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29 July 2011

Letting it Be in Tampere

Day 60: Tuesday, 19 July 2011

Wow, I simply love Finland. I've never felt so automatically comfortable in a foreign country. Finland feels so much like America at times, just with much more of a liberal and contented attitude toward everything. People here just don't give a shit. Yet they're all so socially conscious and progressive. Also, with a completely unintelligible language. I've been able to pick up a few words, such as kiidos. But there's no way I could figure out or reasonably understand any sentences.

Finland, like the rest of Scandinavia, is very expensive. Students in Finland get 50% off many things, such as train and bus tickets (not to mention that besides having to pay zero tuition, students here receive a few hundred euros a month from the government for living expenses! How amazing is that! Needless to say, I really wish we moved toward a similar system in California - maybe including a bit of the social service that is required of young people… but I digress and daydream…). I try not to think of how much money I'm spending and just do my best to live cheaply. Luckily I have not had to pay for accommodation anywhere, save for the €40 for the campsite at the festival. I can't just live here like an American, buying everything whenever I want; I actually have to plan the best way to budget my money, time, and transportation availability. The markets here are only allowed to sell alcohol from 9:00-21:00, and beers are quite expensive. In Tampere, buses taken after midnight cost twice as much per ride.

We were back from the Festival in Tampere, and Lisle and I slept as Petri and Pekka departed for work at 8am. We returned to our favorite cafĂ© next to the supermarket and got some waffles… again, eating them while sitting in the comfy chairs in the corner of the cafe. We then decided to make dinner for Petri and Pekka, so we bought some ingredients for Lisle's homemade chili. It was somewhat difficult but fun to try to translate the different ingredient/seasoning names from Finnish to English.

I had my own "blonde moment."