Thursday, September 8, 2011

Seniors, Sailing and Swedish

So much happened in the last three days! I have no idea how I am ever going to be able to write about all of it! But I will try!

Friday: I woke up and do what I do every morning....groan! It is wayyyyy too early! But I eventually climbed out of bed and got ready. I knew that it was the celebration of 100 mornings before I got to school, yet I was not sure if I should be dreading this or looking forward to it as a totally new and awesome experience. The celebration of 100 mornings is something that happens in every finnish high school, I know this because some of the other exchange students all across Finland that I know have been talking about this day right around this week. It is the day when the 3 years (or what americans would call seniors) celebrate that they only have 100 more mornings that they have to get up before they leave Lukio. The 3rd years leave school around February and they have a couple months where they have to study for the end of high school exams, which are like day long tests that test everything that you have learned in your three years in Lukio. This does take literally months to study because in three years of finnish school they cover the equivalent of like 7 years in american school because they go through everything so fast and cover so much. And you have to remember everything. My host father keeps saying that they ought to have it in the US, but he is just saying that because it is so demanding and he is teasing me that in the US school is so easy....... But anyways back to the day of 100 mornings...The seniors have the day all for them where they get to completely make over the 5th floor of the school and all of them get to dress up to match the theme.

ABI is the finnish word for seniors 

This year's theme was Hollywood. So everyone dressed up as characters from different movies. There was everything from Legally Blonde, to Darth Vader to Avatar. It was really cool because mostly everybody had very nice costumes. And of course the best part for them was that they all brought lipstick and colored on the 1st and 2nd year's faces.

The lipstick was the best part for them...not for an innocent my face. But I was one of the lucky ones. Some third year dressed up like the joker from Batman was going to put some more lipstick but he didn't, he said why in finnish and walked away, and one of my friends said that he said that my face didn't need any more lipstick because I had such a beautiful smile and he didn't want to ruin it. I don't know if this was something that my friend said just to make my day or what the 3rd year actually said, but it still made me smile.

Coming in to Lipstick my face 

Thankfully I didn't have the worst looking face 

I only had two classes one in the morning and then after that I had a free period where I followed some of the 3rd years around when they went from class to class getting people to do embarrassing dances and then coloring their faces It was really fun. I really liked this day. It makes me want a day like this in the US.

Basically just a party day for the 3rd years 

People kept asking me if there is anything like this in the US, and I kept telling them that there kinda is, but it isn't really the entire school that participates, just different sport's teams that do different things, and then I would tell them about kidnapping and how our seniors would come and get us at 2 am in the middle of January. It doesn't really compare to this where the entire school participates and all the teachers let the seniors come in and dance on their desks and color on their kids faces.

The funniest part of today is that there are a bunch of students from Japan visiting for like a week to see why finnish school is so good, and today was their first day observing classes.....that must be very interesting to see what they thought of excellent school systems now....

After the exciting part of the day was over and school was almost over, people started cleaning up and taking down the decorations And I eventually left school, but the fun of the weekend was just beginning, instead of taking the bus, my host mother picked me up and we drove home and got ready for a weekend on a sail boat in the finnish archipelago. I took a shower of course and washed all the lipstick off of my face. Luckily it came off easily. I was talking to the second years at lunch about what they will think that their 100 morning celebration will be like and they told me that they will most defiantly will be using waterproof mascara so it doesn't come off as easily as lipstick. Luckily I will not be around for we got ready and I grabbed all my stuff, and we drove two hours to the east to where our sail boat that we rented was docked, I slept most of this trip because I was so tired after getting up at seven for the last five days.

My neighbor and I 

We then sailed off to the west through many islands. We spent a lot of time using the motor of the boat because it wasn't the windiest time, but we did use the sail a lot on Friday and it was really nice and peaceful. The weather wasn't the best on Friday, it was kinda raining, but It was not that bad. We had prepared for the worst weather and only brought warm clothes. It was very nice though. I think that the weather was pretty good on the first night and on Saturday and Sunday it was amazing! So we sailed through the archipelago and the first night we stayed at an island called Borstö. It was really nice. It was a very natural harbor, with only a wooden dock and a disgusting outhouse. There were a couple summer houses on the island and one other boat docked for the night. It was nice though. At night we had a delicious dinner, played some finnish/swedish card games and I also showed some pictures of Colorado to them.

This was the place that we stayed the first night, not the most developed place, but that is also an upside to it. 

The next morning I slept in, which was very nice because I haven't slept in since last Sunday because mornings are so early and I hate it! It felt so nice to have slept long enough! In the morning we had the typical finnish breakfast: Sandwiches, which is quite good. By the end of this year I am going to be addicted to dark bread, which is something that I have never seen in the US, so that will be difficult so say goodbye to! I also had tea outside the boat in the crisp morning air which was very nice. The two kids in our neighbors family went into the water and so did my host mother, they dove off the end of the boat a couple times, it looked nice, but I didn't feel like getting into my bathing suit and then getting all soaked, so I decided that I would go swimming tonight.

My new red boots! I wish that I could say that they are Nokia boots but sadly they are not, but just as good! These will defiantly come in handy in Colorado when all the snow is melting in the spring and there are more puddles than cars in the parking lots in Summit County! 

We took off and spent the entire day sailing. I really liked the landscape because the finnish archipelago kind of looks like Norway and it made me happy to be surrounded by the islands. They were quite beautiful. All day it was totally sunny, which was awesome! But there wasn't much wind so we didn't use the sails the whole day. It was really nice though. Then on Saturday night we stayed at an island with much nicer facilities than the first one I must say... There was a nice restaurant and they had a sauna and it was a lot nicer, but less natural, but I was fine with long as the toilet wasn't an outhouse I was fine! The island's name was Korpoström.

So we got in our bathing suits and jumped off the dock that was there. It was quite fun and the water was very warm, it was 22 celcius...which is like 71 was at least on the surface when the sun was shining. But it was still a good temperature. We jumped in several times and then we went into the Sauna and stayed in the sauna and then back to the water for some swimming and then back in the sauna, it was overall really really nice.

Our boat is the one that I am swimming in front of 

And I was so patriotic that I wore my american flag bathing suit 

Then after a while in the sauna and swimming we eventually went back to the boat and got dressed and then we went to dinner at the restaurant that was there. I ordered grilled beef with garlic butter and it was honestly the best piece of meat that I have ever had in my seemed like nothing could beat my grandma's ham, but this beef just did. IT WAS AMAZING! I was so depressed when it was gone. While I was eating it, I had an amazing view of the sunset going down over the archipelago, and I had one of those feelings like everything in life is totally perfect. It was so nice. So then for dessert I had some italian dessert, which was pretty good, kinda thick and I was really full after I had eaten everything, but overall I was very very pleased with my meal, I was even tempted to ask for the chef to tell him that I had never eaten anything more delicious in my life.
Before I had tasted the best food in the world


The cutest little girl evar! And she spoke english like fluently and she has never been taught it! She just picked it up from TV! 

My host dad 

My host mom 

My dessert 

Our boat after the sun went down 

It was so beautiful! 

So afterwards we played more cards and saw some pictures I had from Hawaii and then we went to bed.

The next morning I slept in so when I woke up we were already on our way back. We had the same breakfast, which is so good, and then we spent a lot more time on the boat. After a while and right before breakfast we stopped near a bay and the two kids and I jumped off the boat several times, it was really nice, and I was reluctant to get back in the boat because I wanted to stay in the water. But eventually I did and soon after we had lunch. We were able to use the sail because it was a bit more windy than yesterday, so it was very quite and nice. Soon we made our way back to the harbor that we had left on Friday afternoon and sadly we packed up our cars and drove back to Turku. Overall the weekend was very amazing!

And last but not least I will get to the third section of this post's title: Swedish! I am learning it! Officially, but not officially! I am taking a swedish class in school, but to be honest I picked up more swedish this weekend than I have in three weeks in that class. This weekend I spoke swedish with the little girl that is our neighbor, and it gave me more confidence in my swedish speaking ability. Swedish is different from norwegian, so it is hard for me to understand every conversation, like I can understand basically every conversation in norwegian, but swedish I understand only like half. And I can't even try to read and write in swedish because any ability I have in the norwegian language is that of oral and comprehension, so I cannot read norwegian at all! And swedish is totally spelled different so I can't read or write ANY swedish at all. And that is why swedish class in school is so hard, that and it is in finnish and the kids in that class have been studying swedish for several years....but this weekend I have officially started learning swedish, yet not officially because I am not taking any real classes. But I plan on starting to swim with a club soon and that club is totally swedish speaking So that will also help my swedish ability, someone asked me why I would want to "torture myself into learning swedish" but I have such a great opportunity to learn two languages this year because I am living in probably one of the most bilingual cities in Finland, and I have a bit of a head start on swedish with my norwegian background, so the question would be why wouldn't I take advantage of the opportunity to learn two languages this year?

Sailing under the finnish flag! 

This is my life now....

Sorry to anybody who has slow internet and the pictures may take forever to load *cough grandma and grandpa cough* but I have learned that lots and lots of pictures have made it easier to read a blog, because I read a lot of exchange student blogs and I hate it when they just have a block of text, they are very hard to read.

And again I am going to end this post with a quote from my english textbook because it has some pretty awesome quotes in it!

"You cannot shake hands with a clenched fist" - Indira Gandhi

Also if you want to check out the websites for the islands that I visited here are the links:



Sorry that the websites are mostly in Finnish.....