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.

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