Ten days after touching down in Finland, I am doing very well for myself! I know a whole bunch of people from all over the world, have a flat that keeps getting more homely and all the time in the world to explore Turku.
I moved into my flat after scouting it out on foot without any bags one day. I took the long way around to get there but the whole time was in awe. Just outside the city itself are all these gorgeous forests, fields and sights that need to be captured to be believed! Eventually found Halinen and went into my flat. The other roommates weren't there yet or at the time but all I remember is how depressed I was looking at the place. It was a tip! The previous tenants had left it in a state. I left fairly soon and went back to the hotel. The moved in on the 1st of September. It was quite painful as I had to lug all my bags around and find the bus to my place. I found it and had to run in, introduce myself to my American flat mate Brian and then run off again - damn Orientation!
The Orientation course started on the 31st. A Japanese guy, Tomo, introduced himself to me when he saw me standing on my own. He'd been here since January. We went into a big lecture hall with all the other Erasmus students and met the academic coordinators as well as the tutors. There was a part where people had to stand up when their country was listed on the screen. There were many people from Germany, Spain and France but only 1 from Ireland and some others also only had one or two. I met my tutor, a Swedish-Finn called Frederic. He was dead on as he got my keys for me and was a huge help. He knew Tomo from before, so that was cool! I was absolutely wrecked from my 7am start so I went back to the hotel to sleep. The same thing happened on the 1st - more Orientation and more tiredness. A lot of money was spent on administrative expenses and whatnot too. Finland is hella expensive! I went back to my house in Halinen for more sleep on the 1st but was woken at midnight by my flatmates and a person they brought with them! I didn't mind too much I was just driven near insane until they eventually became more quiet. I met them the next day properly and we immediately hit it off. We all went to a night club that was having a welcome party but failed to get in. We went to my new favorite club, Klubbi, instead. It was quiet but nice!
I spent the weekend catching up on much needed sleep. Slept in for all hours and ate and walked about town. The weekend was good as I saw much of Turku. We had gone on a bus trip one of the Orientation days, but I was exhausted and didn't take in much. On the plus side, I was getting plenty of exercise from my walks as well as eating pretty much no processed or junk foods. I eat a lot of canned fruit though. I call it my US Army diet. I eventually bought enough so that I wouldn't need to go to the shop again, but this was after a few trips. I have very little meat bar packaged stuff, like the salami I bought. I bought a lot of cereal, pasta and rice as well as instant noodles. These provide a good staple food I can build onto every meal. I can also take advantage of the meals in the cafeteria, which cost 2.50 and are self service! I can shovel loads of food onto my plate, have two glasses of drink and have an extra plate of bread and salads. It's great!
This week was pretty busy. We went across the road to the Gregorius, which is a fairly large bar with a small, loyal clientele. We played darts and drank beer, it was good fun! I even randomly ended up in a conversation with one of the rough-looking locals. We discussed minority languages - it was great! We went back here to the flat and drank a little more before we finished up around 4 in the morning! That was on Sunday I think. On Wednesday, we had the welcome party in Klubbi to attend. There was a bit of pre-drinking in our apartment with 8 of us here! We had procured couches from the nearby game room, which was abandoned anyway. We got the bus over to Klubbi and got in no problem. Drinks were 2 euro, which was the cheapest thing we'd seen in Finland comparably yet. We met a lot of people that night and had a lot of beer. I spent about 20 euro so I bought 10 pints... about half of them went to me! I drank with Italians, Finns, Swedes, Germans, Poles, Russians, English, French, Spanish... I also wound up upstairs dancing with a group of Finns - they must have thought I was one of their own at that point! We eventually regrouped and headed home at around 3. The walk home was tough but we all made it in various states. A good night was had!
So a week and a half in and I'm having a great time. Still no luck on the job front; no classes until October and budgeting my time and money. Nonetheless, I'm very happy and all is well! On Wednesday the 7th I also managed to link up with the Turku University FanSci or Tyrma and became an unofficial member or their convention committee - English officer! They were nice to conduct their meeting in English for me :P