My final story......

I am already back in the Netherlands for quite a while. I really regret that I had to leave Finland, also because it was before the real winter entered. My last weeks in Finland were strange. When I came back from Lapland my roommate was in China and I was living on my own. No one at home to talk to, have fun with, and say ‘good morning’ to.

I had to hand in a lot of assignments, make exams and read a book for a book exam in these last weeks. I was busy with university stuff on the one hand, but on the other hand, everybody was enjoying his or her last moments in Finland so there was also a relaxed atmosphere. Now and then, I enjoyed the Christmas markets in the centre and the snow. We played games and I had many ‘goodbye’ meetings. I went to a Christmas play of one of my friends and to a choir performance of the son of my friendship family. I did not like it at all to say goodbye to so many people in such a short time.

Although I know that I will see most of them again, in the (near) future, saying goodbye is never a nice thing to do, I think. I realised that I will really miss some people when I would be back home.

In the last week my mom came to pick me up and see where I had spent four months. It was nice to be able to share it with someone from home, since then someone will at least know where you are talking about. My mom noticed things there, which I was already used to. People are not looking you in the eyes while walking on the street and she thought that most man in Finland are quite small, which is actually true. We went to the centre, had lunch at the university and went to Tampere for one day. We also had a goodbye dinner with my friendship family, who really felt like family for me.

We had an amazing night together. A funny thing was that my mom gave the members of my friendship family all three kisses, to be honest I did not touched them at all. So I had to laugh since she was just doing what she was used to, and even for me it felt kind of uncomfortable. Luckily, my friendship family did not felt awkward. One of my best friends there did not want to say goodbye so we even had two goodbye meetings. The last day I packed my stuff and we went by bus to the airport. Everything well arranged, but I was sad that I had to go since I felt at home there. Now I really had to leave everything behind me, I felt forced to go. It felt weird since normally when you know something will end you get kind of annoyed at a certain moment and then you are ‘happy’ to leave. Now it felt like I was not finished yet and it felt strange to leave Finland with that feeling. We took the plane while the sun was shining, which had been a while ago.

While being back in Holland, the first thing I noticed was the dirty air, I had to sneeze and caught quite frequently (Schiphol is not the cleanest area of the Netherlands of course). Next to that, the noise and the restlessness of the people got my attention. It was strange to be able to understand what everybody was saying and it cost a lot of attention and energy. Knowing how a system works and to adapt to it without thinking. I really missed Finland and especially the friends I made there. I listened to a lot of Finnish music, stayed in touch with friends to get rid of that feeling and imagining that I was still there. I was constantly comparing Finland with the Netherlands and it resulted in the fact that for sure I wanted to be in Finland instead of ‘home’.

Everybody just goes on after you told your story like nothing has changed, while I did not felt at ‘home’ in the first weeks at all, I really felt home sick. After a while, I got used to ‘home’ again but it took me a while, surely longer than I expected. It was nice to see my family and friends again, have all your own stuff (although I did not miss anything in Finland, everything I needed for four months fitted in my backpack).

I have had a great time in Finland, learned a lot, not only in university but also by meeting new people, making new friends and by being forced to think differently since you have to participate in a different system. My desire to travel has grown and I cannot wait to go back to Finland to meet my friends over there again and of course visit my friends all over Europe and explore the rest of the world!

Everybody how was part of my journey: