Monday, April 18, 2011

I Love Finland Already!

I've only been here for a few hours, but I can already tell that Finland is a wonderful place.  Even Helsinki, the capital, feels easy-going and relaxed.  It's Monday morning but there's no sign of the mega traffic jams that plague all of St. Petersburg.  The air here is fresh, and I can hear the seagulls from my cousin's downtown apartment.  I have tons and tons of pictures from the 13-hour overnight ferry ride here, during which I met a Finnish men's choir -- a jolly group of 35 Swedish-speaking Finnish men -- and ended up spending the evening drinking champagne and ballroom dancing with them on the stage of one of the ship's bar/entertainment clubs.  They taught me the most important Finnish phrases: "cheers" and "thank you."  It seems that everyone in Finland speaks fantastic English, and I haven't even had difficulty performing rather complex banking transactions.

After 10 weeks of a busy, busy internship and constant research meetings, my three weeks in this calm paradise is going to be one of the best vacations ever.  Especially since I get to spend it with my cousin that I never get to see.  She's half-Finnish and has lived in Finland her whole life, so when I met her for the first time three or four years ago, I told her that someday I would come visit. And voil√†!  Here I am :)  She just told me this morning that she's training for her third marathon that will take place in about a month in Switzerland, but she's also running a half-marathon here in Helsinki in just a few weeks, while I'm still here!  I'm going to run with her in the evenings, we'll see if I survive!

There's a sunny day waiting for me....I'll put up some pictures soon!

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