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    So I just wrote a ton and then somehow it all got deleted so prepare yourselves for a very unenthusiastic, undetailed blog post about the month of May because I am much to lazy to write a better one now.

     I’ve been so busy lately enjoying the sun that I haven’t been able to write, but now that it’s 6 degrees celcius again I guess I have no good excuse. Yes ladies and gentlemen, you read that correctly. 6 degrees celcius on May 27. Hmm. 

     The week after I came back from the district conference was fine, but It was soo cold. It snowed for three days!! I remember biking home from school on Monday in the snow, laughing and crying hysterically at the same time at how ridiculous it all was. The next few days we had a sports day at my school, I played tennis with Oskari for the first time since January, I saw Helka, and then on Friday I went to my friend Iida’s 18 birthday. It was really fun and there I met her cousin and we had a conversation in Finnish together. The next day Iida told me that her cousin thought I was 1/2 Finnish!! I was beaming with pride :-) 

     On Saturday, I went to Kuopio to see my friends Gabrielle (France) and Nathan (Belgium). When I arrived there in the afternoon, Gabby and I went back to her place to eat lunch, and then all three of us went to the mall to do some Mother’s Day shopping. While we were there, there was also this Finnish boy band performing that we saw. It was pretty bad and it was also teeming with dozens of screaming 13 year old girls (ew). There, we also met one of my best friends on exchange, Shely, from Chile. We stayed there until the mall closed and we also got signatures from the band for our blazers. We tried to get Nathan to stand in line with us to meet them but he refused—what a party pooper. 

     After the mall, Gabby’s host mom picked us up and we went back to their home to have dinner. There, we had really nice food and I had a really good time getting to know her family, who is amazing. There was also a gorgeous sunset that night! We finished eating at around 1030, topped off with Nathan’s Belgian chocolates he brought from home, and then the three of us went out on the town. (I don’t know how this paragraph got to be slanted but I can’t fix it soo).         Ugh this paragraph is slanted too what have I done?! Anyways..Our night was amazing and that is all I can say here, haha. In the morning, we made crepes for Gabrielle’s family for Mother’s Day, and then my host mom picked me up a few hours later, because they were in Kuopio already visiting family. We went and had lunch at my host grandmother’s house, and then set off home to Kouvola.       The next day I dreaded sooo much! I had my wisdom teeth taken out! I was so scared because my brother and sister’s surgeries were disasters and they looked like chipmunks for nearly a week. My surgery ended up lasting 15 minutes, was completely free and I had no swelling at all. I also got two new lovely additions (teeth) to my blazer. Finland definitely knows how to do some things really right.           The next few days, I took it easy and Makyla came and kept me company. We burned through a good amount of Grey’s Anatomy and hung out and had fun like always. We don’t even have to be doing something “fun” together, but I always enjoy being with her. She has been with me through absolutely everything this year and I can’t even think about saying our goodbyes so soon!           On Thursday of that week, I changed my host family for the last time. It was hard to say goodbye to them, and frustrating to have to pack my bags so often, but I am enjoying being in my new family as well. I have one host sister and two really sweet host parents, and a really annoying yet loveable host pug. My second day there, I took her on a little bit too long of a walk and she nearly had a heart attack, but I think she has since forgiven me seeing as she is aaaalways trying to get into my room and snuggle (which would be nice if she didn’t smell so bad/snore so loud).      The first weekend I was in my new host family, the weather completely changed and it went from Winter to Summer in a matter of hours. 5-10 degree days turned into 25-30 degree days and I couldn’t be happier! We spent the next week tanning and enjoying the sun, which was just absolutely incredible. Most of you probably have no idea what it is like to live in nearly complete darkness and coldness for 8 months. Let me tell you—its no walk in the park, and when the sun came out I just cried of joy.       The only bummer of the week was that I got my host parent’s bike stolen on Wednesday. I felt so terrible because Makyla had to use it and I told her to leave it unlocked in the center for me to pick up 10 minutes later. She did, and when I got there it was gone. It was an honest mistake and my host parents aren’t mad, but I feel so bad. Who would have thought that, that would happen in Finland!? Not me! But apparently it happens a lot here in my town.      The next week on Thursday, I went to Helsinki. When I arrived in the train station, all the kids I was planning to meet weren’t actually there because they thought I was arriving in Kerava, a 25 minute train ride from Helsinki. Luckily for me though, I have never been to Helsinki without running into people I know! Within 2 minutes I found 2 of my French friends and 1 of my American friends meeting together in the station. It was so nice to see them!! We spent an hour together and then met up with my friend Sebastien. That day we spent walking around the city, going to the market by the sea, and just enjoying the sun. We also went out to a really good Thai lunch! At around 5, Sebastien and I headed to Kerava and we made Tiramisu and some fancy French named desert which ended up just being a normal chocolate cake. While we were waiting for the tiramisu to be done, Seb and I walked to the park by his house and met two of our German friends! It was so lovely to see them. They’re so sweet! The only annoying thing was however, that now that it is summer there are bugs everywhere and we were all bitten multiple times. After a little visit with them, we went back home, watched movies and ate cake, and then went to bed. 
     Friday, we spent the day with our friend Mauro (Argentina), in Helsinki and then we met up with a big group of others to go to our friend Chris’s going away party. Chris lives about 45 minutes by train and then by bus from Helsinki. He has the best of both worlds—he lives so close to the capital yet experiences the real Finnish way of life living in the middle of nowhere. And on top of that, his host family and house are amazing! He lives on a gorgeous lake surrounded by trees, and he has a house on a small hill and then a separate house just on the water. We all arrived at Chris’s around 6, and spent a few hours just swimming and hanging out in the sun. The weather was perfect and the sun didn’t go down all the way until past 12 or 1. After we swam, we went back to the house and celebrated and ate. The sunset was stunning and it was so fun to be with all my friends. The next morning, my friends made breakfast (I dont know if you could actually call it “breakfast” though—it was BLTs and raspberry milksakes), which I didn’t participate in. It was super early because the sun rises before 4, and so we were all up pretty much the entire night. After they ate, we went down to the lake again and swam, and boated to these cliffs near Chris’s house. A few of us jumped off of them into the water and it was so much fun. I am going to miss that about Finland so much—just those relaxing days on the beautiful lake with all of your friends, with no one else in sight and just the sounds of nature and no cars. 

    At around 2, we all went back to Helsinki and visited the international fair there. There were all different types of booths, including a Rotary Youth Exchange one! I also saw an Israeli one. Even though I don’t consider myself religious anymore, it brought back a lot of memories from my childhood. Like seeing bamba, I remember eating at my Jewish camp every year with my friends—It felt a little bit like home. There were also lots of cool vendors and music, and free samples of food which was of course all of our favorite parts. After an hour or two at the festival, I went to meet Haroldo, my Brazilian friend who came here in January, and I showed him Helsinki. He lives in a city in the western part of Finland, called Turku, and he had never been to Helsinki before. I brought him to all the major parts of the city and we had a lot of fun, and then we went back to the fair to visit with our friends. By 9 oclock, I was soo soo exhausted and I was so grateful to be going back to Kerava. By 1030 I was in bed dead asleep.        In the morning, I missed my train to Kouvola. In the beginning of the year, I would be upset about that but I didn’t panic and I figured things out. I took the train the opposite direction of Kouvola, to a different station where the next fast train was leaving. It ended up getting there the same time as my first train, aaand I was soo lucky because the visa machine wasn’t working and they let me ride home for free! So it was a blessing in disguise. I think a lot of people have problems with reacting badly to stupid situations, like getting lost or missing a train, or having so much work to do for one day. But I think that going on exchange has really taught me to just take a breath and not care about these things because in the long run, those little inconveniences won’t affect me at all and I won’t even remember them even a few weeks later. I think the ability not to get agitated by little problems has been one of the best things Ive been able to take away from my year here.       I got to Kouvola early on Sunday morning, and then slept most of the day. On Monday, Makyla came over and joined me hanging out in the 27 degree sun, and now today, it was 6 degrees and freezing. Finland needs to realize that it’s summer and it SHOULD NOT be 6 degrees.       On Saturday, I will see my school’s graduation and right after, I will be on my way to Turku for the start of Eurotour!! Wish me luck!!     Moi Moi :)      

I never thought that 68 degrees would make me so elated. My host pug is enjoying it too ;-)

I never thought that 68 degrees would make me so elated. My host pug is enjoying it too ;-)

1030pm Kuopio, Finland :)

1030pm Kuopio, Finland :)

I’ve never been this happy to be sunburnt.

Summer is the best thing that exists on this planet. The sun is just one giant ball of happiness and the feeling of being warm is just indescribably sensational. 

I have a whole new appreciation for heat. And light. And the smell of sunscreen. And hundreds of yellow flowers littering light green grass. And feeling a breeze that does not give you chills. And fruit that is not an apple or a banana. And the feeling of going into a nice cool house after being outside to long. And basically just everything that doesn’t have to do with winter. 

I just fucking love summer, and it’s finally here. Hurrah. :-)

District 1430 conference

Vappu, lake swimming and getting stuck in the middle of nowhere

why exchange?


“Aren’t you scared?”

A little, yes, but mostly excited!

“Won’t you miss your family?”

Probably yes but I know I’ll see them again.

“Why do you even want to go?”

I want to go because the world is bigger than my little town, much bigger than all I’ve experienced so far. I want to go because I want to live in the world and not just sit in a classroom and learn about it.

A ship looks pretty in harbor but that’s not what it’s made for.