I've had a very American couple days. Last night, I spent the evening with the other American exchange students (there's six of us) playing games and eating popcorn. Tonight, I went with some lovelies to the Classic American Diner which was just as overwhelming and wonderful as it sounds, ha!
Evening activities here tend to focus on going out. Bars or clubs and lots of alcohol. That's the culture and I'm not mad, but it's not my thing. So it was really refreshing to hang out with people who just wanted to play card games and drink juice. By the end of the night I was almost on the floor laughing. I had tears in my eyes and I'm sure we could be heard in Sweden we were so loud! We played Spicy Uno, SkipBo, and BS. But let me tell ya, Spicy Uno was by far the highlight of the night. And the popcorn. Also, potato chips taste alright with Nutella ;) Ps, congratulations to all the winners! (that was everybody at least once lol)
Also, us girls rocked our Finnish party pants! They are a thing here (by here, I mean all universities in Finland, not just JYU) - you wear them to student parties and the color represents your faculty or department. Then you can also collect patches to brag about going to the parties - just as an attendee or because you drank a lot (some of the patches are merit badges for how many drinks you can down in a bar crawl night). For the record, they are actually coveralls, but no one ever wears them all the way, you just tie the arms around your waist. A game night is a good excuse for party pants right???
Tonight, I finally visited the American food place in the city. It's been really dreary outside lately so I decided it was time. Thankfully, I finally got ahold of some Vitamin D so I've been way more myself this week than I've been since I arrived so I do feel good again! But being in this diner really brought my spirits up.
Everything was extremely overpriced, but here, America is an experience, not a norm so I guess it's alright. I bought a kids' menu meal (since I'm not 12, I had to buy the menu but it still was less than the cheapest regular meal) and paid €7.50. The meals get steadily more expensive from there. You can get meals from size Small to 2XL (€12-€30) - which is essentially supersizing your meals. I might come back to get their breakfast platter (served all day hallelujah!), but it doesn't come with pancakes because those are listed under the dessert menu!
The atmosphere was quite wonderful. They played a very eclectic selection of American music. We heard jazz standards mixed with Michael Jackson, Journey, and even some country music. It made me happy. They have statues of Elvis and Marilyn Monroe. Their waitresses look like they stepped out of the 50s. It’s beautiful.
It was also pretty neat to get to try to understand German education and the ways to approach post-secondary education in Germany and Canada - this was the topic of conversation for the night. This semester is still boggling my mind with all this amazing information about global education practice. Yaaaay!!!!
I guess it's time to go back to being a Finn. But it was really nice to feel comfortably American the last couple days. I needed a moment back home, so I could refresh and go back to appreciating where I am again.
"Where we love is home - home that our feet may leave, but not our hearts." - Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr.