Hi, I am Megan Yeo. I would like to preface this blog with a little background description. You might ask, as many have, ' why Finland?' Well, the answer really isn't that profound. My mom came home from an YFU ( Youth For Understanding) orientation in October 2008 and told me that a women there had suggested that I apply for the FUSYE (Finnish U.S. Senate Youth Exchange) for the next summer. I said " okay", and so I embarked on this amazing adventure. The application was a tedious one, comprised of mounds of paperwork that had to be carefully made out, doctor visits, and specific requirements. I also had to write 5 essays, 150 words each on topics like " Describe your relationship with each of your family members and how they have influenced your life" and " Describe a mistake you have made and how you handled it". I also wrote a 500 word essay on a specific topic about Finland that interested me. After much debating and changing of topics, I wrote about the sauna. I interviewed my Finnish exchange sister on the details of the Finnish sauna to get a better grip on the topic. Of course, I could only guess on somethings, like whether I will actually like the sauna, but I will be sure to write about that experience when I am in Finland! We sent the application off in the mail in the first days of January, and didn't hear a word until late April.
When I got the acceptance letter, I went a little into shock. I guess I hadn't really believed all that time that I was doing something serious here, that it wasn't just a game to see how well I could write essays or fill out paperwork. I was actually going to Finland! As the time until my departure neared, I got more and more letters from YFU, with details on my trip. I will leave June 21st for Washington D.C., where I will have a few days of orientation. During that time I will attend a reception luncheon with the ambassador from Finland to the U.S. at his mansion! On the 23rd I will fly to Frankfurt, Germany, and then to Helsinki, Finland. I will have three days of orientation in Turku, before ( finally) meeting my host family. I will go home with them to a town called Ylöjärvi, 20 kms west from Tampere, Finlands second largest city. The Haanpää family has all sorts of plans for while I am with them, including taking me up north to see Lapland in their camper and taking me to their grandparents' summer cottage! They have three daughters ( 8,12 and 14), an older son who is in the military and two dogs. I have exchanged many emails with them recently, they are super nice.
Sometimes when I think about my summer I am unbelievably excited, jumping off the walls as I test pack my bright yellow suitcase. Other times I just shake my head and say " How on earth can this be happening to ME?" Now there are only 10 days until I embark on the first leg of my trip, a trip that I am sure I will never forget. Welcome to my Summer in Suomi!