Friday, March 30, 2012


Two weeks ago, I visited Tallinn, Estonia. Tallinn is a common weekend destination for many finns, since the ferry from Helsinki only takes 2 hours. I was excited to go to Estonia mostly for the sake of going, and I didn't really know what to expect, since I didn't really know anything much about Estonia, other than that it is full of Finnish tourists. When we got to Tallinn and started walking around in the old town, I was seriously amazed at how beautiful the city was. I think it was probably one of the most, if not, the most beautiful city I have ever been to. The old town was so beautiful that walking was almost difficult because it was cobblestone, and all I wanted to do was stare at the buildings throughout the old town, so I tripped several times.

We spent the weekend sightseeing in the old town, and eating in many restaurants. We went in celebration on my host mother's fiftieth birthday. 

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Vanhojen Tanssit Part 4

Where I left off....


Everyone arrived at the place where we were dancing, we all admired each other's dress, got our shoes on, and then practiced some of the dances, and practiced how we would transition dances. Then we waited as families and onlookers poured into the stands surrounding the wooden stage.


Once the families were there, we all got into our lines and walked out on stage and then one of my friends, who was the host of the whole thing, said everyone's names in set of four and we would walk out into the middle of the stage with our partners and we would bow to the two crowds. Then once everyone's names were called we started our first dance, which we did quite well, and then onto the next one and the next one, and so on.  I think we danced our best, more than any one of our practices. I mean I did make some stupid mistakes, as I always do, but overall it was good. Before I danced one of my friends told me that if you mess up a ton in practice that means you have no more mistakes to make when it comes to the real thing. Which I doubted at the time, but it turned out to be somewhat right! Hurray! There was a band there, they played the music to the dances, and it sounded good. After about two hours of dancing (and a break in the middle) we eventually danced the last dance and then it ended.

My partner and I

After that, some people went to parties, to clubs, to other people's houses, or back home. I went with my host family out to dinner, which was nice. Then we came home and I got out of my dress and makeup and went to bed (after several hours on Facebook)



I woke up this morning and got right back into my dress, which I remember thinking that it was a bit funny that I wore my dress for several hours yesterday and now I am getting right back into it again, kinda like this event just won't end (which is a good thing, because nobody wants it to end). I did my makeup, and knowing that I would be just going right back to the dance in the morning I had left my hair in last night, so this morning I didn't have to do anything more than spray a little hairspray on it.  Then my host mother drove me to the same hotel as the dancing was at yesterday, and everybody else  was there in their dresses and the boys in their tuxes. Some of the girl's hair and makeup wasn't as big as it was yesterday, because the main dance was yesterday night, and that was the most important part, whereas today was not as important. So the next two hours we seriously didn't do very much, other than hang around stage. There was a photo shoot going on for professional pictures, and we also took a group picture. But that only really took a couple minutes. But we hung around taking pictures with our own cameras as well, and talking. It was fun, a bit boring after two hours, but still fun. I kinda wondered why we didn't practice some more of the dances, but we didn't because yesterday was the most important thing, and today didn't matter that much, so we didn't need to practice.

Hanging Around

During the group picture photo shoot

More hanging around (we did this for like two hours!)

With some friends :D 


Eventually we stopped doing nothing and the students from the school poured in. All the younger students from the hugh school and the middle school came and watched us dance. So we danced all the dances again, and it all went pretty well. I was so sad to dance though, because I knew that it was going to be one of my last time dancing, and I really didn't want it to end, because I have been practicing the dances since November, and they are so much fun to dance now that I am actually pretty good at them.


So then the dances ended, and people left, I hung around on stage with some of my friends for a little bit and then after that I got a ride with a couple other girls to a local nursing home, where about sixteen of us went and we performed the dances there, for some of the seniors. We went there, and at first we chilled, the staff there laid out some snacks (candy bars and juice) which was all attacked when we got there because we were all starving (or at least I attacked them). There were about 8 boys and 8 girls who went and danced at the old people's home. We all were volunteers, most of the people didn't want to go there because they just wanted to go home and be excited for the weekend (the weekend after the dances is full of partying) I was actually the first one to volunteer to go to the nursing home, but there were others. We didn't perform all of the dances, only about five, but it was still really fun, and I was really glad that I went, because it was more opportunity to dance!

Chilling before we danced 

Those of us who went to the Nursing Home and danced

After that I got a ride to the center of town (I would have walked because the nursing home was so close to the center, but there was a blizzard out) and then I took the bus home. This was the second day in a row that I took the bus home wearing something out of the ordinary (a huge fur coat and a prom dress) but I didn't care.

When I got home I chilled out and looked over all my pictures, and I was sad because it was all over, and I didn't want it to be over. But alas, I had no choice. Overall I think that the last two days were some of the greatest days that I have had on my exchange, the whole experience of the dance was just so wonderful! It was definitely one of the highlights of the year.