Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Kotona Makea Koti

(google translate tells me this means Home Sweet Home.  My disclaimer is that I already don't trust google translate!)

After 10 days at home in Idaho and 3 days at home in DC, I now find myself at home in Jyväskylä and how sweet it is!  Anyone who talked to me in my last week in the States discovered that I was completely panicked about what do do when I arrived at the train station at Jyväskylä with my luggage in hand.  I completely spiraled from there- what I am doing moving to a place where I don't know the language, there aren't tourists there so no one will speak English, I am never going to be able to get into the apartment.....blah, blah, blah.  If I was honest, anxiety and fear were consuming me and my ability to hide it was diminishing.  I went out to lunch with a good friend right before I left DC and he got the story with teary eyes.  He simply looked at me and said the most calming words, "so what you are telling me is that you don't know how to take a cab."  Good point, perspective changed.  I know how to do that- so I did.  And if you can believe it, the cab driver spoke English.  Life was looking pretty good!

And I was able to remember how to use a key (but to give context to my worries, the keys are different and one is really funny looking) and I opened the door to find home looking like this:

So now I am home and as you can see, home is great!  Yesterday I walked to the grocery store and learned a few lessons.  One, even if you are just going up the street put some long underwear on!  It is cold here friends, the kind of cold that is bone chilling if you are not prepared.  One of the Finnish teachers I know told me at the August orientation that the problem isn't that it is cold in Finland, it's that people wear the wrong clothes.  Lesson learned.  Second, is that I need to get over being mute.  I know how to say hello and thank you.  I can get around fine by observing and speaking in English.  But I don't want to just get around, I want to live here.  My one Finnish word a day app gave me salakuljetus today.  It means contraband.  I laughed and decided it was time to break out my beginner Finnish book.  

As I sit and write this, this is what I am looking at.  I am enjoying a cup of coffee from a mug that my friends in Helsinki gave to welcome me.  I am warm and toasty with  snow peacefully falling outside and I can't help but think how lucky I am.  I was greeted at the airport with a big smile and hugs from friends and I spent the most welcoming two days in Helsinki.  I ate around a table with great food and drink, amazing conversation and laughing about the irony that only weeks ago we were doing the same in the States.  I went to a light show and loved walking around downtown with amazing light installations to look at.  I also managed not to become a popsicle- warm clothes really do work!  
Today's adventure is to find the University campus.  I think it is only blocks away.  I have a meeting with my advisor tomorrow and want to make a test run to the building so I won't get lost.  Fun to have a first day at school to look forward to again!  I thought about all my friends who have started back to school after break yesterday.  Hope your first day back was a good one!!  


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  2. Karen, you are definitely misseed at TMA. I hope that you continue to adjust well to your life in Finland. I am excited to read about your continued adventures!