During the beginning of the month, I was still getting used to my surroundings. It takes a while to acclimate to everything, all the people around you speaking Finnish, occasionally trying to eavesdrop on a conversation just to see if you can understand a word here or there, the social culture, and even the weather. I figure it rains about 5 days a week, but it never lasts. I can go to town and get coffee when the sky is clear and it's a sunny day, then 20 minutes later you walk outside and it's raining. I've learned to never go anywhere without my umbrella.
I went to district camp. That was fun, a nice weekend break to talk to all the other exchange students. It was basically just a weekend to bond. We went on a hike, and I got some spectacular photos, but this whole page won't be bothered to translate to English, so I'll play around after I'm done typing this and try to attach some photos. That weekend was the first time I saw the Northern Lights (revontulet in Finnish). It was awe striking. Everybody was having a dance party, and the cabin got pretty warm, so I decided to go outside and cool off by taking a walk. I got to this huge field, and sat down. Surrounded by the crisp fall air, and the sounds of the trees, I sat and watched the sky. I noticed something off about the sky, but couldn't quite put my finger on it. Then as I was sitting there, I realized that what I thought were just some clouds in the sky were actually the northern lights slowly moving. Still not believing what I was seeing, I sat there longer, until they got really bright and were moving across the sky like ripples in water. By no means where they bright, but they were amazing. Hopefully when I go to Lapland I'll be able to see them again, but brighter.
School is school. Still. I go to class, do the homework, and study, just like everyone else (except for some things, because of the whole language barrier thing). This past week has been test week. Marking the end of my first round of Finnish classes. I still have one more test to take tomorrow, but then I have the rest of the week off. I wish. On Tuesday and Wednesday, I'll be presenting the USA to some younger level English students.
I went to a festival in a nearby town, and I've visited the Russian border. My friend, from my same town back in the US is also here in Finland, and he came to visit for four days or so. He went to school with me, and I basically just showed him around town and we were able to catch up on everything since coming to Finland. It was fun.
The other night I went out bowling and to get some food with a big group of friends.
My host family is great. They are so kind and welcoming. Always offering to do things with me, making sure I'm comfortable and don't need anything. I couldn't have asked for a better first host family. The house is nice, it's in a neighborhood, not what I'm used to, but it's nice. It's only a short walk to the bus stop, and I don't mind that because the scenery is amazing. My view about that will probably change when winter gets here though.
That's all for now, hopefully it won't take me a month to update again.
Church in Kotka
At the Russian border with my friend
Fall is here, the leaves are everywhere
The bus stop in Kotka
A picture from the hike while at district camp