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Published: January 27th 2008
So this journal entry is the beginning of my LONGEST week in Finland. I bussed (is that a word?) to Turku this morning at 8:20 and met Rick at his host grandmoters flat. We hung around the city at a couple coffee shops, then went to search for some jeans. We both got our "American hug fill" then chased the pidgions in the centrum. My host parents came by to pick me up at 12:35ish and the traveling began. It was snowing the entire ride to Helsinki, where we stopped at a Hesburger for lunch around 2. I almost the entire way (it was wonderful) then we arrived in Lappeenranta around 6. We drove to my Hanna Aiti's aunt and uncle's house, said hello, unloaded the car, then I went and put my snow pants on. It was dark out, there was 10 cm of snow, and I was ready to play! Hanna Aiti followed me outside with her camera as I ran around the park, making snow angels, and doing summer saults! I was COVERED in snow. I ran across the park making a squiggly line, then back creating a figure eight. Hanna went inside to visit, so I started
into the snow to make an angel!
my Lummiukki (snow man). The snow was perfect for building, so I made one tall snowman then one of those snowball candle things! My host great aunt gave me two slices of carrot for eyes, then the rest for the nose. The nose wasn't pointy enough, so I had to eat a little bit.....haha ok... Anyway Hanna came outside and took some pictures, then I hurried inside to sauna then shower! We had a fantastic Finnish dinner with potatoes, fish, salad, and cookies and cake for dissert! The next morning we woke at 9, ate breakfast then piled into the Mercedes to tour the city! My host great uncle brought us to the Hotel on the Russian boarder in Imatra, the old water channel and the new one, the Imatran Kylpyla (Imatran Spa Hotel), and the city of Imatra. Then we drove to the Russian boarder...what an adventure. All the cars around had Russian liscense plates, and many had totally black tinted windows. It was all very interesting. The trains that passed across the boarder were polluting the air like crazy, and the look of the train somehow fit Russia's current political situation. Every sign and ALL the advertisements as
passed were in Russian! I had NO idea what was going on, OHHHH and to top it off the GPS system in the car was yelling at us in GERMAN!!!! (yes, my host great uncle speaks German) It was very funny...after only a half hour in the car I knew the words: "Left, Right, Now, 500 Meters, U-turn, and Stop!!!!" 😊 We couldn't cross the boarder, even just for a second, because Russia isn't part of the European Union, so anyone crossing needs a visa, even for ONE day!!!! But, get this, the Russians can come to Finland whenever they want, AND THEY DO! At all these Christmas sales I'm ALWAYS hearing Russian! They are everywhere! I've actually never talked to a Russian....well I dont think I have, but their relationship in general isn't very good with the Finnish people, so at the Imatran Spa Hotel Finnish people wont be found because all the Russians come to stay there. I went there. 😊 I walked in to "admire" all the fur coats, fake eyelashes and nails, and very "make-uped" women around. We headed back towards Lappeenranta and on the way we passed a big frozen lake COVERED in ice fishers!
The most BEAUTIFUL...
i loved it!
It was rather amusing to see all these people seated over little holes in the ice holding poles, but it looked like fun! We also went to the fort at Lappeenranta, way on top of a hill, where there are some VERY old buildings and a cute little church! There is also this famous piece of wood from the 18th century that was said to be found floating down the hill because there was so much blood. Its from the Iso Viha war in 1721 when Sweden had to give up part of Finland to Russia. We headed home after that, and on the way passed the Kimi Raikkonen go cart track!!! We hung out at home for a couple hours after that, eating lunch, watching the Makihypy (Ski Jumping), and my host great uncle gave me a yo-yo, which, yes....litttle kid that I am, kept me busy for an hour. haha. I figured out some sweet tricks! 😊 ok...we had tea time at 3 ish then drove to the ice rink where Matilda's synchronized skating competition was going on!!! Matilda skates for the VG (Naantali) Sun City Synchro team! They are amazing! Synchro skating is such a fun thing
to watch! The music and dance and its ALL on ice skates!!! They Sun City Synchro theme this year was snow or winter...I'm not really sure, but they skated to "Walking in the Air" from the Christmas film "The Snowman". It was fabulous, and they got 4th place!!!! I gave Muppe some peanut butter and jelly sandwhiches I made for her bus ride home with the team! After congradulating her we all got back into the car and drove 5 hours home!
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