So what have I been up to? The first two weeks were mainly about arranging things for the flat - getting stuff for the kitchen and bedroom, yes I even had to buy curtains! - and I had to make sure all the paperwork was done and organized. But besides having to take care of everything 'official', I've had plenty of time for activities. There are lots of student organizations in Joensuu, so there's always something to do here and it's a fun way of meeting new people. It's actually treated me well to be out so often since I got here. I also booked my trip to Lapland in December! Exciting!
I've been liking the new environment a lot. Even though Joensuu is technically a city, it's never crowded with people. The architecture and arrangement of the streets and area in Joensuu remind me of American towns (let's just ignore the fact that I haven't been to the US) - wide streets, small blocks with a few buildings or a park, and generally just a lot of open space. Oh, and a lot of nature. The atmosphere is so peaceful in Joensuu. It's something you get used to quickly.
A few thoughts I gathered during my first month here:
s My first impression of the Finnish language is that it is made out of a lot of grammar combined into long words. Finns sure like to use long compounds.
s So far I've learnt that 'kiitos' means 'thanks' and people greet each other by saying 'hei hei' or 'moi' (which is an informal way of saying hello).
s Finns sure love their sports. On Sundays you'll see tons of people hiking, jogging, riding the bike, etc. I get it, though, they're making the most out of the great weather before it gets too cold! The ice hockey season has also kicked off in Finland last week. We went to see the local team's first game (pictured above).
s The stereotype is that Finns are shy and introvert. However, I have been feeling so welcome here. Finns are helpful and super friendly. Even in public transport passengers will say thanks to the bus driver most of the time. In Belgium that's rare. (Us Belgians are grumpy, so it seems).
s I have seen more squirrels here in the past 4 weeks than I have seen after 21 years of living in Belgium. True story.
s Also, as I'm writing this it is snowing. Wait, what!? Snow in September? On one hand I am excited because SNOW, but on the other hand I dread the extremely cold temperatures that are to be expected in a few weeks or months. Good thing I brought some extra pairs of socks, eh.
What's been your favourite thing in September?