I have failed ( again) to put my pictrues on the computer, the process is complicated because all the texts are in Finnish! So I will wait for when Anssi comes home to try again. We think maybe the systems on the computers here are different from those at home, so some of my devices are not working here. But I won´t bore you will technical talk ;) Though as you saw, my mom did put some pictures of Lapland that I emailed to her, very kindly I might add.
On Tuesday we went to see the new Harry Potter movie, and it is worth describing. Not the movie itself ( which was quite good, I must add but you can look up a movie review site for that...) but the theater itself. It was built inside an old factory in the middle of Tampere, and naturally looks quite differnet from American theaters. There were escalators up to more theathers, brick walls everywhere and a completely different lay out from what I am used to. I tried to explain to Ilona how American theaters were often big block buildings full with hideously loud crowds and lines! Another difference was how the Finns acted. They were quieter (as I expected), and generally more respectful of others in the theater. The lines at the ticket booth were polite and if not completely silent, at least hushed. Once the movie started, no one talked at all. I am in the habit of sometimes commenting on the movie to those watching with me, so I had to keep my lips pressed tight together so I wouldn´t burst forth with a `omg did you see that?!´ People did giggle softly at the funny bits, but there was no loud gafawing from the fat man in front :)
Wednesday we slept late and prepared to have some family friends over in the afternoon. I took a long walk, which was nice. The friends came at about 4:30, we ate a gigantic amount of food, with rubarb pie, chocolate chip bananna muffins and chocoalte cake for dessert! The muffins I had made earlier from a recipe of my mom´s. They turned out pretty good, for being a Finnish variation! I had to make some changes, like using shaved chocolate instead of chocolate chips and puting the batter directly into the papers ( no muffin tin) but they tasted okay! At dinner I finally discovered the meaning of the word ´ oikeesti´... the girls said it all the time and I was always wondering what it meant! Now I know it means ´really´!!!
I also got some travel paperwprk from YFU yesterday, I suddenly am being forced to think about going home! I have, as of today, 22 days left in Finland! I will be going on the trip to Estonia ( August 10th-11th) and then I have a orientation event in Helsinki until the 15th, when I fly home. I will get to meet the Ambassador of the US to Finland, and some other important persons! I recently found out that I will be staying with Petra ( my former exchange sister from Finland)´s family during my time in Helsinki, which is a relief. I am glad I will be where I know one person, instead of trying to adjust to a completely new house of strangers! They are coming on Saturday as well ( I am looking forward to that!) But there is all the packing to think about... uuuuugh I will push it to the back of my mind for now.
Today was quite eventful. First we went to Tampere to see the Pyynikki Observation Tower. It was built on a hill in Tampere, just outside of the city center. From the top ( which is open to the sky) one can see the entire city spread out below. Even more awesome, ( if that is possible) is that one can see the city as it lies between the two lakes. Anyone who has looked at a map of the Tampere area has seen that the city is on a narrow strip of land between the lakes Näsijärvi and Pyhäjärvi. Now, from the tower I could actuallty SEE that picture from the maps! Really insane. We ate some amazing pastries at the base of the tower, they are apparently very famous and everyone who visits Tampere is told to come to the tower and eat that kind of pastry. Now I know why!
Then we went to see a beautiful Church called the Tampere Cathedral. It was full of beautiful frescos and stained glass windows... and a giant silver pipe organ which I was dying to try out.
Then to the market square in the city center. It was like huge flea market\farmers market... people selling their old stuff and more people selling their fresh veggies. We bought some `black sauages´another Tampereian delicacy ( haha). It looked like it came out of the wrong end of something, but it tasted pretty good. Not at all what I expected though, I was imagining it more like spicy sausage. We also ate some of a salad\frenchfries\ sausage dish which was quite yummy. After that we drove a short way to a museum. It was a recreation of housing for factory workers in the 1900´s. The arrangment of the rooms moved up from the early decades until about 1978. The rooms were tiny, and had housed 7 or more people, it was hard to imagine living like that. Very interesting though.
I have been starting to think of home differently, as people promised I would. It seems smaller, less important to the workings of the world, and the problems in it not as big. At the same time it has become much more dear. Seeing so much more of the world is fantastic, but there is something to be said for home as well. Those who have ever left somewhere for a trip will recall the amazing feeling that you get when you leave an old place for a new one. Any old travelers can say ( I am sure) that there is also a distinct feeling when you return home. I will back this up and clearify what I am talking about when I have actually experienced it.
Now the sauna is heating out in the garden, and I am going to go lie somewhere and try to digest the three tacos I just ate.