Week 9 Incredible Lapland Experience

The beginning…

Saturday the time was there, the beginning of our week to Lapland! After packing everything, and of course missing space J at 20:00 o’clock we gathered the Turku Cathedral where the bus picked us up. After putting all the stuff in the lower part of the bus, and found my place in the bus, the adventure started, but first … a 14 hour bus trip…

The bus trip went over quickly, because I slept a lot. During the trip we had a couple of stops and went further to Lapland.

Sunday around 10:00 o’clock we were in Rovaniemi. In Rovaniemi we visited Santa’s Village and had a picture with Santa. This Santa knew something to say in almost every language. After the visit to Santa, we drove by bus to restaurant RAX to have lunch. Near the restaurant was a dog show, and I went for a quick look. It was a dog show of “Swedish Elkhounds”.

After lunch we drove to Levi. In the bus they announced the cottage division. I was in cottage number three together with Lynn, Sigrid, Fabian, Sophie and Bjarne. To be honest I thought it was a bit disappointing, because I hoped to meet new people and now I was with all familiar (and Dutch speaking) people in the same cottage.

The cottage itself was clean, with sauna, laundry machine, dishwasher and two three-person rooms. It made me remind of a Centerparcs cottage. (Holiday park in the Netherlands)

After unpacking all my stuff, we got our ski gear at the rental place. I got ski’s, ski-sticks and a helmet. We put all our ski gear in the “shed” near the cottage.

Afterwards it was time for dinner, the menu of today was fish soup K because I don’t eat fish, I ate in the vegetarian cottage. They had vegetable soup in here.

First skiing experience Keizer blog 3_2

Monday, the first day of skiing. At 10:00 o’clock was the skiing lesson on the “practise hill”. Essi and Juuso were the teachers. We were with the four of us: two Turkish guys, a Canadian guy and me. I was very happy with my own skiing shoes and the skiing lessons I had in the Netherlands, because the skiing went very well. The other ones had skied before.

Around the afternoon, they said we all could ski so well we could try a real slope. We went by ski lift (also a new experience) up the mountain and skied towards the slopes. The way to the slopes was really amazing, but when we arrived…

They accidentally took the wrong turn and now we were standing on the edge of a red slope and there was just one way down… I never been so scared in my life! (also because my fear of heights). The guys already went down and Juuso tried to convince me to ski down, but he had to go to the Canadian guy that fell. Then I was alone up there, on that high mountain. I slowly walked down and halfway I met an English women that took my skies down and told to the guy down that I was halfway the mountain.

He came to me on a snowmobile. I stepped on it, he turned around and the whole thing fell over and I sled down. Then I tried again, only now the snowmobile was faced down. I stepped on it, hold myself tightly and we went down really fast. I was never so happy to be down the hill again! 🙂

Afterwards I just skied a bit on the “practise hill”. In the evening there was a sauna race, but I was so tired of all the new impressions I experienced today, I fell asleep and woke up the next morning.

Second day of Skiing

After all the new experiences of yesterday, I started again on the “practise hil”, but I spoke in the morning with the two Turkish guys and they said that at the other side of the mountain, there were fun and easy blue slopes. We had to take the bus for it to get there.

After a couple of hours at the “practise hill”, I was done with it, and asked Lynn, Sigrid and Fabian if they liked it to go with me to the blue slopes. Lynn had her first skiing lesson today, and Sigrid and Fabian were snowboarding for the second day.

We bought a bus card for the whole day and went to the other side of the mountain, to the “south slopes”. The slope was perfect! It was steeper than the practise hill, but still easy and you didn’t look into a cliff/hole, like with the red slope. We spend the whole day here and had a lot of fun! J

At night we went to Immelkartano, Immelkartano is a sauna, with ice swimming and a Jacuzzi. After a day of skiing it was great to be in the sauna and Jacuzzi.

Third day Keizer blog 3_3of Skiing Today there was also cross-country skiing (langlaufen), but I chose to just go skiing. We went again to the South slopes and had fun. This time we also wanted to go to the higher slope, but this was still a bit too high for me, luckily not only for me but also for Lynn, so we came down really slowly. J

Besides the skiing we also went to a wooden lodge and had something to eat and drink halfway the slope. The hot chocolate was delicious, and it was the first time I tasted reindeer. (Wrap with vegetables and reindeer meat).

After skiing we ate and prepared ourselves for the party, because tonight is Karaoke party in club Hullo Porro. It was an amazing night and one big party! J

Fourth day of Skiing and Snowmobile excursion

Today almost everyone went snowshoe walking, but i just chose for the slopes, i think skiing is awesome! After skiing I took my ski gear back to the rental and went souvenir shopping.

At 15:00 o’clock we met at the “big cottage”, for the snow mobile excursion. I’ve kept my skiing clothes on, because its warm and waterproof. At the snowmobile company we got boots, a helmet and for the people that didn’t wear skiing clothes, they got an overall. We went in pairs, the first one drives to the reindeer farm and the second one drives back.

I was together with Elke, a Belgian girl, we were on the first snowmobile, behind the owner of the snowmobiles. I drove towards the reindeer farm, and she drove back. It was awesome! After a drive of one hour we arrived at the farm. Too bad my camera was frozen and I couldn’t make a lot of pictures, but i could borrow the camera of someone else. At the reindeer farm we got hot chocolate and a donut. Besides that we could take a look around the farm and then we went back.

To be sitting at the back of a snowmobile is really strange, I was making pictures with Elk camera and was half turned when she drove over a couple of bumps. I almost flew of the snowmobile, but I stayed seated. I really liked the snowmobiling and the next time I will be going to the snow, I really want to do this again.

After the snowmobile safari I took a shower and wanted to have a powernap before the summer party, but I didn’t see the party anymore.

Husky safari

Friday, husky safari today! J I wore my skiing clothes again, because people warned me it could be really cold. We drove by bus to the husky farm. We got an explanation of the owner and she told us they don’t work with huskies but with Alaska huskies. After the explanation we went to the already harnessed teams and I could choose my own team.

Also this excursion was in pairs and I started at the runners and Lynn went in the seat of the sled. Halfway we changed and I put one of the lines of the wheel dogs good that went loose. It was incredible to be on a sled with five dogs in front! After we came back, we made some pictures, too bad we couldn’t see the puppies, but these were still too young to visit Afterwards we ate a sausage above campfire. J The husky safari was a unique experience!Keizer blog 3_4

At night we were busy with creating a toga for the toga party. The only thing we had was a sheet and safety pins. After trying a lot of things, we all had a toga. The party was in the big cottage, and it was a nice party, but the karaoke party we had earlier this week was amazing.

The end

All things has an end, and also this incredible Lapland week. At 7:00 o’clock the ESN-IAC guys woke us up because we had to clean the cottage. The day before we already packed, so we could stay a bit longer in our bed. After cottage inspection, we could already put our stuff in the lower part of the bus. A group picture has been made and then we left.

Originally we would go to Kemi’s snow castle on the way back, but because the weather was above zero, it was to slippery and dangerous so the snow castle closed. Instead of the snow castle we went to Arctikum (museum). It was a really nice museum, which showed the history of Lapland, the nature of Lapland and the animals of Lapland. This was a great ending of an amazing week in Lapland!Keizer blog 3_1

We went back into the bus and after about 5 hours, we stopped for dinner at restaurant Koskihovi. Just like the restaurant on the way to Lapland, it was a buffet and the food was really good. After dinner we went back into the bus and mostly I tried to sleep. Around 4:30 AM we arrived in Retrodorm and then we had to walk up the “mountain” with all our stuff :(. In Retrodorm I unpacked my stuff, did the laundry, had breakfast, said hi to everyone and then I went to sleep.

Text and pictures: Michelle Keizer

Ice hockey Game at the HK Areena

Tuesday the 4th of February, one of the busiest days for me here in Turku, Finland. From 8 AM until 3.30 PM I had clinical placement in the hospital at the department radiation therapy. After my clinical placement I took the bus back to Retrodorm and lent the bicycle of one of my friends Sheena. I went to school by bike for a Get Finternational! Workshop and immediately after the workshop I had to rush to be in time for the Ice hockey game at the HM Areena here in Turku.

At my clinical placement I already got a message from Sheena that the chain went off the bike. As soon as I arrived at Retrodorm I saw a bike that wasn’t fixable anymore, I walked to Sheena and asked what happened……. Thank god it was another bike. Sheena and I put the chain back on, and I cycled like crazy to school, and was in time for the mandatory Get Finternational! Workshop.

Luckily the class ended early, which gave as a little more time to go to the HM Areena. I cycled together with Fabian. We cycled slowly/carefully because there was still ice and snow on the road.

At Google maps we found outKeizer blog 2_2 that it was about 10km by bike to get there and 10km to get back. According to Google maps, it is about 40 minutes cycling. We had an hour time….. but still we were 10 minutes too late, because the chain of my bike flew off 4 times during this bike trip, but we made it!!! We found our spot and during the brake we found the others and joined them. Everyone asked why my hands were so black… so I told the story about the chain. (It took three days before my hands were clean again).

The Ice hockey game was awesome! And completely new for me, because I never been to an ice hockey game before. I knew the rules partly and I had to look carefully to see which team was Turku and how the game is being played. It was amazing to see how good the ice hockey players can “ice skate”! The atmosphere in the stadium was great and it was an unique experience!Keizer blog 2_1

But as you might have guessed already, we came by bike, and we also had to get back. We agreed in the centre with the others to have some dinner and afterwards we go back to Retrodorm.

The way back to the centre by bike only took us 30 minutes, because I walked every hill and we took the right way this time. We met the others there and afterwards I went back to Retrodorm. Tired and satisfied after 20km of cycling. 🙂

Text and Pictures – Michelle Keizer

Amazing Finland Experience

The past three months I spent here in Turku Finland. Time goes so incredibly fast! It feels like just a couple of weeks ago that I walked into Retrodorm with my two suitcases and Anne-Sophie and Gabriele helped me with getting my suitcases upstairs.

After my arrival, more people started to arrive, like Csilla, a girl from Hungary and Nayeon, a girl from Korea. Our Retrodorm family grew bigger, and we did a lot of fun stuff together, like: playing cards, bowling, pooling, going out for dinner, the Tampere trip and of course partying. J

The first colleges were in which Joonas, Marjo and ESN explained a lot about living here in Finland. I was so excited for these colleges and then the first week at TUAS started, where I met Jarno and Lena. Lena made us a welcome package with typically Finnish things in there.

The clinical placements were amazing! We went to a lot of different hospitals and departments and I saw a lot! For me the most interesting thing was to see all the differences between Finland and The Netherlands, and of course I asked a lot of questions about it and got all the answers. I heard a lot about Finnish people, that they are so quiet and don’t show a lot of emotions, but I experienced something different. I had great colleagues in the hospitals.

Keizer blog 1

Then the famous Lapland trip came closer. I enrolled and got in! I think Finland is beautiful, but Lapland was AWESOME! I went skiing, did the husky and snowmobile safari and went partying a lot.

Also I enrolled into the Finnish language course, which I had every Wednesday evening. At first I thought the Finnish language course was quite difficult, because the teacher started with the grammar, but I really liked following this course and I also learned a bit of Finnish in the hospital. The last weeks of clinical placement it was really nice to notice that sometimes I knew where they were talking about, although Finnish is a really difficult language.

The course Get Finternational! Was to learn more about the Finnish culture and Finnish people. I really liked attending the activities and earn stamps for it. Like for example the International Dinner, or Finnish Movie night. I think ESN which organises these kinds of events (also the Lapland trip) does a great job and it really enriched my Finland experience.

But the time flew by so fast and people were leaving. I had a really hard time when my best friends Anne-Sophie, Daniel and Gabriele were leaving, and within a week I am leaving as well and I know it’s hard to leave the people I love behind, but I know one day I will meet them again!

I had an amazing time here in Finland, I met incredible people and they will always stay in my heart and memories!

Thank you very much for making this experience possible!

Text and photos: Michelle Keizer