Friday, February 18, 2011

Yep, still winter.

Recovering from my second illness of the year (already!), I went out tonight to look for possible displays of northern lights. There was a huge explosion on the sun that supposedly meant lots of auroral activity coming our way, but unfortunately nothing that could be seen from Turku. However the bright full moon was nice and lit up some very pretty snow covered nighttime fields, and I felt compelled to jump in one and make a snow angel. And at least I found a nice spot to look for future auroras. This website has been quite helpful in tracking levels of magnetic disturbance in the atmosphere: However, tonight, it's more or less flatlining.

Living in a new place means having no immunity to the local bugs, and so I've been laid up with either some bronchitis or the flu (perhaps a new "flu fad" called Reindeer Flu?) High fever, sore throat, some sinus drainage, and a deep, phlegmy cough. Luckily I've shaken the fever yesterday and now it's just a matter of waiting for the rest of the symptoms to clear up. After the cold I had in January, and now this, I hope my immune system will be OK for awhile!

Prague was amazing. I have a huge batch of pics on my camera just waiting to be processed, hopefully when I have some free time on the short break from courses in the next week or two. In Finland there's a short university break in February, hiihtoloma, which literally means "ski break" and I imagine that skiing and skating are in their prime time right now. We've finally had about a week of clear days all in a row, probably the most since early December, so the longer days and the sun are making everything feel a lot more awake and alive. The temps are still cold, though, hovering between -15 and -25, so those beautiful days can be deceiving when viewed from the warmth of one's living room. Luckily I'm getting lots of use out of my parka, ski pants, and fleece underwear. It's been a long winter, though, and I'm starting to miss things like grass, sandals, and going outside without a space suit.

I've been having some snags trying to prepare for my German exchange - namely, the continuing lack of a grant in my bank account, something I addressed to the appropriate people on Monday. Not to mention the paperwork from Germany is all auf Deutsch, and is advanced enough that I need to find help to understand the walls of text that accompany the forms. I still have some form I probably should have sent in a month ago, but with other things coming up and, well, not being able to read any of it, it kind of got forgotten. I'm not sure how an exchange student not already familiar with German would manage at all. Then I tried to reserve a flight from Stockholm to Dusseldorf on RyanAir, the cheapest airline around, but that flight time got shifted too late to allow me to catch a train from there to Köln once I arrived, so I had to cancel that and buy a different ticket from Blue1, but this time it'll be from Turku and early enough in the day that I should have plenty of hours to field things going wrong and still have enough time to catch a train. Let's hope this flight schedule doesn't get all messed up as well.

My four Finnish classes are going about as well as can be expected (the iltalukio class, plus Continuation courses 1 and 2 as well as a Practical Finnish course) and have lots of homework between them keeping me busy. Hopefully cramming as much Finnish as I can now will help me remember most of it for next fall. Just as well since there's nothing on the part-time job front.

Now to listen to a little bit of the new Korpiklaani album and then head to bed!