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E Day + 105

Triple digits! I've been here for 105 days. It certainly has felt like that. I've had my ups and my downs but overall I've enjoyed my stay here immensely. While I went to parties and went to college and did work and all that, it has been very hard at times as I spent a lot of the time with my feet in Finland and my eyes looking back west towards Ireland. I am so glad I get to go back on Saturday. I will miss Finland though and will be glad to come back for semester two. It is my second home! A brief reflection on my time in Finland and what I hope to do next semester when I return:

September:

We went to Klubbi in town and that was amazing fun, met loads of people and even slipped in some dancing at some point. I really want to go there again!

The first Flat 91 party happened in September and once again I met loads of people and drank a fair bit too. It was great fun and a nice way for people to meet other people!

I spent most of September doing nothing as I had no college but I did get to see large parts of Turku including the beautiful walk-on island of Ruissalo. I also went to Helsinki for a day and got to see the sights.

October:

My lovely girlfriend Cathy visited Turku and it was nice to show her around the city. We also went out one night and it was nice to have somebody from back home to talk to! We went to Helsinki when she had to fly out so it was nice that she got to see two cities here!

The second Flat 91 party happened and it was even bigger than the first one; last time 30 people came, this time there were over 70 people crammed into our flat! It wouldn't be complete without a visit to Grilli for Makkaraperunat!

I finally started class, even if it was boring it still gave me a schedule! I also started going to the gym for strength training, I think it worked! I think there were a few parties here and there along the way!

November:

I started my new classes and finished the old boring one. Thank the gods! The leave were falling in October and now in November it was dark all the time. A bit depressing but I managed to get over it!

We had plenty of people over in the flat on many different nights and it was nice to have a quiet night in every now and then. We had a two big parties in November which revolved around flip-cup. Not a huge fan but it was fun for all involved!

December:

It started to snow around the time of Finnish Independence Day, the 6th. In true Finnish fashion, the Christmas trees were all broken out by the start of the month and the town assumed a very festive atmosphere.

I didn't drink for about two weeks before the 9th so it was nice to cut loose! My diet went a bit to shit but I blame the depressing darkness and my exam/work stress. I can't wait for it all to be over so I can go home and truly relax!

I have to hand in a load of work this week and study for my exam on Friday so I better get that done or else I'll regret it! I have little else to do this week other than work and study. There is a farewell party on Wednesday but I can't drink much so I'll have to call it an early night for the sake of my exam. Estonia on Friday! Ireland on Saturday!!!

Conclusion:

I had a fine time in Finland. Next semester I hope to go to Lapland in February as well as Russia. I don't think I'll be able to walk away from Finland without going there! I'll also try and go to Sweden, namely Stockholm, by going on one of the cruises. That's Russia and Sweden, to add to Finland and Estonia in place I've been to!

I met Italians, Americans, Scots, Polish, Germans, Spanish, French, Finnish, Swedish, Russian, Latvians, Lithuanians, Estonians, Danes, Dutch, Belgians, Luxembourgers, Austrians, Hungarians, Turkish, Peruvians, Ecuadorians, Brazilians, Canadians, English, Portuguese, Greeks, Serbians, Czechs, Romanians, Belorussians, Ukrainians, Indians, Japanese, Chinese, Australians, Tanzanians, Irish! I met one Irish guy who was living here, not studying and one Northern Irish girl who is part of the ESN committee. I'm really glad that I only met two-ish; look at all the other nationalities! I'm sure I've met others too!

I lived in another, bizarre country; I learnt how to clean, cook and take care of myself; I've rubbed shoulders with Germans and Italians, French and Americans and out-drank many of them; I've studied in a great university and learnt many completely different things from my courses; I've learnt many words of a different language, Finnish, and I hope to learn more; I've traveled at last and hope to do more; I've lived away from home for almost 4 months and lived. Heavens forbid but if I need to leave the country due to hardship I know I'll manage somewhere else... need to get a degree first though!

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