"A year is so long!"- Everyone
Well it's not... The weirdest thing to me is the fact that I am actually physically leaving this country. Not in nine months or six months, no, in ONE month. Actually forty-four days to be precise. I remember it feeling not so long ago when I was informing people back in the states that I would be returning in a larger amount of time. Soon I will no longer be dead to the people of my community. Actually funny enough some people didn't even know I was gone... Surprise!
Having around a month left has really given me the mindset to reflect and also nervously feel like I need to do EVERYTHING in this time I have left. I still feel like I have things I need to do and/or accomplish before I go. Don't get me wrong, I have done so much and have learned more then I thought in this one year. Yet, I have the haunting feeling like I need to do more.
This year has forced me to crawl out of my cozy burrow of comfort and embrace the world (cold world) around me. I have done more than I can count that has taken me full force out of my comfort zone. While doing that I hope I have pulled others out of their comfort zones as well.
Being an American in Finland is such an interesting experience since the social culture here is so different. I'm loud, annoying and I love to talk where as Finnish people are pretty much the exact opposite. I've had to learn to censor and calm myself down a bit to 1. make friends and 2. actually be able to become part of the culture around me.
I think one of the best things that Finnish conversation has taught me is that, you don't have to have it. Finns treasure their silence and don't care if there is a lull in conversation. There is no awkward silence when people sit quietly and it happens so frequently that I've learned to grow out of my awkward shell. I love the feeling of just being ok to sit with someone and not have the pressure to always be speaking.
This exchange has really helped me add more dimensions to my personality and open up new realizations about me as a person. Finland, Finnish people, and their culture have taught me so much about the world and about myself. I didn't even know being here would teach me all I know now. I am beyond grateful for this exchange.
With a month left to go I hope I can cram as much information and experience into my head as I possibly can. It's weird to think about how it has been almost a year since I came here. It has been almost a year since I received news about being with my beautiful host family. It has been almost a year and I'm almost coming home.
The Sappy American,