Well, it’s been building up in me for some time but I have to admit it…I feel sorry and sad for anyone not currently on Erasmus. It’s BLOOMIN’ AWESOME! Saw some hauntingly beautiful northern lights last night, not crappy half formed wisps of light like before, these were the genuine article- huge rippling swathes of lights flowing across the heavens for about 5-10 minutes. I and my fine German friend had cycled out to the lake at about 11 o clock, onto a gorgeous bridge across the lake, and thousands of fish jumped out of the water whenever you jumped up and down on the bridge, it was very bizarre! Then the northern lights turn up, and it was heavenly! Had a ten o clock lecture this morning on the culture and history of the Balkan area, which is really quite interesting. Lectures here are different to English ones , they focus less on theoretical knowledge and more on pub-quiz style facts ,dates and figures- so you don’t gain the same depth of understanding , but when someone asks you what the lecture was about you can give them a clear, definite and slightly interesting answer instead of just ‘ rivers and stuff’. No offense to rivers by the way got a lot of love for rivers still. My other lecture at the moment, ‘Wildlife Management and Game Animal Ecology’, which should be titled ‘Why I Love Hunting And It Is So Great’, seems to be entirely focused on how ecologically useful hunting is, every mention to ecology or animal welfare turns out to be just to preserve good hunting stocks…but fair play to them, when in Rome and all that. Finland is a very different place, where humans and nature have a different relationship than in England, hunting here is functional and used to control pest populations- I wouldn’t mind having a go myself, but I understand it is highly regulated specifically to stop idiots like me getting a go.
Casually went a few hundred kilometers up to the Arctic Circle and Santa Clause’s house the other day, it was pretty good. Still haven’t seen any snow, slightly strange, but it got down to 4 degrees last night. Saw a big zoo with lots of moose and bears and polar bears, but there was a bit too much concrete for it to feel very special or awe inspiring. Got a load more great photos to show when I can access them too. Saw some genuine reindeers by the side of the road too, I love them so much! But yes, Finland is really quite warm, I cycle around in jeans and a t-shirt on a day to day basis, even in the Arctic Circle it was just a bit rainy and bit chilly. Going to a society today called Café Lingua where you just go and learn and talk languages- there’s no Italians so I can’t practice my Italian but I’m going to learn Spanish instead anyway. Currently I have accidently learnt; some Czech (they say ‘ahoy’ as ‘hello’), German (there are sounds my mouth simply cannot make), French (of course, everybody here is French), a bit of Spanish (but I want to learn more), some Russian (Nastarovia!) and of course, a little Finnish (‘Krappula’ means hangover!).
Going to Russia to see St. Petersburg next weekend, I get to go on a ferry, see all the good stuff, going to take some Borat style photos and go on an awesome night river cruise around the city-be jealous! Wanted to go by myself to see ‘the real Russia’ but the visa is quite expensive so going on the university organized trip. This is also a part of Finnish University that is missing from English university- University sponsored booze cruises around the Baltic and many other places. But the big trip me and my German friend have planned is a road trip down to see the Turku archipelago and then to ESTONIA! This place is like the Promised Land for me, I’ve only heard stories of how cheap it is there… I’m imagining we can rock up on the ferry, buy a wheelbarrow of cheese, some nice brie and mozzarella and some houmous (nobody knows what houmous is here and I miss it thoroughly), get some delicious beer and wine and give them a few euros and they’ll be pleased as punch, chuck them a few cents to stay in a luxury seaside hotel and live in the lap of luxury for a week in this marvelous land! The expensiveness of Finland is a bit suffocating, the feeling of not being able to buy and do things even if you really want them, so I’ve just decided to throw caution to the wind and spend all the money I have in the world ever, and worry about it later (i.e. later this month when I am very very very poor.) So yeah , been to the lakes , arctic circle , going to Russia and Estonia (and maybe Latvia if we have time), met someone from Transylvania and now want to go to Transylvania one day…Life is good on Erasmus. Also, swam naked in the city lake in broad daylight. Lots of love, Cam x