Saturday, August 28, 2010

Transitional home

So here it is on a Friday night, my first weekend in Finland, and I'm lying in bed updating my blog.  What a crazy life I'm leading, huh?  Partly it could be because I just came back from a show by my friend's band, with a beer and some bizarre Finnish veggie burger in my stomach (here they include such things as spicy mayo and pineapple in addition to the usual burger toppings), and a desire to just take it easy and get some rest.  The band itself was, oddly enough, a Southern rock band called Gangster of Love, and there was something a little surreal about watching some metal/punk kids dancing around to a Finnish Stevie Ray Vaughn with no Nascar shirts, barbeque, or John Deere ball caps in sight.  It really shows that borders in music are all but arbitrary these days, and that you can really find any kind of music anywhere in the world - not just metal!  And who knows, if some guy from Lapland can sing exactly like he's from Louisiana, maybe I can make a pretty good impression of being from Finland someday.  Anything is possible.

It's really nice living here with a friend for the first week.  It's been very helpful to have someone to help translate, or even just to talk to in general.  I do miss my friends - and especially my cats - back home, but already I'm meeting some new folks here: the guys in the band, for instance.  And that doesn't even cover the people I'll meet when I start to go to the university.  I love how everyone is surprised that I sold everything to move here; I always want to say that they would not be surprised at all if they knew me over the past 5 years or so!  This place already is starting to feel like home, even though I know I probably still have some culture shocks ahead of me.  We'll see what the winter brings.

I'm still going through my little mental checklist of all the things I need to do now that I'm here, and so far I seem to be getting some of them done every day.  However I've also discovered all kinds of red tape this week - needing papers from the university to open the bank account which was needed to pay the registration fee so that I could acquire the papers, then the ridiculous difficulty in transferring funds from my US bank account to my Finnish one, and so on.  Luckily I seem to be able to take these snags one or two at a time and work them out, and nothing's been particularly impossible so far.  Everything that is stressing me out now should be resolved within a week or so.  Then perhaps I'll have some new things to stress about!

It's technically still August but today was only about 55 degrees F, and I spent the day in jeans and a hoodie.  It seems so strange after sweating my way through July and most of August, and now it's fall already here.  JP thinks that the first snow will come in October - even to me, though I love the snow, it will seem pretty early - in Ohio there was never any real snow until January (you could count on everything melting away until that point).  As soon as I get my apartment, I'm going to mail myself some boxes of winter clothes I packed before I left - might end up needing them sooner than expected.  Luckily, there's always sauna in the meantime.

Also, that ubiquitous saying that you never forget how to ride a bike?  Bullcrap.  I'm letting you know that after 20 years or so of not riding that yes, you actually can forget how to ride a bike.  Maybe I'll work on that this weekend since it may become a very important skill to have around here...

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