Waverly pohtii kirjoituksessaan suomalaisten terveellistä ruokavaliota ja kertoo oppineensa nauttimaan herkullisista kasviksista ja marjoista. Kesävaihdon monipuolinen ohjelma ja isäntäperheen järjestämät aktiviteetit ovat antaneet hänelle monipuolisen kuvan Suomesta ja sytyttäneet kiinnostuksen oppia myös suomen kieltä!
Where do I begin? For starters, I appreciate this amazing opportunity to live abroad for the summer. My family has been nothing but good to me, and I think they are the perfect match for me. The friends I’ve made during this trip has been a great memory, and I love all the laughs we’ve shared. I had a few downs while here like my camera being stolen, and my foot being strained after a football game to the point that it’s blue in some parts, but I’d like to think on the positive side of things. This summer has been a summer I will certainly remember for the rest of my life.
Hanging with the Americans
We planned meet ups every so often. A lot of the times we met up, we spent the day in Helsinki because it was a common area for people to meet. We went to a lot of modern art galleries that were in the Espoo and Helsinki area; Kiasma, H.A.M. (Helsinki Art Museum), and E.M.M.A. (Espoo Museum of Modern Art). At one point, a number of us went to Helsinki and picnicked in one of the parks, each of us bringing food. One time we went to Suomenlinna, an island fortress, and picnicked there on the rocks near the water.
We met up for AFS scheduled events on the last two weeks of our adventure. We visited Nokia Headquarters, Rovio - the company that created Angry Birds, the U.S. Embassy, the EDUFI building that is in control of Finland’s education system, and a number of others. I am very thankful for all the people that I got to know and share this experience with, and I hope that we can hang out together even when we’re back in the States.
FoodThe food, man do I love the food. I like how much healthier and portioned the food actually is. I’m not one for vegetables, but during the first few weeks I ate a lot of cucumber and tomatoes with most of my meals. Whenever, I ate out, I noticed I could actually finish the whole meal. I mean, yes, I do eat all of my food typically, but here I wasn’t uncomfortably full. I was actually satisfied in a healthy way. My favorite desserts here would have to be the mustikkapiirakka (blueberry pie) and korvapuusti (cinnamon bun). My family even let me invite some of the Americans over to bake korvapuusti, and they turned out delicious.
I especially love the strawberries here. My mom took Elsa and I to a strawberry field where we picked our own strawberries. The smaller the berry, the better! I also find it funny how my family checks on me to see if I’ve eaten enough, and asks me if I’m hungry what feels like 2 hours later. We eat breakfast, lunch, a snack, dinner, then snack sometimes. I’m not used to this type of eating schedule so sometimes I’ll politely decline, but I thought that this way of eating is pretty neat.
My family and I went to two parks during my time here: Nuuksio National Park and Repovesi National Park. I don’t normally trek through the woods, climbing over rocks to get to the highest peak to look out at nature, but I had an amazing time. It was a great feeling just travelling by foot “being one with nature.” The air feels much cleaner here, and the water is clean enough for you to go swimming in.
When my family told me about their summer cottage, I was excited to go because from what I knew, Finnish people would know someone or own a summer cottage of their own to go to for weeks on end at times. My first impression from the first trip was that our view was amazing as the cottage looked out onto the lake.
I paddle boarded and rowed in the canoe. My mom’s parents had a garden as well where they picked their own vegetables like potatoes.
We had the very same potatoes that evening, and something about growing your own vegetables made it taste even better. The bathroom situation wasn’t the most pleasant aha, but it was definitely something for the books. On our second trip to the summer cottage, we only stayed for 3 days and 2 nights. On the third day, we went horseback riding on Icelandic horses. I had a great time, and my horse was so sweet.
As a going away present, my family decided to surprise me with a ticket to the Weekend Festival which is a two day event showcasing EDM (electronic dance music) artists, and other groups such as Icona Pop and Clean Bandit. I had an amazing time as I spent it with one of the other Americans, Mikaylah, and ran into two others, Victoria and Hajah, eventually. My favorite performance was seeing Marshmello live from the very front of the crowd. I loved every moment, and I can’t thank my family enough for this opportunity
This post just sums up my last few weeks of being in Finland, and I hope to visit again when I’m older. Perhaps maybe even know some Finnish by then :)
Group photo by Hajah
The rest of the photos were taken by me.