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My First Week of Suomi 1 has ended. Updates now.

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Aug. 13th, 2012 | 08:05 am
location: Student housing, Finland.

Okay. So folks who are following this know that I'm currently in Finland for a year's exchange. These are my observations.

- Finnish is a fiendishly hard language for someone whose two mother tongues do not contain any appreciable amounts of declension or conjugation. Finnish also has several classes of verb conjugation, and each class contains its own special snowflake irregular verbs. FML.

- I am an oddity among exchange students inasmuch as I'm not here to party. Everyone else here seems to be. This has led me to a strange sort of situation where I'm surrounded by people who aren't here because they're a: out partying, or b: crashing after a party. I do at least get along with grad students because they trend older and some of them also aren't here to party.

- Some countries have forests. Finland has The Forest, from which all livable space was carved out of. This leads to entertaining things, like being able to snack on the arctic raspberry bushes on campus when peckish. Just, y'know, avoid the ones near roads (car exhaust) and the ones within the reach of a dog's leash (pee). It also leads to occurrences such as watching a startled hedgehog run for cover in the the middle of a busy street, after being scared out of the hedge it was previously in.

- Similarly, while other parts of the world have lakes, Jyväskylä has LAKES. The campus itself straddles a lake, and so does most of the city's development. Fishing is popular, I hear, but mostly I enjoy watching the wild (okay, semi-feral) ducks doing duck things from time to time.

- Fuck car rallies. I mean it. Having to walk home at 1 AM after my tutor stranded me several km from my student housing, through drunk celebrating people here for the Neste Oil rally? Not fun.

- Did I mention that drunk Finns shout? Not at you, but at each other. It's like, the more they drink the deafer they get, and the deafer they get, the more they shout. And it's this vicious cycle of drinking, being unable to hear each other, shouting at each other to get more beer, getting drunker. As I'm pretty twitchy around loud shouty people for any reason whatsoever, Saturday night was like being out in Beirut for me.

- Finland is ridiculously safe, though, which is something I hadn't expected. I mean, I know intellectually that it's one of the safest countries in the world, but elsewhere I'd expect to be nastily accosted if I'd walked through some very drunk crowds at 1AM.

- Everything here is expensive. Everything. My Dutch roommate comments that everything here costs about twice as much as it does in Holland. The cheap thing? 3G network time. I'm getting charged 20 euros per billing cycle for unlimited data. It gets throttled past one gig's usage, but it's unlimited. Daaang.

- The sauna is the best Finnish invention known to mankind.

- Finnish cuisine is not scary. People are stupid when they say it's scary. Sure, the black sausage can look kind of intimidating, and mämmi is just a bit weird-looking, but judging Finnish culture based on an Easter porridge is like basing Minnewegan cuisine solely on Garrison Kielor's descriptions of lutefisk.

- Exchange students adore knitters, even if they can't party. Especially if you teach them to knit a baby hat for their incoming niece or nephew. Especially if it's a baby hat that LOOKS LIKE A TOMATO, complete with a tiny little stalk growing out the top.

- Finns have a greatly self-deprecating view of their country. Every Finn I've talked to, to whom I've explained "Mä on vaihto-opiskelija," (I'm an exchange student) wonders why the heck I would come here instead of some prettier, sunnier place. Guys, your country is beautiful. Your forests are not hideous. Please don't make me write Scandinavia and the World Finland wingfic. The results will be terrifying as your national bird is a swan, and swans are pugnacious assholes.

Now, about fanfic. I've got the current chapter of The Bullet Catch nearly done and should be able to finish it this week barring needing to get stuff done, but then that always happens. It'll be announced here when it's up.

About Bane: Nolan has Hardy keep the sort of posh end on his accent, and I can totally imagine Bane being a former dumb, privileged public school boy who enters the military, leaves in search of better wages and some kind of adventure and who winds up working in private security and, well, fucking up. But still there's this grain of strength and decency within him when he recognizes Talia's secret and protects her, and then gives everything up so she can escape. The problem, of course, with morality pets, is that they don't lead to redemption. If you focus everything you have - every bit of good you have - on one person and they turn out not to be the redemption you hoped for, then you just set yourself up for a Fall. Which is pretty much what he did.

This makes me want to write the wrongest fucking Talia/Bane fic ever. Yes, I did put the names in the right order. I seriously want to write pre-movie, post-escape!Talia like Natalie Portman in The Professional, dubconning older and still-recovering Bane into their dark romance. He sacrifices everything he has left for her in a hope that she'd find a life other than the oubliette, but she was already part of it, and could never be separated from it. So he follows her, because - well, that's what love makes you do, right? Plus there's a part of me that kind of likes the reversal of the pubescent girl dub-conning the man-mountain as opposed to the more conventional depiction. I guess it'd be problematic if I did approach it with a sort of idealized child-seductress interpretation, but even Nabokov's Lolita points out how badly everything ended for everyone involved. Now, make Lolita a renegade member of the League of Shadows who wants to reform the League for her insane brand of ideological purity.

Yup.

- Mel

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Comments {7}

Hyacinth Girl

(no subject)

from: eustacia_vye28
date: Aug. 13th, 2012 10:33 am (UTC)
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I'm glad that Finland is more or less working out. Maybe the partying will die down a bit once classes begin?

I will read your Talia/Bane, because that sounds like a fantastic read. :)

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Mel Wong

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from: chn_breathmint
date: Aug. 13th, 2012 03:01 pm (UTC)
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I'm frankly a wee bit worried about the dubcon and underage elements, but I really don't see any other way to write that pairing. It's like Lolita if Lolita were - well, a supervillain, really.

- Mel

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Hyacinth Girl

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from: eustacia_vye28
date: Aug. 14th, 2012 02:05 am (UTC)
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Well, I meant fantastic read because I like gritty, plotty fics, and this is going to be a dark read. It's going to be a tangly, nasty gut-wrenching ride, which I expect for the Pit or the League of Shadows. This is more of a darkfic pairing, and I look forward to seeing your take on it. I think I'd be more troubled if you suggested fluff or lightness and rainbows for those two.

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Synecdoche

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from: synekdokee
date: Aug. 13th, 2012 03:03 pm (UTC)
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It's pretty fascinating to read about an outsider's POV of Finland, and I actually agree with all of your assessments.

Also, I think the reason we're confused about people choosing Finland as an exchange destination is because we tend to see Finland as a fairly boring country. I mean, I love my home land my even I can't think of much to do around here, especially for a year. Even more especially up in the middle/northern areas (which is probably my metropolitan area snobbery showing).

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Mel Wong

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from: chn_breathmint
date: Aug. 13th, 2012 03:07 pm (UTC)
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There is totally stuff to do in Finland. Like rummage around in the woods behind one's student housing and pick about half a kilo of raspberries.

Photobucket

- Mel

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Synecdoche

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from: synekdokee
date: Aug. 13th, 2012 03:20 pm (UTC)
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And one wild strawberry!


Sometimes when I go out hacking with my horse we go through a path that's overgrown with raspberries, so I can nom on them straight from the saddle.

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Mel Wong

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from: chn_breathmint
date: Aug. 13th, 2012 03:27 pm (UTC)
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There's still loads of wild raspberries on campus and a lot of unripe ones left on the bushes I was visiting. Hopefully I can get enough of them that I can make jam with them. It'd be good.

- Mel

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