In the past month, a lot has changed.
I have already completed my International Management course and just have to turn in a paper by the end of February to check it off my list. My Survival Finnish course will have its final exam next week and I will be studying for that in the coming week. I started a new class this week called Education in Finland. We’ve only met for lecture once so far and it seems it will be a very interesting and informative course.
I have officially become a member of the University (my mobile student ID never leaves my side) and have benefited from this because students in Finland get discounts on everything. It’s great. I have also successfully opened a bank account here in Jyväskylä and have my very own Finnish credit card. Through the program I am studying on (ISEP-international student exchange program), I get 340 euros a month for food and living expenses. This bank account hosts this money and I am free to spend it how I see fit. I’m mostly excited about the pretty, bright blue credit card I’m sporting in my wallet and the amount of fruit I can purchase in a month with that kind of budget. 🙂
The daylight hours have extended by over two hours already in just four weeks. When I first arrived the sun rose around 10am and set at 3pm. Now it comes up between 8:30 and 9 and sets around 4:15. By the end of my stay here in late May, the sun will rise around 4am and set around 10pm. Almost completely opposite of January. But, just because the sun is up doesn’t mean it’s visible. Most of the time the sky is overcast so the sun hasn’t made too many appearances. I have been promised that this will soon change. Even the past three days have been completely clear skies all day long. That is the most I have seen the sun so far, but I’m not getting my hopes up considering tomorrow and Wednesday have cloudy skies and snow in the forecast again. This really doesn’t bother me though. The winter time here, even if it’s grey outside, is still beautiful. Snow covers every inch of existence and it is stunning, even without the sun (check out the pictures at the end of this post).
My hands are perpetually dry, but that’s nothing new.
For anyone who hasn’t heard of the traditional Finnish candy Salmiakki, it is a strong, salty, black licorice that is very popular among Finns. I tried it my first week here and had to spit it out. It was disgusting. I have had it three times since and every time it has gotten better and better. Don’t ask me why I continue to try it, most people avoid things that make them gag. I had Salmiakki yet again today and ended up reaching for another piece. *shrug
Sauna has become the only element of my life here that is somewhat of a routine. I go two or three times a week. In the student village I live in, there are different buildings for men and women every night of the week that are open from 6pm-9pm for sauna. I have really taken advantage of this perk of living in Finland and I absolutely love it. When I first started going, to avoid awkwardness and the unknowns of the sauna, I went with friends, but now I prefer to go on my own. It has been interesting to go alone because most people assume I’m Finnish. Thanks to survival Finnish, occasionally I can pretend I am. Oh, and if you’re wondering about the level of nudity at sauna, your guess is probably right. No clothes, no shame.
Life is keeping itself interesting here in Finland. Enjoy some pictures of my sunny weekend and throughout the month in general.