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the end of an era

Today marks the end of an era.

It is my last day as a Master’s student because tomorrow I begin an internship and although technically I am still a student, this internship is going to be the closest thing to real work (by that I mean waking up and getting going before 8:30 everyday) that I have done in almost three years.

Not to say I haven’t been working… the last three months have seen me almost chained to my desk reading, writing and thesising. Some people hate that part of a Master’s, I have loved it! What a pleasure and privilege it was to wake up, have coffee and spend the whole day reading, writing and thesising. I felt a bit like a hermit living happily alone under a  rock somewhere. Fortunately for me, that rock was the Table Mountain range and I had beautiful views to write to. When I got stuck, I would go for a stroll, look at the mountains and think “I look to the hills, where does my help come from?” (Psalm 121). There’s something about getting the old body moving and looking at something that existed long before my thesis and will continue to exist long after it (and I) have become a dusty pie of nothing.

The editing part of my thesis, however, was traumatic. Not only because on rereading parts of it did I realize I was making a rubbish argument but in parts the actual typing was hyper-embarrassing. How could I write, “Researchers no that” or, “as can be seen in image in image 1”. I read through and edited my thesis nine times and on the tenth time when I still saw mistakes I sent it off to a professional copy editor (which is ironic because one of my side jobs is to be a copy editor). Turns out editing your own thesis is like trying to trim the back of your hair straight in a mirror with blunt scissors. Well, that’s how it felt for me.

So yes, thesis done and (almost) dusted.

Student life done and (almost) dusted.

That said, this is the third time I am finishing my studies and promising myself “never, never and never again”. I suppose there’s something in me that might (pause for a deep breath) actually like studying. eeeeek.

Today also marks the end of this blog. Thank you to those who read every post (love you mom!) and to those read some posts every now and then (yes, you’re special too). No thank yous to those weirdos who post strange spam comments hoping that for some reason they are going to make money off you (yes, it happens all the time). As my first ever blogging experience it was loads of fun and a good way for me to document some of the things I got up to in my time studying in Finland. Thanks to all of my adventure friends… whether it was biking out in a blizzard (or just seriously bad weather), knitting through lectures, ice skating on a few sunny winter days, learning to cross-country ski badly, eating reindeer, visiting Santa, waking up at crazy o’clock to go out in crazy degrees Celsius to see Northern Lights, ice hole swimming, the midnight sun and the midday sunset , seeing huskies at the beach… to name but  few.

Looking forward to the next adventure,



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Other things that Finland taught me

I am now happily at home in South Africa and have been doing a lot of reflecting on my time in Finland. Of course I learnt a lot in my courses but I was thinking of some of the other things I learnt during my time away. Here they are, for better or worse, in no particular order:

– You live a bit differently when you need to clean your own home.

– If you are cold (even at -25’C) it’s not the weather’s fault, it’s your fault for not dressing properly.

– You can survive on only one fruit a day.

– Don’t say hello to/look at/acknowledge strangers.

– Avoid drunk Finnish men at all costs, otherwise you are going to be caught in a very weird and long and slow conversation.

– Whoever gets to the door first goes through the door. Being a woman holds no sway in door politics.

– Eating dinner at 16:30 and then an evening snack before you go to bed is a great eating plan.

– Rain is not an excuse…ever

– Neither is darkness

– How to hibernate

– How to live cheaply: eating pea soup and eggs

– That when rye bread and salmon are cheap and education is tuition free, normal looks very different

– Bicycles are fantastic

– Knitting is cathartic

– Grannies (especially granny-bikers and granny-cross-country-skiers) are not to be underestimated.

– Cheap, fast, unlimited internet is great.

– Months of grey and cold and rain and dark is depressing, even if you are not prone to depression.

– How to appreciate friends and family, near and far.

– It’s ok to be bored. Not everything is awesome, amazing or fascinating.

– Life doesn’t have to be a crazy rush (I think this is my favorite one)

And here’s a little song that always made me laugh (it’s not Finnish, but the guy is Scandinavian)

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