It’s been exactly one month (and one day) since we came back from our trip to Finland.
Hyvärilä Youth Center, 14.06.2013, around 12AM
A bunch of Greeks arrives and finds a group of Russian and Finnish people gathered in the common room of the hostel.
Everything feels weird, but exciting.
Hyvärilä Youth Center, 21.06.2013, around 3AM
7 days later. The whole group is outside of the hostel, everybody is hugging and saying goodbye, some people are getting emotional.The bus leaves.
So what the hell happened in between?!
I surely can’t simply name this a project. Even though officialy, it was.
Creative Photography in the Finnish Wilderness.
If you ask me, though, I’d probably tell you “Life-Changing, Mind-Broadening, Absolutely Magical Experience“. Or something cheesy like that.
Hey, what was so special about it? Let me elaborate. I could write a whole book on this trip, but I’ll try to be short.
Hyvärilä Youth Center, located in Nurmes, Finland. A place of extravagant beauty(like all of Finland. and it was my third visit!). Like a fairytale unfolding before me, Hyvärilä and its surroundings captured me from the first second I laid eyes upon it. Oh enough of this already! Look-see!
A mixed group of Russian, Finnish and Greek youngsters came to Nurmes in order to attend this project. At first I was a bit surprised by the age differences-only half of us were adults. We even had a couple of 14-year-old kids! In the Greek group, I was the youngest and Lena, Chara and Alexis were the oldest in the whole group (almost 30!). And we had somewhat of a language barrier between us too-only a handful of people knew English well enough to communicate efficiently.
But, hey. We never let either of those prevent us from having a good time. People always find a way to communicate, and talking is at the very bottom of the list.
Look at us!
We enjoyed many hours of sitting by the fire and playing music. The Russians had brought with them all kinds of instruments, and the forest guy (his name escapes my faulty memory) even constructed a didgeridoo out of a pipe! By the way, yes, it was kind of cold, like early spring weather in Greece.
We sure did lots of bonding-we even had and international evening with foodstuffs from each country! ^v^
Apart from all this wonderful cozy stuff, we visited ravishingly beautiful places-
(and we also canoed.)
(and we watched the sun set at 23.30 and then rise again in the next few hours)
I never mentioned what we actually did there. It’s still hard for me to describe, so instead I’ll give my thanks to Sanna and Henna, our “teachers”. How can I ever forget how gentle these women were? How can I forget Sanna’s Stuff and the way Sanna and I started a disco party?
Anyway. The final project was a digital story. Each of us made whatever the hell our little heads came up with. Here’s what I did, amidst hours of exhausting disco-partying, slow-dancing, MJ-dancing with the Russians, frustration because someone (coughs) never actually stood up to dance with us and running up and down the Hyvärilä fields to be in time for dinner and lunch:
Sigh, I never had a way with words. Cubi, though, excels at describing things in an overly creative way.
(the pictures speak for me.)
Maybe it’s because it was my first time in a youth exchange. Maybe it’s because I get excited so easily. Maybe it’s because Cubi and Garret were there (a special thank you to Garret cause he’s AWESOME. btw, his video!<3).
But… I can never forget how I learned to close my eyes for 5 minutes in order to take in my surroundings. Or how I decided to copy Lena and walk barefoot everywhere. Or how beautiful it is when suddenly it starts to hail during sunset. Or how it feels to paddle with your boyfriend and not actually have a fight over it. Or how Gleb taught us some Russian and we taught him Greek. Or how I couldn’t control my tears all the way back to Helsinki, when we had to leave.
Or how I felt at peace the whole time.
(and ERMAHGERRRRD SAUNA!!)
Usually, after each trip, I’m still starry-eyed and dream of the day I’ll meet the people I met once again.
But generally, this is the trip that left a huge impression on me.
Oh well. I live in a place that allows me to do (I was actually looking for the right verb and gave up -__-) some Sanna’s Stuff near my home. So off I go.
Close your eyes and feel.