Huhtikuu (April)


I hope everyone has made it this far into self isolation without losing their minds. Here’s another blog post for you to read.

The past month has been a bit of a roller coaster of emotions. We started it off with a good old long chat with Mumasaki. After expressing my many feelings on the current situation and putting it all into perspective, I came to realise that I would much rather be in Finland right now than being stuck at home back in Australia with my family painting the whole house. Even though this is not an ideal way for me or anyone else to be spending their year abroad, I have figured that I am so lucky to have even been given this opportunity to go on exchange, especially as Australia, Finland and many other countries have cancelled their RYEP for next year. It’s also pretty badass to say that I survived a global pandemic whilst on exchange in Finland, so I can’t wait to milk this story when I’m older.

Easter in Finland was pretty good despite the whole corona situation. My host dad is a really good cook which made it 10x better and I introduced them to a card game called turd that we would play with family friends back in Australia. I tried mämmi for the first time which is a traditional Finnish food that they only eat around Easter time. It’s made of rye flour, molasses and water, served with cream and sugar on top. It looks a bit like poo and very questionable but it didn’t taste too bad.

On Easter Sunday my family back in Australia organised to have a big zoom call with everyone who we would normally be spending it with. We had myself in Finland, Tats in Japan, the Lamberts/Coggins in Adelaide, Rina and Will In Sydney, Suze and Dave in Nelsons Bay, Tom in Melbourne, Mum and Nan in Budgewoi and Dad and Kai back home in terrigal. It was quite crazy but it was good to catch up with everyone.

Similar to almost all the other schools in the world, my school has also moved online. I only have 4 courses at the moment which means I have quite a lot of free time. To keep me busy, I have picked up a few hobbies, one of which is running. Yes, you did in fact hear that right, I have actually been running! Crazy I know. I have gotten back into painting and drawing as well. I am in an art class for school which I’m really enjoying. I have also been unleashing my inner chef and have been doing a bit of baking. I made ANZAC biscuits for the first time which turned out pretty well and attempted to make a pavlova. It was a bit how’s ya father but I covered it up by putting cream and fruit on top so it wasn’t too bad.

On weekends, my host parents don’t have work so we often drive to another part of the Uusimaa area and go for a walk for some different scenery. Finland is such a beautiful country with so much nature to explore. The best part about it is that you can go on a walk in the forest without having to worry about running into a spiderweb or stepping on a snake.

Yesterday my host family took me to Porvoo which is Finland’s second oldest town. Honestly one of the cutest looking places I have ever visited. Unfortunately no shops or anything was open because of corona but it was still nice to have a look around.

I’m also moving host families this week which is a bit nerve racking. I’m going to have 3 host sisters which will be a bit of a shock but I’m looking forward to it. It’s going to be sad leaving my current host family and their cooking but I’m excited to experience a bit of a change. A big thanks the Näkki family for hosting me and putting up with me for the first four months of my exchange, I’ll miss you all heaps but I’m sure this won’t be the last you’ll see of me.

Hope you enjoyed reading,




A pleasure to read your blog Tina. It seems you really are making the best of the challenging situation. And what a great attitude you’ve adopted. Get the recipe for the mämmi – I look forward to having you cook them next Easter! Stay safe and continue having those great new experiences.


Hi Tina
So nice to hear your story glad you are still able to get around and see some new places I’m sure they loved your deconstructed pav I think you did make the best decision not coming home to paint and clean lol wow a new family with 3 host sister in isolation gee that’s brave lol I’m sure it will be fun and they will love to have you ok take care and enjoy as much as you can xx

Christine Owen

Hey Tina!
I agree with the other replies that the attitude you have adopted is very positive! Great job! I am wondering how you are getting along with your 3 host sisters. As you have likely heard, schools in NSW will be back in full swing Monday 25 May. Not exactly sure how it will work for schools with a 1000 or more students, like Terrigal! No doubt your Mum is in full swing! Your Easter Zoom family party sounded terrific. Glad you are running, baking, painting and drawing. It’s also great that despite Covid-19 you are able to visit a lot of the local countryside. Stay safe and be an inspiration to those you can make contact with.
Christine xx


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