Living in the Land of Santa

Thursday, October 10, 2013

If you know me personally and after I had told you I was moving to Finland you didn't ask "Oh, you're going to Santa's, aren't you?", then what's wrong with you?

Just joking, but this was basically everyone's reaction. And that's what most people from Serbia know about Finland: cold. North. Far away. Santa. Reindeer.
I went to Finland once before. It was seven years ago and well, it was summer. It was really good to feel some 25 degrees after almost 40 in Serbia, but I admit I've never had a desire to see what it's like during the winter.

And now I got the opportunity. Finland, some 450 kilometers northeast from Helsinki, from the beginning of October til the end of February. Poor me! That's also what the looks in people's eyes were saying when they learned I'd be living here during this very worst time of the year.

But strangely enough, I tend to be positive when it comes to all sort of shitty things. And so do I now. I think I succeeded in tricking my mind this is only a new experience, nothing to be afraid of. :) After all, it's only for a few months. So I better make it wonderful :)

This is where I live!

Anyway, these are my first impressions of Finland:

1. It's not as cold as I thought it would be. I mean, come on, Tihana, it's October. Did you expect minus 20 already? Relax, there'll be time for minus 20. And minus 30. And... okay, this would do. (Please, Finland, don't go lower than -30!!!) But still, Finnish people are so much more relaxed when it comes to clothing than us internationals. While we wear our winter jackets and coats and boots, all they have is light jackets and Converse sneakers.

2. But it is cold in my room. People at this Student Accommodation Thing Office say the temperature should never exceed 20-21 degrees, because it's the healthiest. And it doesn't. But I'm cold. Everyone said it's too hot in the flats during the winter. Well, I don't think it would be in mine. I may be a bit spoiled on this matter, but I'm cold. It's simple.

No, I don't know what this fella is doing on the balcony.

3. And it is so sooo windy. Which is especially annoying when you have to cross the bridge twice a day. I don't think I've ever been one of those "I don't want my hair to be ruined" girls, but yes, wind does ruin my hair. (It's always been messy, to be honest, but obviously there is such thing as too messy.)

Motivational bench in the city center
4. I've been living in this flat for more than a week now and I'm still not used to the fact that the light switch for the bathroom is actually INSIDE the bathroom. So it happens all the time: I go out, then I realize it's inside and go back to switch the light off. It was funny for the first two days, or three, but now I'm annoyed with myself. When will you learn, girl?!

5. The student cafeteria in the campus is by far the best one I've ever eaten in. The one in Potsdam was much better than every single one in Serbia, but this one really rocks.

One of the buildings at the University. You may notice what the main mean of transport here is.

6. And it's actually the cheap way to eat. If you want to cook at home or make a simple sandwich or an oatmeal with some fruit and nuts... well, be prepared for the surprisingly high prices.

Naked guy in the city centre

More naked men (Town Hall)

7. Which counts not only for food, but for everything. Literally everything is expensive. And the bad thing is that the same everything is so beautiful, which makes me really poor - but with house full of beautiful things. When I think of myself two months ago - when I kept telling my parents that I'd be travelling all over Europe, but they kept convincing me that I wouldn't have the money - I feel so sorry for myself. Such a fool you've been, dear.

There was a film/TV show making in my neighborhood the other day!
8. However, if we take out the wind, autumn in Joensuu is beautiful. The colors are astonishingly wonderful, and so is the light. It's often cloudy, but the clouds move so fast and the light you get is amazing.

9. And the people are nice. Especially my flatmates. I think I got the nicest flatmates ever.

Finnish architecture

I did nothing to this picture. I might have, but I wanted to show you the pure and original sunset. No Photoshop.

10. But the language is a mess. Ok, it is not, I am a linguist and no linguist should say such thing, but this is the very first non-Indoeuropean language I'm learning and even though I am so excited to learn it, I still get very disoriented when trying to find something in a store or take a look at the receipt and see how much I paid for certain things... Lucky me for living in 21st century and having Google Translate!

Here you can see that this is a question. Finns mark it with this morpheme: "?"

But an overall impression? So far I like it. Life is good. :)

Off to packing now and see you next week when I come back from Russia. :)

Me & my new lover say XO!

P.S. Joensuu in the wintertime, Saying goodbye to Finland


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