Saturday, December 19, 2015

End of an Era

Year after year that comes to an end, it produces more food for thought. It matures us, and reminds us of our mistakes and our achievements.
And I have been thinking these days, about a lot of things. My life is basically taking a turn, mostly for the best. And as my mind had been wandering to all kinds of more or less important stuff, it also came to this blog. And I said to myself: this blog has to get real. It has seen only a tiny part of me., in important moments, such as my graduation. It was unfortunately, for the most part, kind of like a shallow photobook, showing some walks and beautifying my life. Well there will be enough of that. It's time to get real. So, from now on, I will be writing more actively on this page, with more things to say, no taboos, no just pretty pictures and mild captions.

But I feel like I skipped to the point right away and I missed the essential start of explaining why it is so important to change my way of writing. That is, because I have lived long enough here to stop feeling like I can't adapt, to stop feeling that I need to make this seem better than what it actually is. Adapting to a new society was really hard and I realized it after a long time. Almost a year after my move. 
But I will get to that with a special post later on. No worries. Everything will start coming out and making sense.

So, how has it been over those last months, since July? 
Well, summer didn't really feel like a summer. Mostly because of the weather, which made it so dull. But, I managed to fill my time which would otherwise be endless and boring, by going to practice as a nurse at the city's hospital. I got to speak Finnish every day and that helped boost my confidence. I had my clumsy and embarrassing moments, as a classic Anna. But overall it was a nice experience, so much better than my first practice place. Surprisingly, the staff embraced me, at least most of them. They explained to me everything and tried to help me work more independently, even though technically impossible. After 2 months I felt like I was finally getting to know the place and the routine and I was fairly confident I would be able to work on the department, if I was hired.

Once my practice was over, we headed with S. to sunnier places, after having a last rain shower in Helsinki, where we stayed for a couple of days, exploring the city. First stop was Venice, Italy. God, it was already almost September, but the weather was so hot. I think I am used more to the cold now than that unbearable heat. Nevertheless, I still remember our trips around the coasts of Venice, to Murano, Burano, and Mestre... Lovely culture, beautiful people, amazing food and culture, rich with history and architectural beauty.
Next stop, Greece. Firstly, we flew to Rhodes. I was so excited to step on Greek land again, I got extremely emotional. And of course, the first thing to do as an original Greek person, was to fight with two other older -and very rude- ladies on the airplane. Rhodes was also very pretty, sunny and warm, and filled with tourists. Our adventures took us to long trips all around the island, which is fairly big in size (about 90 km from North to South). Watching the view from the Acropolis in Lindos, taking a trip in the peaceful Butterfly valley and walking into a pitch black tunnel which led to a beautiful lake were only a few of the things we actually did. It had been the most busy vacation I have ever had so far in my life and I thank S. for that.
Lastly, of course we went to Athens, to my home. I felt that my parents couldn't get enough, and to tell the truth, I had also missed them terribly. They were very loving and I got so many hugs I couldn't even count, not I would want to. For me, that was the time to relax. S. had still a lot of energy and took advantage of a more familiar place to explore further. 

Our vacation cost me the chance to enter an educational program regarding Finnish language as a professional, which would have let me practice for almost 7 months in total during the year 2015-16. However, I still managed to stay partly active while searching for a job during autumn, by working at the local "kansalaisopisto" (something like a Community Educational Center, which provides several classes as hobbies, from foreign languages to group exercising, or arts and music). I taught Greek for about two months, to two different groups of people, all of them Finns. 
This experience was much more fun than I would have expected. As stressful as it was at the starting point, it turned better every single time and I was rather sad to have my last class this week, just before Christmas week. 
Of course I also had my own hobbies to follow, from Finnish classes to singing classes and band rehearsals. During this autumn I met a lot of interesting an open-hearted people, who lifted my spirit up when I needed it, and have believed in me, when I didn't. For that, I am grateful. 

All of this sounds too good, so here is also the dark side of the past autumn. Aside from the perfect vacation moments, stress was always at the back of my mind, lurking, waiting for the best moment to strike and beat me down. Being rejected from that Finnish course was still something negative, which let me be doubtful of what I would be able to do during the autumn and the new year. I started searching for a job with full batteries and a positive attitude, and after a couple of months ended up being wrecked in my mood, feeling more depressed each week I got rejections from tens of jobs, and feeling that this will never end and I will be unable to find a job on what I had studied in the first place. As weeks and months passed, the pressure was being greater, and I was becoming a grumpy, healpless crybaby. 

As all hope was almost lost, S. told me that he got called from an interview, after an application we had both sent to a hospital in Kajaani. He sent me a message on facebook, mentioning the interview and asking me to just casually write an email myself to the recruitement office, to ask if they would offer me a place as well, so we would move together and finally better our lives in a way we had been longing for. 
Miraculously, the next day I got a phone call, asking if I could go along with him for an interview, at the same date S. had his. And of course I agreed without hesitation. Which led to me meeting a very nice, polite and smiling lady, who offered me a job without any doubts and problems. I almost cried when she announced that she would, even immediately, make my contracts. 
After two weeks, S. also got a call. We are both moving and starting in our new jobs from January.

I can't stress enough how thankful I am to have S. in my life, he is possible my guardian angel in flesh and bone, always helping me and being by my side. 
And now we are going to have a home together, furnish and decorate it from scratch, something I have wanted so much ever since I came to Finland. 
It seems like 2016 is going to be a good year. And I think I deserve it, after all this trouble of studying, paying, and waiting for the past year. 

Welcome, 2016, come quick!