I said goodbye to the Philippines and hopped on a plane to the farthest north I’ve ever gone. Never did I really consider the possibility of traveling to Finland, but I can now say I did.
For five days I was able to travel about and learn more about the Deaf community there and learn about Finnish culture. My mentors/supervisors specifically had meetings to connect with local organizations but also ones such as the World Federation of the Deaf. Very insightful to be able to sit in and “listen” to those conversations.
A definite highlight was being able to stay with Tarja (“Tar-ee-ah”) and learn about both. Think Ikea when you think of her kitchen – so cool and efficient! Plus, I was able to work on ASL some more (and differentiate between FSL and ASL) and talk with her. I know I picked up some Finnish Sign Language as well. She also taught me about saunas. 🙂
I felt very comfortable in Finland. It has a simplistic beauty and calmness to it that made me feel at peace. Some buildings had unique architecture, but others were simple – life seemed more about being outside than in. I also love that public transportation is such that one can travel around by bus, metro or train easily. And thankfully it was spring there so it didn’t feel cold, just cool and comfortable.
One thing I will say, if you are moving overseas it is a tad difficult to make so many stops and switch locations with two suitcases weighing 50 lbs. I have definitely been getting my workout – besides all the walking!
Oh, another highlight? I finally learned Celsius! Figured out the trick to help me remember. Score!