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30 January 2015

Wow, where should I even start? Aussie school is amazing. I am studying in a huge high school in year 11 {year 12 in New Zealand}. I honestly can't name only one favourite thing in this school. 

The school policies are very different to European ones. I find it easier to think everything through Harry Potter; the school uniform, houses, house points... We have four houses in my school called Russell {Ravenclaw}, Peel {Slytherin}, Macleay {Hufflepuff} and Moreton {Gryffindor}. I was sorted to Ravenclaw in Pottermore but deep inside I consider myself as a Hufflepuff plus I love yellow so obviously I wanted to join Macleay. I feel so lucky since I actually got in to that house!

I am wearing a school uniform for the first time in my whole life. People laugh when I tell them how excited I am about the tie. What they don't realise is that this might very well be the only time I get to wear a tie. Anyway, I am really happy my school uniform isn't one of those hideous ones. I actually quite like it.

I have selected six subjects which is the maximum amount. I have been dying to do some real studying and now I have a good feeling that I'm not gonna run out of school work. In addition to the compulsory subjects which are English and mathematics I picked French, drama, visual art studies and film, television & new media. It's all so far so good. All the teachers seem so nice and positive which is always a very, very good start.

There is a relatively big group of us international students. We have such a good group spirit and get along with each other very well. On Thursday we decided to get lunch together after school and ended up hanging out in the mall. I cannot put it in words how much I appreciate all of these people. It's been only couple of days but I feel so close to them already. 
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28 January 2015

There is no doubt what day it is when the barbecue is getting hot and the endless stream of neighbours flows though the house to the backyard: it is Australia Day! We celebrated this particular day in a very Oz way, or so I've heard. We also had a 'celebrity' paying a visit: a Federal Politician, Andrew Laming, came to say hi to me and the others (but mainly me haha) which was really cool! 

Australia Day is so full of fun but I bet the thing everyone is really looking forward is the food. Now when I think about it, what holiday isn't. All the sausages, sausage rolls, chips, dips and the rest of the gorgeous food was gone before you can say 'G'day mate'. I was trying to leave space for my absolute favourite of all the Aussie foods - TimTams. In the end I ate only one. To be honest I did eat couple pieces of that delicious Pavlova cake. After eating I lied on my bed, under the fan for at least a half an hour, as you do when it gets deadly hot. 

As I reached the point when I felt like I could actually move again I went back to the backyard just to notice there were only couple people left. A bit sad and maybe disappointed on myself I asked my host mom where had everyone gone. Turned out majority had relocated to the street to play this so called 'street cricket'. Now, as a European I had never ever played nor seen a cricket game so obviously I had no idea how to play. Quickly I picked the relatively simple rules of this variation of the popular game and joined the others. As soon as I realised it's not baseball I actually hit the ball and the next second I was running. I got to say I fell in love with this fun game even though I was sweating like crazy again. Well, I guess that's just Australia. 
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26 January 2015

It was a very rainy arvo and I suddenly remembered my camera while getting bored. So I picked some pillows and magazined and books and built this very unbalanced stack of random stuff and gently put my camera on top of it. Then I just hit record and sat on the floor quiet for a while and then opened my mouth. For some reason I felt like speaking Finnish so I did. Just to say I did close capture this video so even if you're not able to understand this 'beautiful yet underrated' language of my home country you're still able to keep up with the video. So just click the CC button on the down corner of the video and the English subtitles should pop on the screen.
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23 January 2015

It was a clear afternoon after couple weeks of overcast days. My host mum and I jumped into the car and quickly drove to the Cleveland Point just in time to catch a beautiful Australian sunset. Myself, I get much more excited about a clear starry sky but there was something magical about the Australian sunset. First it looks like it's setting in the 'wrong' direction or at least the direction looks different. I loved to just sit on the pier and look at the sun slowly hiding behind the buildings, reflecting the last sunbeams to the dark blue water. The temperature gets nice and - I would like to say cool, but it really isn't - it's warm. What I mean, it's not deathly hot anymore which means you are able to actually enjoy the view without sweat pearls dropping down your face.
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21 January 2015

Last week my host mom took me to 'down town' Brisbane which I fell in love with at the first sight. As I've seen skylines only a couple of times before I was so astonished by the simple beauty of the buildings that I was too scared to move the camera lens between my eyes and this sight.

First we went to look around the QAGOMA museum of modern art which was really interesting since I love modern art and it's impact on me. There was so much to see but we decided to save some for the future and went to see only the free exhibitions. After we reached the culture amount of the day we walked across this beautiful bridge to the city centre to do some shopping. I must mention how proud I was to walk back only with one new lipgloss.

I enjoyed the day and the city very much and can't wait to do another trip to possibly see other exhibitions in QAGOMA and the museum of Brisbane.
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19 January 2015

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One of the questions I get asked as an exchange student the most is if I miss my friends and family in my home country. In the beginning of my programme the answer was an instant and rather  strong no. Throughout the months the answer has changed its form every once in a while from ‘I think about them sometimes’ to ‘I do have weak days’.

I have never been the people missing type. I rarely — or nowadays more like occasionally — look back and when I do I don’t particularly miss anything. I remember the moments and cherish them. That was when I didn’t have to give anything up, for real.

As much as I’d love to consider myself as ‘a mentally strong person’ I can quite easily admit not being one. Then again I guess no one is when it comes to actually losing something. And then again, how can we know when we’ve actually lost something? At the moment I feel like I’ve lost a great bunch of great people as I left New Zealand which, by the way, is not even close to what really happened. I may have lost one or two friends but when it comes to the rest of them (who I like consider as the true friends) are still very much in contact with me. 

I miss my friends in New Zealand like crazy already and it’s only been three weeks since I left. I’ve been good in general since all the trips and activities here in Australia have been keeping my mind busy and away from overthinking. The other Sunday was our last day of our stay in Yamba and I was trying paddle boarding which is basically like surfing with a bigger board and a paddle. Since it is a solo sport and doesn’t enquire that much of concentrating I had a lot time to think about stuff. Sometimes having too much time to think is not that good thing, at least to me as I tend to overthink a lot. And as I was paddling in the beautiful river scenery I started to think about my friends over across the sea. I cried for a while, not much, but still. The thought of me not being able to see them for possibly years was, and still is, terrifying. As I returned to the shore my host mum pointed out that at least we have Skype nowadays and all the other communication channels. I very much agree with her but even then it is sad, even devastating to be apart from the people who matter a great deal to me. My host mum did also point out that I have my friends in Finland who I’m gonna see soon enough. I haven’t forgotten about them. Sometimes you just don’t appreciate the obvious.

The real friends stay even when you don’t meet in daily bases. It takes a lot energy to trust people and trust that they will stick with you. During my exchange programme I have come across the same thought many times: ‘Am I just an easy friend who people just kinda take advantage of and cut connection as soon as I go’. Out of sight, out of mind, out of heart. I have questioned friendships I’ve tied and then realised I want to rather trust and sometimes disappoint than question everything all the time.
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16 January 2015

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14 January 2015

Last Friday, on our way to the lovely town of Yamba with my host family we stopped at the Byron bay for some breathtaking views. The day was hot - as it tends to be every day in Aussie - so the fresh sea breeze was more than welcome as we climbed up the hill the white lighthouse as our destination.

The first thing I noticed as I looked around was the painting-like clear turquoise water glittering and eating the white sand beach. Ever since I took the surfing lesson I have yearned back on the board every time I see the sea and the waves. After a proper forever I have found a sport I actually want to do just for the cause I enjoy doing it and not feeling that somehow I need to do it (for me, for someone else etc). It is too bad this sport also happens to be pretty hard to do in Finland as you can imagine we don't really get waves since we lack in real seas. Oh well, I'll enjoy as long and as much as I can now when I'm still in Australia.
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12 January 2015

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I was just casually listening to music, singing over it and trying on different outfits for a party I had just gotten invited to. I have this dress I got for my confirmation party when I was 15 (two and half years ago). I was trying it on when I realised the zip didn't work. The next second I realised the zip didn't work because I was actually too big. I kissed goodbye to my jolly singing session. Of course I healed the instant shock with writing. I literally ran to my diary and let it all out. And then I realised  it's a brilliant blog post idea. So I am going to ramble through this issue.

Hold on, so we are talking about a dress I bought over two years ago. Big deal? Let me just tell you I fitted in that dress perfectly well a month ago. This means I have actually gained weight within just a single month. Since we don't have a scale in my house I have just relied on my instincts. I am still rather skinny, thin. But I am not ready to say goodbye to that dress, not yet.

I recall very well we have been warned about these what we call vaihtarikilot (the exchange student kilos) in Finnish. I also know there is no way you're gonna be safe from this phenomenon. I guess every single exchange student gains at least little weight during the exchange year.

I can't say I would be that surprised about what happened after bit of consideration. I sure have eaten quite a lot junk food and sweets. I did a little bit research and found out that changing your normal eating habits makes you gain weight more easily. My 'normal' eating habits have changed so so much.

Everyone needs a push to do stuff. This was my push. Once I actually recognised the problem I can work with it. So next time I'll come home and am about to open the TV I will put the remotes away and go running. While making the research for this post I was more than glad to find out you'll most likely lose all those exchange years kilos in only one month when you return to your home country, Finland in my case, and to your normal eating habits.

This text was written in the beginning of December, in New Zealand.
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10 January 2015

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7 January 2015

Another year. I must be repeating myself once again when I'm saying how time flies. I know it flies wether I cared about it or not so instead I have started to concentrate on what I have experienced, learned and accomplished. For starters I almost missed my blog's second anniversary. Luckily I was looking back to my archive today and noticed the first anniversary postI had made three resolutions for last year.

a) blog at least once a week, 
b) start vlogging (I don't have an idea how I gonna implement it yet) and 
c) design and code a new layout to my blog by myself

I did blog once a week for the whole spring. Then I worked at YLE for June and kinda forgot about blogging in middle of 'business'. During my time in New Zealand I posted very irregularly which is (I guess) understandable considering the life of an exchange student is often really irregular in itself as well. I'd like to give myself half a point on this.

I wanted to start vlogging and I really tried but I don't think it was my thing after all. I love making short 'montages'. Whenever I filmed a talking video I felt really comfortable in front of the camera and I always had this feeling that that particular vlog would be amazing. After loads of editing I was never fully satisfied with the result but I still uploaded the videos. I have been considering this issue, not a lot but a lot enough to say that I don't want to do it anymore. I lost point on this.

Lastly I stated I wanted to try coding. I did try it and I did study it in internet a little bit. I didn't get into it, not really. I'm really happy with the new look (I call it 'the early grey' theme) I created in December.  I'd give myself a point on this.

2015 feels and sounds like future. On the other hand 2014 must have felt like future in the beginning as well as 2013... you get what I mean. Lots of things are gonna change this year. I'm turning 18 in June which means I'm practically an adult. In real life I really will not be one for a long time. I am going to go back to Finland which is gonna be more than weird, not speaking English all the time and everything.

This year I want to really improve myself in as many areas as I just possibly can. I'm gonna try to fully enjoy the rest of my exchange and after than  I'm gonna dive back to studying world and not leave that world for a while. As it comes to my blog I want to - again - improve my writing and photographing skills. I've developed a direction, a theme for my blog and I'm going to continue with that.
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5 January 2015

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My year was awesome. It was so much more than I thought. It was also very different to what I thought. I grew as a person a lot. I learnt a lot. I met new people, a lot of new people. And now I am sick.

I was sick maybe for couple of days in 2014. As soon as I came to Australia I caught this mysterious sickness and have been stuck with it ever since. Now I’m thinking it might have not been the very best idea to run to McDonald’s at 3am on my last night in New Zealand. Though, I wouldn’t change a thing. I am more than happy that I spent the last hours in New Zealand with my friends. To be honest, I didn’t think we would stay up the whole night but we did and I appreciate everyone for that. I am also surprised I survived the next day: one plus three hours flying which practically meant the whole day traveling, killing time in the departure lounges of couple of airports etc.

And I guess because of that little midnight snack trip I have been sick the whole week. First it started with a sore throat and ear pain. The next day I woke up with a runny nose which was followed by red eyes as soon as the ear pain disappeared. Now my eyes I finally getting better but I’m still stuck with a really painful sore throat. Friday night my nose started bleeding out of nowhere. And boy, the blood just got coming and coming.

First I tried to keep strong. I was telling my host mum I was just fine, that I'm just gonna sleep the pain away every time she suggested I'd take some pills. After couple of days the throat ache got really bad and it hurt a lot just to swallow. That was the moment I gave up and took the pills and simsalabim the throat ache was gone in minutes. I am still sick but at least it doesn't hurt to just breath anymore. Although I will always try to avoid medication I want to learn where my boundaries really are. As my mum has told me about [period] pain "you won't get an award for not taking the painkillers". I'll also have to learn when it's time to go see the doctor. And that Dr. Google doesn't count.

We are heading to Sunshine Coast for four days today. On Monday I’m taking my first ever surfing lesson which I’m super excited about. I’m just hoping this weird sickness dies on the way there because now I just really want to get better.
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4 January 2015

This is just a little recap of my previous year. I gathered all the little video clips I'd captured during the year and put them together creating this about a one minute film. I had a great year and I hope you did too.

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