Saturday, September 3, 2011

My orientation is finally over!  Which means I should have much more time to regale you, dear readers, with my absurdly witty and incisive anecdotes.

Orientation has been a trip.  It was mostly PowerPoint presentations and such, so I won't bore you with many of the details, but we got to do some cool stuff too.  We got a guided tour of the Ateneum, which was the first art museum in the world to buy anything by van Gogh.   We also got to drink wine and eat food off little trays at the American ambassador to Finland's house.  The ambassador was not the stuffed shirt I half expected him to be.  He's well over six feet tall, shaved bald, wears an earring, refers to his enormous French poodle as the "ambassadog" and said two cusses in his welcome speech to us.

Last night we went to a Helsinki rock bar called Bar Loose with a couple of our new Finnish friends Elina and Maija.  There was a giant MC5 wall mural behind the bar and a giant Angus Young portrait downstairs, so while it wasn't quite Atlas Bar it was super cool.  Elina bought a round of shots that tasted exactly like the crazy candy Pauliina gave us.  Finnish people:  what in the hell is the deal with this stuff?  Everything else about Finland I can get behind.  Taking off shoes in other people's houses, salting fish, high taxes...but I do not understand how this taste has become the unoffical taste of Finland.  It is foul.  If you haven't tasted the stuff, here's a video of some Japanese kids trying it, helpfully soundtracked to T. Rex:

It's beginning to sink in that we live in Finland.  Live.  In Finland.  I have to repeat it to myself sometimes.

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