led to a sinus infection, and eventually developed into a bacterial sinus infection. I am not used to European viruses and bacteria! However, the antibiotic I brought with me cleared it up almost completely, and I feel much better now!
Kauppakadun Approbatur
This was a huge drinking game organized for October 7th. And it is basically a drinking game that the University organizes where you go with a team to bars all over town and get stamps for each drink you consume. The stamps are like classes you take in order to obtain your ‘diploma’. So after you get the stamps, you graduate and you have a degree. You have to drink a minimum of seven drinks to get a bachelor's degree. When I read that stipulation I decided not to play, but I went around town to see the atmosphere and it was really neat. There were so many people there – 5,000 doesn’t sound like very many people until you see them all over the streets and in the bars. People from all over Finland come to play the game, so it really was a big deal.

Friendship Family Fun
Today, October 10, I went to visit my Friendship family again. It was a very nice meeting and I got to eat a meal with them. This is the first time I think they realized I wasn’t from a big city, and they asked me to bring pictures of where I’m from the next time I see them, so I’m very excited about that. I need to ask my Dad to send me pictures of my home! While I was there I learned quite a bit about hunting and gun laws here. It is much stricter here than in the States, yet Finland has the largest gun to person ration in the world. I find that interesting. Quail season is just ending, so I finally got to meet Matti (the father) today. He was really nice and showed me pictures of the birds he killed. Also, they told me about elk season. It’s very normal to have elks run out in the road during the hunting season. I told them about how that happens with deer in my country. Then they started talking about how 15 people go out at once with dogs to hunt deer. That made me wonder what kind of super-elk they have here in Finland. Then they started describing the ‘elk’ and I realized that they were really talking about MOOSE! THEY HUNT AND EAT MOOSE HERE!!!! I was so shocked upon hearing it. It’s amazing and I can’t wait to try it, but I was not expecting it. And it made me realize why they said that ‘elk’ running out in the road is so bad. Think about your car running into a moose. I wonder which object will win. :S
*Let It snow, Let It Snow*

Today, October 12, we got our first snowfall here. The teachers all say it was abnormally early for snow, so I’m now starting to believe that it might actually be a colder winter than ever before, like all the experts are apparently saying. It was so beautiful though, because all the fall yellows, oranges, and reds were still on the trees and bushes, so you could see the colours showing through under the white, especially when it began melting.

As much fun as I've had writing and designing this blog, I'm afraid I must now report to the neverending call of homework. I'll update you within the next week - after I've been to Saint Petersburg, Russia. Until then - in the words of my Italian friends - "Ciau ciau!"