Hi there, welcome to my blog again. It’s been an interesting journey to write about my adventures here in Finland. This blog I’ll try to be a little more funny and not too serious. School simply continues anyway, there’s not too much going on there. However, the past weeks there have occurred several very interesting proceedings in my social and private life.
I have completely forgotten to tell you about a girl named Kim. She’s from the same Dutch school as me and does her internship at the JAMK biocampus. We have lived together in the same apartment since the beginning of March. Although we don’t see each other much, we do have dinner during the weekends and often have a little talk. But last week, something changed entirely. All of a sudden, I was introduced to two other girls that would also live with us for the next 6 weeks. These girls, Roby and Naomi, are also from The Netherlands and would be doing an internship in the center of Saarijärvi at a nursery home. To no surprise it changed life completely because now we are living in some kind of Holland-house in the middle of Central Finland. The four of us from then on were a little like a weird family and we spent time taking walks, playing games and just do our own thing together. It was pleasant to have some fresh blood in the building and some more people a little closer by. Speaking Dutch became normal again and so together we went to the bar and had fun as real exchange students from The Netherlands.
Although it was great to spend time with the Dutch girls, I mainly focused on other Finnish people and things. I was still doing the kettlebell practice twice every week and used my mountain bike to explore the area. That actually has a funny story with it. Sometimes I tend to be a little too enthusiastic and this is a story of one of those times. One day I woke up and decided to go for a long bike ride towards a hilltop, 30 kilometers away. I was hoping to reach a place where I would have a real nice view of the Finnish forests and lakes, which I expected it to be since the hill was 260 meters high. So, full of energy I started my journey. The first 10 to 15 kilometers went quick and okay, the road was hardened or it was covered with hard gravel. But then, problems arose. Spring hadn’t really kicked in yet so there was still some actual snow. But, the biggest problem, was the melted snow. Above all when the hardened roads changed to sand. The hills were so insanely wet, unbelievable blubber hit me while trying to overcome altimeters. I struggled for every meter and it got exhausting just to keep my back straight and my butt on the bike. However, I’m a man of my word and I promised myself to get there. It took me 3 hours but finally I arrived at the hill. A short walk covered the last 50 altimeters and there it was, the view I was hoping for. Except, it wasn’t there. Trees were there. Like everywhere in Finland, trees blocked my line of sight. Quite a disappointment after this hours long journey. Fortunately, I did notice a cute squabbling stream and a nice path for walking so happily there was a silver lining. It took me 1,5 hours to get back. Once I got home I was so tired I didn’t do much more than watch Netflix. Although it was an exhausting day, I was proud and it felt good to have reached my limits again.
As promised, I have another story about ice swimming. This surely tops the first one by sheer stupidity. Once again, I was with Saara, we had finished our kettlebell practice and were off to find a nice place to go swimming. Our goal was to find a place where we could make a nice picture. Naturally, this had to be a phenomenal picture in which the ice would be visible all around us. So, we crossed some train tracks and hiked down a steep hill where we could enter the water from a slanted icy bank. Saara figured, once you had entered the ice it would be possible to jump or shoot back up the icy bank and shuffle further up, kind of how a seal moves. Never have we been so wrong. I slid down into the water and Saara made some nice pictures of me. Then, I quickly swam back to the shore and tried to get back on (dry) land. I never had a chance, no matter how I much I acted like a seal. Shuffling, scratching, crawling and even clawing was of no use. I even tried full seal mode, coming from almost underwater, kicking hard and go tummy down on the ice. Nope, didn’t work either. In the meantime, I could hear Saara’s laughs above my own nails scraping the ice. Finally, I gave up. I retracted into the water and swam the necessary 50 meters to a place with stones where I could leave the water. At that point, I didn’t even feel the cold anymore, my limbs got numb. That’s by far the coldest I’ve ever been in my life. Still, I was surprised how a person can still move fine in such cold water for quite some time. Saara, wanting to show me how much of a true Fin she was, was so certain it was my failing seal moving skills, she had to try it as well. Well, probably no man can move the way a seal can. It looks hilarious but it won’t get you up an icy, slanted slope. This time it was me who laughed. Both having dried off and dressed, we sat on the icy sloped and enjoyed our bodies heating up again. A lesson well learned.