Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Happy Holidays!

Since most of you should know my leanings this holiday season...

圣诞快乐!(sheng dan kuai le)

I'm exhausted from making 3 different kinds of casseroles (lanttu/rutabaga, peruna/potato, ja/and porkkana/carrot), and liking rutabaga/"lanttu" casserole for the first time in my 20 years, baking a "lihapiirakka" (I guess you could call it a meat pasty, or a meat pie. But meat pies remind me of Sweeny Todd...), we made a "mystery pie" since we couldn't make Christmas tortes, so we added apples to the crust... baked rolls and Christmas cookies (I also made some for our dogs and for the dogs of our family friends)...ate so much food! Didn't get too much in the way of presents, not that I was expecting anything. I asked for a new coffee maker, which I got, and a new lens for my camera (a 50mm lens if you're wondering, supposedly good for portraits). I also got a $50 Visa gift card and a schnauzer puppy calendar from a family friend.

Seeing as my Christmas celebrations are done (we're Christmas Eve folks, as is tradition in Finland), I'll be wishing you all the best for this holiday season and for the coming new year!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Another year winds down...

I was thinking today, that it's December 21st, that means the year is almost over. How quickly it went by! I swear, time goes by so much faster as you get older!

What a year it's been! I spent 5 months in China (of all places), had a blast, went to Finland, got joint issues (98% resolved now), started back at UW, had possibly the best semester of my college career grades-wise (I got an A in Chinese, woo!), dealt with some crap with myself and others, and...yeah. CRAZINESS. It's been a good year, I think. I've grown up a lot, and have gotten a lot more stable on my own two feet. That's not to say that there aren't still issues to work out, there'll always be issues, but I feel like they're not the end of the world. I can still function well with them (or without..).

As for this next year, I have some ideas about "resolutions." Well, I don't really like resolutions, because I never keep them. However, these are more like next semester things that could be more long term:

A.) Catch up with my friends i.e. be more social. This past semester I was a bit of a recluse now that I got my own room at school, but I realized that I miss people. I miss being around them, laughing with them, having fun with them. I miss that, I do.

B.) Keep up the good work at school Because at the moment, with two classes with grades submitted, I have a 3.3 semester gpa (which is the best that I've had since high school), but that could change depending on my other classes as they appear. (O Chem lab, and my English class have yet to submit scores...). I have a large load on my plate next semester, with the most credits I've ever had, but with light days in between...which leads to the next one:

C.) *Possibly* Start a TCK/CCK group on campus. If you know me, I may have mentioned my being a TCK/CCK (Third Culture Kid/Cross Culture Kid). I've found that on campus there are actually are a number of us, with those who possibly don't even know that there's a name for the restlessness/out of place-ness they feel. So, if I have time (time's the big issue), I'll try to start it up. I also have great resources to help me (see the link). The thing is, the website have this "local leaders" thing, which can help me out with this, but I'd probably end up being the Wisconsin "local leader" which is a big responsibility, whereas I feel like I could help out more on campus...We'll see.

and last but DEFINATELY not least...

4.) Get closer to God. I feel like I'm not at a place in my life, where I can accept God again. I'd been living too long for myself, having "earthly" fun and it didn't help the loneliness/emptiness I felt inside. So, I'm going to make a good effort into spending more one-on-one time with Him, since I've found a great church and through that a bible study. I just need to spend some quality time with the Lord, to get to know Him, and to let Him into my life more. Pray for me?

I know it's a bit early for a "New Year's Post" but I was just thinking about it...*shrug* Have a happy holidays!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008


Yeah, my organic chem exam was 102/200, but my total class score isn't looking too good. I think I may have failed oraganic chemistry. It was a bitch anyway. I took my Chinese exam today, and I've done relatively well in that class (I've gotten no lower than a 90 on my tests/quizzes, and all A's on my homework.), so I'm hoping that it will kind of cover it. o chem=3 credits, Chinese=6 (which is a ridiculous amount anyway, but it tilts the odds in my favor).

Also, before my Chinese exam, I met with an Global Studies advisor-man, because I really REALLY want to work abroad when I graduate. I'm looking at German-speaking countries, and especially trying to find this three-month bible college in Austria that I heard about, with a program in English AND a program in German, which would be awesome. The advisor-man (who was very young, and open minded! nice!) said that a big problem for people who want to go abroad, especially to Europe: A.) have loans (which I thankfully do not have), and B.) Visa issues. The thing is, since I'm a dual citizen with Finland, which is an EU country, I don't have to worry about visas. SWEET. I also talked to him about starting up a TCK group on campus. There are a lot of people dealing with issues that go along with it, without knowing that they're not alone. The advisor-man seemed to be really for it. And he also liked the fact that I'm so multi-lingual, and told me to keep going with Chinese. Though I sometimes wonder why I'm studying it...I don't even like it that much...I mean I do like it, but I don't LOVE it as much as studying German was, or even Finnish..

*snirk* Typing "advisor-man" is fun...

Well, I have an exam on Thursday which I should be studying for, especially if I failed o chem, to get the GPA to go in my favor...Pray for me?

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Itsenäisyyden Päivä/Independence Day

My lovely friend Tiina wrote about today's importance to Finland: December 6th is Finland's independence day (from Russia for those who don't know).

There are no fireworks, no fanfare, and perhaps very few parties (if any). In fact, it's a very solemn affair. You see, Finland was rocked by several wars, which I have no doubt that every Finn has some familial connection to these wars. (The Winter War, the Continuation War... aka WWI and WWII, to my understanding--Tiina, feel free to correct me) In fact, all of my great grandfathers fought in those wars, all but one survived (I have that great-grandfather's violin, I cherish it). My great-grandmothers were also involved, my grandmother's mother was a "lotta" in the war while raising 3 kids on her own (kind of like a nurse, how I understand it). My maternal grandfather remembers being evacuated out of the Karelia (Karjala) region of Finland that was given to Russia.

As for me, most people don't even know I'm even FROM Finland. Sometimes they don't believe me when I tell them (well, then they ask if I speak "...uuh, Finland-ish?" It's Finnish). Even in my own room, the only "Finnish" things are some artwork from two Finnish artists: a piece by Tove Jansson and Kaj Stenvall. I sometimes feel as if Finland isn't even my "isänmaa" or "fatherland" anymore. I know all my family is over there (with the exception of my mom and dad and some 2nd cousins in Canada), but they don't know me. They never will. They don't even try. I do have some lovely friends there, but even that number has dwindled from when I lived there for a year in high school.

So all I can do on this day is remember those who have been lost, and what an impact these things have had on Finland's history, remember my family members who have been affected by tragedy, and do some homework due on Monday.

This post was supposed to have a point, but I guess it doesn't, sorry.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008


1. Put your iPod or other music player on shuffle.
2. For each question, press the next button to get your answer.


"Happy is a Yuppie Word" by Switchfoot

"On the Border" by the Eagles

"Baobabs" by Regina Spektor (WHAT? the song is about love anyway..)

“Spiderwebs" by No Doubt

"Everlong" by the Foo Fighters

"Koti-Ikävää" by Various Artists ("homesickness?" i guess you could translate it that way..)

"If It Makes You Happy" by Sheryl Crow

WHAT IS 2+2?
"Road Runner" by Aerosmith

"Samsonite Man" by Alicia Keys (HA HA)

"Kiss the Girl" from the Little Mermaid (appropriate I guess?)

"Don't Know Why" by Norah Jones

"Curb" by Nickelback

"C'est Si Bon" by Louis Armstrong (teehee)

"These Words (I Love You) by Natasha Bedingfield

"Wake Up and Smell the Coffee" by the Cranberries

"Back to the Ground" by Jamie Cullum (HA HA HOW APPROPRIATE!)

"Landslide" by the Dixie Chicks

"What About Me" by some dude...I have no idea who it is...

"Kuurupiiloa" by Irina ("Hide and Seek")

"7 Days to the Wolves" by Nightwish with the new singer, not as good as the original.

"Symphony #41 in C, K 551, 'Jupiter' -1. Allegro Vivace" by Mozart (I actually played this song in high school..)

"Return the Favour" by the Hives

"Just a Girl" by No Doubt

"We're All to Blame" by Sum 41

"Tip of my Tongue" by the Beatles

"A Home" by Dixie Chicks (uncannily true..)

"Viidestoista Yö" by Juice Leskinen ("The 15th Night" by one of the greatest Finnish musicians of all time...)

"Planet of the Sun" by Negative (Finnish Band)

"Oceano" by Josh Groban (what??)

"Broken" by Norah Jones

Sunday, November 30, 2008


I know it's a little late for a Thanksgiving-esque post, but a recent comment on my Facebook account kind of made me think about it.

About a year ago, I struggled with depression, heck, I still do to a degree. I had gotten so low that I had a pair of scissors to my arm and a voice in my head saying, "Cut yourself, you'll feel numb, you won't feel anything anymore." Fortunately, this scared me very much because that voice wasn't my own. I called my mom, my therapist, and two close friends-- one of which came to my dorm immediately and prayed with me. (Bless her soul!) Because of this, and past bouts with depression, I am truly thankful for my very life. If God hadn't stepped in at that critical hour, I honestly don't know if I'd be sitting here writing this today.

Because of these past experiences, I had to make some changes in my life, particularly the people in my life. It was a very painful thing to do, but I feel it was necessary. I'm a lot better now. I did get into a touch of a backwards-slide when I went abroad (drinking, smoking-->which I quit..), but now I'm continuing some of the changes and am continuing on my road to living a life that is pleasing to the Lord.

My church has been a huge influence on my life. It's been my rock during this past year when I've been going through all sorts of crap. Last week's sermon about Soft Hearts ( podcast/mp3 here )really hit me. I've hardened my heart to the world that's hurt me, pushing everyone away...even my God. I'm slowly on the way back to Him and trying to find some new, solid relationships in my life, as it seems that I'm not the only one that's made changes. But that's not the point I was trying to make... My church gave us the opportunity to share what we're thankful for on a video to be shown this Sunday (which I was unfortunately unable to see!) and I was in it. A dear friend said in response to my status of being pathetic (an entirely different blog!): "but you looked great on the [church] video today, if that helps..." And it really did. It reminded me of what being thankful is all about.

Also, my friend has cancer. She's doing better, but her struggles really makes me realize how thankful I really am for my life.

Now I leave you with my favorite song, "I'm on my way" by Rich Price.
Here it is, on the right- side of the page if you want to listen to it, which you do.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Extroverted Introvert

So people seem to think that I'm "out-going" when I don't feel like I am. I was taken aback by this observation of the girls in my Bible Study during our "girl's night."

I tend to be "out-going" when I'm in situations that call for that: parties, get-togethers, interviews... However I spend many-a-night alone, in my room, on purpose...well, sort of. After a long day, there's nothing I like to do more than to chill out, watch some tv/a movie and go to bed (and perhaps a cold beer when I'm eventually of-age to legally do so, 5 months or so from now). It's not that I don't enjoy people's company, I do, but it's just that I haven't found the right company. I don't really have any friends that I can just go to their room to hang out, or call when I'm bored, etc. I do have friends I see occasionally, but if I want to go get coffee with someone, I'm the one who has to initiate it. Always. It's been like this since I can remember. However, I think my lack-of-invitations lately is due to the fact that I'm sort of mid-drift between campus christian groups. I haven't found one where I really feel at home though for me that' s a difficult concept anyway.

I just would like to have people who call me because they want to talk, and invite me to things that I may want to go to; rather than going by myself to everything always, and feeling awkward (though I'm a rather awkward person).

Am I "out-going?" I don't know. I don't like to think I am, but I am when I have to be. I get things done, and I can stand on my own two feet...though I don't want to have to always be alone.

I'm a bit of a conundrum, and I don't know what to do about it. I'll just keep doing what I'm doing. When it's in the Lord's Will for me, then it is, if not? Well, never mind then.

P.S: I'm reading Twilight by Stephanie Meyers (the book with that movie out now), and I'm liking it. He frikkin' glitters. Read the book and you'll understand.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Elämä/ Leben/ Life

I like doing these multi-lingual subjects. Makes me feel..well, special. heh. The languages are Finnish/German/English. I couldn't remember what "life" was in Chinese... I'll figure it out someday.

So, I haven't updated here for a while, and I apologize. I'm usually on Livejournal, but a lot of my posts are friends-only, so if you're on there, leave a comment and I'll add you. :) I usually write about the same stuff, so I guess the wonders of "copy-paste" could come into play. ha ha!

Well, I've been kind of busy at school. I'm only taking 13 credits (12 is the minimum), but they're difficult classes, so it feels like it's a lot more. Organic Chemistry hasn't been going too well, I have a paper due in English (and reading to catch up on..I'm supposed to have read 200 pages by tuesday..but that's including a deadline I missed. Luckily I've already read the book), and Chinese class keeps me on my toes. I feel like there's not enough time in the week to do all the stuff I want study well ha ha.

I've just been craving a "home" to really connect with people, and make meaningful and uplifting relationships, which I feel like I haven't really had. Since I'm so busy, I haven't had time to catch up with people/have coffee with people/have a life! GAH! At least I get the weekends off...oy. I'm looking forward to Thanksgiving break so that I can have a few days to unwind a bit before the finals-overhaul. I don't even want to think about that!!

I've also been reading my lovely friend's blog, who is currently in Africa studying abroad. It's been really wonderful to hear that she's adjusting to the cultural differences (which I can understand with my experiences in China), making friends, and just absorbing the culture. That's so awesome to hear, because I love her so much, and I miss her! Way to go Sara!

But yeah, that kind of wraps up my life for the moment. Never an opportunity to breathe...or sleep, but I guess that's what Thanksgiving break will be about! *counting down the days...24 days to be exact*

Well, take care and God Bless!!

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Nauttimista (Enjoying)

Today was a lovely day. The sky was blue, the trees were green and the water was clear. As I was in the library attempting to read Wordsworth's poems for class on Thursday, the sun beckoned me.

I went to the Terrace behind the Union, to enjoy the sun, lake, and breeze... and a drunk British *presumably* English professor talking to a fellow student. heh heh. I enjoyed my mother's cooking, brought with me from home in a Ziploc container, and the day's newspaper. I then walked down the Lakeshore Path, taking in Nature's beauty. Everyone around me was running, biking, or generally in a hurry. As for me? I'd rather take it slow and steady, and enjoy.

I now have a lovely peace about me, thanks to the beautiful day, and the sunset on the lake. Nothing get bring me down today. A part of me thinks this peace is not of my own doing, if you catch my drift.

I really do love Madison.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

I should be studying...

Hello everyone! (anyone still read this?)

I'm back after a very long time (I did come to visit a few times, I swear!).

So, I suppose I should get on with my post then, eh? Well, I'm still in China, and still studying Chinese. I only have about two weeks of class + a week of exams, not to mention the HSK exam in a week. (kind of like a Chinese language placement test) It kind of sucks when all my friends back home have summer vacation now, and I'm still in school. *cries* Oh well, the semester DID start in March, so who am I to complain if it gets extended into the summer then? I'll still have a month and a half of vacation-time after I go home next month.

This semester in China has been really good, relationships-wise, as well as language-wise. I've only started learning the language this past March, and I've already learned so much! This American guy in my class has been studying for 3 YEARS and has learned as much as we have. O_O whoah. Also the Chinese people that I've been talking to have been pretty surprised that we've only been studying it for about 3 months or so.

I've also made friends from all over the world: Phillipines, the UK, Holland, Korea, and South Africa. It's great!

I've also been thinking about moving abroad after I graduate. Like, going to Finland (where I'm originally from) or to Germany or something. Maybe even back to China to continue my studies of Chinese, who knows? The idea of it just sounds better and better, the more I think about it. I have a lot of connections, so it could possibly work out. However, I have 2 years of Uni left (maybe more, depends on if I can graduate on time...), so I have plenty of time to think about it.

For right now, I really should be studying, oy. So I'll leave it here for now. I may pick it up again later today, or tomorrow... or something.


There is no price for awesomeness...or attractiveness. ~ the new movie, Kung Fu Panda. heh heh.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

More Crazy Times!

So, sorry for the lack of posts, I just have been busy with class and such since it started this month!

Speaking of class, last week I tried out class 1.4, which is the class entirely in Chinese, with Japanese and Korean students (they learn the characters a bit easier since they already know characters in their own languages, and Japanese has many Chinese characters in it with similar means, albeit different pronunciations.). I tried it out on Monday, and found that it was a bit faster paced than my all-western people class of 1.3, so I kept going with it...until Wednesday that is. So on Monday and Tuesday, we were going over "What do you like to do?" and so forth, something I had gone over in the other class (1.3). However, on Wednesday, we started a new subject (finally!), of time and dates. We had gone through it rather quickly, and our teacher already was asking us questions, even though we didn't go through the vocabulary as thoroughly as we usually did in 1.3. She asked me a question, and I had no idea what she was talking about until she told me what it meant in english. I realized then that this new class was too hard. I was devastated. It meant that I had failed at something that I'm good at (learning languages). I nearly cried in the middle of the class. It was then that I transferred back to good ol' 1.3. All of my friends are there, and though I may not learn as much as in 1.4, I'll learn it better.

It made me realize that I have my limitations, and Chinese is turning out to be a difficult language for me, since it's NOTHING like English, Finnish, or German, the languages I know. The grammar and the characters are difficult, but once you practice reading and writing the characters a few times, you catch on pretty quickly. It's just writing them correctly which can be tricky at times! ha ha!

My father also has been traveling a lot these past two weeks. I haven't seen him for more than a few hours in this time period. He's coming home tomorrow afternoon, and he shouldn't be going anywhere until Monday, but that's just a one night trip. And after that, he declined on ANOTHER trip. So it's been kind of lonely around here. I mean, I have my friends, but I have a difficult time opening up to them, since losing my best friend this past fall. I also am having a difficult time seeing myself even WANTING to get close to them, since I don't know if they share the same morals and ideals as me. *sigh* I'm meeting all sorts of interesting people, from all over the world, but that doesn't necessarily mean that they're really close to me. I really miss my friends back home!!

I realize that I've been put in this situation for a reason...though I don't really know what that reason is. Is it for me to grow? Or to help others grow? I don't know, and it's a bit frustrating.

On a lighter note, I'm starting to enjoy this city more, and the more I explore, the more I'm finding the Chinese people to be really friendly and funny! My Chinese friend is so great (who is also my tutor!), and going shopping with her was such a great experience. I learned so much about China, the language, and also learned many helpful phrases to use while I'm out! I hope to see her again soon!

Well, this is *another* novel, so I'll stop here. One last bit of news, I'm going to be at a Maroon 5 concert this Saturday! They're one of my favorite bands, and I'm very excited to go and spend time with my dad. (he's coming too)

Take Care!

Thursday, March 6, 2008

First week of class over!

So my first week of Chinese classes are over! (Thank goodness!)

On the first day, I saw a blonde guy sitting on a bench outside the classrooms and he said to me "I sure hope you're learning Mandarin!" And with that a new friend was made, Divan, from South Africa. He lives near me too, so we've been hanging out at school together ever since. (Even taking the same taxi home sometimes!) I also met Bram, a guy from Holland, Nina, a woman from the phillipines, and Helen, another woman from England. There are also other Americans in my class, one from Italy, Chile, Israel, another guy from the UK, and a few Koreans. So I go to school with people from *literally* around the world. How cool is that! I'm going out with Divan, Bram, Nina, and *hopefully* Helen (her boyfriend is sick, so we'll see...) tomorrow for dinner and to some bars and whatnot. I'm looking forward to it! It gets kind of tiring hanging out with my dad and his buddies all the time! haha!

It was a rough first week of class, with the teachers using the characters from the start, so you have to keep up with the letters if you want to know what the lesson is about!! Me + Extra Studying= Stress!! And today I was just DONE with Chinese! I was so frustrated learning about how to say "what do you like to do?" and explaining to others that I nearly had it, plus I'm tired, so that doesn't help. I think that just the stress of the ENORMITY of this task of learning Chinese in China doesn't help very much. But after class, Divan, Nina, and I all went out for coffee, so it was nice. :)

I also have been going to the gym with a personal trainer. I've been sore after every session, so "no pain no gain," right? I'm trying to lose *at least* 30 pounds (roughly 15 kilos), but we'll see. I don't know if I'll get that far in this 5 months that I'm here, but at least I'm on the right track! No weight loss yet, but now that I've been riding my bike to school (about 2 miles, 3.4 km) I think it should speed up. :) I have to meet up with Simon (that's my trainer's name) later this afternoon for some more exercise! (my muscles are hurting even thinking about it, but then again, they're still sore from the other day with Simon!)

Well, this has been a novel, so I'll cut this short. Sorry for the lack of updates this past week, but now that class has started up, there will be more to write about!

Take Care!


Monday, February 18, 2008

A Good Start

Welcome to my new blog!! I started this one just for this study abroad, and who knows! I may even continue updating this afterwards. This blog is for my friends back home, mainly, but others can read too if they are contemplating a study abroad or if they've been on one before and can relate. :)

So I've been in China for the past two days (I came in on Sunday) and it's been good so far! The flight went well, and I made it to this city rather easily. I've been sleeping rather well, considering a 14 hour time difference, oy! I'm better today, so I bet I'll get over it really quickly. I start to get tired around 8pm, which is really good for me! And i've woken up at 7am both days, so that's good too. :)

Yesterday, I un-packed my bags and went out with a family friend of ours and some other women for coffee, and we went to the bakery and other little errands. I also was shown where the local grocery store is, where I'm planning to go today to get some food stuffs ha ha. Today we're (our family friend Sari and I) planning on doing something, but I'll call her after I get back from the grocery store.

So all is going well so far and I'm glad that I have almost 2 weeks until school starts (I have registration on the 28th and 29th and I start the monday after that, I think).

Stay tuned for more updates!!