Pictures of Finland

Dear Rotarians,

I have done so many wonderful things already I don't really know where to start. Today is my first day in my new host family. The Vaateri's live in an apartment bulding in central Vammala with a beautiful view of the snow covered lake. They were very welcoming and I am very excited but at the same time sad to leave my first host family's home at the Sundgrens because they treated me just like thier own daughter. Currently my new host mother, Eija Vaateri, is cooking dinner (which must have potatoes in it cause dinner always does). Finnish food is quiet bland. They are always adding cheese or jam to their food to give it taste. 


Somtimes in very weird combinations such as boiled potatoes with cottage cheese and cranberries. I test almost everything that they cook and surprisingly it tastes fairly good. Another thing to note is that my table manners have improved ten fold. Everyone eats like ladies and lords at a ballroom banquet. The best thing about finnish food is the candy. Finland most likely has the best candy in the entire world. However, they also can have the title for the worst candy in the entire world. Samiaki, it comes in all shapes and sizes but it is always black. My friends are always trying to make me eat some new type of samiaki so they can see me cringe and spit it out. Enough with the food tho.

The weather is -3 right now which is unusually warm for this time of year. Its also snowing... alot!On December 2nd I will travel with the other exchange students to Lap Land for a ski trip. It is the pride of every Finnish person to say that Santa Clause lives in Lap Land, which is at the moment -20, buuurrr.

I am doing several athletic activities such as snowboarding, and I am learning how to skate. I joined the Työttötn Jälkä Palo team(Girls soccer team) which plays a game called "fut sal" in the winter. It is with a heavy soccer ball in an indoor gym. Only 4 players play at a time. On saturday I scored my first goal and our team came second in the tournament. Joining the soccer team has given me opportunities to travel around Finland for games. I also go to the gym once a week because the exchange student weight gain has got me.

In lukio(high school) for every 2nd year there is somthing called "vanhojen tanssit". It means the old dances. You practise in school 3 hours a week to learn dances like the waltz, tango and other formal dances. I am very excited to be in it. I had difficulties finding a partner because all students find partners when they are very young and everyone was taken. Now that I have a partner all I have to worry about is how I will afford to purchase one of those old fashioned dresses and how I will learn to dance better. I think I have two left feet compared to the other girls but they have been waiting to dance in the vanhojen tassit since they were little.

My favourite days and my favourite experiences in Finland are hard to say just a few. I went to the ski expo in Helsinki which was unbelievable. I am very interested in snowboarding and I think it was just...sooo coool. There was so many people there and a live competition outside. The displays were amazing with dancers and special effects. I have been to a few Lukio parties which the band Rinnocheroes plays at. They are a couple of kids from school that are very talented. Their web page is and they sing in English. A moment I will never forget is the day I went fishing. There are soo many lakes in Finland that fishing is a favourite past time. I went with my friends Pietu and Tuomo. It was a gorgeous autum evening with a warm breeze and a still lake. Two people fishing while one person had to scoop water out of the boat with a bucket. I not only learned how to fish, I caught one! It was just soo peaceful and I think it is the moment that would sum up my entire Finnish experience, nature!

I have been to a few museums, seen some great churches and very old castles. The language is very difficult. I am afraid that I don't know as much as I should. What makes it worse is that everyone here can speak 5 different languages perfectly and everyone knows English. When I try to speak Finnish they just speak to me in English. That is my only regret or negitive thing to say. I wish I could speak Finnish better. There is still lots of time to improve though.

I am looking forward to Christmas. Some people are in the spirit already. For New Year's my host familiy is taking me to Austria to go snowboarding. It's the experience of a life time, I think. I am also looking forward to the vanhojen tanssit. I don't know how much I can thank you for this opportunity.


Pictures: Me at an art museum. My soccer team. The vammala church covered in snow. Me with a snow man.