Monday, January 26, 2009

Trip to Finland, part 2

I got back to Mexico about a week ago, but haven't had time to blog before. The past week has included running around the university like crazy (everything important apparently has to be announced as late as posible), writing a paper for an international congress (I got the acceptance letter 4 days after the deadline for sending the papers) and being sick. Who knows where I got it, but apparently I have had some kind of parasite, and have tried to get over it the last days. Welcome back to reality...

But well, to nicer topics: I can finally show you some pics from my trip to Finland.

It was lovely to be in Finland and see everybody. Although when you live abroad, you notice who your friends really are and who want to see you when you visit. With some people I had the sensation of being a curiosity that comes far away and makes them feel bit awkward because I just don't belong to their lives anymore. But luckily there are still many many friends with whom it feels I was never away. And of course being with family is always very relaxing.

And while I love visiting Finland, and always wish I had more time to spend there, it's also good to be back home. Being a kind of a tourist, moving around all the time and living in other people's houses is also a bit tiring. Maybe someday I'll move back, but for now I'm happy this way. And I know that after living 3 years in Mexico, it would be difficult to adjust to Finland again. It certainly would take time.

I'm not saying that living in Finland wouldn't be easier in many ways. Mostly in practical things, as everything works quite smoothly there. But the mentality... Not that there aren't good things about that too. Talking straight and being (mostly) honest are very good things. But does everything really have to be planned at least 3 months in advance? And while in general things are pretty well there, lots of people seem to complain about everything and make problems out of things that aren't really real problems (I admit, I do complain too much too, and yes, there are also people with real problems there. But you get the point). In Mexico, there are lots of really serious problems, but people have very different attitud towards them. There are lots of joy and happiness, too. It kind of makes the problems easier to bear, I guess.

I have also noticed that while there is solidarity in Finland in general as a society - in the form of a good social security system and taxation that is quite fare, for example - this solidarity doesn't manifest itself in the individual level. People don't help each other - at least strangers - too much. In Mexico, things seem to be other way around: the society as a whole doesn't really care about the poor or the needed, but people are really helpful (at least if they are in the same social strata). I hope it could be possible to have both qualities in one place...
More generally, a combination of the best things in Finland and in Mexico would make quite a good society, I think. Meanwhile, I just have to live in between, always missing something from one country while I'm in the other.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Trip to Finland, part 1

I have been now two weeks in Finland. I spent the Christmas with my dear boyfriend, and then got here. I did finish my knitted presents before Christmas eve, by the way. You'll get the pictures of them when I go back home.

My tour here started in Tampere, the city where I grew up (and which is probably the best city in Finland). Then I got here to Lahti to meet more family and spend some time at my father's cottage. Only Helsinki left to go before I return to Mexico.

I have mainly read, knitted, met family and friends, enjoyed going to sauna as much as I can (I can easily spent couple of hours in sauna too) and of course made long walks to all my favorite places, like an old dog in his territory. I just love to walk in the forest and lake shores! I did some thesis-related stuff in the first days, too, but then I decided it's better to just enjoy the vacations.

I'm so happy that this time the global warming hasn't spoiled my little winter trip and at least in Tampere and Lahti there has been snow. I've missed it a lot, I haven't seen a proper winter in two years. I just love the sound of the snow under my feet, the humming of the wind in the snowy trees and the song of the lake under the ice.

I tried to put some pictures to prove that there really is snow, but Dad's computer doesn't want to cooperate, so next time...