So, after I had filled all the papers and booked my flights, I had few weeks to actually realize that this was happening. I was about to leave. In less than a month. It felt so crazy.
I had to find time to see my family and all of my best friends for the last time before I left. I also had to do my last shifts at my workplace and most importantly, I had to move out of my apartment. We arranged it so that when I leave a friend of mine will move into my room, so I had to get my stuff out of the way so my friend could move his stuff in. I emptied my shelves into boxes and put them in our house’s storage room. So, yeah. My whole life in a little storage space, collecting dust, waiting. I bet it feels strange to open those boxes again when I get back home.
The last weekend before leaving was quite hectic. On Friday I went to Tampere to see some of my friends who moved there last summer – including my little sister Lina – and had a surprise birthday party for our friend Anna. She was quite blown away. I’m glad I decided to do the trip even though I still had lots of things to do back home. I know I would’ve hated myself if I didn’t go. On Saturday I did some packing and hung out with some friends in Jyväskylä. Some beers and farewells. You know. On Sunday I went to visit my mom in Joutsa and got some stuff from her for the trip: a huge backpack, a pillow, a sleeping bag, etc. Then we said goodbyes, shed some tears and I ventured back to Jyväskylä. On Monday I had my last shift at work and had some friends over for the final night. We went to sauna, had a few drinks and went to play some fussball to a local bar. Then off to bed for some hours.
Tuesday morning came and I had to wake up early so I could finish packing my stuff and catch the train. I chose a few t-shirts, two sweaters, two pairs of jeans, two button shirts and a bunch of underwear & socks for the trip and put the rest of my clothes in bags that were taken to my mom’s place with my bed. I figured I can buy more clothes from England if I needed to. As for outdoor wear, I had two jackets and two pairs of shoes with me. I took my laptop bag and checked I had everything important with me. Passport, wallet, phone, charger. Check. Alright. Left my house key to the counter and closed the door behind me. That’s the moment when my trip to Preston officially started.
I took the train from Jyväskylä to Espoo and hopped on my father’s car. Then we drove to see my little sister Seela and her mom and spent some hours there. Since we live so far apart, we rarely get to see each other. The last time we met was last spring, so I really enjoyed spending time with Seela. I’m looking forward to see her again when I come back home! I spent the night at my friends’ place in Helsinki where we played some video games. Then some hours of sleep and off to the airport. My dad picked me up and drove me to the airport. He wished me luck, hugged me and drove off. So many people in so few days and suddenly, I was alone. Check-in. Breakfast at the airport. Then off to the proper gate. Waited for the plane for about 45 minutes. Boarded the plane. Sat down. Had a long breath.
I had to switch planes in Oslo, so the flight wasn’t that long. One and a half. Then a couple of hours of waiting in the airport for the next plane. I killed time by having a beer and browsing through my Facebook feed. Then off to Manchester. About two hours later the plane landed in England. I got my bag from luggage claims and checked my clock: 11:50am.
The first thing I wanted to do was to find a place to eat, since I hadn’t eaten anything since breakfast. I went for a burger and then tried to figure out where to go to next. The bus to Preston was due to leave at 4pm, so I wasn’t in a hurry. I had coffee in one of the airport’s cafes and then went to find the place where I was told the UCLAN people would be. Didn’t take me long to find them. Few people with orange hoodies sitting behind a table and lots of bags and people around them.
“Hi, I’m Juska. Juska. Yeah, Juska. From Finland. Nice to meet you too. Sure, I can sit here with you guys.”
Spent the last hour just sitting there and chatting with other exchange students. A few americans, two french and one chinese. Off to the bus. It took us an hour to get to Preston from the airport and I spent the hour chatting with the americans. We talked about our countries differences between each other and England – or at least what we thought of England – and before we knew it, we were there. The University of Central Lancashire.
The others had arranged accomodation from the University, so I guess they went to the student accomodations’ office. As for me, I went to the library to wait for my soon-to-be housemate Isabel who promised to pick me up from there and show me the way to my soon-to-be home. The route was pretty easy – pretty much just straight forward down Adelphi Street, north from the library and turn left from the corner of a local liquor store. It took us about 12-15 minutes to get there, so it wasn’t that bad. Then she gave me a tour around the house: how to use the shower, which key to use for my room door and which for the main door, and so on. The other housemate, Barbora, also came to introduce herself to me. The place seemed nice and so did the girls. I unpacked, set up my computer and started to get comfortable in my new room.