My name is Sam Yancho, and this is my blog about my school year abroad in Finland in the 2011-2012 school year. I will try to update the blog as much as possible with new information and stories about what I'm doing as everything unfolds.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Kaksi kuukausi jo.

Today marks exactly two months since I've left the US so I figured today was a worthy day of a blog update. Over the past two months, I've changed more than I thought possible. Mostly in my mannerisms, and the ways I conduct myself.

When I first arrived in Finland, I was shocked at how little people talked, and how reserved Finns were. I was told that the people here didn't really have much small talk. I just said ok, but didn't really think much of it. Until the first weeks I was here. I would be sitting at lunch with friends, and nobody would say a single thing, and I couldn't get over how "awkward" I thought it all was. But, I just didn't realize that in Finnish culture, when people talk, they mean everything they say, and when they say something, it's for a reason. Now, when I say that, I don't mean that Finns just sit in silence all day until they absolutely need to say something to their friends or family, but they definitely don't always all the useless chatter that you would hear if you sat down in a restaurant in the US. It took me a while to accept this, and to be able to deal with sitting in a silence that my home culture would have considered awkward.

Now, after two months, I've reached the point where it's really no big deal anymore. Just the other day, I was walking through town with a friend. And all of a sudden she told me that I had finally, "become a true Finn." Not having any idea what she was talking about, she just told me that we had walked for over five blocks without saying a single word. I hadn't even noticed. But that made me think, and I realized that for the past few weeks, I would be eating lunch with my friends and we would be able to eat for periods of time and not talk. It's not that we were just sitting in an awkward silence, but none of us had anything important to say, so nobody said anything. And I'm completely fine with that. I've noticed that when I do talk, I tend to put more thought than in usual into what I'm going to say.

The little differences add up, and I'm finally starting to notice them.

Fall is here. Actually, it has been. It's been like this for about 3 weeks now, but the trees have changed colors, it's getting down to almost freezing temperatures at night, and it rains almost every day. I went for a walk today, and I could finally smell that tell-tale scent of fall.

A photo from about a week ago when the trees were just starting to change, and it was still mostly sunny.

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