pieniperhonen blogging at elowel.org
So right now I have decided to update my blog at 5 in the morning here in Finland. I have been sleeping since midnight, but it is already bright as day. I am still pretty tired, but most feeling pretty good.

Here is how the travelling went. On Tuesday, I was awakened by some jackass using a chainsaw outside at 8 am. This continued for a while, until said jackass took up a jackhammer. Yeah, that was a wonderful way to wake up. The whole morning was filled with these sounds, so I couldn't really hear myself think very well. I got to meet my good friend's family, before he left to go teach, and as it turns out his grandfather worked in a mine and knew how to swear in Finnish to a certain degree, lol.

Jonathan came back around 2.30, and burnt me some movies and nine episodes of the live action GTO, which is one of the most fun shows ever made.

At 1530, my nice airconditioned cab showed up and I went to the airport with my rather large amount of stuff, checked in, went through security and waited for a while. In the S-terminal, I ran into Kendra with whom I had taken Syntax II last term. She was catching a plane to India by way of Britain, that left around the same time as mine.

I got on the Airbus 340 at 1825, and we were off at about 1900. The plane was quite large, though I ended up in a middle seat in the middle of the plane, so sleeping was too hard to do for a very long time. Each seat, however, had a little monitor. I played centipede and watched the cameras mounted on the outside of the plane.

After a very long flight, I arrived in Denmark at 1350 GMT + 1 on Wednesday. Unfortunately, I got turned around in the terminal, got lost, and had to ask someone how I could get to my gate. He was older, but very nice and helpful. I had to go through security again, but it didn't take long, and I didn't have to take off my shoes.

It was such a trip to hear so many people speaking Danish. The title of my post references this short comedy sketch done by a Norweigan TV Show (http://youtube.com/watch?v=s-mOy8VUEBk).

It is a weird sounding language, but fun to hear too. Unfortunately, it is sort of hard to accurately describe the quality without using lots of phonetic terms, but it is said that Danes sound like they are speaking Swedish or Norweigan with mashed potatoes in their mouthes, so take that for what you will.

I picked up a copy of the Helsingin Sanomat on the way into the plane and read the short stories in the Ulkomaa (Foreign Countries) section, until I was too tired to do it any more. It should also be noted that the Sanomat is generally a fairly hard read, because the authors make use of Finnish's capacity for being a very dense and concise language -- I think it is very eloquent and useful, because one can see the possibilities of how one can construct sentences. Anyway, after I was done, a woman asked me in Finnish if I had the paper, and I said, "Joo", and gave it to her. All in all my first Finnish language interaction went pretty well.

I arrived in Helsinki (pronounced HEL-sin-ki, just fyi :-p) at 1730 as per the plan. I got my bags by myself, then went out and met my host mother, Eija, and one of my host sisters, Pihla, who is eight.

We got to the car, and left Helsinki for Lahti, which is the closest city to where we are now. Eija said that I could borrow my host sister Jonna's bicycle, so that I could ride around and see things, and at some point, I do believe that I am going to take up that offer. The landscape here is very beautiful and green, plus there are far less people here. It seems that often houses are sort of integrated into the land and forrest, rather than the kind of stuff I see at places like Sunnyside and Happy Valley in the Clackamas County, Oregon area.

We stopped by the store and I got sixty euros from the ATM, and we did some shopping, buying some incredibly delicious, soft rye bread that I just adore. We bought some cheese, juice, and milk. On the way out, Eija bought a flat of some of the most delicious strawberries that I have ever eaten. Years ago I sorted out rotten strawberries, and since then it has been hard to eat too many, but these were very sweet with a fantastic depth of flavour that just isn't present in the typical strawberries back home.

When we got back to the house, I had a light dinner of rye bread, cheese, strawberries, salami, salad with tuna fish in it, and tea. It was a lovely meal -- there is definitely something positive to be said about simplicity in cooking.

Pihla also took me down to the lake, and told me a little bit about it. It really is fairly good sized, and the family has a small boat (vene in Finnish), so I expect when the weather clears up we may go out on it.

Jonna baked a really yummy cake that she frosted with unsweeted whipped cream. I personally think that is the best way to have it. When people start adding sugar, it is too sweet and tastes fake to me.

Not long after that, though, I took a shower and went to bed, because I was (and still am) pretty damn tired. Thing have gone very well thus far, and I am quite pleased. I intend to put some pictures up here soon of the countryside and my host family, but I was too tired to fuck around with it yesterday.

Anyway, now I'm going to try sleeping a bit more, but it is sort of hard, because it's now 530 and very light out, lol.

Moikka kaikki!
Leaving the Country 07-10-07 12:49
So tomorrow, I am finally leaving for Finland. After all the aggravation of dealing with residency permits and slow decision making processes, it is all finally paying off and I'm very pleased.

My flight leaves from Seattle at 1845 and arrives in Denmark at 1315 on Wednesday, whence I depart around 1500, so that I can arrive in Helsinki at around 1730.

Since I am currently staying at the house of some friends, I must leave here by taxi around 1515 today. I don't like travelling by taxi, if I can help it, but I have too much stuff to try and handle by myself on the bus, and I need to get there on time. At least I don't have to get up in the middle of the night to catch a crazy flight at 3 am.

It is still hasn't totally sunk in that I'm going to be in Europe in less than like 24 hours. I expect it is going to be an interesting time...

The following is a picture of my cousin, whom I babysat this summer while I was in Portland. She is adorable and an awesome little kid. We had lots of fun sword fighting with plastic bottles :-p.

Anyway, It's about time to post this, finish up a few last details and then head to the airport. If I'm lucky, I'll be able to post something soon from Denmark or Finland.
Extentions Make Me Happy 06-04-07 00:41
So about three hours ago, I finished talking with my host mother on MSN. As I mentioned before, last week I finally got word about my acceptance into the programme, but the downside, was that they said that it would end in early August. I was simultaneously quite excited, while being slightly disappointed that because of their failure to communicate with me in a timely manner, I'd be getting to stay there for less than two months.

The news, however, just got much, much better. Basically, she told me that I could stay for as long as I want. I don't think I can stretch that out for a year, but I think I'm going to try and stay until after my birthday in January. If I leave in late June or early July, that'd mean I'd have about six months over that. As I understand, the difference between three and six months is huge as far as language learning is concerned -- as it stands now, I can write and read pretty well, communicate stuff with speaking and generally understand the the gist of what people are saying; I have a decent vocabulary and grasp of grammar, but I need to put those to use in an environment where I can use them all the time.

Anyway, now I'm feeling much less rushed about the whole deal and very excited too.
Hello, 05-30-07 22:35
So yeah, I intend for this to be the record of my journey to Finland this summer! To begin, I had to take a test today in my large lecture course, and I had to stay up doing some studying. On a whim, I decided to check out my email and found much to my delight after a irritatingly long wait that I had been accepted in the the Suomea Suomessa (Finnish in Finland) programme! I'm not exactly sure what I'm going to be doing, but I'll be staying with a family in a small town near the city of Lahti, which is about 100 kilometres north of Helsinki.