Things are happening!

I know it’s been like two months since I last updated my blog, but I didn’t really have anything going on and I didn’t want to blabber on about my daily life. Anyhoo, here’s what’s up.

Flights: Check
Visa: Check

It is happening! My friend and I went to see a travel agent back in April, we applied for our working holiday visas and got things DONE. We’re leaving Finland at the end of September, and we have to switch planes in Qatar before we finally land in Melbourne. I’m SO excited to go to Doha, but the layover is only like four hours so I doubt I’ll get to see much besides the airport itself.

Weird thing happened with my visa application: they wanted to know if I had spent more than three months abroad in the last three years. I answered yes, because I spent over a month in Australia, 3½ months in New Zealand and two months in the Cook Islands, US and Canada back in 2014-2015. Technically I only spent over three months in one country, but it all added up to 7 months, but they still didn’t require me to get a health check up! That check up would’ve cost me well over 300 euros, because there’s only one (1!!!) doctor in Finland who “has been appointed to perform Australian immigration health examinations outside Australia.” I don’t know why they didn’t need me to get the examination, but whooo boii am I glad.

So, we have the flights and we have the visas, but that’s not all. Our travel agent offered us a package deal, and here’s what the package includes:

  • Airport transfer to the hostel in Melbourne
  • Four nights at Base Backpackers
  • 12 month membership to a job seeking site
  • In depth orientation from a local guide about getting started
  • Help with building a CV / opening a bank account / getting a SIM card / tax file number / superannuation / taxes and refunds / Medicare / etc.
  • Discounts on travel products
  • Three day trip to see the Great Ocean Road and Phillip Island
  • 5000 km bus pass which allows us to travel anywhere in Australia
  •  Ten nights in any YHA Hostel in Australia

So basically we’ve already paid for 14 nights in a hostel, we get to ride the bus for 5000 km AND we get one on one help with the boring stuff like banking and taxes.

All of that, including the flights, cost us around 2800 euros each. That’s 3100 US dollars, 4200 Australian dollars, 2400 pounds or, like, 27 400 Swedish kronor. I know it’s a lot, and we could probably do most of that stuff by ourselves but I don’t want to make things too difficult. Besides, now I don’t have to worry about any of that stuff when I actually get there.

Just four more months to go! I’m working almost round the clock, I literally wake up, go to work, come home, shower, sleep, wake up and go to work. It’s exhausting and I think my knees and back are starting to give out on me, but it’ll be worth it! If my calculations are correct, I should have around 4500 euros (5000 USD / 6700 AUD / 3900 GBP etc) when I land in Melbourne, and that’s well over the suggested amount. Plus I have over a thousand euros in tax refunds coming my way in December, so I’d like to think I’ll be fine.

 

 

Why you gotta be so rude?

So, I renewed my passport. The ball is rolling, people! My friend and I are going to see a travel agent as soon as we can, but we have to go all the way to Helsinki to do that and we’re struggling to make our schedules meet. Soon!

In other news, I read an interesting article today.
Helsinki: 10 tips for visiting the capital of Finland

Okay, I won’t dwell on it too much but let me just point out that our summers are warmer than +17C (62F) and it’s extremely rare for it to go down to -50C (-58F) in Lapland. The thing about the saunas is true, the pub thing is accurate (tho we call them bars) but honestly, we don’t all eat reindeer meat and lingonberries all the time. In fact, I’ve only tried reindeer meat once, and I hate lingonberries with a passion.
The architecture though? If you can call grey concrete boxes architecture then be my guest, but in my opinion there are only like two or three buildings worth seeing in Helsinki.

I wanted to mention the article though, because it makes excellent points about how us Finns act.

Finns do not like to interrupt: a typical chat includes healthy stretches of silence, ensuring no one’s cut off prematurely.
At the same time, the Finnish language lacks the words for “please” or “excuse me.” The result is that what may seem to outsiders an awkward, borderline rude exchange is simply everyday conversing for Finnish folks.

This!! This right here!!! All of this!!! I always forget to add “please” to the end of my sentences and I always come across as rude because of it, but I’m not doing it on purpose, I swear! We do not have a direct translation for the word “please”, I think the closest thing would be “be kind” or “be nice” but to me those sound very childish and almost patronizing.

This other article has very interesting points as well. It describes Finland in the 1990’s like this:

Correspondent Morley Safer and his team revealed Finland to be a place where “melancholy, sorrow and shyness abound.” They also revealed “no one looks anyone in the eye” because “to be noticed is an embarrassment, to take notice an affront.”

That is still true to this day. Here’s us 20 years later:

“For Finns, it is extremely rude to interrupt someone. This leads to us making pauses or taking our time to talk.”
Thus foreigners may interpret this basic display of Finnish silence/politeness as being “shy or rude or even depressed.” To summarize: for many nationalities a conversation where no one says “please” and there are long pauses is troubling; in Finland it’s par for the course.
Some Finns still “will never say ‘hi’ or look you in the eye,” though many others are “overtly chatty, friendly and open.”

I wish I could show these articles to everyone who’s ever called rude.

I’ll always remember these three English guys I met in New Zealand, we were sharing a room in a hostel and they were always trying to do small talk with me, asking how my day was and what my plans were, and of course… “How are you”.

I always answered their questions and went back to minding my own business but I never inquired about their daily lives, mostly because I didn’t think it was any of my business. One day the guys confronted me about why I was so rude to them and if they had done something to piss me off, and I was just like… What? Nothing? What’s going on? I had no idea these people thought I hated them, I actually thought I had been very outgoing and social with them. I tried to explain how my culture works, but of course, they didn’t believe me.

Another funny thing happened in Australia. I was sharing a room with an Uruguayan guy and I told him about how Finnish people work, and instead of dismissing me as rude, he made it his mission to teach me how to do small talk. Every day he’d ask me how I was doing, if I had slept well, what I was going to do that day, how my day had been so far etc etc, and I tried to engage in the conversation but it felt really alien to me. I don’t know this person, why would I ask them about their day?
Long story short; one day the guy got back from work and as soon as he got through the door, I stared him dead in the eye and asked how his day was. It made me uncomfortable, it made him uncomfortable, it made everyone else in the room uncomfortable, and we agreed it would be best if I never tried to do that again.

I’d like to point out that while I don’t want to come across as rude, I don’t particularly care about being polite either. I’ll only be civil to people as long as they’re civil to me, and I don’t put on an act just to please someone. If I like you, I like you, and if I don’t, then I don’t. You’ll know if I don’t.

Finally, I’d like to add this picture here because I think it shows perfectly what being Finnish is like.

Untitled 5
Finnish people waiting for the bus.

 

two steps forward, three steps back

Step back: It took 2017 exactly 64 days to fuck it up: I just heard the news that my favorite band is quitting. I’m pretty down at the moment, because I’ve loved the band for 14 years, I’ve seen them live ten times, I’ve laughed, cried and sang my heart out to their music, and it’s going to be hard to see them again this summer because I’ll know it’ll be the last time.

But that is not what I want to focus on right now, because at least nobody died. (I’m looking at you, 2016)

Step forward: It’s confirmed: I AM going to Australia! There’s no doubt about it anymore, because I now have a travel buddy! My biggest fear was always having to go alone and feeling lonely, but I don’t have to worry about that anymore because my friend is coming  with me. We’re going to see a travel agent probably later this month and buy the plane tickets, but as always, there is a step back: we won’t be able to leave until September. My friend is contractually obligated to live in (or at least pay for) her apartment until the end of August, so…

But that’s okay, because another step forward was confirmed just yesterday: I’m going to be working full hours all summer! The longer I stay in Finland, the more money I’ll have in Australia.

In my previous post I mentioned going to a travel fair… Well, I didn’t. Instead, I ended up staying in with my friends, getting drunk and playing board games, and I think that was a better choice since I didn’t hear any good things about the fair.

I haven’t really been able to focus on planning the trip lately, because I’ve been obsessed with this TV show and it is literally taking up all my time. It’s a little scary to be honest…
But! I did buy two notebooks, one for planning, and one to turn into a travel journal to take with me, and I attacked them with the force of a thousand preschoolers as I decorated them with drawings and stickers and shit. I haven’t actually written anything in them yet, but at least they’re sparkly!

Lol I’m starting to notice a pattern here: I say I’m going to do something, then I either postpone it, change my mind half-way, or don’t do it at all. I said I’d leave in May: I won’t. I said I’d go to a travel fair: I didn’t. I said I’d be going alone: I’m not. I said I’d quit smoking: the third step back. I said I’d start a travel journal: well, I bought the notebook…
I’ve always been like this though, it takes me forever to get things done and I am really bad at making decisions. I thought about deleting this blog too, but then decided against it because I thought it might be fun to write this thing when I actually start the planning process and I’ll have something to write about.

I’m not really sorry about going back on my word because most of the time I do eventually get things done, it just takes some time and situations sometimes change. Decisions just make me anxious, and I’ve found it easier to just go with the flow and see what happens.

new year, new… whatever.

So, 2017 is here and I’m… Suspicious. Everything is still the same but somehow different. So far so good, so when are things going to go wrong? 2016 is FINALLY over, and the bar for a better year has never been set lower. I’m afraid to think how a new year could possibly be any worse than last year was, but you never know.

I spent Christmas with my family, mom and my grandparents, and it was nice. There was this one mishap, though, because for a moment there I thought my depression had come back. I felt terrible for a few days, like I was completely worthless, and something was honestly wrong with me because history was repeating itself. Again. I won’t get in to the details here, and I guess I’m still not completely over it, because I feel like I should seriously just stop getting my hopes up. It never ends well, like I’m not supposed to have good things coming my way.

On a lighter (ahh lol) note, I quit smoking. I just stopped. It was surprisingly easy, I did get a few cravings here and there but as of right now, I haven’t smoked in 115 hours. That’s 4 days, 19 hours and counting. I don’t imagine myself never smoking again but I wanted to quit now, because why not? I don’t even have proper motivation, I mean sure it’ll save me money and smoking is so very unhealthy but you know what made me finally quit? I was at a NYE party and I drunkenly announced that I was quitting, and this one person laughed at me and said I couldn’t do it.  “Watch me.” is my main motivation. Also cigarettes cost like a thousand dollars in Australia and I really want to spend my money better than that but you know. Watch me.

I’m going to a travel fair in Helsinki later this month with a friend of mine. I’ve never been to the fair and the company I’m going to be using for my travels won’t be represented there, but I still want to see what the fuzz is all about. I’m not exactly sure what there is to do at the fair, all I know is that there’s going to be loads of different travel agencies and they have these little booths where you can learn about.. Stuff. I don’t know what exactly, that’s why I’m going!
The friend is the same one who I invited to go with me to Australia. I’m not sure if she agreed to go or not, but she’s definitely interested and I can see that she really wants to come. I guess it all comes down to money, I’m ready to go alone but it would be nice to have some company. I feel like I’ve gotten my hopes up, and that terrifies me.

Uhh what else..? I’m seeing my therapist next week! I haven’t seen her in three months but to be honest, it makes no difference. I don’t think she’s the best therapist for me, I don’t really open up to her and I feel like I know more about her than she knows about me, but I take what I can get. It took me a year to reach out for professional help and I guess this is better than nothing. I’ve also been selected to be in a test group for a new form of online therapy, it’s starting in a couple of weeks and since I don’t have to pay for it, why not?

“Why not?” is something I’m going to be asking myself a lot this year. If there’s something I want to do but keep making up excuses not to do it, I ask myself “why not?” I’m so used to putting myself down and preventing myself from doing things I want by thinking of ways it might go wrong.
Just yesterday I wanted to go out for a walk, but because it was below freezing (-20°C / -4°F) I told myself that it’ll be too cold, it’ll be such a hassle to get dressed appropriately, it’s going to take ages to get the shoes on my dog’s feet and they’ll probably fall off and it’ll just be all kinds of terrible. But then I thought, I want to go outside. Why not? It’s what I want to do so I’m making it happen. I put on two pairs of socks, two pairs of pants, three shirts and a big winter jacket. I spent centuries getting my dog all dressed up and I went for that walk and I loved it. I loved how crisp the air was and the crunching sound the snow made. Everything was shimmering, I felt happy, my dog was happy and everything was just so worth the hassle.

This year “why not”, “eh, fuck it” and “watch me” are going to be my motivational words to get things done. Watch me.

The D – word.

Depression. Depression. Depression. Depression.  Depression. Depression.
Depression.Depression. Depression.Depression. Depression.Depression. Depression.Depression.

DEPRESSION.

I hate that word. I feel like it’s one of those words you throw around until it loses it’s meaning and everyone gets sick of hearing it; kind of like how That One Friend™ always talks about something they did over and over again and you can’t even roll your eyes far enough. I remember the first time I realized I had depression; it felt like a dark, dirty secret I had to keep at all costs. Now I basically introduce myself like “Hi, I’m Depressed!” The word has no meaning to me anymore.

I don’t know if I even am depressed anymore; I haven’t felt like I actually wanted to die in months. Actually, I don’t even know if I had depression, or was it just a heartbreak that went on for two years. My therapist did diagnose me with a moderate depression but is it true? What do heartbreaks feel like? I felt worthless, like a waste of space and like the world would be better off without me. I felt disgusted with myself, I felt sorry that people had to see me with their own eyes, and I even made a list with all my flaws written on it. I tried cutting myself and I used to cry for several hours every day. Well, I still don’t feel like I’m worth much and I have nothing to offer to the world but now instead of being bothered and sorry about it, I just don’t care.

I don’t care that I don’t have a lot of friends, I don’t care that no one likes me, I don’t care that I’m probably never going to be anything and I’ll probably die alone surrounded by my horde of pet dogs who’ll eat my rotting corpse. Instead of being sorry that I exist, I have taken a different approach. More like… Make way for the Queen! I’m not sure if my new overly confident approach to life is any better, because the confidence is an act, but it sure feels better than being sorry. I think I’m overcompensating my inferiority complex by acting like… Well, a bitch.

As I said I haven’t felt like I wanted to die for a few months now. A year ago it happened almost every week; every week I got the feeling that I didn’t want to be here. I didn’t want to kill myself but I wanted to go away, preferably for a long period of time. I spent days thinking about death in general, how it affects people and if I were to die, how many people would attend my funeral. I was constantly seeking validation and I emotionally attacked my friends for every minor thing, because I was sure they all hated me. I twisted their words to suit my logic of all of them wanting me dead, then overreacted because of that and confronted them about it. We have worked things out since then, we’ve set some boundaries and I haven’t thought that way of my friends in a long time. I’m here so ya’ll are going to have to deal with me!

But how strong am I? Just because I haven’t felt like that in a while doesn’t mean that I won’t ever feel it again. Will the thing that sets me off be big or small? How much will it take before I break down again? Am I broken right now but just ignoring it? Maybe I’m not the stone cold bitch I want to be think I am. It would be so much easier not to feel, never get attached and therefore never miss or lose anything. Yet just today I caught myself tearing up while watching a music video where the singer was laying alone on the desert floor ready to give up, and her friends came running to her because they knew she wasn’t okay and needed help. I want friends like that.

Well that went a bit deeper than I intended to but I have a habit of getting sidetracked, but here’s a funny coinkydink to distract you from the fact that I personally love to over-analyze everything and suffer:

Here’s what I can’t back away from: so many of my favorite bands and artists are coming to Finland next summer, and when the tickets went on sale… I didn’t buy them, because I assumed I would be on the other side of the world by the time of the concerts.

– Me, literally a week ago, on this blog

Yes well, originally my plan was to blow everything off and go to Australia before the end of May. Well. Heh. Well. I maaaaayyyyy just have to postpone my travel date to July because situations have risen, stars have aligned, gods have been merciful and festivals have announced bands. I really don’t want to postpone leaving because what if postponing it by 6 weeks turns in to postponing by a few months or even years? But still!!! The first week of July isn’t that far from the last week of May, right? =D

Ehh

sheldon
This is me, 100% of the time, about everything. Especially right now since I’m sick too lol but let’s get to the point. (Also this pic obviously isn’t mine please don’t arrest me I’m sorry :S )

There’s a lot of things about this trip that I haven’t thought about. I’m going away for a year and I can’t really grasp how long that is. Am I ready to spend a year away from my family and friend(s)? Buuut I’m choosing not to think about that. We’ll see when I get there.

Another thing I haven’t thought about is loneliness. Well that was a lie, I have thought about it a lot actually because yeah, I’m a lonely person. But in my vision of me in Australia the loneliness isn’t really there, I’m not concentrating on it or I’m deliberately ignoring it. Can I really ignore it once I get there? Will I even feel lonely? I’m used to being and doing things on my own but this time I’ll literally be on the other side of the world, away from everyone I know.

The third thing I realized just this morning is kind of connected to the previous thing. I really tried putting this in a different way but I realized no matter how I put it, I’m going to sound like an asshole, so here goes: What if the people I meet aren’t up to my ~standards?~ No, I don’t mean it like “lel u ugly I ain’t friends with u” or anything like that. I like different people and I’m very happy to spend time with them, but I’m more concerned about meeting people like me. Now give me a second to climb on my high horse because I’m Mommy’s Special Little Snowflake. So; I don’t meet people who share my interests, opinions, personality traits, likes and dislikes very often. No, I’m not saying that if you’re not like me, don’t talk to me. That’s not what I’m saying at all. I don’t know, is it it selfish or narcissistic to want to be friends with someone who shares your interests? Is that a completely normal human trait or is that a way of saying you think you’re the absolute best and want to basically hang out with yourself?

Speaking of which; I am short on one Travel Buddy.
“I thought you were going alone?”
I am because I have to. I literally only know like three people, and one of the has expressed interest in joining me but I wouldn’t count on it. I know the internet is full of sites where you can search for a travel buddy but I don’t want to go with a stranger. Especially if they’re completely different from me and they’ll get tired of me faster than I get tired of them. If I’m traveling with someone, I’m in it for the long haul, meaning I don’t want to part ways at some point. Going alone is starting to sound better and better because I don’t have to make compromises either…

And finally I’d like to say that even though I’m still not a 100% sure I’m going, and I reserve the right to decide to stay and this blog will be for nothing; I’m definitely leaning more towards going. I’m scared AS FUCK but I think somewhere in my head I’ve made up my mind, and here’s the proof; I told my boss I can’t accept a full time job with a permanent contract because I’m going. I told all my co-workers that I’m going. Okay, yeah, I admit I feel a little pressured to go now because I told them all I’m leaving, but I could still say no. Here’s what I can’t back away from: so many of my favorite bands and artists are coming to Finland next summer, and when the tickets went on sale… I didn’t buy them, because I assumed I would be on the other side of the world by the time of the concerts.

Ifs, maybes, buts and could-have-beens

I Don’t Know.

“Know what?”

Anything. I don’t know if me going to Australia is a good idea. I don’t know if my depression has gotten better or if I’ve just learned to actively ignore it. I don’t know if it even “gets better”, like they say. I don’t know if going through a rough time makes someone a better or a stronger person in the end. I’ve been in an accident that could’ve easily killed me, and even that didn’t really change me either way. I don’t know what my purpose in life is, or if anyone even has a purpose.

But I do know that I’m curious to find out.

I don’t have a big Life Plan™ or even a passion for anything really; I’m just floating through life doing something that I like for a while and then moving on to the next thing. That’s the main reason I don’t want to study something, because I lose interest in things very quickly and I don’t want to commit to something I’m not a 100% sure about. And I’m not a 100% sure about anything.

That’s why I travel; I don’t have to stay in one place for too long (if I don’t want to) and I can learn new things about myself that I never knew before. Being in another country is currently the only thing that makes me even somewhat happy and I want to pursue that feeling while I still can.

I don’t know if me going away for a full year is going to make me happy but I’m pretty sure it can’t make me any worse. I’m stuck in a rut; every time I’ve done something like gone to work in Ireland or spent 7 months traveling the world, I’ve always ended up back here doing the same things I’ve always done. I’ve sat in this very same room in front of this very same desk for ten years. Sometimes I’ve been gone for a few weeks, sometimes a few months but I’ve always ended up back here right in this very spot. I realized this today when a photo popped up on my Facebook feed; it was a picture of my friends and I, taken in this very room eight years ago. Every single one of those friends has found their calling, moved away to study or to raise a family and I’m still here.

I’m so scared of Wasting. I’m scared of wasting money, I’m scared of wasting time and wasting my life. I don’t know what I want to do, but theoretically I could do anything and I hear the world is my oyster, but at the same time nothing interests me enough to do it, and having so many choices overwhelms me, so I do nothing. Which is wasting my life. I sure wish life had some sort of background music like they have in the movies that could warn me if I’m making the wrong decision or not.

As I said I’m not a 100% sure about anything, including going to Australia. I have so many questions and unsure feelings about it, and I still might decide not to go. Although I did turn down two separate job offers for full time positions, so I guess that means deep down that I’ve decided to go?

But what if…

What if I fail everything? What if my depression flares up again? What if I don’t find a job or a place to live? What if I don’t make any friends? What if I’m not good enough, pretty enough, positive enough, funny enough? What if I feel like I don’t belong? What if I run out of money? What if I don’t have enough money to begin with? What if I don’t like it there? What if I can’t quit smoking before I leave? What if I can quit but start again when I’m there? What if this is a bad idea? What if this isn’t the right time to do this and it’s all a gigantic mess and I end up wasting a once-in-a-lifetime-opportunity to get the Visa I need for this? What if I don’t go?