Friday, March 4, 2011


Half a year already. PUUF! It feels like only yesterday, when I was unpacking my luggage in my new room. And yes these six months have been great. A lot has happened, though at the same time it feels that I haven't done anything. Only after the Christmas holiday it felt like the trip is just beginning.

I really haven't talked that much about what I've realized about the culture, people and what I expected before I came here. I apologize now, if I offend someone, but here we go:

1. I thought that the Dutch would pronounce my name better than the Finns, but it's been surprisingly difficult. My German teacher once asked, is the "j" pronounced as in "j" like "jungle". Yes, at least at home. Apply that! No, but actually I don't care anymore, and this shows, when I tend to say my name differently every time someone asks. And actually nowadays it sounds pretty cute how the Dutch pronounce it.

2. Before I came here a family friend said that the Belgian cuisine is better than the Dutch. Well, I haven't tasted anything Belgian except for chocolate and beer, but all I can say that the Dutch cuisine is quite non-existing. They do often mix mashed potatos with all sorts of veggies, and that is yummy. Other than that I only find food, which are either deep-fried, full of sugar or in green cans.

3. I once saw this cartoon of a Dutch person's reaction to different weathers. When it was raining, snowing or hot there was a sad face, but when it was cloudy the face was happy. I didn't really understand how can someone be happy with a dark sky. Until I experienced it myself. It was raining for two weeks, which was terrible, after that one week of no rain, but still a dark cloudy sky; I was in a good mood. I actually was thinking in my mind, what a wonderful weather it was. And when the sun comes out, it puts you even in a more good mood. Though I love snow, I hate it here. Kids start to throw snow balls at you, that's when  I want to hit them, but no point, since they are all my size. Riding your bike gets difficult, because the snow gets stuck in your tires and everyone is late for everything, due to public transportation and your own car being stuck somewhere. Yes, weather can be very surprising here; there have been many sunny, warm days, which has felt like April in Finland, but on the other hand it snowed a bit this week. I can't wait to do some bike trips again and go to the park for a beer.

4. Train trip durations are so short here. So short that sitting 2 hours in a train feels like forever, which would be the minimum in Finland. I've gotten so used to the 30min trips that I will probably go crazy when I get back home.

5. I was disappointed to not find more than 3 German beers here. Luckily we have the Belgian ones to make up for the lost. And why does Heineken taste better in Amsterdam?

6. I've wasted (invested) most of my money on gigs and band shirts, but if you have the opportunity to go see the bands you love, you must. Quite often bands have Stockholm as part of their tour, but Helsinki is missing. I know, it is pretty scary to cross the Baltic Sea, when you have those vikings sailing around, but remember vikings are not Finnish! Another thing that I love about gigs here, is that you can take your drinks to the concert area, in Finland you just suffer of dehydration, faint and get carried to the backroom. Also it's pretty easy to get in front of the stage and have space to breathe.

7. About the people, well, they are quite similar to Finns; same kind of black, sarcastic humor and straight-forwardness. Though I would say that the Dutch come across as more rude, Finns say things a bit more gently, however there is also that keeping everything to ourselves and snapping later.

8. This is a mini-Germany. A lot of Germans, but also Spaniards. There's these stereotypes that Dutch are laid back and Germans stress. Never have I thought it to be true. E.g. on Facebook a German would have in their status "Woke up at 8 to study", for a Dutch "One hour til deadline and still haven't started". 

I think that's everything for now, once again sorry if I offended someone, but remember to not take things seriously; they don't take you.

Here is one of my favorite moments during those six months:

Less than five months left and surely that will pass quickly. I remember some people saying during Christmas that it's a pity that they did not get to know some people better before they left back home. If you don't want to feel the same in July, now would be the time to say hello on Facebook.

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