Monday, 21 February 2011


Thursday night, I stayed up again, night was clear but no northern lights....

Friday, was -30C again and I caught the bus to the city to get the train back to Tampere for the weekend. The train was one hour and 30 minutes late. It should of been arriving in Tampere when it left. Tired, I got to Tampere with Eero waiting in the car park. He saw me the car park was so full I couldn't see the car. We went to Jouko and Kati's and we ate. I gave Jouko my newly expanded allergy list. Looked out for the Lights again but saw nothing was cloudy. Disappointed I was told they are quite common to be seen here even as far south as Tampere especially in the autumn. So content I will wait until then!!

Saturday, Eero took me to allermiina my old allergy friend shop! and it served me well though with the new extended allergies containing soy and nuts, it made life very hard! We found me some juices, sweets and biscuits and a small amount cost a small fortune! Then we went to ideapark, I forgot what we were looking for, nothing I suppose! We went to see the new glasses Eero will be getting to check if they were still good! They were but not his normally choice but I think they look good! Then we went to Kirti's to say hei and eat some of my allergy friendly foods.

Sunday, we went to help Elisa and Joni move house their new apartment in the city in soooo beautiful! It makes it a sad day to live in rental apartments where there is no point painting walls and such! Then we went for the train, Eero sat with me to wait. Weekend was great. Tampere was a lot warmer than JYV is.

I can't wait to move back to Tampere even though it won't be until Summer or Winter 2012.

Thursday, 17 February 2011

Cold as hell

Nothing much has happened this week though it has been the normal busy. After the allergist, I got my new medication and Epi-pen, the joys of stupid allergies. Then it got cold... Wednesday -32C and Thursday -35C... both days I walked to school and back dressed in ski wear to keep warm. It has been so beautiful so I didn't mind it being cold as the sun was out!

Monday, Christine saw the Northern Lights in Jyväskylä and ever since we have been watching for them to come back. They are predicting they should be visible 15-17 February. I stayed up all Tuesday night and into Wednesday morning, gave up at 2am, got up at 4.30am to make Eero a drink before he left for work, then got an hours sleep and got up for school. Bad idea I was exhausted by the end and annoyed I hadn't seen anything!

Wednesday night, Britta and Christine came to our place and we watched the internet sites until midnight for any magnetic activity, for this expected second solar wind. There was nothing. So disappointed we wait again tonight with still hope in our hearts to see this again!

Going to Tampere tomorrow by train! Whoohooo, so excited to be going home for the weekend!

Kielikampusseminaari - Työelämän kielet ja kielikoulutuspolitiikka

My first public speaking in front of 150 people. I decided to use no notes at all but speaking in front of so many people is scary! though i still managed to speak! haha!

Here is the link to our little talking experience. Video from Jyväskylä University

This day was one of the best experience's in my life! I am excited about getting the chance to do this again and improve my speaking a little better =)I am sure I don't sound like that though. On the plus side I have slowed down my public speaking as all people has English as at least a second language.

Yay i'm still proud =) We did great! I am forever in debit to Marlen for this chance! x

Wednesday, 16 February 2011

Kielikampus - TV

Why Study Languages Video by Dr. Marlen Harrison

OK, so Marlen asked us to speak for around a minute about why learning languages are important. I appear to be the only one that spoke for a minute and we didn't prepare anything before hand and were waiting to go for dinner hehe =) next is Jenny then Britta. It is great and sooo funny =)

Tuesday, 15 February 2011

Allergist in Finland

Ok, so I know I have allergies but UK tests were not as extensive as these tests today.

My new list of allergy pollens, food and animals is: dog (I don't believe it and it means we aren't getting a damn puppy), timothy grass, birch pollen, alder pollen, soya,sunflower oil, pine nuts, flax, peanuts, hazelnuts, almonds, potatoes, carrots, swede, celery, parsnip, garlic, onions, tomatoes, banana, peppers, cardamom and mustard...

Peanut and hazelnut are quite bad and I have been told to watch for "free from signs" at least my only eating certain foods and making as much at home as possible saved me from finding that out the hard way!

Still, I have a more extensive list to work around now!! let the games begin!

Hyvää ystävänpäivää kaikille! Happy Friend's Day everyone!

In Finland 14th February is Friend's Day. I love this far more Valentine's Day. I'm not really much into commercial events which single out and depress large numbers of people. Nor do I need a day to know Eero loves me or to tell him I love him. He's told often enough. But still it was nice that Eero worked from home so I got to see him and around 4pm he came to meet me in city. But I do like the romance theme fortunately Eero is romantic most of the time, so I'm lucky! my allergies also force him to get imaginative!

We went glasses shopping for him which is not as much fun as girl glasses shopping. I did enjoy it though and I love that he wanted me to look with him. Few hours later we walked home. I also converted my driver's license to a Finnish one that I get within a month! YAY!

I saw photos of Zara and Sienna last night and was bemused by Sienna being a "mini me" of Paul. Still waiting for another picture of Alex. =)

On the night of the 14th, the Northern Lights were visible in Jyväskylä and I went to bed at 11pm to get some sleep for the allergist today!!! Photos of Northern Lights They are meant to be visible now until the 17th here so a few late late nights!!

Saturday, 12 February 2011

Very Productive Days

So there next conference I have applied to speak at is Jyväskylä's own international conference. This is an exciting wait to see if I get in! Conference itself is 6 to 9th June.

I have also spent a few hours updating my CV, writing a cover letter for summer work, then another for summer school. I have applied for Summer School at Jyväskylä but we don't find out until June. If I do get then it's only a week from the 15th August and it has a field trip and an exam. The downside is it's a competitive course as there are only 50 spaces! We will see, I am quite lucky this year.

I also applied for summer work, the company will remain nameless for a while but I only applied to one company. For as restrictive as it is, it's a leading company so I just thought aim for the top. I would love to get a place there as it could be a great lead for future employment but we will see! Choices for that are confirmed in April.

We are also buying a new funky camera as I don't like the one I brought to move here with. Eero has agreed that I can spend a fair bit of money on getting a professional camera!!! Alas, I am a little annoying that currently the company won't send to Finland so this gives me an extra shipping cost to get it sent to here and the camera isn't cheap. ho hum... I need to ask Dean if he will check it works and the ship it to me.

Also waiting for the last few books I ordered. I have also found some learn Swedish and Russian audio Cd's that I really want but first I must finish learning Finnish.

I have done so much yesterday and today that now we get to go a walk into city, hopefully I can get some good photos on route!!

Oh yeah Friday morning in Jyväskylä -29C!! unfortunately this cold snap is hanging around for at least next week! But it does make the scenery so beautiful!

Thursday, 10 February 2011

Meeting the Finnish Minister of Education, KieliKampus

This was a hugely important meeting for plans to turn Seminaarimäki campus into a language campus for JYU. We also got a keyring from it (so shiny) that now hangs proudly from my keys. The audience contained faculty staff, directors and government official's even the Finnish Minister of Education! Marlen asked us to speak to explain how his courses benefited our degrees and how the language school benefited us. WE were the ONLY students there just the three of us, it was such a great honour to asked, I am still in a little bubble!

I don't know much about the other two students but I quote from "Jenni Kankaanpää, a 3rd year psychology student from Finland who performed photographic auto-ethnography in order to examine self-esteem and body image discussed the recent acceptance of her research into the European Federation of Psychology Students Associations Annual Congress while Otto Tuomela, a 4th year philosophy student from Finland discussed his qualitative investigation of secondary school philosophy students' attitudes towards religious education. Both Jenni and Otto will also work as Course Assistants in Marlen's 2011 Academic Writing, Reading & Communication classes, mentoring future student researchers. Kate Warren of England discussed how her research on UK recycling policies and practices (as part of Marlen's Critical Info Management/Professional Writing course) has prepared her for her Masters thesis in Renewable Energy. All three students will have their work showcased during a poster presentation at the internationally-attended New Dynamics in Language Learning conference in Jyväskylä, Finland in June, 2011."

The other possible bonus after that were being asked to talk at the International Conference again in June is that we may be going to Helsinki to repeat the presentation for the Ministry of Education. Exciting times! Though I really can't thank Marlen enough for this opportunity, let or lone the addition of new skills for my CV. This has all been an excellent experience that is far from over yet. It is also all in time to look good when my Master's thesis options start in September. Good times.

After the presentations were over we went to an after party which was excellent, all the champagne you could drink and lovely food. Alas I couldn't eat or drink either but I still had two guys making sure I had water and fussing over what I could have. It was a great night and the networking opportunities have been fantastic. We left just before 7pm, I missed the bus so had to walk home in minus 15C, I was cold but so excited it didn't matter, one bit!

Then of course I had to call mom and dad then my grandparents... everyone was so proud and what we had done with the other chances it has given to us.

It was funny though the day before I had my seminar presentation on front of 9 people and I was so nervous... the next day I had to talk to 150 people about the use of learning Finnish as a foreigner and how the critical information management course has been useful in preparation for my mater's thesis and currently my seminar review.

Marlen told us that today people are still talking about us and the presentation. This is just outstanding proof that Marlen is an excellent teacher, who pushes you hard, that's not a bad thing though it benefits us most but I think at conferences like this it's always good to praise the people who deserve it most!

I am forever thankful to Marlen for asking me!

All photos from Marlen's collection

Wednesday, 9 February 2011

School, school and erm school

Basically, my every waking minute has been put into working for school, so many modules, well 3 of them in fact end in next 2 weeks and one ended 7th February so there has been so much work to do to make sure assignments, essays, presentations and exam preparation was done and is being done. I don't think the one exam I sat will do much good as I didn't have much time to put into it but I passed along with 11 others and 19 failed so I am happy that even those odds are good!

Finnish course is going well and I am becoming more confident though still a little scared of making mistakes and sounding like an idiot. Today someone gave me great advice about making mistakes while speaking is the best way to learn so maybe I will try that now! worst thing that can happen is no one understands and I go back to English. Someone else also gave me some advice as not to let the Finns know you are a native English speaker as they will want to practice English destroying any chance of practising my Finnish... that conference on languages was great... more details in a later post!

I have my 16 page seminar to write, exam Monday, work due Friday and lots of odds and ends I need to sort out and finalise. I know this will all be worth it in the end and I am very grateful for what what life is giving me at the moment.

Last night I had a nasty allergy think it was to the yoghurt I had been eating.

Tuesday was my seminar presentation, I have never given a Research Presentation before so I was a little nervous and hoped that what I had to present was correct and that I knew what I was on about. I was nervous and it showed I couldn't keep still... there were only 7 of us and 2 lecturers. Funny thing is I was not aware then that Wednesday I would be giving a presentation to 150 important people!

I sent mom and dad a 20kg parcel of cakes, biscuits and sweets to distribute among the family as a thank you gift for all the help, support, letters, chocolate and even cat sitting that happens to make my life easier. Nan and Granddad, Paul, Dean, Mom, Dad, uncle Law and aunty Hilda and my "in my eyes" aunt and uncle Roz and Jim... I don't know if she gave anyone else anything!

I called home yesterday and spoke to dad for 25 minutes who appears to have been showing off to mom that he knows things she doesn't about their holiday here later in the summer, my life and other things.

I also went to the dentist last week to make sure this vitamin deficiency has stopped affecting my teeth, it appears to have been caught in time not to have done much damage and I am having a professional clean end of February to remove most of the damage which isn't really visible, xray didn't raise much concern so that's something. However, they are removing my pain in the ass wisdom tooth and the others as a precaution. Bryan if you read this or Dean or Paul, don't tell nan that I am having more than one out as she will worry to much and I don't need to be stressed that they are worrying themselves into an early grave! and its precaution not urgent must something I choose to take. I got a new super duper tooth brush on the way too!

Allergist is Tuesday too, I'm excited and scared at the same time. I am reacting to a lot of things but I am nervous that these things will be hard to find and the problems will continue... I just want to be normal!

Tuesday, 1 February 2011

Learning to Ice Skate

The end of last week just turned into a crazy blur so much to for school and as normal deadlines are all for the same time. I am however coping but some days are so frustrating when I work and work and then as the "things completed" list grows so does the "things to do" list... ahhh but it is all worth the struggle at least!

So I have never skated before, we once went to a birthday party when I was around 12 which was at a skating rink, however we didn't skate just walked around holding the edges. Much to Eero's bemusement that I had never learnt to skate, one of his favourite pass times. He agreed to teach me, then agreed to teach Jenny and even Britta (but she could skate better so didn't need a hockey stick to start).

I was happy with my progress, I expected to fall on my ass repeatedly and didn't. I started with two hockey stick and ended up with none also letting Eero pull me around with a hockey stick at one point, bemused how he can skate so quickly going backwards and concentrating so hard on not falling on my face or locking my legs. Entertainment and somewhat addictive. I now wait impatiently for Eero to come home on Friday so as we can go skate again. I plan to be skating on the lake very soon before it melts and becomes the lake again!

Britta has a few photos of us skating so I will put on here when she uploads them. Britta and Jen also got to see Eero's show off skating which was loved and envied by all lol

Now I must go shop, carry on working and go to school later tonight =)