Hello everyone! I have tried to write this entry over and over, trying to tell you about how crazy everything has been. I've been trying to talk about how the orientation made this real. I've tried to describe my host family, and what it felt like to finally get one. I've tried to explain the joy and surprise I had when I was placed in the capital, Helsinki. I've tried to tell you about the apartment, about the neighborhood, and how there is a Swedish kindergarten near there that I am itching to help out at to improve my Swedish. I've attempted to speak words that could show an non-exchanger what it's like to be an exchange student; how even outbounds are exchange students. I've tried to illustrate how exchange students have their own sub-world, and how the experience starts from the day you feel that tug at your heart that tells you, you were born to do this.
I can't tell you, adequately, how my heart jerks every time I hear Finnish. I can't speak to you of how any mention of exchange makes me choke up and almost cry. I simply cannot open the door to this world.
I know that sounds weird, and it doesn't make sense to have a blog because of it. I simply say that because it is my wish you pursue a journey of your own after hearing of mine. It is an experience that varies from person-to-person. Our only common link is the bravery of leaving our homes, ready for the new and different. We share in our cultural hunger. We share in our need for bi-lingual ism. I hope I can inspire you to do these things, because you will never know what your exchange is like until you get on it.
Lately, my philospohy has been to treat my home country like my host country. I truly want to be a cultural ambassador and share my country and state, which is hard if I don't truly know about it. I think a lot of people on exchange think their only adventures await them abroad; there is so much to do here! It is just a matter of taking every minute and enjoying it. A lot of people get bored abroad, which is another reason to practice boredom-fighting here. I want to waste no second in Finland, so I am practicing by trying to not waste a minute here.
It is hard to believe that in two months my feet will have walked upon their first foreign ground. In two months my ears will hear their first foreign language in constant. In two months my eyes will see their first sight of a foreign country. In two months my mouth will begin to speak a whole new language. Best of all, I'll do it in Finland and get to share it all with my wonderful host family.
I am trying to open up the option to extend my semester to a year; just in case a semester is not enough for me to discover the things I wish to.
There is nothing to say, simply because there is everything to say!
It is impossible to believe that all those months of fighting for my exchange have begun to wrap into itself and produce a great semester ahead of me. It is so amazing to look back at all the things that have come my way; rejection from Rotary, rejection from AFS *I asked for them to reconsider*, all the paperwork, all the faith, all the drive.. it has been a journey. Already I am not that same girl from 10 months ago. It leads me to wonder, if I am this changed here, what changes await me in Finland?
Whatever Finland has for me, I want to greet it with all I am!
AFS Finland Inbound 2010-2011