January 11, 2017
Life is about people.
One night my class went to Two Chickens which was a bar across from our hotel. We had been together all day but my classmates still conversed among each other. As I sat at the bar I began a conversation with the barista. I asked him about his job and what he liked. He told me he loved his job because everything he does relates to it being “about the people.” I sat back and could really relate to what he had just said. Life is about the people.
Before we left he said goodbye and said he hoped to see me again. In that moment we both knew we were never going to see each other again. But that’s what made it special. I thought of all the people that I was meeting for the first time that I would never see again. I would visit the schools and restaurants and look at people who were in my life in that very moment, but would never be in again. As I turned to say goodbye I told him “Thanks for everything, I hope you have a joyful life.”
This trip for me was truly embracing the experience.
Each school visit provided a different experience for our class. My least favorite school could be someone’s favorite and vise versa. It all depended upon one’s placement.
At a technology school we visited I had a ball. A small group was led by two 8th grade boys and they were a riot! This was when I really connected one-on-one. Afterwards we added each other on Facebook. I had finally become excited to meet more people.
There were more failed attempts on this trip than not with communicating with the Finnish. There was an English lesson that I attended with other American students. The teacher had her class pair into groups of two. The Americans were then placed in those pairs to play an English game. I was unfortunately placed into a group of four 9th grade boys. When I sat down they kept their backs turned to me and acted like I never sat down. I was so upset that I didn’t even want to try to make a connection. By this time of the trip I had realized that if they really wanted to try they would have. This revolted me beyond belief. If a guest from another country visited my classroom I would acknowledge them and want to learn about their culture. That was the rudest thing I had experienced.
Many of my classmates reached out to the pupils and received the same result. The worst was when they would look at us, speak in Finnish, and then laugh.
Not every attempt was a fail. I met many students who would converse with my classmates and I.
It was interesting to see our culture immerse in theirs.