Friday, June 24, 2011

Feels like a dream!

Ok, so my life is going to be a dream soon! Just saying! I am so freaking excited! I am right in Norway right now and even here I can't stop thinking that in just 43 days I will be stepping into Denver International Airport once again, and this time it won't be with my mother or brother. It will be just me!! On my own! So weird to think about! And a little scary......but I won't focus my mind on that part :)

So Guess what? I booked my plane tickets! Yayayayayay!!!! Yeah it was kinda annoying because my travel agent sent me an email with the first idea of itinerary and she was like "fax me back with your signature by monday" and that was friday. I left for Denver to go to a hotel by the airport saturday and I spent all sunday in an airplane flying to Norway and I got to Norway and was totally jet lagged on Monday. And did I mention that at my grandparents house in Norway there is no printer or fax machine? Yeah big problems I have! But we worked it all out. My mom asked my travel agent to look up an itinerary on a different airline because the first one was on American and I wouldn't get frequent flyer miles for that, so then we got one more day. I am very glad that my mom asked for that because she came up with a much better itinerary that I liked a lot more (and I don't have to get up super early!) And we got one more day to figure it all out. So eventually we found a printer at my aunt's house and printed out the itinerary, signed it, and scan emailed it to my travel agent. Yay! So here it is:

August 6th 6:05 pm  Denver, Colorado - Frankfurt, Germany (arrive 11:35 am on August 7th)
August 7th 2:25 pm Frankfurt, Germany - Helsinki, Finland (arrive 6:45 pm on August 7th)

I really love this schedule because I leave Denver so late, which means I can sleep in on the 6th, and I don't have to leave Summit County until like 1 pm. So maybe I can say goodbye to some of my friends that before I leave that day :) but it will be sad :( And I don't know how bad my jet lag will be because I can sleep the entire flight to Germany :) Yay! Sleeping is good! And it is one of my priorities!

So anyways.....I am in Norway! It's not every day that I get to say that! Since I'm not very far into my trip (day 5) then I am not going to go into much detail about Norway itself, I will be posting about Norway later into my trip or after I get back, but I am going to talk about how useful this trip to a country so similar to Finland is literally a month and a half before I leave for a year :)

 Finland and Norway are very similar! Why? Because, if you know geography, you know that Finland and Norway are so close that they even share a border. The two countries have so much in common, that I, with a norwegian passport, did not need a visa to spend a length of time in Finland! When I found that out you could say that I was relieved!

But don't get me wrong, there are plenty of differences! But the similarities help me prepare for a year abroad, just being in a foreign country helps me prepare. I am constantly doing math. The metric system is not my strongest point, but my grasp of the metric system will get better as time goes on. I am always converting prices to dollars. I really wish that whoever is in charge of the value of the dollar would make the euro and the kroner number that are very easy to calculate, but no, the norwegian kroner to dollar is 5.5!
I spend a lot of my time when I go shopping over here watching people and observing their styles. It helps to know what the style is like over here because it is so expensive to buy clothes over here and the style is so similar to Finland that I know what to buy when I get back to the US. Because it is so much cheaper in some store like forever 21.

When I am not loving Norway and I'm just hanging out in my house over here, I am getting more norwegian/finnish music. When I first started to look for finnish music, when I first started learning finnish, I had nowhere to start looking since I had no idea how to change the country in itunes or anything, so I picked up a couple of songs on wikipedia, believe me I have no idea how I managed to find songs in an encyclopedia (they are not very good songs)! But now I figured out how to change country of the itunes store, so I am actually getting songs that are popular in Finland. Plus many of the English songs that are popular in Finland are also popular in Norway so they are all over the radio here :) My new favorite songs are Mr. Saxobeat (which is on constantly over here in Norway) and Poika (saunoo) (which is number one in Finland right now)

Mr. Saxobeat - In the top three in both Finland and Norway

Anyways, that's about all I really know what to say. Sorry for this post being kinda long :) I'll have more on Norway soon. But in the meantime I will focusing all of my energy on finding out how to change the language on my mac so everything that I spell isn't underlined in red. 

Nakemiin! Or har-det in Norwegian

Saturday, June 11, 2011

It's Summer!!!And lots of things are Happening!

It’s summer and the anticipation grows! I know that I told myself over and over again that I will study more finnish right when school gets out, but I haven’t. I have been....too busy? Yeah let’s just go with that....

But I have been doing a lot of things, for one thing I have cleaned out my closet and I will soon be having a garage sale to fundraise for next year. That has taken up a lot of my time. Also I have been out with my friends, enjoying summer, ect. I am putting studying finnish off and I do feel bad about it but I will focus on it eventually. I promise, there is no way that I would let myself go off to Finland with only the vocabulary that I have now. 

So I have officially gotten my first host family! Which has made me super pumped! I originally emailed the host family that was on my guarantee form and they emailed back soon after. I was very excited about them when another host family emailed me and said that they would be hosting me in August. Naturally I was a little confused. So I talked to my YEO (youth exchange officer) and he said that it is normal that the host family that is on the guarantee form isn’t always the first host family and that the second family to email me is probably the first host family I will have. So I started to get excited about this family as well. Another exchange student from my district is in Finland right now and it’s so funny because he is staying with the family that will be my first host family! It is very coincidental!

Facebook is possibly the greatest invention of all time! I am just going to put that out there(and I still haven’t seen the social network yet!). It is so helpful in finding and talking to people from all over the world who are going through the exact same thing! I have found many people who will be going to Finland next year and those who are already in Finland and people who live there. It is so great! I can't really imagine what being an exchange student 30 years ago must have been like! Having to receive information by actual mail! Can you imagine?The thought seems to scare me as an exchange student! Now it is so quick and easy to email my host family or my YEO so quick and get a response within a day. Or instant messaging people in Finland and getting to have an entire conversation being worlds apart! If there is anything that is more handy than Facebook when it comes to talking to people all over the world, you will need to tell me about it!  

  Anyways....As the days go on I find myself thinking about all the american things that I will miss. First and foremost I will miss my cat. She is such a big part of my american life, it makes me sad to think that I will have to spend a year without her :( Second I will miss some of my favorite TV shows. Most of the shows that I watch I don't really care about and I can miss a year. But the shows that I will miss the most are The Daily Show with Jon Steward and The Colbert Report. They are very american shows. And I know that by going on an exchange I'm trying to get away from american culture. But they are some of my favorite shows, and I love being "update with american politics" (I put those in quotes because it really isn't a news show but one of the only ways I can actually pay attention to politics) especially since I'm going to miss the primary elections for 2012 and I always like to see the political bits of Saturday Night Live. I am going to miss websites like hulu and netflix. I was aware that they don't stream in other countries but then I was reminded of it the other day when a friend who is already on her exchange posted about it on Facebook and it started to seem so real :( And of course I will miss my friends. I am spending a lot of time with them now that it is summer and I keep thinking that I will spend next year without them. Of course I will make new friends but that is also one thing that scares me a lot about the beginning of next year. Everybody tells me that Finns are very reserved and that I'm going to need to break the ice. I would be able to do this but it is also in a language that I barely speak. So I am freaked out a little by this thought. But I am sure that I will be able to accomplish this. 

It is easy to put my exchange out of my mind right now with summer in Summit county. I know that other future exchange students are not having such luck but I am spending a lot of my time with friends and the weather here as been absolutely perfect! It reminds me that I am glad that I'm not leaving just yet because summer in Summit is the best time of the year! Also I have a huge trip to Norway coming up and I will be trying to speak a lot of norwegian with family when I'm there. This will help me with my swedish when I'm in finland because Swedish is basically the same as norwegian just some small differences. Here are some pics from summer in Summit County. 

As you can see I am able to put my exchange out of mind and not explode from all the excitement!