Notes for students coming back to Finland for the Holidays Traffic You’d think getting used to the direction of the traffic takes time. It doesn’t. However, it’s impossible not to feel awkwardly surprised when a driver slows down to let you cross the street – whatever people say, cars and pedestrians are still pretty equal in Helsinki.
City centre Yes, it’s only been a few months. And yes, there are only minor changes. Why does it feel like you’re watching a movie from a few years back?
Light Even if the day is nearly as inadequate out there as it is in Southern Finland, the eternal grey clouds that land on the latter sometime in November make conditions seem just that much worse.
Nutrition If you’re an only/last child to have flown out of the nest, you might come back to parents who eat out/take-away/ready meals more often than your flatmates combined.
Friends You thought you’d be ecstatic about seeing them. You find yourself panicking: how to summarise "everything" into two words. They want details about everything and everyone that’s been going on, but only if those details are comprehensive, well-formed and compact. And so you end up feeling strange being forced to compress your life into ready-to-consume every-flavour pieces. You’d much rather call up one of your new friends (honestly, how are they new, they’ve been around for at least a month!) to arrange a movie night, or a hang out at the pub, instead.
It’s even more discomforting to realize you stumble every time you’re expected to express how much you missed someone. Suddenly you wish you had been at least a tiny bit miserable out there. It’s not that you forgot them. Or yes, it actually is, because had you not pushed them out of your mind for a while, you could not have made the new friends that now make up most of your everyday life (after studying, of course). It all comes down to who you can and can’t be honest with. True friends will know that you need new ones as well, and that your heart can only expand, i.e. that you don’t have to make room in it by throwing people out. It’s merely time that’s limited, not your feelings.
Unless I get around to writing more before the 24th (unlikely); a mighty Lovely, Jolly and Wondrous Christmas to you all!
[tags]Christmas, holidays, home, abroad[/tags]