Tuesday, May 22, 2018

15 Weeks of Happiness

I recently read Gretchen Rubin's The Happiness Project, which makes me about 9 years behind the curve (it was published in 2009). I really enjoyed her strategic, chart making, planned way in which she approached making herself more mindful of the things that were important to her. It's a great guide and outline, even if not all of the same things are likely to make you happy. For example, I don't have a marriage I want to work on, but I have friendships I'd like to more intentionally maintain.

This Happiness Project does not need to start at any particular time in the year, but this is a rather awkward one. So instead of trying to do a whole year long project, I'm devoting the next 15 (now 14) weeks of my time left in the U.S. to focus on the things that really matter to me. I've created a loose list of things that I want to work on, but I'm choosing the theme of each week at the end of the week before. That way it has some flexibility to match my schedule and available time for the week. For now I'll commit to this week and next week's themes.

Week 1: More Sweat, Less Sweet (eat less sugar, exercise more)
Week 2: Face your fears (write something others can read)
Week 3: Getting Crafty (restore my love for making things)

Week one went well, but didn't have clearly enough defined goals. I've really been negligent about maintaining an exercise routine, and I've also really developed quite the sugar tooth post Malaysia. Last week I went running 3 times which is more frequently than I have since last September when I was training for a half marathon. I don't know how well I did on the less sweet resolution, I still ate quite a lot of sugar. But I think I avoided some things due to this goal and that's a win in my mind. This week I've been better at avoiding sugar than running. I'm pretty burnt out with running, and should really think about finding a different form of exercise I'm more motivated to practice.

This week is all about facing my fears. In month 3 of her project, Gretchen starts a blog. Now she's a professional writer, which I am not. But one thing I learned last year from my time in Malaysia is that I really do enjoy writing when I have something to write about. I looked forward to my monthly reflections (some of which I may pull from the archives and share here one day).

During college writing was such a stressful endeavor, something that worried me about pursuing further studies. I never had enough time to think about what I wanted to write, but instead forced myself into finding anything that would help me to meet the arbitrary deadlines that semesters provide. Learning doesn't always happen on that time line, but you cannot wait to write until you have the perfect idea.

In yesterday's post I talked more about the anxieties I have about writing. I am a very deliberative person, and for that reason writing can be good. But it also means that I cannot self correct immediately if I make a mistake. Writing is vulnerable, a position I don't like to be in if I can avoid it. So for this week I'm facing my fears, and making writing this blog a daily resolution. After this week I hope to continue, although I won't commit to this frequency of posts.

Next week's theme is Get Crafty! I used to knit and crochet as my primary creative outlet. Attending my university's knitting club was the #1 thing I looked forward to each week. But now I haven't finished a project since December, and before that it was a year. I've got a big t-shirt yarn project in mind, so I'm hoping to take the time and work on that.

More tomorrow!

Monday, May 21, 2018

Six Years Later I'm Heading Back to Finland

Wow, it's been six years since my last post. My exchange student adventure ended shortly after that post (eight weeks if you were paying attention) and I haven't been a high school exchange student in Finland since. Let's get you up to speed on my life:

2012- Return from Finland. Begin school at Hamline University.

2013- Started taking Finnish classes at the University of Minnesota. Worked the summer at Salolampi, a Finnish Language Camp in Bemidji, Minnesota.

2014- Interned for the summer at the Halonen Museum Foundation in Lapinlahti, Finland.

2015 Spent spring semester at the American University in Bulgaria for my university study abroad. Returned to do summer research in Economics on Pyramid Schemes.

2016- Graduated and earned my B.A. in Economics and Philosophy. Worked odd jobs in preparation for my year in Malaysia.

2017-Taught English at SMK Seri Berang in Kuala Berang, Malaysia.

2018- Work at Hamline University as the Coordinator of Civic Engagement and the Hamline to Hamline Collaboration

So why am I reviving it now? Why not just leave it in the depths of the internet where it surely belongs?

I'm going back to Finland!

Starting in September I will begin a two years Masters in Economics at Hanken School of Economics in Helsinki, Finland. I'm incredibly excited about this opportunity to further my studies and return to a country that means so much to me. I'll be living in Helsinki for two years, and maybe longer if I have my way.

Instead of starting a new blog to capture my adventures, this seems like a perfect time to revive my old one and reconnect with my original love of Finland. I'm reviving this blog as a way to face my fears. I really want to improve as a writer, but I hate the feeling of others reading my thoughts without any way to control the way they're interpreted. At the same time, I love reading the blogs that so many of my friends write. If they're brave enough to do it, I am going to give blogging another try as well. If you go back and read my past posts, keep in mind that I was 18 at the time. I've changed a lot in the last six years.

Last order of business: the name of my blog. This blog will no longer be solely about Finland, and thus I feel like "From Minnesota to Finland" is a little limiting and unidirectional. Please comment below with your suggestions of a new blog name.


Wednesday, May 2, 2012

8 weeks and I wish I was counting up

 Yesterday May 1st was Vappu, the Finnish work holiday, but also marked the eight week countdown until my return home. I'm going to release some cliches here, but it feels like yesterday when I came to Finland, and yet it feels as though I have lived here forever. I'm not sure when it happened, but at one point I just started to feel like this was normal, this is home, instead of the beginning when it was all just a vacation for me.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Vanhojen Tanssi

So, if anyone reads this blog anymore, even though I pathologically lie about my intentions to update it, and you want to see some Finnish Culture in action, read on! Tomorrow at 7:00p.m. Finnish time ( or 11:00 a.m. Minnesota time) I will be dancing in the Finnish old time dance. You can watch it online if you would like to at this link mms://video1.edu.kuopio.fi:8080/iisalmi_live/iisalmi_live
If that is something you would be interested in doing, and you have no life enabling you to sit around and watch finns dance to strange music, you are welcome to it. I am also singing with a group of girls in the beginning, luckily my singing is better than my dancing. Hopefully that is true, otherwise invest in earplugs.

Sunday, January 22, 2012


Today is the first election for the next Finnish President. Now for all of my American readers, you are thinking "First?". Yes, first. The way that Finland narrows down their presidential candidates is far less confusing than the ever baffling caucus system. Here is how it works. The eight political parties, yes eight, choose their candidates. Then today the Finnish people vote for their favorite. Now if one of the candidates gets more than half of the votes today, he/she is the next president of Finland. However, because this hardly ever happens, the candidates with the top two percentages of votes run against each other in a second election which is two weeks from now.
The Finnish Presidential Candidates
Now as you notice with every country, most of them are old men. Now this is true, but what makes it cool is that there is actually women, and one of the old men is gay. I think the level of acceptance in Finland is what puts it ahead of so many other countries. Now the favorite seems to be Sauli Niinistö, but Pekka Haavisto is also suprisingly popular, considering his sexual orientation would turn a whole party of Americans against him. I am waiting now with my host parents to find out who wins, as they shut down the polling stations in 10 minutes. I will post more about the second rounds later, but I am super excited to watch this.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Stockholm and Helsinki

So over fall break, only about three months ago, I went to Stockholm and Helsinki with my first Host family. It is a very common thing for Finns to take a cruise ship to Sweden or Estonia for a day and then come back. It was my first experience on a cruise ship, and also a good way to know I really don't ever care to travel that way again. I didn't get sea sick, but my host father and sister did. Stockholm was a really pretty city, and the old part was what I think of when I think Europe. It was a really long time ago now so I don't really have any sly comments about anything. Instead I am just going to post some of the pictures I took of the trip.

Apology for 3 months

I'm sorry to all the people who want to know what is going on with my life. I'd like to say that I've just been so busy in the last three months that I haven't had time to blog, but that would be an obvious lie. I guess part of me just wanted to ignore the outside world in hopes that if I didn't tell others about my experience in Finland it would last forever. Now I am near the halfway point and am trying to accept that this won't last forever. In the next couple of days/ weeks I'm going to try to post some information about different experiences I have been having and things that I have been doing. I'll end this short post with a bit of what I have been doing. I made this movie in my art class with my best German friend Lena. In case you haven't seen the original this is based off of go to http://www.youtube.com/ and search for the one semester of spanish love song. I'm sorry this is in Finnish, but I can give you a translation if you would like.