Not everything is as perfect as it seems. The reality is that everything in Finland is insanely expensive, from food to travel and leisure, the money just flies out of your pocket. The language is really hard to understand and if Google translator is not at your hand you are basically screwed. On top of that the cold and darkness don’t really help my pessimism. And don’t even get me started on the food – potatoes here, potatoes there, potatoes everywhere! Also it is not uncommon to see a number of “really happy” Finnish guys with bottles of alcohol in their hands on an early Saturday afternoon – a hell of a drinking culture! Being a Finn is being hardcore.
But not all is bad. Being the geek I am there was one thing that really cheered me up. It was the chance to see a StarCraft 2 tournament in Helsinki held at DiGiExpo event. My friends and I spent hours watching similar tournaments streaming on the Internet, and being able to see it live was extremely exciting.
It was an early morning in November (and early mornings I don’t like) when I set off on a train to Pasila. I met my brother there and we went to the site of DiGiExpo together. We were running a little late and the quarterfinals already started so we didn’t have time to look around, we just went straight to the tournament.
First Elfi (Finnish Protoss player) competed versus SeleCT (Korean Teran player). It was amazing to see how fast the hand movement of the Korean player was. Elfi of course didn’t stand a chance. Although the tribune was packed and we had to stand, we got lucky since after a couple of minutes a few seats in a front row emptied. In the second game of quarterfinals, idrA (Canadian Zerg player) competed versus whiteRa (Ukrainian Protoss player). It was intense and very exciting, two of my friends are huge fans, one of idrA, the other of whiteRa, and they could see me on the Internet on the stream, being extremely jealous. IdrA naturally won and it was time to get some signatures for my jelly-friends.
Time for food! More potatoes, but they couldn’t spoil the perfect day. Soon afterwards the real show started. The finals! The tribune was even more packed than before, but we got lucky again and got a spot on the floor, just in the middle. The game SeleCT versus IdrA was even more intense and unpredictable. IdrA won again, he earned the first prize of 6000 $! But SeleCT didn’t walk away empty-handed, the second prize was 3000$. Since the tournament was in Finland it is only fair that the third prize of 1000$ goes to Finnish player Elfi.
So to sum it up, although Finland is not my ideal country, there are bright moments that help me cope with the cold and darkness of it all. Peace out!
Text and photos: Maša Pelc, Slovenian exchange student in Fine Arts