Sofia kirjoittaa viimeisistä päivistään Suomessa ja kotiinpaluusta takaisin Yhdysvaltoihin.
The end of our trip loomed close as we rushed to buy last minute souvenirs. Friday (August 4th) was our last day of AFS programs and Wednesday (August 9th) we would depart from our six week stay in Finland. Some of us made plans to go to the Weekend Festival in Helsinki during the weekend, while others planned a camping trip. I went along for the ride as our camping plans were put in place only hours before the actual trip.
Somehow it all came together and by 8:00 pm we were pitching our tents and picking blueberries. We learned that weather in Finland can be quite unpredictable, raining when the forecast depicted a bright yellow sun. It was set to rain the entire weekend (what we thought to mean a sign that it really was time for us to leave), but thankfully besides a few light showers, the sky was clear and blue.
It was a given that on Sunday and Monday, we would spend time with our families. I went to an interactive science museum with my host brother and mother. Of course fidget spinners are a staple product in not only the U.S., but also Finland; and, of course, they were selling them in the museum store where children, like my host brother, would beg their parents to buy, not their first, but third or even fourth fidget spinner. Afterwards, we went to see Cars 3. Needless to say it was a TRUCKload of fun.
Finally, on Tuesday morning I said goodbye to my host family and was dropped off at Hotel Sofia. Following a long day of workshops, we were free to do what we wanted until 5:45 am Wednesday morning when we had to be on the bus packed and ready to go to the airport. So that night, in an effort to finish the newest season of the Bachelorette, fully enjoy our last night in Finland, and to adjust better to Eastern Time, most of us decided to stay up the entire night.
After a few hitches concerning our bus and a forgotten phone, we arrived at the airport terminal, all of us crossing our fingers that our luggage was under 50 pounds. As we boarded the plane, we said goodbye to Finland, the country that had treated us well and where we had lived for a whole six weeks. We were all amazed and sad at how quickly the summer had gone by. The whole experience seemed like a dream when we landed back down in the DMV.
On Thursday morning, in our AFS Whatsapp groupchat, we reminisced, saying things like “Hey, does anyone want to meet in Kamppi? Can someone tell Helina that I’ll be running a bit late? What time are we meeting at the train station?” All fifteen of us are very different, but we all had Finland in common. Our individual lives had converged and by the end of the trip we too had grown as a family.