My First Month in Finland

– Tervetuloa Suomeen! –

On the 17th day of August 2017, i left my family, my friends, my school, and my life behind to experience a completely different life in Finland. It has been my dream since i was in middle school to study abroad. And here i am! After all the struggles, tears, and months of waiting, i traveled 10.270 kilometres away from home and finally had a chance to actually living my dream.

Now it’s been a month since i left Indonesia, and it is weird how time flies so fast. It only feels like last week when i got off the plane and walked on this land of a thousand lakes for the first time.

I am living a completely different life here, and i’m still trying to figure out how things in here work, and what this and that are. I would say that literally all of them, they are so new to me. I didn’t know that a lot of things could surprise me, and i’m eager to figure out many more surprises this beautiful country has to offer.

The weather, school, people, food, culture and MANY other differences. But the biggest challenge is: yep, definitely the language. I am completely blind to what people are saying and i just nod and smile when they talk in Finnish, especially when i’m at the dining table. It is sad that i can’t join in the conversation because i have no idea what they’re talking about…

I only knew the words Kiitos (thank you), Hei hei (goodbye), and Minun nimeni on Lulu (my name is Lulu) when i first got here. I couldn’t even count to ten. Don’t get me wrong, i tried to learn Finnish from the internet before coming here, but i swear it was not effective. So, yeah. But hey! I know Finnish greetings now and i can count to ten. I also know some Finnish curse words. Well at least i am progressing.😎

Another different thing is, back in Indonesia i live in Bekasi, a city near Jakarta (Indonesia’s capital). It is a metropolitan region. While in here, i live in a rural area called Perho, and it is far away from Helsinki. The nearest town from Perho is called Kokkola and it is 100 kms away. But i have a lake on my backyard here and it is soooo beautiful! There are trees everywhere, also berries and mushrooms.

I met amazing people and made new friends. I tasted new food, knowing new things and it surprised me how the way i feel about 17 degrees celsius is warm. Back in Indonesia i am used to 30+ degrees weather so when i first got here it was like, cold all the time. But now, i am grateful when it is above 10 degrees. AHAHA. I’m also super grateful that i have wonderful people around me, they are very helpful and made me feel that i am not alone.

Back to last week on 9th September, i had an AFS camp for all AFS students in Kokkola chapter. It was super fun! Met a bunch of lovely people there and it was nice to meet people who are in the same roller coaster as me. Can’t wait to meet them all again!

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Here are some tips to how to be Finnish: a) always go for coffee! I didn’t drink much coffee back in Indonesia, but in here, there is no day without coffee and chill. When i first tasted Finnish coffee it was a little bit weird. But now i enjoy it (still, with milk and sugar). And b) SAUNA!!! A warm (((hot))) place for you to relax. Love it.

Even though i miss my family, friends, and alllllllll Indonesian food, i am enjoying my life here. It is not going to be easy, but for sure it is going to be worth it.

“A ship in harbor is safe — but that is not what ships are built for.” — John A. Shedd.

Here’s to you, my fellow adventurers.

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