Summer Wrap-Up: Thoughts on a Finnish Summer

On May 15, a small town kid from Canada left his home country for the very first time in his almost 22 years. The months have gone by in what seems like an instant, but they have been an enjoyable few months! In that time, I went to Iceland, to Berlin, to Brussels, and to a few Finnish cottages, with a visit to Italy just a few days away. All were or will be great experiences, different in their own ways but I’m sure all worth repeating with no second thoughts.

Working with a small Finnish landscaping company for the summer had its challenges, but in the end is another of those great experiences. After the first few days of waking up at 5 in the morning and working with teenage girls who hardly speak, I thought to myself, “Well, this is could be a long, boring, and mostly forgettable summer…” But as the days and weeks went on, I ended up working with some guys who were a lot of fun, always wanting to practice speaking English, and just wanted to make the summer enjoyable for some small town Canadian kid visiting Finland. I worked with professional arborists, angry construction foremen, and a group of high-school girls from northern Finland. I eventually adjusted to the early mornings and the physical work the job requires, even being able to get in better shape! It turned out to be a great summer for working outside with the weather being so warm and sunny, so that combined with awesome co-workers, landscaping turned out to be alright!

Visiting the farm/cottage of one of the alumni, Kasper, and a co-worker’s summer cottage were, without a doubt, the two highlights of my time in Finland. Something about the traditional Finnish lifestyle of saunas, swimming, boating, food, and beer, mixed with the simple-living, small town, quiet life I’m so used to from back home, made these two weekends my favourite times in Finland.

For years down the road, I’ll look back on this summer and be glad that this small town kid from Canada got to travel for a summer and experience culture in ways some might never expect.

Thanks to Finland, the alumni, the group of Canadians, and of course all those others that made this summer one of the best!

Mike

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