I am using this blog to tell everyone what I'm thinking and doing beforehand, during and after my exchange year in Finland for 2011.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Day 1 of Karkku

So I am going to try very hard to make myself update my blog, I really love it when I have a completed post but it is a bit of effort to sit down and write them and get the best pictures and then upload all the others but I will try for you all!
So for those that don’t know all the southern hemisphere inbounds for Finland all go to an orientation camp for the first week and we learn Finnish language and culture and do Finnish things! The camp runs till Saturday and then our host families pick us up!

Day 1 of Karkku
We were awoken to one of our tutors banging on the tour telling us to wake up or we will miss breakfast! Breakfast was rice bubbles, rolls with ham, cheese and tomato and two types of porridge. I accidently put buttermilk on my rice bubbles and all the tutors laughed at me! After breakfast we had a bit of time to our selves so Ana, Miki, Sophie and I went for a bit of a walk around the grounds and to take some photos. Everything is so magical here, it is just so hard to explain and my pictures really don’t do it any justice. The snow is the brightest white and the trees are amazing, as most of you have probably heard me say already! We had a quick intro session and we met all the Tutors, most of them are past exchange students so they know exactly how we are feeling! They are all really nice and my groups tutor is Reeta and she went to Germany for her exchange. Then straight on to kahvi time which is coffee for those non-Finns out there. kahvi time is actually in our schedule everyday, kahvi and Pulla is a very important time of the day for Finns. Pulla is a bit like a cinnamon scroll except not quite as soft and much yummier! I love kahvi and pulla time!



My First Photo in Suomi!

Kahvi and Pulla (also chocolate cake)

I got to talk to dad for a bit and sent some emails and photos home, to me it felt like I’d only been gone a day but it was more like 3 especially with the time difference! After computer time we all had a shot at trying the pulkka which is Finnish for sled. This was insanely fun! At first we were just going down the small driveway into the forest but then we moved on to the main driveway into the camp and you actually get quite a bit of speed and it is great fun! Unfortunately I didn’t really get a picture of me on the Pulkka but someone else has one and when I find out who it is, I will post the picture here! So I thought that nothing could get anymore awesome than sliding down the snow on the pulkka but after tea we had to get ready for Sauna! Pronounced Sah-oo-nah by the way, it seems the western world stole the word and then decided they didn’t like how it was said! Anyway Sauna= AWESOME! You get in the sauna and at first it is a bit unpleasant because it is really hot and I mean really hot! We averaged at about 65 degrees, the whole time, after a while it actually feels really nice and you slowly work out how to breathe properly and the feeling that you are being cooked sort of goes away. After you’re all warmed up, you pull your socks on and make a mad dash down the steps and wait your turn to go in the lake. This is outside in the -5 degree cold with only our underwear on! Anyway then you go down the ladder into the lake and just sort of wade around for a bit until it is just way to cold and you scramble out and run as fast as you can back into the sauna to warm back up! The first time I only got up to my knees in the water because it is freezing! Your whole body goes numb! The second time I went all the way up to my shoulders which is as far as you should go because the cold water is very bad for your head. That time felt much nicer because your body is cooling and heating up at the same rate. Hmm I’m not explaining it very well! After a bit somehow we all managed to start a snow fight inside the sauna because there is a bucket of snow that you can rub on yourself if you get a bit hot. It was so fun but very un-Finnish! Saunas are for deep thinking and reflection on the meaning of life, not snow fights and giggles! We all had a good time so we can be proper Finns later!
Towards the end a few of us decided to jump in the snow right after the sauna and that was even colder than the ice because the snow sticks to you and it is a lot more sudden too because with the lake you have to lower your self down whereas the snow is just boom! I think I enjoyed that a bit more than the ice but maybe that’s because the sauna was a lot closer to get back inside afterwards!
The Sauna

After everyone had enough Sauna we all piled into the lounge room and played a few games; Mafia, Charades and wink murder. Then it was off to bed! That night I woke up at 5am because I was still a tiny bit jetlagged which was very annoying but I decided I would use that opportunity to write in my journal so I came out into the lounge and it was snowing outside!!! Only a tiny little bit but it was the first time I’d ever seen it snow, I was a bit devastated though because by the time I’d walked the 10 steps to my room to get my camera, it had stopped! :(

Anyway thus ends my first full day in Finland and was it one of the best days of my life? Yes, yes it very much was!
Day 2 to follow soon!

Some Finnish words you should have learnt
Kahvi – Coffee
Pulla – Finnish Cinnamon Scroll
Pulkka – Sled

Going for a walk

More Trees!

The lake we jumped into

Snow Angels!

So beautiful

Delicious Lunch


Happy Australia Day everyone! We are going to Tampere tomorrow for shopping and a bit of sights seeing! It should be awesome but I doubt it will beat the awesomeness that was tonight. I will post about it soon, I am exhausted! I will probably not get any of my photos uploaded until I get to my host family because the internet here is very slow!

xx Julia


  1. Rotary camps sounds like so much fun, I'm jealous! Glad to hear your first day went well though :)

  2. Loved ready all about Finland, also great photos

  3. Thanks Julia for your great diary / updates... somehow got the link thru FB... I have saved it as a favourite and will enjoy following you.
    Your writing and storytelling is awesome!!! I did an online journal of our last OS holiday and enjoyed doing it!
    Happy Australia day and ENJOY!! looks like a lovely place.
    Josie XX

  4. Rotary camps are the best Sophie! They not often enough though!

    Thanks for reading Nanna xxx

    Thanks Josie, when I get a bit more time to update I will try to be a bit more insightful but for now I enjoy storytelling!
    Happy Aussie day to you too.

  5. Awesome and exciting story to read :) cant wait for more! It makes me wanna go Finland!
    Love Moosh


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