Friday, October 28, 2011

You Know You Are From Colorado When

Today I had a presentation on Colorado and USA for my Geography. My last presentation was for my Rotary club, which is basically just old men. So this presentation was a bit different because it was going to be for teenagers, and when people say that the audience matters for a presentation, they don't lie. So I decided to have some fun with it. I talked about a whole bunch of things. I also taught them how to live in Colorado and fit in. And I really had fun making it, because I really wanted to make a presentation that talked about stuff that they may not have known about the USA from television. So I went and presented and it was nice. Finnish people are known to not be interested, not laugh and not ask questions during presentations, which was kinda exactly like what my Rotary Club had been like when I presented. But my class was a very good audience. So that made me a lot less nervous. I actually didn't think of being nervous the entire time. So it was all very good. And I got lots of compliments on my presentation. 
But anyways, the point of this post is that when I was looking up some random facts and such on the internet. I found a long list of "You Know You're From Colorado When.." and I loved them all. So here they are for the enjoyment of anyone from Colorado (or anyone that isn't from Colorado, but you probably won't understand them in the same way):
1. You switch from "Heat" to "A/C" in one day
2. Your sense of direction is: towards the mountains and away from the mountains.
3. You're able to drive 65 miles per hour through 13 feet of snow during a raging blizzard without even flinching.
4. You think your major food groups are granola bars, tofu and Fat Tire beer.
5. You design your kid's Halloween costumes to fit over a snowsuit.
6. You think that sexy lingerie is wool socks and flannel PJs.
7. You know all 4 seasons "almost winter, winter, still winter and spring blizzards
8. You can never figure out why your out-of-town guests faint from altitude sickness on a picnic to the mountains.
9. You can drive over a 12,000-foot pass in 4 feet of snow
10. You know the 'correct' pronunciation of Buena Vista.
11. When you visit friends at sea level, you can drink a case of beer and not get a buzz.
12. Your car insurance costs more than your car.
13. April showers bring May blizzards.
14. 'Timberline' is someplace you have actually been.
15. You know what a "fourteener" is.
16. A bear on your front porch doesn't bother you 
17. SPF 90 is not out of the question.
18. People from out of state breathe 5 times as often as you do.
19. Thunder has set off your car alarm.
20. A full moon has never kept you awake at night.
21. You have an $800 stereo in your $300 truck.
22. A sudden loss of cabin pressure is not a big deal.
23. You think a red light means 3 more cars can go.
24. Where we're going, we don't need roads!!
25. You know where Buffalo Bill's grave is.
26. You know where the real "South Park" is.
27. You can recognize the license plates of all 50 states on sight
28. Driving directions usually include 'Go over _________ Pass.'
29. You've dressed in shorts, sandals, and a parka with a hood.
30. You've urinated on the Continental Divide just so it could 'run into both oceans'
31. And most important: You get a certain satisfaction knowing that California and Texas are both downstream.
32. You know what a down slope and an up slope weather pattern is
33. You have absolutely no recognizable accent.
34. If the humidity gets above 25%, you consider it "muggy".
35. You only go to Central City when friends are in from out of town.
36. You think only stupid people get lost in your town.
37. When giving directions, you never say "Turn left, turn right", it's always go West, then South.
38. If it rains more than 2 days straight you compare the weather to being in Seattle.
39. You have a broken windshield.
40. You see no reason to travel to Aurora.
41. The only RTD bus you've been on is the 16th Street shuttle.
42. You carry your $3,000 mountain bike on top of your $500 car.
43. You have a business degree and are frying burgers at a McDonald's in Vail.
44. You have a flat tire in your refrigerator and your garage.
45. You've never seen the tourist attractions in your own city.
46. You think a pass does not involve a football or a woman.
47. You are 82 years old and take up snowboarding.
48. Your real Y2K fear was running out of Celestial Seasonings tea and trail mix.
49. You get depressed after one day of foggy weather.
50. You think that formal wear is ironed denim.
51. You go anywhere else on the planet and the air feels "sticky" and you notice the sky is no longer blue.
52. You can run up 10 flights of stairs without huffing and puffing.
53. You've stood on solid ground and looked down on an airplane in flight.

54. Your car insurance costs more than your car.

55. You've gone skiing in July. You've gone sunbathing in January. They were both in the same year.

56. You know the elevation of a town, but not its population.

57. You never pack away your coat and sweaters.

58. You can name only two people you know who were actually born in Colorado.

59. You or someone you know plays golf 12 months of the year.

60. You don't have AC in your home, but you use it in your car all winter long.

61. If it snows in the morning you expect it to be gone by lunchtime.

62. You can name the states that make up the Four Corners.

63. You know what and where the Continental Divide is.

64. You've made naked snow angels.

65. You still call it "Elitches".

67. You scoff at the "five-day forecast".

68. You know what I'm talking about when I say, "You don't need an airplane to be in the mile-high club in Denver".

69. You've grown up with the most beautiful sunsets in the world, and didn't miss them until you left.
70. You’ll eat ice cream in the winter.
71. When the weather report says it’s going to be 65 degrees, you shave 72. your legs and wear a skirt.
73. It snows 5 inches and you don’t expect school to be canceled.
74. You’ll wear flip flops every day of the year, regardless of temperature.
75. You say ‘the interstate’ and everybody knows which one.
76. You think that May is a totally normal month for a blizzard.
77. You don’t think Coors beer is that big a deal.
78. You’ve gone off-roading in a vehicle that was never intended for such activities.
79. You always know the elevation of where you are.
80. You wake up to a beautiful, 80 degree day and you wonder if it’s going to snow tomorrow.
81.When people out East tell you they have mountains in their state too, you just laugh.
82. You get really ticked off when people confuse Colorado with Kansas, Nebraska, Wyoming, or any of "those other big square states out west."
83. You never pack away your coat and sweaters.
84. Several times a summer you hear your kids talking about going to Red Rocks for the concert.
85. You bought a car from a Super Bowl MVP.
86. You've enjoyed the most beautiful sunsets and most thrilling thunder clouds ever seen from a baseball stadium.
87. You've convinced your out-of-state cousins whom you're taking on a mountain picnic to watch out for starving coyotes, crazy cave dwellers, and stampeding herds of jackalopes.
88. You know the tragic legend of "The Face on the Barroom Floor."
89. You Understand all of these 
Yay for Colorado! Anyways, I am switching Host Families in a week! Three months have gone by so freaking fast! 
And don't send mail to my current address, because I will be gone by the time it gets here! I will post my new address soon!
And another thing I found while looking up stuff for my presentation: 

Friday, October 21, 2011

VIP In Helsinki!

I Recently went to my first opera. And I went in style. For sure.

My school's music teacher organized a trip to the Helsinki Opera house to see the Opera "Carmen". It was open for anyone in the school to go, though only about 16 people were on the trip. The whole night cost 45 Euros and it was well worth the trip!

We all met outside the school at 4 pm. Some people dressed up. Most of the girls wore heels. Of course seeing as I had to Fit everything that I own into a suitcase I didn't bring a dress that I would use only once or twice. And I didn't have time or money to go out and buy one just for this occasion. Plus it wasn't required that we dress up. The guys wore blazers and/or ties. I just wore an outfit that I would where to school on the average day. This is fancy enough for the opera because girls dress for school like they are going to an opera, not all of them, but there is a much greater presence of fashion in school here than in the US. But I will have more on that later. Also I didn't have more fancy shoes than my converse, but it didn't really matter. I felt pretty dressed up, because I was, for US standards that is.

We then boarded our private tour bus for the evening. The tour bus was one of the best parts of the trip, I must say. We had our very own private VIP, mercedes, tour bus. It could fit about twenty-five to thirty people, I am guessing and we were about 16, So it was nice and roomy. The seats were much bigger than a regular bus would be, and many of them were around tables like they would be in a train. And the enitre back half of the bus were seats gathered around two tables. We sat in the back. There were also big TV screens throughout the bus that showed out the front of the bus. It was really cool. Though I think that the bus was most of the money that we paid. Because we paid 45 euros and the tickets cost 26....but it was pretty awesome!


Here is the inside of the bus, from the very back 

The bus was very cool. The drive to Helsinki is like 2 and a half hours, so we had plenty of time on the bus, we talked, played some games and talked some more. The bus ride was really fun. We also stopped at a little cafe by the road which is like a rest stop. 
Here is all of us at the rest stop. 

The rest stop was called Ykköspesä, which is like 1st base in finnish baseball. 

So then we continued on our journey to Helsinki. By the time that we got to Helsinki it was already dark. As it gets dark at like 6:30 here. As soon as we arrived in Helsinki and the Opera house we went inside. We didn't really do any sightseeing at all, which was fine because I had seen some on Friday. 

The Helsinki Opera house reminded me a lot of The Denver Center of Performing Arts and Buell Theater. It was really a modern building. Just the way you would picture an opera house. There were lots of information on the walls about past operas and some costumes from past operas. There were also many tables where groups of people reserved to have their dinner ready when they got there and then their dessert sitting out for them as soon as there was intermission. There was also some modern art and some murals. It was a very nice building. It was fun to go around it see some of the stuff. 

Here is the Opera house from the outside 

Inside the Opera house 

Pretty awesome picture on the wall 

Inside the opera hall 

Some costumes that they had on display, I wonder if they did an opera that was written by Lady Gaga... 

Again inside the house 

Here is some of us 

And again 

The opera itself was Carmen, and my host dad told me afterwards that it is one of the best. It is about a gypsy girl, Carmen, who makes a soldier fall in love with her, then he joins her group of smugglers and but feels like he is distrustful, and then when he hears that his mother is sick, he leaves and then when he comes back, Carmen already has a new man and refuses to take the soldier back. So the solider ends up killing her. Back when it had it's first premiere in Spain in like, the 18th century, it was not liked so much because in past operas the main characters were often about royalty and then this was the first one who had a low life gypsy girl be the main character, and that is why people didn't like it.

 It was sung in french and there was subtitles in Swedish, Finnish and (thank god) English. I have taken a year of french, and it doesn't do me quite well, especially around anyone who speaks french. But I did recognize a word here and there, like cherche (look for) and oui (yes) and of course probably the most common word in the show amour (Love) but really it didn't even sound like sounded like Opera, basically just people wailing, if I didn't know that they were speaking french I would have guessed that it was some language that was only spoken in Operas. Something else that was really cool about this specific opera was that it was also translated into Sign Language. So there was a lady on the stage that was signing everything that was happening. I didn't look at her too much, because I was mostly focused on reading the subtitles and watching the opera. But it was cool because she even signed the music that was played by the orchestra. We thought that because this specific show was signed, that there must be a bunch of people here who need it or something. It was really cool though. 

The set of the opera was also very cool. The used a lot of real things (including fire!) like trucks and bicycles because the stage was huge. Probably the size of half the size of a high school gym. 

After the show ended we went back to the bus and we went to Hesburger. I may have mentioned Hesburger before but in case I haven't, it is like finnish McDonald's. McDonald's exists in Finland as well, but Hesburger is very finnish. And also the founder of Hesburger lives in Turku so there are only Hesbuger in Turku, maybe like two McDonald's in the entire city, so it is weird driving through Helsinki and actually seeing McDonald's! Hesbuger is also much much better than McDonald's also....So we were all excited for Hesburger after because we didn't each that much other than the rest stop on the way, I had brought some bread and some cake for the ride there but I was also excited for Dinner. But everyone was excited for food, because the opera was quite long and it was like 10:30 when it was over,. And Jackie, from Australia was very excited because she was getting a Mega Meal and I stood next to her in line and she was excited! Haha, I also got the Mega Meal and it was defiantly big! I could barely hold it and not to mention that I got Hesburger's special sauce all over my face and went through a few napkins. 

This is a Hesburger, not from this trip, This one is in Turku, but just so you know 

The ride back was not as awake as the ride there. Most of us sat there in the darkness and listened to music. Every seat had their own light like an airplane! But we all turned them off because it was 11:30 when we left Helsinki and 1 am when we got to Turku. When we were waiting to be picked up one of the girls who went was like "It is so weird to be outside of our school at 1 am!" haha, and that was true, but I wasn't really thinking about it. 

We were tired 

VIP buses are A-mazing! 

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Osaava Nainen

Last Saturday I went to a women's fair held in the Turku convention center. It is called Osaava Nainen. It was fun to go there. It had anything that could be related to a women, from household items, to yarn, to makeup, to information about spas in Estonia.

I didn't understand a lot of the information that the many booths had to offer, so naturally I couldn't take full advantage of the entire fair, but it was still cool to go there and see.

I also got one of the best gifts for my parents in the states. It is for the whole family but my mom will use it the most, because she is from a nordic country and it is a very nordic thing. I can't say what it is though, because it is a surprise and my parents read this blog.

I also bought a nail design stamp kit that some very very aggressive salesmen who didn't speak finnish convinced me to buy. It was my choice to buy it though because it a very cool product. And I did some of my first haggling. It wasn't very impressive haggling, but I managed to get it for 5 euros off.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Fall Swimming

I have mentioned this before but we have been going fall swimming lately. We being my host mother and I and occasionally our neighbor will also come along. Since I have swimming training on most of the days that the sauna is open, I am only able to go swimming in the ocean with the sauna on Saturdays and Sundays. And every week the water gets colder. Today it was 10 degrees, Celsius.

Going swimming in winter in an ice hole is a very old finnish tradition. It probably started when the first sauna was invented and that was a long time ago. Now, it isn't a hole in the ice yet, but it is certainly on it's way! The water is getting colder and colder every week. Right now it is still "Fall swimming" but I can't wait for it to be winter swimming with ice.

Now, you may ask, why on earth would anybody ever, ever want to go swimming in a hole in the ice, in the middle of the winter. Well, yes when you are all warm and then you get into a bathing suit and then the walk out onto the pier where the stair cases into the literally freezing water and then getting in and then swimming around.

It is quite....cold.

And when you are walking into the water from one of the staircases on the pier and the water feels like knives and well, It isn't actually very enjoyable to do that part.

So why?

Well, after you get out of the water and then sprint back up the pier to the sauna that is an average of 75 degrees (Celsius) You are still cold for several minutes and then as you gradually get warmer from the sauna, you start to feel really really good.  And after you have been in the sauna until the point where it is feeling like too much, you go out into the air that feels really cold before, and then it feels so nice after the sauna. And you are steaming which looks very cool. Overall the entire process is quite fun.

For that reason and the reason that you can say that you have done it.

I plan to have some pictures up concerning this in the future.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Les Miserables, Helsinki, and BRITNEY SPEARS!!!

On Thursday I went to Åbo svenska theater and saw Les Miserables. It was quite amazing to sum it up in a few words. Considering that I have never seen/read or even knew the story and it was all sung in swedish, I got a lot out of it. Luckily I had read a summary of the plot before I went to see the play. It helped me understand. Also something that really helped me understand was that they had subtitles in swedish and in finnish throughout the entire production. I basically watched the swedish subtitles the entire time and translated it in my head. Going into the play I knew that I wouldn't understand much of what they were saying, but I actually understood a lot more than I thought I was going to. I understood probably two thirds of everything that they said. And the swedish subtitles helped a lot. But also because I knew what they were singing about, that also helped me understand what was happening. Overall it was a very very good production, I was completely blown away by how incredible the cast's voices were and it was very very good. But I think what I enjoyed the most about the evening was the fact that I understood what they were saying.

Then yesterday My host mom and I took a trip to Helsinki to see Britney Spears in concert. We left home at around one. Then we drove for two hours east until we reached Helsinki. We did some sightseeing in the downtown of Helsinki. My initial impression of Helsinki was that it was much more of a city than Turku. It had much bigger of a downtown and much more the city feeling. And you could tell that there were a lot more people that lived there. So we saw the most famous places in Helsinki, though we went by them really quickly. We had to see them all in like 30 minutes. We saw where the president lives (though I don't think that she was there since one of my friends said that they saw here at Åbo svenska theater seeing Les Miserables THE DAY AFTER I HAD GONE THERE! Haha, what are the odds?) and then we also saw the Cathedral and the parliament building and the harbor and a few other famous things. I really liked Helsinki, it was one of the coolest cities that I have been too. It has such a unique and amazing atmosphere that is impossible to describe as anything more than awesome! Defiantly one of my favorite cities!

The president's house!

Still the president's house 

Helsinki Cathedral
The last Csar of Russia!...with a seagull on his head...

That is me in the brown 

Finnish Parliment building, a bit more impressive in person

 Then we went and met my oldest host brother who is studying in Helsinki. We went and saw his apartment and then we went and had dinner at a restaurant that was a restaurant where students learned how to be in the restaurant business so it was cheap but really good food. If anyone wants to know it was called Perho. I really was full after that meal. Then we drove to the place where the Britney Spears concert was and it was seriously incredible. The most awesome thing ever! She played mostly all of her greatest hits and a lot from her latest album and it was totally awesome! I bought a concert t shirt and even though it was a bit expensive, it was defiantly something important to get. Overall it was a totally great day in Helsinki!



Where Britney was, also an ice hockey arena 

When the lights were on and everybody was coming in

It was pretty intense 

And I also saw my exchange student friend from France and our host parents also knew each other somehow, so that was cool to see her there. 

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Vad jag varit gjöde

I think that title may be correct swedish....but I have no idea.....For all those who don't speak broken up swedish, it means "What I have been doing"

So when did I last write? A while is so hard to keep up because everything goes by so fast and so much happens! And I could be a professional free time waster.

Let's start where I left off.....

This time of the year appears to be the sales season...because every store and mall appears to have their own big sale, I mean these sales are nothing compared to sales in the US, but they are a big deal here, apparently the prices are supposed to be a lot better, but they really aren't. But it was fun because it was test week and all the other exchange students and I had free time so we spent it shopping and hanging out. It was quite fun! The biggest sale was the department store, Stockman's Hullut Päivät, which means crazy days. It lasted almost a week and it was nice. But what wasn't nice was there was so much candy on sale so I wasted a ton of money on chocolate and now I can't sit in the same room with it without getting fat.

Can you see why I am getting fat?

And just to comment on the whole getting fat situation....I don't like it. I know it is no big deal when you are on exchange to gain a couple pounds and that you will lose it all when you go back, but I don't like to be fat! It is annoying!

And while I had some time off I spent it with the other exchange students a ton. One day, which I think was one of the most fun days, we went to the cathedral and there we ran into one of the other exchange student's host dad, who is the organist for the cathedral, and he gave us a private show of the organs, so we got to go up to the top where the organist sits, which has a great view of the whole cathedral, and I do have to say that seeing an organist play is quite cool. I could never play one, it is way to complicated looking, I mean I can't even play the piano. We also went to the Turku Castle, but we didn't go inside or anything, and we went to the terminal where the boats from Sweden come, and it was pretty fun.

Me with my "crazy days" bag 

Inside the Cathedral

The organs 

The organist 

Turku Castle 

The ferry terminal 

But anyways. Something cool that happened also was that there was this showing in a theater of Star Wars: Uncut! Which was a version of Star Wars Episode 4 that was made up of 15 second fan made clips. It was AWESOME! A bit hard to follow at times...but it was really cool! I loved it! They also showed a movie about copyright infringement and how it is suppressing new types of art that focus on a lot of remixing. I thought it brought up a very valid point, and it was a very good movie. Overall the day was very good. I went with a couple other exchange students and on the website it said "We are only letting the first 1000 people in" and of course being from the US, we assumed that it meant that there were going to be well over 1000 people there, unfortunately we were wrong and got two hours early. But it was fine, we hung out in the free exhibition that they had in the same building that was focused on soccer and it was quite fun.

The Place where The Star Wars was shown 

For the european culture of capital 

Inside the soccer exhibition 
Hanging out because we were the stupid americans and got there 2 hours before it started 

I have had all new classes in the past week. It is nice. I can get used to them quickly. The thing that is most different about this new period is that I am starting to actually try harder. I mean in some of my classes, I plan on getting grades, taking tests and getting credit for three of my classes this period. Geography, Art and Spanish. So I am focusing a lot more in my classes and trying harder. I actually did my swedish homework the other day! Which is more than I ever did in the states.....sadly...But I think that it kinda fun to try and pay attention, probably because I enjoy the classes that I have a lot. But I think that the hardest part of this is the fact that it is so incredibly easy to just let go of my mind and let it wander in class. Because I don't understand anything that the teacher is saying, I have to really try to catch words and guess what she is saying, So that means paying utmost attention...not the easiest. But I am trying!

So another thing that has happened it that today I went to Turku Art Museum. It is a quite small museum, especially compared to Denver Art museum which takes a week to really see everything...and that is not just an was literally designed so that it would take 5 days to see the entire permanent collection. But the Turku museum is my favorite art museum that I have been to. For one thing, it is an incredibly beautiful building that looks like a castle. The city square, along with the river, is in between two big hills, that the road of Aurakatu goes up and down. One hill is called Luostarimäki and the other is called Puolalamäki. My school is at the top of Luostarimäki and the art museum is on top of Puolalamäki. So it is on top of the hill, and you can see it from all of Aurakatu until you reach the top of Luostarimäki. <-----this may have been an irrelevant fact about the art museum, but I felt like I needed to tell you that. So I have been wanting to go to the art museum because I have been seeing advertisements for the Carl Larsson collection that they have there now and he is a Swedish artist so I have been wanting to see the art. And I was not dissapointed. I went with my art class so the teacher talked about much of the art in finnish, and I didn't understand a lot of what she was saying but I still appreciated the art. Plus there were signs with text in english, so I could read those. I really liked Carl Larsson. A lot of him art depicted Scandinavia, and they reminded me so much of Norway and a lot of my childhood, and it was very nice. It was just sooo scandinavian, and there is nothing that I love more than Scandinavia! And also the other art that was in the permeant section of the museum was also very scandinavian and I absolutely loved all of it. So that is why Turku Art museum is my favorite art museum that I have ever been to, because it is the only one that I have seen that had scandinavian art, which I adore!

I wish I had pictures of this but I will probably have in the future

This is by my school. As you can see, fall is definatly here, which is a nice change, because it summit county, there is no fall, just summer and winter

I should probably go to bed seeing as it is 12:36 am and I doubt that tomorrow I will be going to bed very I am going to see Britney Spears in Helsinki! Ahhh! I am excited! Seriously excited!

So...stay tuned because this staurday I plan on posting about Les Miserables in Swedish, Helsinki and Britney Spears!

And I apologize for any typos that you may see, it is very late!