"Kuinka paljon maksa huone?" In English: "What is your rate?"
This was one of the first phrases I learned in Finnish, spoken gleefully to my stepmother who upon learning its meaning informed me that she "charged by the hour." Ah, the joy of practicing new languages with family members!
(Above is an illustration of Mikael Agricola, known as the founder of written Finnish.)
Today my passport should arrive with my official Finnish work and residence permit – thank goodness that worked out, I was getting a little nervous and it's cutting it close (only four more days til departure). But now the reality is setting in and I'm amazed how much I've already learned – about language, about culture, and mostly about myself. So here's where I'll be living:
- First, go to maps.google.com
- Next, copy and paste in Sammonkatu 8 Jyvaskyla, Finland
- When the new map appears, click the red "A" and then choose street view.
- You can now walk all over my new town!
I'll fly August 1st from Miami -> NYC -> Helsinki -> Jyvaskyla; I leave my home at 7:30am in Deerfield Beach, FL and arrive at 1:45pm the next day in Jyvaskyla. I have an apartment that will be furnished; my 5 packages that I shipped last week have already arrived; and my landlord has agreed to thoughtfully assist me in getting from airport to apartment and setting up the basic necessities of living (read: internet and cell phone!).
One of the nicest parts of this move has been all of the joyous exhale moments leading to the departure: The completion of the first major draft of the dissertation, progress on the two Men's Studies books, financial stability, and all the little requirements of transitioning from one life to the next.
Having already left an American life twice before (London and Osaka), I feel that this is a familiar experience. I know this sting, this anxiety, and this restless anticipation. Knowing that there are also people on the other side waiting to greet me certainly eases the sadness of goodbyes. And just like my use of JGuyUSGuy.com 8 years ago in my quest to meet Japanese guys, my use of Qruiser.com has been equally beneficial. Perhaps more than anything else, my use of such a social networking site has prompted me to reflect on what I want out of this next stage of my life. Am I looking for a long-term partner? Or do I prefer the hunt and quest for companionship? Is Finland but one in a number of stepping stones to a different path altogether? Or could this be the main event? It's fruitless to consider, I suppose, but exciting nonetheless.
Perhaps now more than ever I consider life something to be lived; rather than shackle myself to a computer in the name of scholarship, I'm hoping for more lively and social experiences. Afterall, it has always been my dream to return to Europe to live and work, and what an incredible opportunity has been provided!