I am at my three week mark, and time finally feels like it’s going at its normal pace for me- buying a bike definitely helped in making life go a little faster! At this point, I think I am settling into a routine: I am running most mornings on a (new) route along the Oulu River, I am biking to my lectures (all I need to do is take up swimming and I’ll be ready for a triathlon!), preparing my meals (okay, I’ve mostly been eating cereal, and peanut butter and bananas…Occasionally I’ll make an omelet), and having late-night girltalk with one of my flat mates over tea (did I just say “flat”?). I am happy with my routine and I feel like myself again, especially now that I am running again! I am thinking of signing up for a kick-boxing class next month, so watch out 😉
I have not had time to join the rest of the exchange students in weekly parties, which I believe has to do with the different level of classes I am taking. Most exchange students are not allowed to take Master’s, or advanced, classes; however, I am not allowed to take anything less than advanced classes because of the way credits transfer back to Washington College. It must have something to do with the type of contract my school has with the University. It appears that basic undergraduate classes are much “lighter” in terms of course work than what I am used to, which is probably why I’m not allowed to take them. A guy at the elevator asked me if I was going to a party (on a Wednesday night) and I said probably not because I have to write a report, and he was baffled and stunned at the fact that I had homework, haha. These graduate classes are kicking my butt! Because I lack basic background regarding econometrics and logistics (classes I am taking next semester…), I am playing catch-up and giving myself extra readings so that I can understand my professors. Anyways, I do love my classes, and I am learning a lot! I have met a few girls completing a master’s program in economics (like me?) and they helped me realized that graduate students don’t always have the time to party, so I feel a little better about myself. They have been lovely enough to invite me to private house parties, so I am having a little bit of fun. I’ve also met quite a few “townies” at local bars, so the entertaining conversations are still streaming in.
The temperature is starting to drop; last night I thought I was going to lose my toes I was so cold! My nose and my ears are starting to remain red for most of the day, which indicates for me that it’s getting cold out. BUT I have very exciting news that help warm the rest of my body– I just bought my plane ticket to Sweden!! I am visiting a friend in Stockholm during my fall break next month for a few days, and I can’t wait!! I am also looking to spend Thanksgiving in Ireland with another close friend, so I’m keeping my fingers and toes crossed for it to work out!
I have to say, initially, I thought that traveling to Finland alone, knowing no one, was risky and I was afraid of perhaps feeling alone. However, although I do spend quite some time alone in cafes (my favorite one is called Hemmingway!) reading, studying, and writing reports, I don’t feel so alone. The language barrier between myself and many people makes me feel as if I can’t completely make this my home, but it’s not a bad thing because I am constantly out of my comfort zone, which only lets me get to know myself better. Additionally, I feel independent and I feel like I am doing all of this- the traveling, the studying- for myself, and myself only. Back at WAC, I am constantly with friends, whom I absolutely adore and can’t wait to get back to them, but I am always doing something for someone else, or working towards an award, or only focused on getting my work done to get to a meeting, or making plans with friends…I get dizzy thinking about it sometimes… My life at WAC is incredibly busy, which is how I prefer it there, but now that my life has slowed down here, I can hear myself better. For that I am very thankful. I had to come all the way to Oulu, Finland, to take care of myself, grow, and recharge for the craziness that awaits 😉 If you Google Oulu, you will see for yourself just how much you can learn about yourself when you’re caught in the middle of this scenery, the people, these sunsets, and these skies.