Autumn in Kajaani

 

 

If you hover over the pictures, there are captions. I added captions to the pictures in my other post as well (Not the one of the castle though, because you already know it’s a castle)

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Another Update

I am well.

School has been going well enough. We are currently in the test week of the first period. (There are 5 periods per year, each consisting of 5 weeks of study and 1 week of testing) I have taken one test already, and I feel that I have done a good job, considering my situation. This period I had derivatives in math, newton’s laws in physics, world history in history, Finnish music in choir, disc golf and other interesting things in P.E. I’ve also been taking some Finnish lessons and some art too.  The next period will start on the 3rd of October, in 9 days. I will have some different classes, although the schedule should remain roughly the same. I do have people I talk with at school to some extent, both guys and girls. My host brother’s friends are especially kind. I am also friends with the other two exchange students at the school.

After spending over a month in public school here, I can definitely say that we in America overestimate how good schools here in Finland are. School here is improved, mostly in areas such as high teacher standards, but it’s hardly as great as the reports would have you believe. Lessons aren’t based around exploration so much as recitation of the already explored; bullying exists; some students do poorly and others excel; classes can be larger than is easy for a teacher to inspire.

Fall is about halfway through here. The primary deciduous leaf color is gold. The gold mixed with the green in the plentiful coniferous trees makes for a pleasant outdoor experience. Unfortunately, it has been very cloudy recently and I haven’t had the chance to take any good pictures. I’ll work on getting some.

Finnish food is mixture of traditional and modern recipes. Typical foodstuffs are bread and dairy products, as well as potatoes, vegetables, ham, and chicken. There are many similarities with Finnish-American recipes. Just this past week, we’ve made 60+ rolls of pulla (and I imagine it’s half gone by now). We’ve had some little fish with bread/flour coating, chicken breasts, and plenty of sandwiches. I try to stay out of the sugar cubes. There’s always cookies and cakes and pies around if I need anything in that department. Potatoes are a reoccurring item. You can even have some salad if you feel like you need a break from all the other stuff 🙂 Coffee, milk, and tea are the most common drinks. I almost forgot to mention chocolate. The Karl Fazer Dark Chocolate is my favorite, although you can get many other types, with berries even, if you want to pretend that you’re eating really healthily.

The most common and humorous translation error is “I have to go in toilet”. (In Finnish grammar, “in” and “to” are handled by the same ending, “-an” or “-en” hence the confusion. It’s all good though.) That aside. I can understand 96% of everything said to me in English. I’m starting to understand more of the Finnish I hear too, although it’s tricky.

I am continuing to learn new things in many areas and have not been seriously disabled by anything here. Overall, I would say that things are going very well; God is good. Thank you all for your prayers.

Pictures

Here are some pictures of the scenery, the house, the newer church and the older church. Just a little peak at Finland.

How I’m Doing

Hello

I’m doing well.

I’ve met two of the three exchange students coming to this school. Both are girls; one is from the US and the other from France. They are both friendly, seem like good people, and hearing their stories and opinions have been interesting. I’ve also been talking more with other people around the school, and hearing some interesting things from them. One girl said her family considered moving to Houghton so the parents could work at the university, which I thought was pretty interesting. Overall, I think my social life at school is doing well enough. I think I will have a lot of friends/acquaintances when my time here is finished.

School itself is going well. I have been keeping up with the lessons, even with the language difference. It’s been a bit rough at times; sometimes I will not understand a lesson or even two in a row but by the third everything makes sense and I can move along. My teachers deserve credit for what they do to accommodate me, it’s definitely been a better experience with their help. The lesson structure is largely dependent on the class, and I think it’s sensible. In art, for example, I work independently on a project as instructed by my teacher; in physics and math, we sit in the typical classroom layout and listen to the teacher explain things and work out problems. There is a good deal of student/teacher interaction in physics and math, which is nice. All my teachers have really great personalities and I’m happy to be around them. Overall, I feel comfortable at school. I’ve started to hum/sing quietly when I’m working, which is a good indicator of this (I do it at home when I’m feeling good). Some people seem to find it interesting,  because I’ve received a couple comments and apparently the art teacher announced it to a class.

Living here in as suburban house has been interesting, after having lived out in the country at home. There is a big open park area to the rear of the house, so that’s nice. The noise from the distant neighbors can be annoying at times though. (Our immediate neighbors are very nice people, older people.) I got to try riding a motorcycle a few times, which has been something I’ve wanted to do for some time now. I’m grateful for the opportunity. I think I want to get one.

I was looking through some of my pictures of home, and certain ones made me wish I were there. The header photo of this blog, for instance; I can picture waking up and going downstairs, making myself coffee, and going outside with bare feet to enjoy the sunrise before my feet get cold and I head back in to start on school for the day. It’s interesting how going on a trip like this can give an appreciation for things and places in your life. For me, it’s not really a sad feeling, not fond memories, just a feeling. It’s times like that when you can see the most pure and lovely parts of your existence, as if from the view of one next to you…what it’s been and where it can go; and having seen it, you become older in mind, regardless of youth. You have seen something rise and fall back out of existence.

Through all of the little minutes of our days and through our life as a whole, God is with us. How wonderful, that our Creator is as such! However we see our lives, God is above and beyond, but he is also here with us now. That’s incredibly awesome.