Friday, 10 October 2014

A year in Finland

I didn’t know what should I write about my year in Finland as an Exchange student, so I decided to talk a couple of some of my experiences during that wonderful year.

When I first arrive in Finland, I had no idea about anything, how would be people there, what do they eat/drink, how do they behave and so on. So when I was in Tampere, I decided to take a bus to the city center and explore the “new” city, but during this process, a “small” problem happened, the bus didn’t stop here I was standing, which left me confused. Later on I found out that I need to raise my hand, so the bus would stop for me, even when only one bus passes on that bus stop. Finally I got to the center city, where I just started to walk around, looking around all those funny/strange names for me. During that walk, I realized that Tampere center had many coffee shops, more than I have ever seen in any other place, so there came my first thought about Finns, “They love coffee”, and I was right, they do love it. Learning one of the firsts words I’ve learnt in Finnish, kahvi.

Famous "munkki" in Pyynikki observatorion tower cafe, check it out!

One of the experiences that I was waiting for was the winter, the truly winter of Finland, and why on Earth would someone be enthusiastic waiting for the winter? Well, for one simple reason, I’ve never seen snow before. At first I thought, “ok, I’ll probably freeze to death, but it’s worth trying.” Since I’m from Brazil, anything less than 10 degrees is cold, so how about -20 degrees?

After some months of waiting, the snow finally came, and it was unbelievable how beautiful it was, and it wasn’t as cold I thought it would be, probably I got a little bit more used to the cold after those months in Finland (or it was just the hot cup of coffee that keep me warm).

First snow in Tampere.
With the snow there I could finally play with the snow and try some winter sports. The one that I’ve liked the most was skiing, even though I didn’t had a good start (as you can see in the next picture). But after some tries I was able to downhill skiing without much damage, haha.
My first skiing lesson.

Finland, where you become a coffee addict and try things you thought you were never able to do.

Mateus Engels Henke, 21, Brazilian.

Text:  Mateus Engels Henke
Pictures: Mateus Engels Henke

Wednesday, 1 October 2014

Lost in my backyard - How I decided to take a quick run in my neighborhood

Ducks in the lake Tohloppi
I had a lack of inspiration before writing this anecdote, so I decided to go out and find it. Thus I came across with this paths in the forests. I am sort of lucky for living pretty near to three lakes and to have plenty of forests where to enjoy nature. That is something I really love about Finland since you can discover new paths all the time, as that time when I got lost…
Pathways and falling leaves
I was determined to run 5 kilometers in less than half an hour and I had to choose where to go, so I considered about surrounding Tohloppi Lake. I thought that if I started from Epilänkatu, after encircling the lake I would come back where I began, supposedly…
And I started full of excitement, breathing the fresh air provided by the trees and coming upon with many species of mushrooms along the way. Afterwards I found a small harbor where I stayed just looking to the ducks in the lake and the people who were hanging around.
There are pathways all around the lake
Then I continued with my jogging, following the path but after 10 minutes I realized I had encountered a road (and not the place where I started). I decided go to the left, but after 5 minutes I found a cross street and a feeling of confusion appeared. I asked some people who were waiting for the bus and luckily they spoke English. I was 3 kilometers away from my goal, and it was in the other direction. Never had I ran as fast as that time, since I wanted to arrive home as soon as possible.
Finally, not only did I reach my 5 kilometer goal, but I succeeded in breaking it and reaching 8. And well, Finland has more challenges for me and I am planning to find more paths while the weather allows to do it.
Pier by the beach, people come here all the time during summer
Paola,  Exchange student from Mexico, studying Environmental Engineering at TAMK.

Text: Paola Israde Burrola 
Pictures: Paola Israde Burrola