Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Kill two birds with one stone

Weird title? For me at least, because I have never heard the English version of the Finnish idiom "Kaksi kärpästä yhdellä iskulla". Then there are the modern idioms from the land of a forest and thousand lakes;
"Drive like a bottle-ass pig",
"Got lost like a fart in the Sahara",
"The guy is outside like tampon strings",
"Hungry as the Estonian wolf",
"Swings like syfilis"
and so on.

And the whole point of this, I don't remember. Let me read my last (only so far) text again.

Aa yes, because during that first day I was able to add two new countries in to my where-I-have-been-list. Now in total of 18 countries, I hope to have over 20 by the end of next year. But before we enter country number 18, let me do now a proper introduction of myself. I'm Jaleh and I'm a non-alcoholic. I was born in the Philippines, having a Filipina mother and Iranian father, but I myself am a Finn, due to the fact that I was 2, when we moved to Finland and have been ever since molded by the Finnish society. The end result of been raised by three cultures is me, a melancholic joyful smart ass.

Let us do now what Mark, Matthew, Luke and John did, skip 18 years until now. So I studied two years Music and Media Management in JAMK University of Applied Sciences. Before that I wanted all my life to study in the University of Jyväskylä to become a teacher of philosophy and English, but having the skill of doing everything in the last minute, I ultimately ended up in Holland studying Oprah's conversation skills and figuring out which is the best dark beer. First year of studies was just about thinking whether I'm in the right study field. In the second year I knew I was, no longer could I picture myself studying in a university. It was the first year when we heard that there would be a possibility to complete a double degree in Haarlem, Holland. I already was planning to apply there for an exchange the following year. Then came the winter with pleasant and less pleasant surprises. By many reasons combined (one getting involved in a documentary), I decided to apply into NHTV in Breda. I had my mind set up on Holland for a long time, so changing the country was impossible, but city not. And voilà!

Now to the reason of the existence of this blog. Like I said before I was supposed to start writing this before I arrived here, I thought that a lot of great things would happen that I must have a blog. But then I got lazy and thought that no one would read this anyways. After a couple of weeks so much had happen and I started to realize that I must write them down, not only for others to read, but for also keeping my own brains active before more memory gaps spring. The difficult part though is that it's a bit hard to remember everything, but I try my best and luckily I have loads of pictures to refresh my memory. Otherwise someone just tell me if I forgot something or write about something that didn't happen (especially first weeks did not feel real every now and then).

So let's go back to the crossing the boarder scene. Me and Henna after our dessert hopped into the train heading to Breda. For my surprise there really was not any space for people with big luggages. After an exciting and nervous hour and a half we arrived to the train station of Breda and waited for Julian (a guy from the student union Compass) to come pick us up. When he came, we left off to find our new homes for the coming months. During that six minutes in the van and observing the city as much as I could, must say it really didn't impress me and I started to feel terrified. After going round and round an upper-class neighborhood with nice houses, we came to our house. My German flat mate Rebecca was not exaggerating when she told me about the big, expensive house on Facebook. Having first to type a code to open the gate, we entered the yard; full of all kinds of birds and other animals. Behind the great red house, there was the house for the Cinderellas. For me at first it looked better in the pictures, but when seeing my room I noticed that I had a terrace of my own! I never use it though (can't get the door open).
our house

or not
welcome to the animal kingdom
my room
the door which never opens again
My landlord gave a quick introduction of how everything works in the house and told to ask the others for more information. And yes Rebecca was really nice; greeted with a hug, gave me a bottle of lemonade and helped me with the Internet (I was actually terrified of her before we even met). I started to unpack and arrange the things in my room, then my two other flat mates arrived; Alice from Italy and Judit from Spain. And our first conversation was about how we need to eat Activia yoghurt.

I planned to meet my old exchange student Sven and go out to see the city with Henna too, but being so exhausted and dangerous to be walking in the dark in a foreign city, we decided to hang out in our house. Not knowing where the grocery store is and what time it closes I asked Sven to bring me the cheapest milk, bread and butter he can find. Being such an angel he did, along with Dutch beer and sweets, maps, brochures from school (wrong degree program) and garbage bags.

sven with his gifts
Having not slept for 36 hours and eyes closing, I had to kick Sven out and start my first night in my new home. And quickly it came.

Monday, September 13, 2010

After one or two Heinekens..

here it finally is; the blog which I had to start writing three weeks ago. Because of having worn out music in my illegal material consisting device, I spent the last moments in my mom's place thinking how a future music (or media or homeless) manager can reduce the illegality which dominates the World Wide Webster by once again going to the dark side to truly understand how it reigns. Now having everything transferred and packed I hugged my family goodbye and left the place which had been my home for over 18 years to undergo a life-changing-educating-mind-blowing-rumble-hassle-i-will-never-be-the-same-i-will-(maybe)-come-back-(maybe)-as-a-better-person-than-i-was-when-i-left-experience.

But before that I still had to visit my favorite sports bar, where I had spent many hours cheering or crying for my favorite football team. Yes, I left my family earlier because of this. Just because I thought that they would join, but apparently they find the adventures of Sookie Stackhouse more engaging than 22 men running after a ball or me leaving. Pff. No hard feelings xoxo.

vampire fans
After a disappointing 3-0 defeat I finally headed out to the train station, where for my surprise saw my school mate waiting for her exhange student Pedro to arrive. Pedro never arrived.

Four hours of sitting in the bus, I arrived to the airport. There I met my travel companion Henna and so we were ready to fly to Brussels. Having not slept that much, I took a nap and later woke up of Henna hitting me and noticed that we were shortly landing to the city of people who decide how a banana should look like. This was the moment when it occured to me what was really happening, what have I gotten myself into; there was no turn back. *PANIC PANIC WHY WHY NO NO MAMAAA* blank.

bye bye finland


I was surrounded by chocolate and quality beer. Did the plane fall down? Nope. I was alive.

After finding my pulse again, off we went to explore the streets of Brussels. Right away I found my lost-long love towards old street lamps and so the Japanese tourist side took over. It was a beautiful day to fill my memory card; the city had much to offer even though we had been there only for half and hour so far.
high quality pleasure

Understandably at some point we got really hungry. While searching for a place to eat, we fell into a tourist trap; a overly expensive sightseeing tourist bus trip, but as clever and pitiful exhange students (or not) we managed to pay only half price. Never have I felt so much as a tourist as I have before. In the end it was worth it. We were able to see different sides of Brussels; the old and modern. Must say I did not expect much of Brussels, but it was a positive surprise. I think I could even live there if I knew how to speak French without the help of my friend. Cheers Satu.

sightseeing bus
financial tower
Now was the time to find a McDonald's, but first we had to check out the famous "Urinating Boy". Still haven't checked Wikipedia for why it is so famous, I just heard from Henna that it's something to see. The verdict is: "For a mini person, he has quite a large bladder."
manneken pis

Having enjoyed a tasty superfood meal in Brussel's first McDonald's, we headed back to the train station to first have the famous Belgium waffle and then travel to our final destination. Next time I travel to Brussels I will visit the beer and chocolate museum and buy myself many boxes of truffels (which I didn't know I liked before I had a sample). 

travel companion henna
waffle with nutella
Oh yes, before I tell you what has happened since we entered the neighboring country, let me introduce myself and the reason why this blog exists (just forgot to write this in the beginning, well, better late than never). So, I'm Jaleh and I'm 20. And school starts tomorrow at 17.30, so I can stay up long and chat with people on Facebook. What, no one wants to talk with me?! Well, alright then, let's just write a blog. Me, myself and I.

Thank you. Good night.