As my time in Jyväskylä is coming to an end, I just wanted to reflect on what life is like here. First of all, Jyväskylä is a city in central Finland. With a population of 138,000, it is the largest city in the region and I think the 5th largest city in Finland (Finland only has a population of 5 million). It actually feels about the same size as Bellingham and as I’ve mentioned earlier it looks similar too, so my environment is not too different. Part of me regrets choosing to study in Finland because of this, but I’ve made so many amazing friends that I can’t really complain.
Now that we have started school, I am very much in a routine. Our schooling is really intense but I absolutely love being immersed in theatre all day.
For those who don’t know, I have been studying at the National Theatre School of Ireland: The Gaiety School of Acting. It is a conservatory style two year program, of which I am only taking the first semester.
Emma and I sit down and make our morning coffee (or hot coco) with powdered milk, and instant Nescafe from packets. The maid, Binta, comes in with 2 baguettes purchased at the boutique two doors over. We gingerly sip the coco and eat the bread with nutella, or sometimes jam or La Vache Qui Rit (Laughing Cow). We always find time moving faster than it should, and we dash off to school.
The walk to school takes about 15 minutes. We walk past the Police School a corner that borders a round about that is almost always at a standstill with traffic. Every taxi that passes us honks as if to say, « White girls walking in this neighborhood? They must be lost. » We avoid eye contact with the drivers, and nod off the ones who still think we need a ride.
Saying a prayer, or disregarding ones own life, we cross the road and take a shortcut through the Teachers college. « Do these guys even go to school? » Emma remarks, as we walk past the soccer players warming up in the field. There is almost always people playing there, except in the high heat of the day. Sometimes in formalized practices, sometimes just who ever wants to play.
The Strupwaffle is the best snack ever to be gifted to mere mortals in my opinion. But then again whole blog is my opinion..
A typical day in Reggio Emilia includes going to class and going to my favorite coffee shop/restaurant called Ghirba. It’s near my apartment and I would love to go there by myself and read a book and get a coffee. The people there are always so friendly and there’s always someone who knows some English who can help me read the menu. I liked this place a lot because they had healthy and unique options, and their menu is always changing. It was a nice break from the typical spaghetti. Which is delicious, but it’s good to switch it up once in a while.
Sitting in my bedroom at my home stay and looking out my window, I’m reminded of home. It’s strange to me that while I’m over 5,000 miles away from Bellingham, in a completely different country, it doesn’t seem so far away. Maybe it’s because I’m looking out at the pouring down rain and thick fog that’s hanging low on the mountains… I mean, what’s more Bellingham than that? But it also might have to do with the fact that over the last few months, this place has begun to feel more and more like home.
Mid Program: Everyday life, surprises, and advice
Living here in Marburg is peaceful, and the living accommodations in the international student dorms are exceptional. My dorm room has twice the space of my shared dorm room back home, and comes with a sink, walk in closet, bed with bedding (there is even a cleaning service for the bedspread but as I’ve been out of town most weekends I haven’t tested it yet), recliner, and several sets of shelves. The rooms are cozy even without anything in them. My dorm is also next to a residential area- something which let my friend and I visit a local Haunted House on this past Halloween. We were able to enter despite being strangers, and it was the high point of our holiday~