Trip Start May 09, 2006
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of Finland  ,
Wednesday, July 5, 2006

I arrived about a week ago, Friday. It was an amazing boat ride to travel across the Baltic Sea. It was extreamly flat and oddly warm. I tried to stay up and watch the sun set, it started to go down about 1030, but it didnt get dark until about 130 am!! It was a crazy introduction to the day and night concept of Finland. They dont really use day or night. They use the terms light and dark. Anyway upon my arrival in Helsinki I was wisked off by Rustiem to my new apartment just outside the city, and then out again to take care of buisness. I now have a Finnish Social security number, a tax number, and a bank account! I also have a new address, which all in all almost makes me Finn, except for the language thing and all.
That evening I left with a bunch of AIESECers to go off to a retreat at Lake Saimaa which is in eastern Finland.
Saimaa is the largest lake in Finland and it is close to the border of Russia. It was amazing! I have really been impressed by finland so far. It reminds me of yes, Northern Idaho and Washington area. It is so thick with trees and there are a ton of lakes. there are also mosquitos. The temperature is so perfect! its not cold at all, but not exactly hot. The lake was a ton of fun we stayed at a cottage on an island in the lake. The water is now warm enough to swim, which I did every day. I also took my first sauna! which I will have to describle later as it was an experience in itself! The daylight is very interesting and it is so easy to loose track of time. At the lake the sun set at about 11 again, but it stayed twilight until the sun rose at about 3 am. It is sooo crazy! You can actually lay out and get tan at 9pm! or 6am! But its beautiful to have so much sun and my hair is bleaching out so much I dont have to put new highlights in. It must be my finish blood!
I learned how to play finnish baseball which apparently I am really good at! and I made ALOT of friends here from all over the world. I know someone from Nepal, china, ukrane, macedonia, poland, india and the list goes on. Not to mention I did meet a few finns as well. The language is difficult, but I am slowly learning. Most of the people speak english fluently and some speak sweedish as well.

I am living in an apartment right outside of down town helsinki, with a girl named Shreya from India and a guy named Jani from Finland. The apartment is owned by AISEC so it is relatively cheap. We are on the sixth floor and have access to the roof. I can see a park and playground from my window and I am right near a train, which I take to work everyday.
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