Weeks 30, 31, and 32: Meeting the Aussies, Cooking, and Turku

Weeks 30, 31, and 32: Meeting the Aussies, Cooking, and Turku

The past three weeks seem to have flown by. I can’t believe it has almost been a month since we went on cruise to Stockholm! The first week or two we were back were really relaxed. Unfortunately most of us were feeling a bit under the weather throughout that time, but it was a good time to relax. One evening my host mom and I went to see a movie at the movie theater. It was a newly released Finnish comedy. I was pleasantly surprised to find that I could follow what was happening for the most part, though there were times everyone in the theatre abound me was laughing out loud and I was just sitting quietly in my seat, having missed the punch line. Recently it has been snowing quite much where I am from and so school has been cancelled several days. When talking to Finns about this, many of them have laughed as it seems ridiculous to them to cancel school for snow…especially how little snow that they have there!

The first weekend in March some of the other exchange students and myself met up in Helsinki for the day, this time with the two Australian students who came to Finland at the beginning of 2015. It was really fun for everyone to meet each other. While together, we happened to eat at many American restaurants including Starbucks, Ben & Jerry’s, and McDonald’s. At both Starbucks and Ben & Jerry’s I introduced one of the Australian students to the chains as a whole and advised them to order my favorites, particularly the Phish food ice cream at Ben & Jerry’s. We shopped and chatted about lots of things. Apparently both of the Australians had been asked the same questions about stereotypes believed about their country (such as: do they really have the world map upside down so that they are on top? are drop bears real? can all of the flora and fauna in your country kill you?). It was also really interesting to hear their opinions on the weather as they had come from the middle of Australian summer with temperatures like +40°C to Finnish winter with most days still starting around -5°C or colder.

Last Tuesday the older of my two little host brothers and I started a cooking class at our town’s church. The class has the theme of internationality so each week we will be cooking foods from a different culture. This week we made Mexican food. My little brother and I were in charge of making a chocolate cake and chili con carne. We ended up cooking the cake for a bit too long, so it was somewhat dry and slightly burnt, but that was okay. In the beginning of the class the people in charge asked me if I spoke Finnish and I told them that I understood a lot more than I can speak, though recently I have been making more of an effort to speak. They also asked my little brother if he spoke any English and he replied that he spoke a little. After finishing the dishes we were in charge of, we began assisting with the making of tortillas. I ended up cooking all of the tortillas which was fun, even though there was a bit of corn flour in the bottom of the pan that started burning a bit and we had to open the windows so that the smell would go away and the smoke alarm wouldn’t sound. For the last thirty minutes or so of the class we all sat down and ate the food we made. It was really good! I had fun and am looking forward to going back for next week’s class!

This past weekend we went to Turku, a city in western Finland. At one point, Turku was the capital of Finland and the main church of the church of Finland is located there. The first day I met my host family’s good friends who we were staying with and talked with them for a while. Surprisingly, their 16-year-old son was the most confident at first with speaking with me in English. The next day my host family took me to see Turku city. We walked along the river and went to the Turku Cathedral. It was really interesting architecturally inside and out. Since it was built in the fourteenth century, it has been through a lot and there have been lots of repairs made to it structurally. From the front facade one can see all of the different styles of architecture that were used when making repairs and I think it is really cool to be able to see that. Inside, the church is spacious and has seemingly great acoustics which made me really want to sign, though I resisted the urge until I’d gotten outside. After visiting historic sites in the city, we went shopping for a bit as we didn’t realize the 18th birthday party we were attending that evening had a dress code until that morning. They were requesting that everyone wear black or white, so I got a simple black dress to wear. At the party there were several youths around my age, but for a while I wasn’t talking with them because I and they were both very shy. Eventually we did talk and I had fun chatting with them. We came back home today and spent time with the family before trying to go to bed early to get enough sleep before my early school day tomorrow.

***I tried to post this nearly three weeks ago, but I took it down after about an hour because I wasn’t pleased with it. I have been meaning to edit it, but just haven’t had enough time. I apologize if it was difficult to read or anything like that.***

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