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New Beginnings

Today while I sat in the very comfortable blue chairs that sit in the prized location of our living room, I decided to put on some music. This was despite my better judgement since I was working on reading a rather dense book for one of my PhD classes starting in September and needed full concentration capacity. Having recently acquired Spotify thanks to my bf, I decided to peruse the vast database to find a new playlist to try. I found one called #vainsuomihitit, or “only Finnish hits.” Feeling adventurous, I decided to give it a whirl.


I had never heard any of the songs on the list and, when I listened to them, I knew that they were not songs I would actively choose to listen to. Yet, hearing the words—only a portion of which I could understand—made emotions well up. They reminded me of Finland, where walking down the street I would hear this beautiful language being spoken and see it written all around me.


Now in a Finnish mindset, even looking into my parents’ back yard made me thi…
Recent posts

A Perfect Day

A favorite activity of mine to do with people I don’t know very well has been the 36 Questions that lead to Love. The title is misleading because, while the questions are ostensibly meant for romantic relationships, they really can be used with anyone you want to get closer to. One of the questions on this list asks you to describe your perfect day. I have always described this more or less the same way: a day mixed with down time and some work, with no stress of commitments to make or deadlines but still with some purpose, and spent with people around me who I love. I’ve always described this day as an ideal that I will probably not achieve but one that I can dream about anyway. But the thing is, in Finland, especially in the past month, I have had more than a few days that fit the bill. I have a few things to thank for that. Chief among them is my boyfriend and his love of the summer cottage. We have spent almost every weekend this month at his cottage. The second is my courses for n…

Finding Joy

I went to Barcelona this week on a holiday from what has already felt like a holiday ever since I finished my thesis. Since I had two months in Finland before I go back to the US, I thought that some traveling was in order to take advantage of being in Europe where you can hop from country to country without (sometimes) even having to show any form of identification. And so I decided to finally go to a place in Europe that I have wanted to visit for years: Barcelona. The week leading to the trip was a flurry of activity. I was looking up transportation, walking tours, the many sights in the city, possible day trips to take. At one point I had at least seven tabs open to pages related to Barcelona. All of the research made me excited for my three days to explore a little bit of Spain.
The first day was a flurry of activity. Having arrived late the previous night, I wanted to devote this day to getting a feel for the city in the day light. I ate an early breakfast at one of the cafes …

Small Acts of Love

My boyfriend plays on a hockey team from September to May. It isn’t an official team—they don’t play games throughout the season and aren’t in any leagues—but they meet diligently every week for practice (he actually plays with two teams but it still isn’t clear to me what the difference is between them except that one team is better than the other). This requires some dedication because practices for both teams are either very late in the evening or very early in the morning.
At the end of their season, before they take a break for the summer, the players come together and have a full-length game. I wanted to go last year and this year but wasn’t able to make it either time. Instead I asked him to send me a picture of himself in all of his gear. Last year he sent me a selfie of himself before the game, but without his gear on so I hoped this year he would manage to get a picture with both. He did not.
I was willing to drop it, figuring eventually I will see him outfitted as a tough …

The Necessity of Finland

Before I moved out of my apartment in my hometown and left for Finland, I decided to have a few friends over for dinner. It was a big deal because 1) I didn’t really invite people over 2) I decided to make Indian food, on my own. I was extremely nervous the entire afternoon and stayed mostly quiet while my guests were there. They had fun, which was my consolation, but part of me was glad when it was over.
This dinner came to mind the other day when I invited almost everyone I know in Finland for Ice Cream Sunday (I was rather pleased with the name). The people I called were classmates in my program, from my Finnish classes, friends I have met at events; in other words, an odd assortment of people who didn’t know each other very well. This evening I was not quiet or nervous. Instead I felt in charge and poised. I knew what I was doing.
There were two years in between these two parties. In the intervening years I came to Finland. I completed a Masters degree, played MC at an event, tra…

Adulting in Finland

While out for brunch recently with an Indian friend of mine and with my Finnish fellow, we got to talking about the weather, as conversations with Finns are wont to do. My boyfriend said that the weather in Finland is horrible (Finns love complaining about Finnish weather) and how that particular day was exceptionally nice for spring but a nice day like that would inevitably be followed by a string of rainy, cold days (another Finnish quality: to augment every positive statement with the negative side of the coin). My friend had a very good comeback to this speech that I wish I had come up with: “Yes, the weather is bad in Finland, but you guys have so much!”
It then dawned on my how true her words were. What are some of these wonderful things that Finns get to compensate for the unpleasant and unpredictable weather?
For one, there are the many benefits given to students, especially Finnish and EU students. Education in Finland is free for all EU students. Up until this year, it was …

The Waltz

At a Finnish wedding, the tradition is for the newlyweds to dance to a wedding waltz during their reception. It doesn’t matter what kind of wedding it is, the waltz is an essential part of the program. I hate the waltz. Compared to the Latin dances that I have been learning, the waltz is too stately and prudish to be of much fun. So I have jokingly told my boyfriend that at our wedding we will not be dancing the waltz. In part this is to gauge his response to my presumption that we are getting married (a bit sneaky, I know). In part it is also to make sure he knows that I am most definitely not Finnish (though I tell him that I am 50% Finnish, 50% Indian and 40% American). When I last told him there would be no waltz at our wedding, my boyfriend didn’t flinch at this challenge, to his immense credit. He just laughed. At which point I realized I didn’t even know how to waltz, which only made him laugh even more. Somehow, after this exchange, he decided to put on some waltz music and g…