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Best Laid Plans of Mice and Men...

I thought I was nearly done with school. I only have one little year left of my degree course and since it was an mostly at-home course my initial plans were to complete the degree here and then fly back to England for exams….stupid university changed all of that. The summer I was married the UK government decided to allow universities to charge a wallop more per course than they have ever done previously. This took my course from £600 to £2500…and I needed two courses plus flights and books! ARGH! Well that was tremendous shock. It still annoys me that my degree is unfinished especially since nearly everyone here has gained a master’s degree by the age of 25. I feel so intimidated and so far behind.

2014-02-19 12.17.06

So thus began a new plan:

Finland’s universities are usually free! Yay! *record scratch* What!? What do you mean no one has my degree taught in English? A bazillion courses over here are taught in English….oh no wait here’s one….only one…in Tampere...a two hour drive north. There’s also no guarantee you will get in. Plus commuting is going to be a nightmare. This option doesn’t feel right. Dangit.

I do love that Finland has a great reputation for high-quality education….and it deserves it. What I hate is that they apparently value the sciences over the arts. This sucks. I appreciate the sciences. I understand that they are important. I also appreciate that I have absolutely no aptitude for them and therefore would be useless in study of them. If I wanted to be an engineer, chemist or business magnate here there would have been a plethora of university courses here all taught in English. Darn stupid plans blowing up in my face yet again. So now what?

2014-02-28 12.09.31

Guess I finally have to learn this monster of a language. Dun dunnn duuunnnnnnn!

2014-03-06 10.16.02

(I'm one of the "lucky" few who answers those two questions differently)

I am most anxious to get a grasp of this language but have always been blasted frightened of tucking into it. My father is a genius who can speak most of the Nordic languages and has never met a foreigner that he couldn’t say something to in their native tongue. He absolutely loves languages. He learns them quickly and is able to pick them up easily. So what does he do when he approaches Finnish: HE GIVES UP! *slacked jaw* add that to one friend Amelia who mentioned that learning a new language as an adult (what idiot would put themselves through that?) is tough enough but simply for the fact that this language is Finnish you can add a +18 strength (clever girl).  I am sure you can understand my apprehension at approaching this one full time.

It was nearly impossible to learn any of this properly by myself and I knew that I learned best in a classroom setting so I started to look for classes and none of them sat right with me. One of the best friends I have here (and one who gives me great opportunity to hear a familiar English accent often) mentioned that the government has a programme where they pay you to attend a full-time Finnish course. SWWWWHHHHAAAAT? Where I come from (both America and England) education is never ever free. In fact it’s usually blasted expensive and not only here is there somewhere where it’s free but also provides you with a basic financial allowance as they count this as your job!

2014-03-06 11.37.22

Sounds too good to be true yes? Well….yes….and….uh….no.The programme isn’t without its flaws. It took me over six months of penniless waiting to be given a place on this course. I was lucky in the meantime as the hubster was able to afford our bills but it still wasn’t nice as I was told the wait would be only around three months.  So for three months I was in limbo and that is a long time. There is still a bureaucratic nightmare in the system that is supposed to pay me.  I’ve attended for over a month now and haven’t seen a penny. The money they send is supposed to support bus fare and lunch plus a basic living package….this would be tremendously useful to us now….but no one at the Kela office can tell me when I might be paid…..I know I know I really ought not to complain about that but it still is annoying when you start to look forward to something coming that never materialises.

2014-03-03 13.19.25

When those at the government office mentioned that this course was intense they weren’t kidding. 5 hours a day 5 days a week we delve into a language whose word structure must have been arranged by Master Yoda himself. If you are one of my facebook friends than you will get some insight into the madness as I have not been shy about my ranting. Honestly statistics don’t lie when they mentioned that this language is one of the hardest to learn for an English speaking native. The teacher today mentioned that he doesn’t expect us to be fluent until after 5 years of study *gulp*.

2014-03-03 09.17.29

I’m trying not to be too hard on myself and not to expect myself to learn it all overnight but dang that’s difficult. My expectations for myself usually always exceed my actual capability and therefore I stick myself into a perpetual spin of disappointment. To counter that I have to constantly remind myself not to compare myself with other students, like the Chinese girl who has lived here for less than half the time I have and yet has picked up more than twice the words I have. She’s also great at remembering rules….I shall not be jealous…..I shall not be jealous…

The curriculum is either super difficult or ridiculously easy. Most days I just barely manage to keep up with the class and once again I am annoyingly humbled.  I missed one day due to a hospital appointment and I am still feeling the repercussions of that one. I used to be the Hermonie Granger at school. Always the first to complete an assignment, always one of those at the top of the class: *scoff* not here!  That irks me. One day per week we do get a reprieve. Wednesdays are lessons about life in Finland (still taught in the Finnish language) and the info is usually dull and very easy though that is mostly due to the fact I’m curious and learned about Finnish history and geography on my own. Geek doth I be. Wednesdays are welcome breaks to me. There are days, especially the language learning days where I leave the building absolutely hating Finnish and there have even been a few nights where I banned the hubster from speaking it at home. My hope is that these will be fewer and further in length as time and my knowledge progresses. Only 11 months to go *failing to supress an audible groan*

2014-03-03 13.19.04

My fellow students are for the most part pretty awesome. We have a very eclectic mix of nationalities (Russia, China, Estonia, Kosovo, Latvia, Congo, Kenya, Iraq, England, America, Greece & India). There is however one blasted annoying dude (you know who you are) who dresses like a ghetto pirate and is constantly rude: blasting his music as loud as possible in crowded areas, pushing his way through people and interrupting the teacher with any possibility to show off that he knows one more Finnish word than the next person. Thankfully I’m not the only one who finds him annoying so
that helps me feel like less of judgemental jerk. Us students are now at the point where cultural differences could potentially cause problems as they have already done with this dude. Two days ago I had had enough of his rudeness (fertility drugs make emotions…even anger…quicker to access) and told him off in French. I expected a verbal fight back but thankfully he apologised. It was a forced apology but hey that’s better than nothing.

2014-03-06 11.03.22

So Finnish school for now is the plan. Who knows what the future holds? We are still trudging along our journey through the woes of infertility. We did have some good news last month! Finally after two courses of failed fertility drugs we found a dosage that made me ovulate! Honestly I cannot express full the amount of relief that surged throughout me when I knew that I wasn’t fully broken! I don’t have any further news on that end (boy would I love to give you more good news regarding that) but at least we have more hope now… and a realistic hope that pregnancy is an actual possibility for me. This is the first time I have ever had such hope. With that, I also hope that these school plans may be interrupted in the most wonderful of ways….but…we’ll have to wait and see. Thanks ever so much for your prayers/good vibes/magic spells. They seemed to have worked!

Toodles Sweets - Ariane


( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
Mar. 6th, 2014 08:49 pm (UTC)
Swedish is hard enough to learn.. I cannot wrap my mind around learning Finnish as an adult. You have my sympathies. We are in a serious language phase at the moment because E really, really wants to learn Swedish and we have not successfully spoken both languages to her so she knows quite little as it is. I am.. oh, halfway there, but I always lose focus before I get to fluency. I sat down this week and made a huge list of things we are going to implement at our house to increase the language learning. I wish I had a classroom setting to go to, sometimes, but 25 hours a week sounds pretty intense. :)

Yay ovulation! That is a huge breakthrough! As far as I am aware, I got pregnant the second time I ovulated while we were trying to get pregnant the first time. Of course, there were several thousand dollars worth of drugs, countless needles and ultrasounds and crazy hormones in that time period but hey! Second ovulation, right? :) Best of luck, as always!
Mar. 6th, 2014 09:30 pm (UTC)
You made my day again :)
Hello again Ariane, its Melissa Here, your fellow English 'maahanmuutaja' ;) I really LOL'd to your wonderful descriptions of the daily drag that is attending Finnish school. I too went through all of the same things 5 years ago when I first got here, and believe me, I TOTALLY understand. You will find also that there is ONE OF THOSE types of annoying , obnoxious students in every school, we had ours too lol. I will give you a piece of advice and tell you to try to have a day with Ville when you only speak Finnish with each other. I know that at first it will be frustrating and conversation for that day will probably be limited,ha but stick with it, and you will undoubtedly see the benefits later on! This is something I wish I could do with the hubby, but he is not the most patient or motivated of men (Finnish Trait I have heard hehe). So even after 5 years of being here in Finland, because of us always speaking in English, and of course being home alone so much with the kids, my finnish is nowhere near as good as it could be. I understand that its been a tough time for you and Ville to start a family, and I really hope it will happen soon for you guys god willing, but ill say from my own experience use this time you have to get yourself established and accustomed here. One thing I regret is not getting my Finnish better before I had children because now I really lack the confidence to strike up conversations at the park with other mothers, or go take my children to the organised activities that are especially for mothers and children. I miss out on alot, and its alot to do with my own lack of motivation now, but you will give nearly all you have daily to your children and family life, that the thought of sitting down and studying Finnish in the evening makes me want to cry haha. So pls take all of this as VERY FRIENDLY advice, I know you will do great, just get some of that Finnish SISU ;)
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )


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Ariane (or Jessica to a few of you)

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