I arrived at the Turku bus station at 12:35pm after my two-hour ride from the Helsinki airport. As soon as I stepped off the bus my student tutor, Sampo, and another American student he was helping, John, were there to meet me. Sampo is Hungarian-Finnish, and spent a semester studying abroad at the University of Vermont so his English is great. Coincidentally, John is also from Texas - originally from Richards, TX and studying psychology at Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, TX. His English is okay, too.
We rode a bus to my apartment so I could drop my bags off before heading to the International Office. On the bus I learned that John had already been in Turku for almost a week, and already knew his way around the city. At first, I was a little bit wary of hanging out with another Texan - fearing that I might miss out on a legitimate Finnish experience, or get too comfortable with what was familiar and not push myself out of my comfort zone. I had nothing to fear, though. I lucked out and John is as interested in all things Finland as I am. He is enthusiastic about learning the language, getting to know natives, and travelling to different regions of the country. Almost immediately I could tell that he had spent as many hours as I had typing "Finland" into YouTube, Google, or Wikipedia - fascinated by this strange place that is about as far from Texas as you can get.
At the apartment, Sampo gave me my keys, showed me my room, and then we were off to the International Office to take care of some business. Here are some pictures of my room and the apartment:
|My unit in the Haliskylä apartment complex - most exchange/international students live here|
|Close-up of the berries in the tree - not sure what kind they are|
|Why do I have a fan? It just might be too well insulated here.|
|The view from my window - the building in the background is the S-Market (grocery store)|
|Two Texans at a Swedish store in Finland - yes, that's John he looks like a Finn!|
|Cockatoo flip-flops for 2 Euro, probably the best purchase of my life|
|The back of S-Market|
|Recycling machines - insert bottles and cans, receive money|
|Not a gallon in sight|
|Took me forever to decipher this one|
|After you check out, insert Euro coins to go double-or-nothing at the arcade-style slot machines...and try to be more successful than John was.|
More to come very soon! Thanks for reading!