maanantai 10. heinäkuuta 2017

Leuven 33. The one where I write to my Erasmus-friends

Yeah so all the pictures are very random, not in any order whatsoever or even connected to each other (apart from a few exceptions). Sorry not sorry!

Taking a bit of a break from all the boring Finnish-written stuff and switching it up with a lil bit of English (sorry Dad). As everybody knows, my capabilities of expressing myself in English is, well, limited even in the best case scenario. When I have to write instead of talking I make less sense than an Erasmus student at Oude Markt around 5am. Anyway, the point of this post isn’t to complain how I still don’t know how to do this English-thing. No, I am addressing this to my dear international-friends.

When I decided to leave the security of cold and windy Finland my main goals were to jump out of my comfort zone, learn to live in a new country and hopefully travel a bit while doing so. I was also excited to study in a whole new environment with different teaching methods (seriously, I sound so cool, I know). What I didn’t really think about when leaving was that I could be able to make so many amazing friends in such a short period of time. It hasn’t been all the travelling and studying that has made my Erasmus-months so unbelievably remarkable, it has been the people. I have really enjoyed the fact that I have had friends from law school in Leuven with whom I could complain about the enormous amounts of readings we had to do. At the same time I am thrilled to have wonderful friends from other faculties who don’t care at all how many pages I have had to read about common goods or European Works Councils. It has truly reminded me that there is life outside law school and that I exist in that world. I have to sometimes put my books down and see what’s the weather like outside. This is something I hope to take away from these 5 months and remember still after many years.

All the people I have met here have been great and incredible. It is hard for me to grasp how all of these amazing students happened to end up in the same small town as I did. There are still some people to whom I would like to give special thanks for making my short stay in Leuven so much better than I expected.

First and foremost I would like to thank Simone, who originally brought us all together. Without her asking us to come for dinner at her place on the first week of Leuven-life who knows what kind of weirdos I would have ended up with (I prefer the weirdos I got)! Also Simone has always been there to listen and to have all the much-needed girly chats. I envy her capability to organize things efficiently and I can’t wait to go and visit her next year.

Next I would like to thank my other Dutch friend, Joost, who has helped me to find great sushi places and whose doors seem always to be open for friends who would like to enjoy a chill evening. He also has pushed us all to study more, which is definitely something I have needed. And of course I am thankful for showing us that amazing dance which is at least as great Keinutaan.  

And talking about the Dutch and Keinutaan, I would like to also thank Coen who always seems to know how to cheer up his friends. I think from now on to the foreseeable future every time I hear Keinutaan it will remind me of Coen (in Paris, at a metro station to be exact) – and I don’t think I am the only one. I don’t understand how anyone can seem to be on such a good mood all the time. For a naturally sulky Finn like me it has been great to learn to look at the bright side of things more often.

Then I’d like to give thanks to the mandatory German addition of the friend group, Johannes. I would like to thank him for dragging me out for just one drink even when I originally didn’t feel like it. I would have made far fewer great memories had that not have happened! In addition I would also like to thank Johannes for always providing the worst jokes that definitely don’t work translated into English and, according to some, not even in their original language. And that kind of jokes are, of course, the best ones there are.

And while we are on the topic of drinking, I want to thank Alex for introducing me one of the greatest drinks there is – Skinny Bitches – which was luckily brought to my attention when all the partying was slowly but surely ending. I would also like to thank Alex for all the terrible inside jokes we’ve had together, from succubus (which I still detest) to the philosophical pondering of woods and forests. And also I am thankful that he has only once dropped me on the dance floor. Statistically speaking that is not too bad.

Strangely enough few of the first people I met in Leuven were Finns. I am happy to say that I have had the chance to hang out with them from the first day onwards. I would like to thank Leevi for sticking with us to all the parties even if the dancing-scheme wasn’t quite up his stream. I don’t think we would have had even half the fun without him. Also Leevi’s determination and ability to keep a good balance between sports and, lets say, more typical Leuven-hobbies of Oude Markt are rather admirable.

I would of course like to thank Jenni as well. I don’t think anybody’s enthusiasm is as contagious as hers. Thanks to her I got into zumba, I have danced all night until my feet hurt and together we’ve got to explain some of the peculiarities Finland has to offer. Of course both Leevi and Jenni have helped me with the little homesickness that sometimes creeps up even on the best of us. Also thanks to them I have learned so much about things not related to my field of studies which as been really interesting. 

These are just the people I wanted to mention by name. Naturally I still have to give a shout out to my buddy who in the beginning helped me so much and who I owe my thanks for meeting Jenni and Leevi in the first place. There are of course others, like the friend with whom I could easily communicate simply by using pictures of dogs, the friend who shares my love of books, the friend who introduced me to Le Pain Quotidien (although now I am way more broke than I would have otherwise been, so I guess you win some and you lose some), the friends whose company has helped me get through the most boring lectures, the friends who have accompanied me to aerobics and zumba, the friend without whom a brunch wouldn’t be perfect, the friend who let me know that there is still sports during exam period – so I had no excuses being so lazy all the time, the friends who were up for ice cream every time I asked, the friends with whom I have had the chance to travel around Belgium and even Europe. 

It is a sad thing to leave all that behind. But words cannot describe how happy I am to know so many interesting and amazing people all around Europe, even all around the world. So this is not a goodbye, it's a "see you soon!"

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