It comes with great sadness with which I must inform you that I missed my Sunday deadline last week but under the circumstances, I think you may forgive me. Indulge me whilst I plead my case in the following paragraphs, about my experiences of the past two weeks. Climb abroad my rollercoaster, the tale of Spring Break 2016.
My spring break began with me relaxing for a couple days and catching up on sleep. My mother will also be happy to hear that I spent those first few days cleaning our entire room and bathroom (gross). So, I relaxed on Friday and Saturday after finishing exams and then on Sunday, I hopped on a plane to Turku, Finland, connecting through Stockholm. I arrived in Turku to see my childhood best friend, Elmo, and his mother, Eija, who were there waiting for me. I had not seen them in 7 years and 7 months. Yes, Eija did the math. It was fantastic to see them. Eija took pictures of everything so here’s my arrival into the airport.
I stayed on Elmo’s couch for a couple of days and just really enjoyed Turku. The first night we stayed up late catching up and honestly, it really didn’t seem like it’d been that long since we’d seen each other. There was a fear in the back of my head that it could be awkward. What if he had changed and we didn’t get along anymore? What if I had changed too much and we didn’t get along anymore? but these fears were quickly squashed. It was just like it had always been, except for the fact that we could actually take care of ourselves now.
Elmo and I played hockey twice. As kids, playing hockey in my backyard and in his garage was where you could always find us and it was so much fun to pick up right where we left off. We went to this park in the city of Turku that is converted into a huge sheet of ice during the winter and it was awesome. I borrowed a stick and skates and we went and just had a fantastic time. I met some really cool people this way. Some Finnish kids who played with us, an Australian and Brazilian living in Finland, and a guy playing on the Finnish National Lacrosse team. It only cost two euro to get in and you could stay as long as you wanted. We joked that if we had this rink as kids, we’d be in the NHL right now. We would have been there everyday. Here’s a picture of the HUGE ice ‘rink’, if you can call it that.
I also went to see the sights in Turku. We went to the Cathedral, the Castle, and also wandered around downtown. We stopped for lunch and coffee in between the two and it was amazing. The place was called Tinto and I got a bruschetta-like pizza. It was fantastic and afterward, we went to this little place called Café Art for desert and coffee and it just got even better with an Irish creme cake and some earl grey tea. Both the castle and cathedral were interesting to see because they were similar to the ones in other places around Europe but also just a little bit different with the Scandinavian cultural twist on them. Here are the pictures.
One of the best nights in Turku was on Tuesday when Elmo was hosting an open mic night at a local bar. He put my name on the list and I got to perform a couple songs in Turku in front of quite a few people. It was the beginning of my world tour… and also the end. It was so much fun and the video is below. I hadn’t picked up a guitar since I had left for Switzerland so it’s not perfect but it was still so much fun and I met some amazing people that night.
Unfortunately, After three days, it was time for me to move on. I left Turku Wednesday afternoon and headed to Amsterdam. It was a great three days and I can’t wait to see Elmo and Eija again and it was great to finally see the Finland I’d heard them talk about since I was a little kid. Thank you, Eija and Elmo, for having me. Here are the pictures from that last day.
I spent one day in Amsterdam with my current roommate Jake. We had an awesome three-floor apartment for the night above a tattoo shop. I didn’t get to do much but it was such a beautiful city. I just rode the tram around and admired its beauty. I attempted to take photos from the tram window but they didn’t really come out. So below are the good photos I got. The train station was also incredible.
From Amsterdam I took a train to Paris and then a train to Bordeaux where I stayed with a friend who’s studying abroad there and she actually lived with a host family which was very exciting and they were so nice to take me in for a couple days. The host family spoke nothing but French so it was fun to try my best to only communicate in French. I did ok. I will say that her French is so much better than mine though. Her and I had a great time. We went to a wine museum that included a wine tasting at the end of the visit, visited some historical museums, did a short pub crawl, and saw her favorite spots in the city. Bordeaux was beautiful and I really did love it. I also ate soooo much food because it was so much cheaper there then in Geneva and plus, it was French food. I couldn’t resist. It was a smaller, cleaner, warmer, friendlier, Paris! Here are the pictures.
After that my spring break was over and I hopped aboard a train back to Geneva. I got back to Geneva around dinner time and headed back home to my clean room and got ready to begin work the next day.
So for a week and one day, I have been a research intern at Green Cross International (as I indicated in my last post) and it’s good so far! I’ve met some pretty cool people and the topics I’m covering (Arctic Security, Climate Security, Sustainable Economic Development) are very interesting and important to our future here on our fragile planet. The articles I’m writing are being peer-reviewed by experts in the field that my bosses know and will be published by Green Cross to serve as briefs on the issues they are working on. I work there with another guy from BU and we have our own office and a Mac computer. The hours are 9-5 Monday through Wednesday and Friday (We have our one class on Thursdays). There’s free coffee and tea and we have an hour for lunch everyday. I honestly feel like an adult for the first time in my life. I’m not sure how I feel about that part.
That’s it for now! I’ll get back to my schedule this upcoming Sunday! Tchao for now.
P.S. Check out Eija’s chalkboard where she puts her work schedule. Do you think she was excited that I was coming?