Back home

Back to Jyväskylä! It’s been two weeks in here and my life is getting back to normal – but my English is as rusty as it was, sorry about that. Anyway, time to wrap up this blog!

Like I wrote last time, I did some traveling after the spring (over there, here fall) semester – around northern Argentina, Bolivia and Peru. I ended my trip in Lima, Peru from where I took my flight back to Finland. I was going to visit Ecuador as well but since I was sick around 3 weeks all together, I couldn’t make it. Next time!

Being back is good, I enjoy wondering in the aisles of Prisma and using my own vacuum cleaner, but I do miss Buenos Aires. Some people, some food, mate, sweating like a little pig, grandmas taking out their poodles at 3 o’clock in the morning, speaking castellano argentino, the feeling of freedom in a bumpy bus, crazy protests, and ability to do things no matter what time it is – and many, many other things.
But in the same time I understand the realities – it’s time to continue my studies here and settle down for a while. I joined a gym for a year and it felt kind of commitment! :)

It’s been 15 months since I studied in JAMK so I feel a bit.. outdated, and lost – or something. And I have completely forgot some things like how to use Excel etc. That’s bad! But things will get rolling, I just need a few more weeks to settle down. At least I’m motivated to study and the next goal is to graduate!

About the courses in UADE – I passed them and even got pretty good notes, 7 and 9! It was so much easier to study when my Spanish skills were better and I’m happy having improved it so much. Now I just need to keep chatting in Spanish and study it so that I won’t forget everything in two months.

Thank you to JAMK and UADE for this opportunity!

Kommentit pois päältä artikkelissa Back home

Last days in Latin America!

Hey, greetings from Lima, Peru!
I have been traveling now for about two months: northern Argentina, Bolivia and Peru. Currently I´m staying at my friend´s place in Lima and catching my flight to Helsinki on Thursday.

The trip has been ”inolvidable”, something I´ll never forget. I´ll write more about it later but right now I just need to say how nice it´s go back home and see everybody again. Put your toothbrush in the bathroom and leave it there – my life has been in my backpack for quite a long time.

Happy Valentine´s Day! Here it´s Dia del Amor.

Kommentit pois päältä artikkelissa Last days in Latin America!

Still alive!

Holamoroterve!

First of all: sorry for abandoning this blog – I don’t think it has too many million readers but it’s part of my exchange  experience to keep it anyway. Now it’s been forever since the last update so I’m kind of confused where to start. After the last post I’ve been to Finland, made an unforgettable trip around Argentinean Patagonia, started the new semester, enjoyed the lovely spring weather (wild!) and basicly just about everything. I’ve got to know my roommates better and they are almost like my family now since we have been living together for months.

Currently I’ busy with school because I’m doing JAMK courses online (for example English, Swedish, nutrition, Asian culture & tourism…) and two courses in the UADE – geografía turística de America y internacional and Historia de America Latina. They are both a bit tough, lots of things to learn by heart (airports codes! essential part of good education) but I’m happy if I just pass them. I just wrote an essay in Spanish about the Mexican Revolution and that was as fun as giving birth (sure I’ve lots of experience!).

It’s November and Movember. Both are usually excruciating experiences to me – normal rain, cold rain, icy rain, lateral rain, frozen moustaches, the length of the day is 15 minutes and there are still half a year to go before the summer. All the school assingments you have been procrastinating the whole autumn piled on your table and annoying pre-Christmas hulabaloo. Can’t say the same this year! Gladly Buenos Aires is definitely not out of moustaches (nor mullets, style ”Günther”, ouah) and I’ve been loyal to my habits and procrastinated like usually, so the culture shock and sunshine are bearables.

I’ve been planning things but I’ll open up about them once I’ll know something for sure. But please me hit me and hard if I dare to say at some point that I’m not going to Bolivia and Peru in January!

Un saludo y abrazo!

 

Kommentit pois päältä artikkelissa Still alive!

Agosto!

Hola gente linda!

Nothing goes like I planned: trip to North and Bolivia changed to a week in the province of Mendoza because I realized that the Argentinean health insurance that my school asked me to get only covers the treatment in Argentina… not in Bolivia. I hadn’t the time to explore what kind of options there are for foreigners to get a travel insurance for one week so I quickly made plan B – a group trip to good ol’ Mendoza where I stopped in February when traveling to Chile.

And what a trip it was! We were around 20 people, all argentineans and two siblings from Ecuador. Such an intense language course! I learned a lot of handy and not so handy expressions and got to see some amazing landscapes such as the highest mountain of the American territory and Canyon the Atuel. It’s ten times smaller than the Grand Canyon but pretty impressive anyway! We also tried tiro bangi jumping, drank a lot of mate, ate typical mendozinean food, tried some nice wines, alfajores and dulce de leche and all that – I can’t write more because I’ll gain 3 more kilos just by thinking about it. All inclusive -food policy is dangerous for me :D

It was fun to get to know some porteños and think about all the cultural differences there are between Finns and Argentineans. First thing: at least porteños (especially girls) talk a lot. All the time. It’s impressive and kind of amusing to listen – I had to pay attention all the time and still I got lost every now and then when there were five ladies all passionately changing opinions. My favorite sentence was ”más lentamente para una tonta de Finlandia” and ”ah, siii” which is an great answer to about everything.

Second: friendships are made fast. It’s normal to chat about your personal life after knowing someone for two hours. No need to stick to the topic ”weather” and remain silent afterwards. The conversacion is accompanied with mate which I still find so sweet – everyone shares the straw and there are lots of rituales how to tomar mate. It always tastes better when someone else has prepared it!

Third: sharing. Drinks, food, clothing, whatever. No need to fancy for the cookies your fellow traveller is munching behind your seat – you’ll get some haha. Shivering from the cold in the bus during the night? You’ll probably get thrown a nice and warm jacket even without asking it. Qué lindo!

…and now I forgot the rest. The people are really simpatica, it was nothing new but I enjoyed noticing all the little friendly customs in practise!

On Monday I’ll start the second semester. I don’t remember which courses I chose, to be honest… But they were all from the career of tourism. I also enrolled for some courses of Jamk to do them online. Swedish, English and nutrition. Yesterday I tried to speak some Swedish but not too much came out… Anyway, all the languages are somewhere out (or inside in this case) there!

Finland for 11 days after 10 days! I can’t believe it, I really don’t feel like going there. I mean I do want to see my family and all that but I’m not looking forward for the 40 hour trip and same hulabaloo back. I’d like to get the semester going, get to know the new exchange students and get things rolling. Later I won’t be able to skip classes because I’ll miss two weeks of school… But that’s the way it goes and I’m going to make the most of my first trip to Finlandia! :) It’s always been my destination but this time I’m not staying for long. Interesting to look at your country with slightly ”foreignerized” eyes. ”Lakes! Fresh water! Silence! Trees trees trees! Bicycles everywhere!”

Kommentit pois päältä artikkelissa Agosto!

5 months gone, 10 more to go!

It’s been a while since the last chat and sinde I’m high on mate, I though I’d write something before heading to bed.

The first semester is almost gone: I’ll have one final exam on Monday and then I’m on vacations till the 8th of August. I already failed one course so I really hope I’ll pass rest of them, hehe. Someone told me that it’s super easy to pass and almost impossible to fail but my experience is a bit different – easy to study everything in Spanish and remember e v e r y single detail in the exams? Iuuu.

However, I’ve learned a lot – about the language, about the culture, history y muchas otras cosas. What I’ve lost is my ability to speak English! I mean, I can speak it but I mix Spanish words and I really need to pay attention when speaking it whereas in Finland (or in the United States, obviously) I could just…speak. But it’s ok, just funny to notice. And funny it sounds as well, some kind of weird Finnish-Spanish -accent.

I did a little shopping and bought flights Helsinki-Buenos Aires-Helsinki. After my researches, it was cheaper that way than changing my dates and all that. So I’ll go to Finland for two weeks in the mid-August and I’ll come back here in the 31 of August and then I’ll stay till May 2012. Sii, I’m going to do my second internship here as well! Don’t know yet where, I’ll look for the place later in the spring. But I’m really excited! Would be horrible to go back to Finland and stay there… but two weeks will be nice after a half year here. And then I’ll have 9 more months to enjoy Argentina! Or who knows…

This month I’m going to travel to Northern Argentina and Bolivia. One word: amazing. After the trip I’ll have 1 week of school and then my 2 weeks in Finland and ya será septiembre! Dear, abstract time – stop flying that fast!

I’ll be homeless when I come back here because I don’t want to pay the rent for August since I’m not going to be here more than one week. I’m passionately looking for a new room but they are all available either NOW or 1 of August so it’s a bit difficult to find something starting from 31st of August/1st of september. But as always, things will sort out.

Plus homeless, I’ll also be a little bit lonely meaning that all the old exchange students have gone to their homecountries. I think there are like 5 out of 150 how are going to stay 2 semesters but I don’t know these people yet. Need to get to know the new ones but I’ll be on my trip when the orientation days are… Bueno, here it’s easy to make new friends at any place – my favorites are the local buses :D And I’ll still have my Argentian friends, por suerte! Some brasileros I’d like to visit in their home country during the spring.

So everything’s good. It’s the darkest and coldest winter, meaning sundown at 18 and around 15 Celcius and sunshine. Bueno, sometimes it’s breezy 1 grade and one morning slightly below zero but really not that bad for a Finn. I’ve survived with my leather jacket! Really enjoyable to skip the Finnish winter, kind of two of them. In january it will be melting hot but I’m planning to travel around Patagonia before starting my internship and in the South it’s not that bad.

Talking about the weather, great. :D

Seems like my life is so argentinean normal that there not too much to say.

I got the little shivers of culture shock but nothing serious. Got more addicted to mate, ate asado, started to like football… viste, there’s no return!

Kommentit pois päältä artikkelissa 5 months gone, 10 more to go!

Safety

I received an e-mail asking about the safety in Buenos Aires and good that I did because I have nearly forgot the whole blog! I feel like I’ve nothing else to say than praise  how lovely everything is (bueno, not everything) asique no vale la pena.

I was a little nervous about getting robbed and all that before coming here because I loved to read all the horror stories about this city that I could find. Blogs, traveling sites, randon comments and discussion forums… Thought it was good to be prepared for everything (it’s in Latin America!) :D Suppose it is (in Latin America, and a little bit different than Jyväskylä) but really not that bad.

Capital Federal is divided into 48 different barrios=neighborhoods. Some are nicer than others but there is no need to just stick hanging out in Palermo y Recoleta – the two fancy ones. I wrote some lines about different barrios but I found it out to be pretty difficult! It really depends what you want and prefer and how’s your budget. Of course it would be nice to live in the crossroads of the streets Santa Fe and Coronel Diaz but I can’t afford those prices (the foreigners pay much more than the locals – understandable but still a crappy thing for me). So here I am, in between Recoleta and Balvanera. Not too touristico, not too safe but neither too expensive nor far away from the university. I’d say it’s pretty authentic – in a good way and in a bad way!

Being such a busy city, it’s good to stay alert at all times and at least look like you know where you’re going. I try to avoid carrying anything valuable with me because unfortunately pickpockets and even robberies are common. But they can happen everywhere so no need to worry about them too much, just the basics. I suggest taking the crappiest phone and leaving your iPod home. Electronics are expensive here and my chargers of my camera and phone were adopted to a new home in the metro during the first days here – just because I thought no one would like to steal cheap things like those and left them in the upper pocket of my packbag. Yeah right!

The traffic is a little interesting, fake bills are common, drunkdrivers and deaths due to careless driving are an issue and all the normal problems of any bigger city. Things that bother me: always carrying your bag in the front, not being able to go running 01 in the night, not being able to walk/ride your bike to all the places and so on – sometimes I miss the freedom of living in a small and segure place. But that’s not the fault of Buenos Aires but just me getting a little tired to all the hussle. Normal! Luckily it’s easy to escape everything to parks, Puerto Madero or some smaller city.

Maybe I could mention piropos – it’s part of the culture to let the ladies walking down the streets to know how hermosa, linda, rubia, rica or flaca they are. Yes, I’m really feeling like a goddess in my worn out jogging pants and dirty hair, thanks for telling me that! After hearing the same adjectives hundreds of times it doesn’t really evoke any emotions. However, sometimes it’s funny, sometimes flattering, a veces annoying but sometimes also a bit scary if you’re walking alone in an empty street and there are some gentlemen hanging out in the pavement shouting things after you. Nothing has happened but I suggest avoiding these kinds of walks if possible.

So alert, no messing around shouting aloud and making all the world 100% sure you’re not a local, avoid carrying credit cards and using ATM 4 o’clock in the morning and walking alone in a creepish streets. It’s possible to blend in because there are all kinds of people – especially when knowing a little bit how to behave in different kinds of situations (anyone amazingly interested how to buy vegetales from a Peruvian teenager or how to ride an Argentinean bus? :D). I haven’t been to a football game yet so that’s one etiquette for me to learn before experiencing one!

Kommentit pois päältä artikkelissa Safety

Parciales

My studies here are one big disaster but the good part is that they couldn’t be any worse! Suunta on vain ylöspäin, heh. And I can take my exams again in June. There is still hope – after two monts my Spanish is a bit better and I’ll have more understanding about my subjects (history and more history).

Now it’s almost 4 in the morning (again!), I just had my morning coffee and mate – I’ve been studying for my geografía turistica de Argentina -parcial. It’s interesting but now I need to take a little break… maybe a nap too but since I slept 13 hours last night, there’s no need to sleep that much this night.

I hope this parcial goes a little better than the others but it really depends on the questions. As always. But at least this time I’m pretty prepared whereas the political history of Argentina still remains a mystery for me..

But! Outside the miserably feeling of not understanding too much in the class, I’m super happy here. Bought a beautiful second hand bicycle that I dearly love more than many other things. It cost around 65 euros and I invested 15 more for a lock but so far I haven’t found a helmet that would cost less than 40 euros… Not sure whether my life is worth of 40 euros or not. Mom, you tell me! :D

My pulse must be around 300 when scrolling up and down the streets. Not that it would be that physically challenging to ride but mentally – tons of buses, taxis, cars and motorbikes passing by and they are all crazy. The streets and avenues are wide but it’s gets really crowded when you add up some cartoneros (people who collect carton into big vans), homeless dogs, suicidal people like me riding their bikes (everybody without helmets, using one is as ridiculous as using a seatbelt – buckle up in a taxi and you’re immediately a  Tourist to the driver) – we are only lacking the cows to make it exotic!

Anyway, I enjoy it – you just need to be super careful and never in a hurry. It’s absolutely unnecessary to be in a hurry in any kind of public transport or situation in general. Things take time and if you’re a little bit late, then you are. Sometimes it’s even better to be late than arrive on time – for example if a party starts at 23, it’s inappropriate to arrive at 23 – more likely around 24, or preferably ~01. Probably people are still there at 3 in the morning!

Just noticed that my posts are not very logical. :D It would be possible to pick a theme and stick to it but it’s more fun just write what ever pops in to mind – now it’s the motivation to continue reading!

If anyone is reading this and interested about Argentina and Buenos Aires, feel free to suggest topics to write about!

Buena noche.

Kommentit pois päältä artikkelissa Parciales

It’s four in the morning and I feel like posting! Haha. It’s been a long day and I’m too lazy to go and wash my face, brush my teeth, change my clothes… Need to rest a little and listen some folklore.

Qué día! It started at 8.20 – I slept too much and I was running late from the time in the immigrant office. I had very little time to do my things but I did have time to break my stockings and spill my coffee on the table. I ran to the metro which was full, and the second one was full, and the third… I tried to squeeze myself to the third one because I really was in hurry but my ass just got stuck between the doors :D All the alfajores and ice cream might have something to do with this accident pero en serio: el subte during the rush hours can be so full that you can hardly breath inside the van. It’s something that’s hard to imagine in the long lonesome roads of some Kannonkoski.

I suck at navigating but I thought that such an important office is easy to find just by asking the people – no need for maps! Too bad that all the people kept saying me ”es por allá!” – yes, it’s that way but which ”that”? So I run around 20 minutes around the area of Retiro station – a horrible place to mess around after the sundown but also a little interesting during the bright daylight.

Finally I found the place and arrived almost 30 minutes too late. Glad I’m in Latin America so it was OK. No pasa nada. Bureaucracy takes time and I had plenty of time to make a new friend in the queue. Found out that this person lives next to my school so we went to the house to eat home-made pasta and orange-carrot -smoothie. I didn’t get my student visa yet but a friend is pretty good deal as well!

4 hours in the facultad, a walk at home, cameras and police men (some one had been killed, o algo feo), a birthday party of an Argentine friend who also speaks almost fluent Finnish ”because I like it”, a moment in the worst bar in Buenos Aires, a pleasant walk along the breezy, empty Thursday-streets, eating chocolate on the way 3 o’clock in the morning and discussing about the politics – it’s really confusing but really interesting because here it has a bigger impact on the everyday lives of the people, me parece. I’m trying to say that in Finland (the young) people may not be that interested because ”things” in general are OK but here it’s different.

Creepy people on the way a bit too close to my house. And a house burning a bit too close to my house.

To be repeated: what a day!

Kommentit pois päältä artikkelissa

Easter

La pascua. For me it has always been all about eating chocolate eggs and MÄMMI – and going from house to house to peg for candy and later trying to hide from the children pegging for candy. The circle of life, or something.

But this year something different! Easter eggs are ridiculously expensive here so I skipped them and did my best with local sweets. A friend invited me to visit his family in a small city around 70 kms from Buenos Aires – so off I went in the morning and just came back to my house. Buses, trees, fields, autumn colours, lovely Argentinian family (the grandpa was interested about the ”True Finns” – I was surprised to be able to discuss a tiny bit about politics in Spanish after recovering from the little shock of the fact that someone here knew that much about ”jytky”), delicious food and lots of culture! Que lindo :) I love Buenos Aires but breaks like these are always welcome!

The next one will be to Uruguay. I don’t have my student visa yet (it hasn’t been even three months in here, mañana mañana haha) so I’d better go and get the new 90 day tourist visa while I’m waiting to get the one I’m supposed to have.  Está bien viajar un poquito! It’s like a local ruotsinristeily – one can take the ferry and spend a weekend over there. I’m looking forward to see the historical city of Colonia!

Happy 1st of May – de antemano! Last year I was in Croatia, so this year I’ll try to remember to celebrate it!


Tucuman

Greetings from my third house! Still alive and liking my roommates. I’ll be here until June and then returning to my roots – to the house where I couchsurfed^^ D is going abroad for training so there’s room for me for a couple of weeks. After that, sometime around July, I’m trying to settle down and stop jumping from place to place. The good thing is that I get to know the city and new people but it’s a bit tiring even though it’s fairly easy to move with a backbag and some bags.

It’s Sunday again, I just got home from the Feriade Mataderos – enormous market in the barrio of Mataderos. It was a 50 minutes bus ride to go there and the afternoon went fast. I found a bracelet, maté and surprisingly something to eat including dulce de leche and empanadas. Now I have thermo, maté, and yerba but no bombilla! The straw to drink maté. After finding that my maté -kit iscomplete and I’ll do nothing else than hang out in the parks tomando maté.

Talking about the parks, I LOVE the autumn here. It’s sunny every day, around 20-25 degrees and the streets are full of colourful leaves and colourful people having their daily overdosis of sugar. Sometimes, not often, it rains like crazy – some of the streets are floating and even the taxis won’t drive around them, but not often and only for couple of hours. I like these little storms but I hope they won’t cause anything bad!

Time runs here, it’s weird. Maybe it’s because of everything goes like it goes in Latin America – today we sat on the bus nearly two hours and some time in the metro as well, spend an hour in the supermarket because the queues to the cajas are sometimes enormes, walked slowly because in the avenues are full of grandmas, children, dogs, dog poop (this is worth of mentioning – watch your step!) all kinds of kioskos and people selling jewelry, flowers, candy etc so that you have to keep repeating ”permiso” million times to pass by – or just walk at the same speed as the others. Easier.

Besides of spending a lifetime in the supermarket, there are lots and lots of things to do which keep me busy during the day and night – right now I’m trying to figure out which movies to go because there’s a movie festival that lasts two weeks. Hundreds and hundreds of all kinds of películas all over the city, around 2 euros each! I still don’t know which bus to take to my new home so that’s something to think about because the metro doesn’t work very late. Usually I go con el subte and return to my house around 6 in the morning when it’s working again – except on Sundays when the gates remain closed until 8am.

Kommentit pois päältä artikkelissa Tucuman

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