December 1st and I’ll be done with school. That means exams and final assignments. I’ll have my internship event on December 8th. There is going to be a game here in Jyväskylä between two-second division teams. Jyväskylä is home to JYP of the SM Liiga or the Finnish first division. This makes generating interest pretty tricky, it also means the event might be a huge letdown. Most of the exchange students will be in Lapland (Northern Finland), so there goes some of the possible spectators. We have a solid plan, we know how we’ll execute it, planned the events on game day but I’m still stressed out about it. Now I know how my bosses back home feel, but I wonder if they also feel the sense of excitement that I’m feeling? Who knows.
Home. Today I woke up and these were the first words out of my mouth, “Finland, you win.” Lack of sunlight, constant rain and the repetition of tasks has taken its toll. I’m ready to come back home. I’ve done what I set out to do, and now I’m looking forward to being an intern, an employee, a gym rat, gamer, bookworm, volunteer, most importantly, being busy. Now I know there will be days where I’ll miss it here, I know that’ll come. In the last Finland post, I touched on not being happy. I’m not happy with the weather, it does take a serious toll on the mind and body. I hope I can word this properly, there is a constant feeling of “Ending.” You wake up, and it’s dark, at 1:30 it starts getting dark, at 3:00/3:15 the sun is almost gone, by 3:45 it’s dark. Dark as in street lights are on, and cars have their lights on. I’ve been talking to some of the other exchange students, and they feel the same. I know, I’m Canadian I should be used to the darkness, I am just not when it happens this early. Another thing it never really feels dark in Toronto.
Having said this, I’d say its probably the only downside of being here. I’ve said there’s nothing to do here, there is just a lot of it is repetitive. Going to the pub and the club, then McDonald’s. When I’m at home I don’t go out a lot, especially drinking, the fear is I won’t know how to get home (irrational fear) or I’ll get lost (I have a phone), or in most cases, I’ll have to dish out money for a cab. I don’t mind if I’m in a group but a lot of time I want to sleep at home not on a floor or couch, so I have to take a cab home. That’s on me, and I accept it so most of the time I either don’t drink so I can drive or I don’t go. However, since I’ve been here I’ve gone out a lot, now I can refuse or just go to the pub and not the club but then I’d either have to walk or take a cab alone. A taxi from the city centre to home is 17 Euros. Let me put that in perspective, I’m on a budget, and a bus from Helsinki to Jyväskylä costs 8-15 Euros, that’s a 3.5-hour drive. It’s a 10-minute drive from the centre to my flat.
I’ve never been a person to go to clubs, I’m not a good dancer, I don’t like crowds I feel very anxious in them, and the only way to compensate for it is to drink a lot. That is a significant problem because what it’s done or what it’s doing is it’s forging this relationship that whenever I’m uncomfortable, I should drink. I have no problem going to the pub and getting hammered but that happens over the course of a few hours, and there’s usually a bunch of great conversations, some games, pool, and maybe even sports. It is a relaxed environment, and it’s what I go for.
I am ready to come home that much I know, but I cannot have asked for a better 4 months. I’ve learned a lot, a ridiculous amount, academically, and personally. The very first post I wrote for this blog makes reference to the little things and how they add up. When I came here I was in a different mindset, I’ve made mistakes out here that will and do have very real consequences, I’ve proven a lot to myself, impressed myself, haven’t hit anyo… we’ll work on that (Sorry Shawn). Finland “beat” me, but I’m walking away …. running away with a lot of things to build off of. So I think I have officially 17 days left here, I’ll be heading to Paris, Arras, Madrid and possibly Barcelona on the 10th-18th then I’ll come back to Helsinki for a few days and then Toronto. If you’re looking for the Billiards post I’ve taken it down, I’m happy with it but I don’t think it’s ready to be finished yet. It’s meant to be a bigger project, one that I’ll have to do research on. So Stay tunned for pictures and posts about France and Spain!