Thursday, July 21, 2011

Eurotour 2011 - Turku, Finland - Departing

It was a strange feeling leaving for Eurotour, at Karkku (language camp 1st week) it was something that felt so far away it would never happen and now the day had finally come. I left Kotka for Turku (departure city) in the morning and arrived at Turku harbour about 3 hours later - it was amazing to see the other exchange students and it finally felt like Eurotour was actually going to happen.

There was 3-4 hours between when we had to register/sign in and when we could board the boat so we had free time to explore Turku. Iwent with 3 of my exchange student friends from Germany and we mainly wandered along the river that goes through the centre of the city.

Antonia, Imke and Julia

Cute tiny statue randomly on the wall of the river (no bigger than a fist)

Whale tail fountain - what I think about (aside from people) when I think Turku

Inside Turku castle

fact: every street in Turku has 2 names as it is in the Swedish-Finnish area of Finland and Swedish is the 2nd official language of Finland. (In Swedish Turku is Åbo)
My thoughts: when posting a letter there do you write the address in both Swedish and Finnish? and it sucks to be the guy delivering mail because you have to remember not 1 name for each street but 2, just sounds more difficult.

view from restaraunt window as we are about to leave the harbour.

Beautiful sunset on the way to Sweden


Sunday, July 10, 2011

Graduation Day

Last day at school for this school year! It went so quickly, excited for Summer holidays and Eurotour though :)

Went to the last admin style lesson where I got my report card and assessments back. Had to go find health teacher to get my exam mark back, my first exam for an only theory subject - the exam was in Finnish so had to translate then was allowed to write in english. I actually get my mark from an essay I did but the teacher wanted me to do the exam as well (not the original plan). I got 5 (highest possible is 10) but apparently I should be proud of that considering my situation and it was higher than some other members of the class so am fairly proud if myself :)

Then went to the gym/hall for the 3rd year (year 12 equivilent [graduate the year you turn 19]) graduation. It is a Finnish tradition that when you graduate you are presented with a graduation cap - I think they're really cool, wish we got something similar in Australia.

The graduation caps

Langinkoski Lukio class of 2011 - pre-caps

Langinkoski Lukio - class of 2011 with caps

Another tradition is that when you graduate the typical graduation present is a rose - almost every guest at the graduation had a Rose, my favourite is the one Anniina (or Jere I don't really remember haha) brought for Teemu. It was blue and awesome!! (see above)

I then got picked up by my host family and we went to the graduation party of a guy who went to the same school as me (hadn't really met though because the 3rd years left for their study period before their Matriculation Examinations [like HSC] 1 week after I arrived).

The 1st day of holidays and first day of any real heat (23 degrees :P) I was in heaven all the Finns were sweating it out haha being Australian has it's benefits.


The last week of school there are no classes, just certain activities and excursions. I went with the 1st years (year 11 age equivilent) to Verla, about an hour and a half away from Kotka.

my new street on the way to the bus stop

When we got to Verla we had about 40 mins spare time so Maddi, Anniina, Hanna, Jere and I went exploring :)

Lake in Verla - Hanna, Anniina and Jere

Hanna, Maddi, Anniina and Jere

Hanna in a field outside the paper factory

We then went into the paper factory and had a tour - it is no longer in use. Apparently, when someone lost a finger on bark stripping machine they just bandaged it and kept going... wow that's committment to the job! and also even in winter the doors are kept open to the outside so wood and paper could be carted in or out so when it is -30 degrees outside it also is in the working area!


...Finnish water amusement park?

We then went for a quick 5km hike through the woods/around the lake and then headed home.

Relaxing before heading home.

The army randomly turned up as we were leaving.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

District Conference

First district meeting for my exchange.

It was in Lappeenranta - about 1.5-2 hours North from Kotka.
we went of a tour of a paper factory (paper from here even used in magazines in Australia) and got to wear some fluro vests, protective glasses and earplugs as seen below.

Most of us stayed up all night in the sauna house (the lounge area attached to the sauna) and we also toured Lappeenranta, and we were going to row on the lake in a church boat but it rained heavily so the rowing was cancelled.

Father and son flying a kite

All the exchangies in our district

Julia (Australia), Nadja (Germany), me and Olga (Mexico) <3

Me, Maddi (Australia) and Nadja (Germany) all from Kotka... hence the *K* with our fingers <3

Youth Parliament Island Visit

The second night with my second host family I went with my host sister and a youth parliamnet group she is part of to another island for a pre summer holidays celebration.

Mölkky - traditional Finnish bowling game. There are 12 wooden pins (seen above) numbered from 1-12 and then another wooden block (known as 'mölkky') is thrown to knock down these pins. The goal is to get exactly 50 point (points depend on what numbers are on the pins you knock down) before the other players.

We cooked makarra and corn and had salad etc. played some introductory games and other kinds of group interaction games, had a wander through the old school (no longer in use) for the island and generally having a good time. Here are some photos from the trip:

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Finnish Baseball

We played Finnish baseball in PE. It is different to normal baseball in that the pitcher stands about a metre away from you (not in the direction the ball goes) tosses the ball straight up the you hit it and you run like this:

It took some getting used to but was actually quite enjoyable to play :)

p.s I don't think I could ever go professional though...

Venla's Dog Show - Hamina - 22/05/2011

So on the 22nd of May I went to Hamina with my host mum and sister and host family friend to attend a dog show my host dog was entered in. I have never seen so many breeds of dog in one week let alone in one place on one day

Venla and Emo

being inspected by the judge

Guess who's getting a lot of medals

2 trophies, 2 ribbons, all in all a very successful day, so proud of Venla

2 random shots of my street when we got home

Only in Finland :P one of the little things that makes me smile :)