I’ve been in Finland for a few days now, and my impressions have been good. I feel comfortable here, and do not suffer from any anxiety. It’s hard to definite exactly, but things seem steady and reliable. My hosts have been exemplary. Everyone has been very helpful and receptive of me.
There is a distinct European and Finnish texture to everything. Some examples:
-Light switches are 3″,3″ teeter-totter-based units.
-Outlets have 2 prongs, and you do not have to plug into them in a certain way.
-Bed sheets do not have elastic to keep them on the mattress which makes them easy to put on and remove, but they may come off if you are tossing and turning too much. The pillowcases do not have zippers, just a flap that you fold over the exposed end of the pillow.
-Meals (in this house) are at 3 pm and 10 pm. The food is basically sandwiches and yogurt, with minor deviations. Of course, the food is Finnish and therefore a bit different than what we have in the US.
-Gas is very expensive. By my calculations, it’s about 6 USD/gal, (It’s about €1,3/L for gas )(In Europe they use a comma where we use a period to mark a decimal point) As a result, everyone drives small cars.
-Things are generally expensive here in Finland. Here in Finland, a Hotwheels car is ~4 USD, as compared with 0.9 USD in the US.
-There are half-pipe trenches on the sides of roads, etc. for moving water away.
-There is some English media. It’s primarily Finnish but you can find English on occasion. It is not enough to operate on, but it’s around. For example, Mythbusters and James Bond are on TV with Finnish subtitles.
-Many people speak some English. I estimate that a young person of about 16 has a vocabulary of 8000 common words, give or take. Older Finns have a smaller vocabulary and take longer to form sentences on occasion. I find myself generally speaking slower so that I am more clearly understood. Vocabulary size seems to be the most limiting factor for English speakers here.
While things are different here in Finland, I would not say that they are necessarily better or worse than what we have in the US. Both are the results of different histories and influences. That’s how I view this experience as a whole: different.
Thank you to those of you who are praying for me, I appreciate it greatly. God has been very good to me. If you wish to continue to pray for me, then please pray that I would be able to do God’s will here to the best of my ability.
The possibility exists that I might fail to mention an aspect of my trip in one of these blog posts. This blog exists to keep you updated on my experience, therefore, do not hesitate to ask me questions.