Archive | October, 2012

58: Mr Toripollisi

28 Oct

Poor guy looks cold in the snow!

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58: Oulun Yliopisto

28 Oct

I haven’t posted many pictures of the campus, and none of the interior, so I’m using that as an excuse to put my essays aside for a little while.

Oulu University website tells me that it was founded in 1958 and currently has around 15, 500 students. There are 400 incoming exchange students and 350 outgoing, which is a lot! during orientation they said that this year was the most international students that they’d ever had.

 

 

These are dotted all about the campus – you can leave your coat, free of charge, for the day. It’s a great idea, but I admit I haven’t been brave enough to do it yet, in case my coat gets accidentally  picked up by someone else! (this happened to a friend of mine last week, he got it back eventually though!)

 

This is the are next to the main restaurant, it’s a handy place to meet people. The grey screen is a touch screen device which shows you what’s going on in the city in the week.

 

Most of the signs have Finnish and English ^^

 

Chess, anyone?

 

This place does the best coffee (in my opinion) but don’t go there at lunch, it’s manic!

 

Coat racks and day lockers.

 

Pegasus library

 

Cute, aren’t they? I’d love one for my bedroom.

Pegasus library has three floors, computers rooms, study desks, silent study areas, a reading room and…

 

… this little gem. All the free newspapers and magazines you could want to read. Brilliant!

As campuses go, this one is pretty nice. And it’s all connected, so once you’re inside you don’t need to go back out to get to another class =)

Hope everyone has had/is having a nice weekend!

 

 

56: Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let It Snow…

26 Oct

So I haven’t got much to say about this week except that, as week’s go, it was bad. Perhaps my worst since I’ve been here in Oulu.

However, after a couple of days of watching Gilmore Girls, eating chocolate and generally being very soft on myself I was cheered up by the snow! It’s like it came just for me (at least that’s what I’m telling myself!)

 

 

 

 

 

52: Phew!

22 Oct

Okay, okay, okay, I am a BAD blogger. It has been nearly two weeks since my last blog, BUT I have an excuse.

Largely my time has been taken up with classes, lunching, essays and studying at home! I have managed to have a little fun too though.

Here’s what I’ve been up to, in pictures =)

A trip to Oulanka National Park, two days of hiking, delicious Finnish food and fun with my classmates. It was a great experience and I got to spend a lot of time with people who I have classes with daily but never get the chance to chat to. It’s a very beautiful place that I would highly recommend to everyone!

Oulanka was followed by a trip to Pannukakkutalo for some yummy yummy pancakes =) I had reindeer and smoke cheese for dinner and banana and caramel for dessert. Delicious!

The weather turned from this….

…. to this, within the space of a weekend.

I also met my kummi mother for a trip to the local art gallery which was great (although I forgot my camera so I didn’t get a chance to take any pictures!) and the cake was amazing!

This weekend I went to a very international pop quiz at my friend’s apartment, where I spent some time with friends and made a couple of new ones. Yesterday I tried macaroni casserole at my Finnish friend’s house, it was great!

Now I have to face a ton of essays (I’m currently working on five, with another three or so to follow) but it’s autumn break this week so hopefully I will have more time to write.

Hei hei!

39: The Irish Festival and Rovaniemi

9 Oct

I have been awfully neglectful of my blog in the last week. I’ve been so busy here – trying to study, socialise, live, sleep, eat… one of them has to go, I’m sure of it. While I’m enjoying every second of my time here it’s hard to get time to stop, or even slow down. 

Last week saw the Irish Festival come to Oulu, the most northern celebration of Irishness that exists, so I’m told. And they seem very proud of this fact here in Oulu. I began by seeing the Swedish band ‘Turas’ play at Bar Hemingway in the city centre. The relatively small (but incredibly cosy) bar was packed come 9pm and the band was bang on time to start. They played lively Irish jigs and one of the group sang a Irish song alone – a brave feat in front of so many. The Guinness tasted great and flowed from the tap and during the second half a number of students demonstrated their skills for Irish dancing. We finished the night with an ever-so-slightly tipsy bike ride home in the drizzle that’s fixed itself over the city.

Friday night we caught the movie ‘One Hundred Mornings‘ at the Valve Cultural Centre, another hidden gem (for me, anyway). A very intimate cinema sits on the second floor, which was packed for the showing. A dark, edgy, though-provoking movie, ‘One Hundred Mornings’ didn’t disappoint. Almost at the other end of the spectrum was ‘Parked’, the movie that was showing Saturday night. It was sold out and I could understand why. It was a hilarious, inspiring and slightly melancholy story about a homeless man who was living in his car. The acting was top-notch, the actors brilliantly cast. 

Not content with my extra-curricular activities of the week I decided to join my groups of friends in a trip to Rovaniemi on Sunday. We left at 7.55am and reached the town around 10.30. The train was comfortable, roomy and on time – the opposite of British trains. I love the landscape of Finland. We stopped for a few minutes next to this place:

One of the girls we were with began squawking: ‘Why are you taking pictures? It’s so ugly!’

I couldn’t believe it! These settlements dotted the railway line, places of life and of work; real people live here and work to survive and that is what makes it beautiful. It’s not dressy or fancy, but it’s a brilliant example of survival, planning, sturdiness and determination. Everywhere at the moment we see these huge piles of logs where people are preparing for the winter and gathering the supplies to help them through it.

We arrived at Rovaniemi and visited the library which housed a small art exhibition of Sami art. it was very beautiful and thought provoking, but everyone was keen to get to ‘Santa’s Village’ – which has reminded me that I must go to the art gallery in town and soak up some culture next week. 

Santa’s Village was a little disappointing, I have to say. Maybe our expectations were too high. It was pretty, yes, and there were lots of shops with quaint little gifts and cheesy Christmas decorations, and beautiful hand-crafted bowls and the suchlike. There were many cafes and places to eat and the buildings were all made of rustic wood, but that was really all there was to it. We met Santa and he was a neat guy, he let my friend hug him and another was allowed to touch his beard, but that was the highlight and it was over in about ten minutes. 

We went back to the city centre and hiked up a nearby hill – the name of which I have forgotten but which I will look up. It was most hilly area I have seen in Oulu thus far, and it was beautiful. There was a brilliant lookout tower near the top (I think, we didn’t actually go any further) which gave us a great view over the city. After this we headed back to town and sat in (another) Bar Hemingway until it was time for our train. I managed to practice my Finnish that day and think I did pretty well, and we had a great laugh. We were all shattered by the time we got home and had to cycle home in the rain, but it was a great experience.

Here are some more pictures from the day:

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Hopefully this post has  not been too lazy! Admittedly it has been written in haste, and whilst I’m supposed to be working on a presentation and an exam for tomorrow. I will do better next time!

In the meantime, have a good week =)

32: Kummi Family

2 Oct

Well my kummi family were lovely, the day went well – despite my nerves! Kummi means ‘godmother’ or ‘godfather’ and we also have a ‘kummi’ student who helps us move in and settle into Oulu. While I have only seen mine twice other people have gone on trips with their kummi and meet up regularly for activities.

My ‘kummi mother’ picked me up from my apartment and took me to her daughter’s place downtown. They were both really friendly and we chatted and got to know each other a little. Her apartment is great, very spacious and modern, I was quite envious!

Then we went to their family home, just me and the mother, and met her husband and two cats. We sat down to an afternoon tea together and it was great, she had made so much food – blueberry pie, reindeer meat rolls, cloudberry compote with leipajuusto, it was delicious. We chatted for a good few hours and talked about the place and my hometown and my interests, and drank lots of cups of coffee.

My ‘kummi father’ dropped me off at my apartment and I said farewell. We haven’t any definite plans but we have discussed the idea of ice-fishing and baking together which will be nice.

With all my extra energy from the copious amounts of coffee I went for a brief bike ride to a nearby lake. My camera doesn’t do the colours justice, but it was beautiful.

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