Hello everybody, good morning from me and probably good day for you...

Today is day of essays, the last one that needs to be done before I leave for America and even though it is only 1000 words and a 'blog post' aka. not a proper essay I seem to have such a hump to get over to even manage to start it. I am desperately trying to pump myself up with the knowledge of it being the last thing that has to be done before I can start thinking of nothing else but cleaning and packing and getting ready for vacay! (Got a bit motivated now but I am going to use that motivation to write this blog post instead hehe... You are so very welcome!)

I actually felt very inspired to share a bit of my emotional journey today, with emotional I do not mean how I have been feeling today but rather my own personal and emotional growth that I have noticed these past months. I think it is amazing to be able to notice such things and to look back and reflect. Right? Let's start with some background information.

The year is 2012. This was the year that I came back to Finland in July after a year in America that changed me in ways I cannot even begin to explain, it was simply amazing and one of the best years in my life. So naturally coming back to Finland was a bit of a drag, I did not handle it as well as I could have or I think I didn't know that I would have such a hard time readjusting to Finland as I did. Anyways anybody that knew me that year or the year after knew that my plan was to, when I had chance, leave Finland to go back abroad and reclaim that person that I was in America and so I did. After graduating and working for a bit I set off to Australia, now Australia did not work out for me I kind of fell head first and did not know how to get up again. It was a short visit but the first time a return to Finland seemed like the best thing in the world.

Australia did not scare me straight or kill my enthusiasm to leave Finland to reinvent myself, I still thought that Finland was too small, too narrow, too black&white for me to be able to ever live there full-time and feel content. So I headed to Ireland for college. Well this is where it takes a turn. Where I feel my own personal growth started and where I felt I grew up a bit.

(Take a break from reading, sip some coffee and listen to this. A piano is one of the most beautiful instruments if you ask me)

So back to Ireland, I cannot pin point an exact point in time that this change took place and perhaps it slowly did but sometime last year, when 2015 became 2016, I started realising how important Finland is to me. Do not get me wrong it has always been important because of family and friends but always seemed as a place I go back to for holidays and the summer months, never a place I thought I would want to call home base as an adult.

In Ireland I have always felt older than I did in Finland before I left, perhaps because most of the people I study with are 2-3 years younger than me and with different goals in life which is by no means a negative thing just a thing that differs us. I also realise that studying is not something I particularly like, I do not mind writing essays and I find some things very interesting to hear of or read about but I do not like a students life, I would rather work full time and read on the side to learn these things. That is my personal opinion and how I feel of studying as a whole, I like working and I would rather do that and I am very much aware that it probably stems from working full time for almost a year before I started studying.

All of these previously mentioned things in Ireland have altered me, my way of thinking and my plans for the future. This fall and now the beginning of this year has been occupied by thoughts of the future and which (to my amazement) for the first time since 2012 are set in a Nordic environment. It is not all due to Ireland and my dislike of being here but also changing situations in Finland; my niece and nephew that I miss seeing growing up, my best friends little baby, my friends establishing there lives and goals there. This past year my ties to Finland have grown even more and become even more permanent, I no longer dream of a luxurious apartment on the upper east side and busy NYC life actually I do but not as my permanent base.

I, Lina Lindqvist, for the first time since before America, before adulthood, before I even thought of the future, have a longing and a dream of establishing my home base in the Nordics close to family and friends and living in a system that fully functions and works.

I realise my friends and family might not think of this as being a big thing I have been boasting my love for Finland a lot lately, but it hasn't always been like that and I ,up until just over a year ago, thought that maybe when I am old and wrinkly I might want to establish a base in the Nordic but never before that... How things have changed. I would also like to add that to me this is a happy occasion, a happy and mature thought that I am so glad that I have reached. I finally feel as if I have a slight heading of what I would like to do or even be in the future. I feel very content with realising this and with also being able to analyse it and understand it fully.

I don't know if this is a coming out letter to the world "Yes world it is true, I am Nordic and I love it" or if I needed to write these words and formulate these thoughts for myself to understand what I want. In any way I am happy, content and looking forward to my future whatever it may hold. (as long as it is away from Ireland hehe...) (jk jk)

Baii!

Ps. On top of all of this thought of the future and where to live I have gotten very into homes, houses and decoration lately which is a very new thing for me as it has not really interested me before. Here too the Scandinavian foresty look and wooden houses are filling my Pinterest. The future looks exciting children!

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Per request, TWO whole people in one week actually, I am back at it again with the witty blogging! Unfortunately to mine and yours dismay I have pretty much nothing new to come with. I keep saying that to mom every time she calls too, there is literally nothing new to tell because Ireland is a limbo-stand-still-time-warp where nothing really happens, at least not for me.

The past two weekends before this one were at least fun, the first one my sister and her fiancé came to visit me for a nice and intensive 48 hours. We went to the Guinness Storehouse tour and learnt about the beer and drank (2 sips) a bit of Guinness just to come to the conclusion that it is rather disgusting. However no harm no foul we made up for the nasty Guinness by drinking way too many cocktails at Hard Rock Cafe and eating good food, all and all money well spent! Last weekend I had a friend come to visit and even though the weather was absolute shite the whole weekend we had fun roaming around TK Maxx (yes I introduced him to the joy of life), a little bit of Dublin sightseeing and a lot of laughter. Yay!

Unfortunately the walking around in the rain took its toll on me seeing as I have been sick for the past week, barely leaving the apartment and mainly laying in bed watching Shameless and Downton Abbey. (Yes I know a good mixture innit?)

This upcoming week however has some fun in its forecast, because I get to write essays! No I'm only joking, well not really I have to write essays and I am a bit stressed out over that because on Friday I will be sitting on plane flying over the Atlantic to US and A ! More precisely New York City for 5 days with Mommy and then Poultney for the remaining 12 days and also that with Mommy dearest! YAY!

To your left you will see a map of whereabouts in NYC me and mom will reside, Arlo Hudson Square a nice little hipstery hotel in downtown NYC, very exciting to get to stay at a hotel and not a hostel when traveling. (student life you know)

To the right is a picture of me the last time I visited NYC, back in lovely spring 2012. I look so young and skinny. Ah how nice. Anyways I am hella excited to go there and to get to see the city the I love the most, it really is my favourite big city. My request of mother was that we visit the Met one day and that we go to a jazz club, other than that I just want to stroll around and breath in that New York City vibe that cannot be found anywhere else. ahh, I can't wait!

After our days breathing in NYC we will take a completely different turn and take the good ol' (really it's stuck in the 1920s) Amtrak Train all the way to Vermont. In Vermont I do not have much planned except visiting all the dogs and seeing all the people!! With mommy with me it will be a bit different as I will travel around showing her all the things that I love but that'll be just as much fun. Oh and on top of just loving life in Poultney we will definitely do some TJ Maxx runs, hehe. Mother leaves two days before me so I get a day of my own in Poultney and that will be spent at my friends house warming party that she so smartly decided to have when I was in America, YAY!! So that night will be a blur of people, kegs and a good old American house party. AH I CANNOT WAIT.

Okay now I pumped myself up for this coming week and the two weeks following that, thanks me! Oh and on top of all this fun-ness, a mere week after I come back from America I am going to Finland for 12 days. *HEART EYES MOTHERFUCKER* It really is fun central from this Friday and for a whole month, YAY.

Toodles!

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On Tuesday last week I captured this picture somewhere between Finland and Denmark, however, I did not know it turned out this good because I was sobbing uncontrollably. Yes, that I did. I blame 2 hours of sleep, a fairly perfect Christmas break and the bursting of the care free bubble I was in.

Now a week in on Semester 2 and life back in Ireland and I have not cried since, well not sobbed like I did that day. Admittedly it was very hard saying good bye to Finland and leaving everything and everybody but I also think it was good for me. Good to start doing something with my life other than going to lunch and on dates. I suppose being an adult is realising that the good times have to end for new ones to start at some point. *Personal Growth right here ladies and gents*

Christmas Break in Finland consisted of an absolutely amazing New Years Eve Gala with a whopping 65 people, a couple of delicious brunches, many selfies, a tattoo, a couple of nights out, many nights in cozying up to someone and a general sense of bliss of being at home.

However, back here in Ireland I have taken a more active role in my own life. That means a plan of studying, eating and exercising oh and also trying to be less negative towards this place. To keep my spirits up I have many things to look forward too this spring, here is a comprehensive list:

1. Ida & Jamie are coming to visit me: 19-20.02 12 DAYS

2. B. is visiting Dublin for the first time: 24-27.02 18 DAYS

3. Me and Mom are meeting up in my favourite city: NYC for 5 nights and then heading to Vermont for another 7 nights, I am so excited to go back! 10-27.03 32 DAYS

4. I am going to Finland for Easter: 07-18.04 60 DAYS

So as you all can see a lot of fun and traveling lies ahead, always good to work hard and to have something to look forward too!

On top of all of this fun there is one more thing (at least) to look forward too, however this one is not until this fall but it is such a joyous occasion and something new for me and my family that it is exciting as hell! In November the Lindqvist clan is flying to the Dominican Republic for my sisters wedding, I am so excited for the wedding, the place, the all inclusive (!!) hotel and the warmth. Ah, can't wait!

All and all I am pretty content, happy and in a good mood right now. 2017 has started in the best way ever and I hope it continues in that way too and as I look at all the things I have coming up it seems to not be that impossible. Yay!

Guten Nacht,

Lina

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Hello!

Every year I do a list over my year, and it is the same list every year with slight variation in the answers. Ready for next one? Yuuup!

2016

1. Did you do something this year that you haven't done before?

Yeah, as per usual new things happen all the time! I went on a roadtrip to Norway on my own, sans parents that is, I drank alcohol legally in The States... Okay, I cannot think of anything else? Apparently this year was pretty much similar to every other year lately. But it is the middle year, with that I mean the middle of my studies and such so it is kinda meh.

2. Did anybody you know have a baby?

Yes!! My sister had her second baby in September, a little baby girl and just two days before that one of my oldest and closest friends had a little baby girl too!

3. Did somebody close to you die?

Unfortunately yes, someone close to me and especially close to one of my friends. It was a rough start to the summer, a rough time for all involved.

4. Which countries did you visit this year?

Finland - As much as possible and as often as possible

Sweden - As a part of my roadtrip

Norway - As a part of my roadtrip

Ireland - More than I would hope but yes

USA - I finally went back home to Poultney after three years! It was glorious.

UK - To see the sister and her mister

The Netherlands - A fun filled Halloween with France, Switzerland and Finland represented in Amsterdam

5. Is there something you've been missing in 2016 that you want to have in 2017?

Hmm, a hard question. This year has been under a lot of turmoil at some points and then at some points at a complete stand still. I wish for a more balanced 2017, a less of an emotional rollercoaster.

6. What day/date will you always remember?

Ah a hard one again, Padvastock this year was amazing and made a very good comeback but I think that just like last year New Years Eve this year takes the price! We had a Gala with 60 of our closest friends, a sit town three course dinner, dancing, fireworks, champagne showers and many rounds of laughter. It was a long night, a fun night and the perfect start to 2017.

7. What's the best thing that has happened to you during this year?

Hmm, a lot of things related to my exchange year happened this year. My host parents made their first (ever!!) trip to Europe and it was amazing to finally be able to show them a little bit of Finland and have them as my guests for once. On top of that both of my host sisters from America came to Finland for a whopping 17 days and it had been 2 long years since the last time I saw them, even though seeing them felt like nothing had changed! Lastly, I went back to America last spring after 3 years and it was amazing. All I did was hang out with people, eat good food, hung out in Walmart and TJ-Maxx and enjoyed every second of being in the country I love so much. So I would say the best things last year were those connected to America somehow.

8. Biggest mistake?

Hmm... Spending too much money as always? I really am the worst. No but I think one of the problems last year was that Finland and my summer here was just absolutely top notch and my return to Ireland was very uncertain as I had no place to live and had to live in a hostel the first week back so it laid the grounds for my fairly negative feelings towards Ireland this past fall which carried on throughout the semester... I still feel the same but could try and make a better effort to actually make something out of my remaining year and a half there.

9. Best thing you bought?

Hmm... A roundtrip to New York for 330€ ?? (SO CHEAP YA'LL, OH AND IT'S STRAIGHT FLIGHTS NO LAYOVERS) ... I also had a good shopping year like clothes wise, I bought a pair of shoes, albeit a bit expensive but the first shoes ever that I haven't gotten blisters from so...

10. What did you spend the most money on?

School. Rent. Food. The usual and the worst things to spend money on. I mean especially school and rent, food is okay to spend money on hehe.

11. What made you really happy?

The 3 F's. Friends, Family and Finland.

Friends: I know I have said this before but I will continue saying it: MY friends really are the best of the best, all of them from around everywhere. I mean my host sisters that I see every now and then but feel equally close too every time we fight over who gets shotgun. My Finland friends that just know me from the inside out and that really know how to make a party better than best + all the new friends that I have made and that have come to mean a great deal to me.

Family: We don't see each other all under the same roof that often but when we do it's fun and especially now that we have two mini-versions of my oldest sister that makes every minute exciting.

Finland: Where I find the other two F's, where I can drive (<33333), where I feel adult, where I get to work, where I know everything inside and out and where I can spend my summers in paradise.

12. Have you been sick or gotten injured?

Not really no, I had something in my foot in the beginning of the summer and I actually had to go to the hospital (first time ever in Finland) but that passed in like a couple of days and that was it.

13. What songs or artist will make you think of 2016?

Beyonce - Lemonade without doubt, I blasted it all spring and all summer. Bohemian Rhapsody will make me think of Padvastock 2016. All Zara Larsson songs and a strange amount of Foo Fighters.

14. Is there something you wish you would have spent more time on?

Umm, spending less money? Going to more lectures? But then again actually what is the point of me going there when the lecturers have been bad and the subject boring and bullshittable ? I really had the most boring modules this past semester. What else, more time on working out as always?

15. How was your Christmas Eve?

Quieter than normal, less people that is, but followed the same patterns as always which is EXACTLY how it is supposed to be and the way I love it. The food was amazing and the presents were amazing and it was christmasy even though the weather was absolute shite.

16. Did you fall in love?

:)

17. What was the best TV-show?

Ahh easy! SKAM!!!!!!!!! This Norwegian show about teenage kids, like literally they are born in -99 or -97 or smth, and it is like Skins it follows one person each season and it is just so damn relatable. Way more relatable because it is set in a Nordic setting where you are used to all the things they do and they way things are set up and it is just made so effing good. Did I mention that literally everyone in Finland has seen it and bonds over it at the club? So funny!

18. Best book you read this year?

This year I finally (yes finally) started reading the Lord of The Rings... I know I know... But I tried before and it was just too hard in English, the language was just too hard to understand so it never amounted to anything but now I am on it and even though I am not in a reading period right now I am getting through them slowly and they are obviously amazingly good. Other than that I really haven't read any books this past year.

19. Biggest musical discovery?

Hmm this is tricky. Gotta go check Spotify real quick. Hmm hard to tell actually. Calum Scott and his rendition of When We Were Young and Dancing On My Own have been played to death this year so I'd say maybe him? Otherwise there's been pretty much the same as before, no new discovery per say.

20. Did you wish for something you didn't get?

Nah not really, I got more than I wished for this year and I am very grateful.

21. The best movie of the year?

The Revenant was amazing. The Big Short was also really really good and something I found super interesting. The Jungle Book reboot was super duper good! However no movie has really blown me away however this year I am hoping for The Beauty and The Beast to be good and especially Dunkirk, can't wait for another Christopher Nolan miracle!

22. What did you do on your birthday?

The weather was pretty bad so all we did was eat good food with the family and go for drinks to Ekenäs in the night with my friends and my host sisters that were visiting at the time. A bit sad because usually my birthday has excellent weather and that means boating but not this year... Oh well, can't always win aye?

23. Best people you met?

Even though I live in Ireland I actually have made new friends in Finland which has been fun, unexpected and exciting!

24. How would you describe your style?

Classy some days. Skatery most days. Oh and a washed out Ralph Lauren t-shirt and shorts when I hang out at home, actually what I am wearing right now... hehe.

25. What made you feel good?

Friends. Family. My Car. America. Finland. Finnish food. Music. Padva. Oh and this past fall I have been more happy about myself than I have before, I've felt more strong and sure of what I wanted than before which is good. Yay!

26. Which celebrity did you want the most?

Umm William from Skam (jag vet lammkött men ändå), Tom Hardy, Leonardo Dicaprio, you know the usual.

27. Who did you miss?

When not in Finland I missed Finland, friends, family and my car A LOT and all the time. When not in America, as always, I missed Poultney my friends there and all the dogs.

28. Anything you could've done better?

School? Essays? Exams? Work outs? Positivity when away from Finland?

29. How's next year going to differ from this year?

Hmm... No idea actually, as of right now it looks pretty much the same as before, it is still the middle year (middle of school) so it just kinda doesn't imply anything new in the near future. However, there are things that may or may not happen that could make this year a very good year.

30. Resolutions?

Work out more, as usual. Save more, as usual. Eat less bad things, as usual.

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Good evening, I realised as I was getting ready to hit the hay for the day that tonight may be the last night I have some time to do that last one of the summer months; AUGUST. This one isn't hard to write about and isn't hard to find pictures for, however it is fairly hard to put into words how awesome this month was.

It is safe to say that the other months had their fair share of sad news and negativity which probably contributed to the 'goodness' of this last summer month which was a joy from beginning to end.

I started my month with my seasonal over night stay at my Godparents to catch up, eat well, drink too much and just generally spend some time together. I have done it every 'season' that I have been home since I left Finland, it is a nice tradition. On top of that I spent my days in Padva and swam as much as I could because well why not?

August 5th marks the start of the epic:ness of August. My long lost and lovely host-sisters from America, one from France and the other from Switzerland, made their first ever visit to Finland! They stayed in Finland for 17 days and we managed to get quite a lot of things packed into that period of time. Simultaneously as they were there for their first weekend my sister had visitors from, Sweden, Britain, Denmark and from around Finland (if I remember correctly) for a party weekend in Finland.

We all started our weekend with a boating competition called 'Pokerrun' which is held every year in Hangö in Finland. We got our own boats and went to look at the start of the race and as we returned back home it was time for a house party in Padva with all the foreigners and all the guests! It is fair to say that it was a long night, no one had an empty glass all night and we all got home in different ways (some through ditches, others on balconies and some waking up with their head out of the door)...

The week after that I had work and my guests got to hang out with each others company as I worked away. My birthday was also that week and we spent it by eating good food in Padva and driving to Ekenäs in the evening to have a couple of cocktails with some friends at Alban. Ah lovely summer nights.

That weekend after recovering from the previous one was the event of the season, the comeback, the party everybody had been anticipating, the one, the only, PADVASTOCK!!

DAY 1 of Padvastock meant that the night before and that morning me and my fellow helpers had been running around all of Padva making it party ready and as guests started rolling in the party slowly took its form. Padvastock as a concept is a themed weekend party held every year as basically the last big party of the summer season, this was year 4 (after a pause) and its theme was festival! So naturally when you come to a festival you have to check in, everybody got a PADVASTOCK 2016 wristband and had to take a jell-o shot with the check in lady. (who incidentally happened to be me)

This year was fun for multiple reasons but one of the big ones were that there was a lot of new faces in the crowd! I had my foreigners there and C. from Åland came over, on top of that a lot of first timers from around Finland too! YAY for that!

We had a face/body painting station, a bbq spot, a slip and slide (albeit homemade but it served its purpose), a sauna hot all day (and night) and some beer pong for all the champs.

I was awake and last man standing that night after hours of ring of fire and Bohemian Rhapsody karaoke, also I think I made a midnight run to the ocean for a swim? Not sure.

Anyways, it was a good first night and everybody seemed perfectly happy with day 1 of Padvastock. (The hostess in me that wants to entertain and impress was very thrilled that it was a hit and a half)

DAY 2 of Padvastock I woke up to what can only be described as the aftermath of a festival. It was chaotically beautiful. I faintly remember everybody slowly dying in their cottages and somebody asking in the Facebook group when we were going to Skatafe for burgers and hangover food. Haha, see the brilliance of Padvastock has two main points: 1. It is so far out in the sticks that nobody can leave 2. Only 4 km away from us lays, at the end of the road, a summer cafe that serves the best hangover food. Great right?

So we all went there with a couple of cars and had food and then came back to clean up the residue from last night and prepping for day 2 which was the crayfish party! I think it was the fastest crayfish party in the history of crayfish parties hahah but it was fun and the rest of the partying continued on into the early am once again with Bohemian Rhapsody blasting in the speakers.

After day 2 comes day 3 which is the last day of hangover food in Skatafe and then just generally people starting to leave and head back to civilisation. I had so many helping hands this year in cleaning everything up that it was no hassle at all and after a fun weekend like that with literally the best people ever nothing can get you down!

We did not waste any time and just the next day after P-Stock me, Frenchy and Swissy headed on a little roadtrip together! The picture to the right is the first stop in Sweden with some lovely roadside lunch, awesome! We took the Ferry from Turku (Finland) to Stockholm in Sweden and then drove straight across to Norway, into Norway up to the upper middle of Norway to Trollstigen and then via Geiranger back to Sweden and Stockholm to take the ferry home again!

The first night we spent at my sisters friends house in Heggenes where we had the whole house to ourselves, this picture up here is the view from their backyard. Not too shabby aye? We had driven from early morning all through Sweden and a fair bit into Norway when we arrived at their house in the evening so it was nice to have a place to stay and sleep happily!

The next day we spent driving on roads marked as 'especially beautiful scenery' and oh. my. gosh. it was so pretty! I am a huge lover of nature views and of spectacular nature and all I did that day was marvel at the wonder that is nature. It was SO pretty.

We reached our 'goal' that day too which is a very known sight in Norway called 'Trollstigen', well it isn't really a sight it is a stretch of road that is known but which incidentally comes with amazing views. It is one of those roads where you are climbing up a mountain with your car, I was a nervous wreck all the way up and thought my car was going to die or the breaks were going to give or some other car in front of me was going to fail. I was literally sweating out of stress. Totally worth it though! Reaching the top of Trollstigen and continuing on that road, as we did, means continuing to drive up up up which we didn't know but learned pretty quickly.

That is fine though because look at the town we had lunch in that day. We sat at one of those tables in the left picture. So incredibly pretty to sit there and look at the fjord and the mountains as you munch on your lunch with some of your best friends. Ah <3

We continued driving and eventually also drove down the mountains in Geiranger where we also spent the night at a cabin right by the Geiranger fjord. The day after that, a rainy one, we drove away from Norway back to Sweden via Gothenburg and then back to Stockholm where we slept in the car waiting to board the ferry back to Finland. A very short but intensive and incredibly pretty roadtrip!

Once back in Finland we managed to get one last night out in Ekenäs before the 17 days were up and the two lovely ladies flew back to their countries after what I hope was a good holiday for them!

Reality hit after that and I went to pick up the pieces left behind after Padvastock and to pack my things from Padva to slowly move back to Pojo but alas! before August ended I had time to do a couple of more things. A first in my adult life but definitely not a last was to hold, help and celebrate a baby shower for one of my oldest friends. We ate cakes, played games and guessed the date of birth, gender and weight of the baby. It was lovely to catch up with my longest lasting friends and to do that and celebrate the little life that is now a little happy girl!

Other than that I spent many nights in Ekenäs with all my friends, enjoying the last days of summer, savouring the sunlight on Baywatch and sitting by the docks for hours just being in the moment.

Somewhere there in the end of August I managed to have a little drinking bender with my lads, starting with a random Thursday and Friday night out and then a birthday party with Gängi followed by yet another night out and then somehow ending up in Åbo on a Sunday with the lads again... I don't really know what happened there but I think I was using every last chance I had to do fun things before duty called in Ireland.

Right before the end of August I went to a BTS party (which is a Back To School party organised by a Uni in that given city) and even managed to go to Helsinki to say bye to some friends before leaving for an unknown period of time... (I say that because I have returned twice to Finland this fall...because why not?)

Anyways that was August which was jammed packed with festivities and major events, such a good month and a clear favourite this summer.

Time for me to go to bed now and to in just 3 short days jump on a plane to go make some more memories in Finland, am I excited? FUCK YES.

ttyyyylll !

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Hi!

Yesterday I had this bright idea of going through my email to see if there were any pictures sent to me via email, you know back in the days when that was the easiest way of doing it. Sure enough there were plenty of pictures and many of them were of me and horses so I got to think and strut down memory lane and with a tear in my eye and a smile on my face I remember years and years of countless hours in the stables with the horses.

I honestly believe that it has made me a more responsible and independent person, the confidence that comes with being able to take care, manoeuvre and form a bond with these incredible, huge, animals is priceless. Having horses as a hobby is so much more than just the physical act of horseback riding, it requires understanding of the horses physic, manners, mentality etc. and we work with them from the ground, take care of them, feed them, groom them and then spend an hour every now and then in the saddle. I think it is amazing that something that takes that much physical work and toll on a person can be so much fun? I mean I loved shovelling manure at 8 am on Sunday morning in the middle of the winter just because it meant that I got to hang out in the stable with my friends and the horses. I could spend hours grooming "my horse" (the horse that was mine to take care of in the stable, everybody had one).

I have never officially given up horseback riding, life has just gotten in the way as I have been traveling and been away from my 'home stable' and every time that I am back in Finland I think of going horseback riding just to be able to breath that horse air again.

These pictures (courtesy of Bettan) are from the last horse riding camp that I went too, in 2012. I love the top left one where I am smiling, because it really shows how much fun it is even though it is hard work and takes a toll on you mentally and physically. Mentally? Oh yes let me tell you the feeling after a shit riding lesson is literally the worst, every single time you feel like quitting but then you end up there again a week later to try to redeem yourself.

It was so much fun when I was little just spending any extra time that I had in the stable, working, helping etc. It has helped me not just in staying out of trouble or in doing something recreational that is good for my physically but it is also the reason why I speak fluent Finnish and the reason why I have a huge network of friends that I have met through this sport. I also held lessons for a mentally disabled boy that did horseback riding once a week in the summer for a couple of years, which was amazing to be able to do that for him and see how happy he was when he got to be around the animals. On top of that I also helped out with bigger groups of disabled riders that came to try out horseback riding, it is amazing how the horses sense and know to be gentle and calm when needed. (Yes my eyes are tearing up)

Here are some pictures when I was maybe 12 years old or even younger than that? From the hight of my horse addiction and when literally all I did was be around the horses. Both of the horses in these pictures have had a great impact on me, the one to the left 'Raingirl or Essu' I leased for almost a whole year, which meant that she was like my own horse I paid for half of her expenses and rode her about 3 times a week. It was amazing and very educational to be able to see the progression with that one specific horse. The little black pony to the right, also known as Tetris, is a year older than me and has been my faithful friend throughout my time in the stable that I am in now. He was my "sköthäst" which would be translated to my 'care pony', all of the kids in the stable that wanted to and had enough experience got to have a horse which they were in charge of taking care of. That meant oiling up the saddle and bridle once a week, making sure the brushes were clean and the horse was groomed and that it had no wounds etc. It was like taking care of your own pony. Tetris was my care pony for at least 5 years I think, and was the best of the best.

Ah memory lane.

This lad here which makes thinking about horses a bit painful is 'Elstar' or Eppu. He was my riding teachers sisters horse and I got to ride him a lot and I loved him. I was even offered to buy him but my parents didn't want to spend that much money. I am still sad over that because now that he is no longer in my stable I miss him a lot and a part of what made the last 4 active years of horseback riding so much fun was him and now he is not there anymore. I understand my parents, don't get me wrong horses are basically money eating machines but ah how much fun it would've been. I hope he is doing well where ever he is now.

Sorry not sorry on dedicating a whole blog post on horses. I could go on for days about horses and special horses or what I have learnt from that sport or all the injuries that i have acquired but I shall leave it at this. With a picture of Eppu and a happy me.

Ttyl, back to studying now!

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Hello.
I sometimes like to introduce you all to important songs as I write these important, oh yes very important, blog posts. Coldplay has always been a favourite and some of the greatest concerts I have ever been too. They good.

Coldplay wasn't my reason for blogging today, my reason for blogging was to make time pass without doing anything that one is supposed to do. You know.... Procrastination. Ah, a word I live by. I have for the last 3 days procrastinated in a very good way, in Stokenchurch in England. Yes, I flew to my sisters for a couple of days, we didn't do much just ate good food, drove around, visited TK Maxx and watched some quality tv. All and all pretty much all I needed for a good holiday!

However now I am back in Ireland, but alas only for 10 days!!!!!! Finland is just around the corner and it is so close that I don't even have time to long for it because the next 10 days are jam-packed with exams, packing and Christmas wrapping! So all and all a pretty darn busy schedule and that is a-okay! yayay!

I love traveling, however flying has become quite of a less fun thing these days. I don't mind the flying part or the airport I actually love sitting in the airport people watching... hehe. However, I actually like the transatlantic flights, the long-haul ones, on those flights you get to sit down, make your little nest, you're fed all the time, you have movies to choose from etc. It's all good. What I don't like are flights that are 3-4 hours long, because they are long enough to become boring but short enough to not have any entertainment, food or anything to do on them. And of course I live in Ireland which is about a 3-4 hour flight from Finland. Usually with a layover in Stockholm or Oslo... Lucky me!

Anyway, don't worry because my plan in life is to be rich enough to fly first class everywhere so then my problem of short flights won't seem as bad. I got it all figured out just let me win the lottery first!

On the left side in the middle:ish is where we live, right under the Dublin mountains that stretch for about 40 km, you can faintly see them in the background far away too.

Okay well time to get back to Comparative Politics which is actually fairly interesting as I read it on my own which makes me a bit sad, because it means that this module had the potential to be interesting yet it wasn't. I think that is one of the things that are a slight negative about a free third level education as the bar is not as high when it comes to professors and lectures. I mean I am not saying that my uni isn't doing as good as they can to make our learning experience better and as interesting as possible but if you attend a university in The US where you pay 40 000 dollars a year you expected a certain level of your classes and you have the right to complain because you are literally paying to get the best of the best. I have never attended an Ivy league school lecture in The US so I might be talking about things that I do not know anything about, but I think it isn't just that it is also the incentive as a student to be able to complain or to be able to expect a certain level from your professors, I don't feel as inclined here to complain because well, I am getting it for free and I am eternally grateful for that.

I suppose my point is that even though I am an advocate for free third level education and I think that is something that is absolutely great I would also like to point out that there is a good side to both arguments, I think what I just discussed is one of the more important arguments for paid third level education. This incidentally ties in with politics and policies, I mean a higher tax does include (not everywhere but where I come from) a higher level of services at your disposal. Hehe, getting all educational on your asses. Sorry, I sound like I know what I am saying but I actually don't.

Anyways, Bye ttyl ya'll!

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Here we go again on to the next month: JULY! July is usually when summer starts in Finland, like starts properly with nice weather and actual sunshine. If I recall it correctly July wasn't too bad this summer in Finland, however I would not know since I spent all of July except 5 days at work... hehe.

The two pictures above are both from work: spinach soup and a piece of bread was a pretty standard lunch through all of July, I mean it is good but at some point you grow a bit tired of it... The other picture is "The Big Raid Stand-Off of 2016"... I will explain. Me and my work friend Johanna (we have been working together for two summers now) were in charge of unpacking a big delivery that we just got and well it is a small store and getting everything to fit is always a struggle, basically we play Tetris every day. Anyways we got a big delivery of Raid (which is like insect spray) and neither of us wanted to try to get them to fit in the basement so we left the raid with notes on them, every time I went to look at it there was a new note saying "Property of Lina, don't touch" or "Puss o Kram (Kisses and Hugs)" or something like that. It was a gruesome stand-off but I won, I cannot remember why though? I probably got another task which was equally daunting....

Finland also has incredible sunsets all through the summer, the next day more flabbergasting than the one last night. It is really remarkable. (Really I should get paid for this, Finland? come on help a girl out) (I'm helping you out...)

Both of these pictures where taken at my friends house in Svartbäck where we, not to my recollection but apparently, spent some evenings and had a pre-party before we headed out clubbing to the one nightclub that we have in town. Actually there are two of them but the other one is for the winter months... aka. Imma be spending my Christmas Break there hihihi.

The beginning of July also marked one of the highlights from last summer and something I had been looking forward to all year long: My American host-parents + their daughter visiting Finland! This was their first time in Europe and therefore first time in Finland (well their daughter had been in Europe but not Finland) and it was a pretty tired bunch of Americans that I picked up from the airport. Keith and Cheryl had had quite the hassle getting to Finland as they got to the airport only to find out that they had no tickets !! After fixing everything for hours they finally got it fixed and ended up just a couple of hours late in Finland!

They were in Finland only 4 days but we managed to pack it full of activities anyways and they got their own cottage right by the ocean with the best views of them all so I think they were pretty happy hehe. We then took them boating, first to the farmers market on Saturday morning and then to Hangö (the southernmost town in Finland), we introduced them to Finnish food: fish fish fish fish fish. (<3) I also took them on some sightseeing tours around my neck of the woods, fed them Finnish ice cream and even managed to take them on a Moose Safari = Driving in Bromarf, I think we saw 10 Moose all together on their short stay!

They were very lucky with the weather when they were in Finland and I was so happy to finally show them around and repay them at least a little little bit for all they have done for me. After Finland they flew to Switzerland to meet up with their next foreign daughter and then on to France and the third one before heading back to The US. Quite the trip!

A rainy Friday after that I headed straight to Hangö after work to meet up with Mom, Soffan (my friend) and her mom Anna. We have a long standing tradition of doing things together as a group, be it traveling, dinners, theatres etc. This time it was dinner. We went to HSF in Hangö which had been re-made that summer, a new concept and new look.... And t'was good. Oh so good. We all ate duck breast with different kinds of sides, I had parmesan sprinkled home fries and a lovely sauce + a glass of bubbly and a red wine that tasted like heaven. It was the most perfect dinner, the best thing I ate all of 2016, and the best way to make a rainy Friday better. Ahh.

July continued with loads of work, luckily I really enjoy my work and the people I work with so there is not one day that isn't filled of laughter. :) July was a month of work but also a month of after-works... hehe. Me and Johanna took it upon ourselves to have a drink every now and then after work (more often than not was the motto), one of these evenings after a particularly long day at work that stretched into overtime we went to Skatafe (in Padva) and as we got there we learned that our meal was already paid for by our boss! (If that isn't a sign of how good my job is then what is?)

Other than that I, as per usual, enjoyed the amazing Finnish nature that surrounded me as I lived primarily in Padva all of this time. I mean look at that, imagine standing there in the middle of the trees with no sounds of people or traffic, just the sounds of nature. T H E R A P Y.

You think we didn't drink at all in July did you? Well alas my friend, this is Finland in the summer which means that since most summer cottages don't even have running water it is perfectly acceptable to drink a lonkero when you are thirsty, no matter the time or day. However you are right in noting that I did not go out and party much that month, all due to me being old and working a lot thus making me tired, I did however spend some lovely nights at Alban (a restaurant/bar by the harbour in Ekenäs that is only open in the summer) and we did go out too, after another pre-party in Svartbäck. (The picture on the right) From this particular pre-party I have probably 50 pictures like the one on the right, where we have tried to get a nice group picture but the weird blob on the right messed it up... Gosh, some people...

Saturday the 23d of July marked the first CRAYFISH PARTY of the season! A long standing tradition in Finland, and my gosh what a good one it is. We gathered at a barn in the middle of the forest with 20-30 people, ate crayfish, sang snapsvisor (literally could not find a translation for this maybe drinking songs will suffice?), played beer pong and had an absolutely smashing time. I was supposed to take it easy, preferably be sober but ended up drinking everything in sight... hehe. It was super fun and so nice to see everybody after being rather anti-social all of July.

The reason to why I was supposed to be sober during the crayfish party was because we had a big yard sale in Padva the day after that and the whole Lindqvist clan was supposed to be there and help out... Well let's just say I arrived a bit late and a bit groggy but still helped out a bit...

Other than that work continued in July and some mornings were better than others when I got to start the day with Finnish coffee (literally nothing is better than that) and some greek yoghurt with freshly picked berries from the forest. Freshly picked from 2 meters away. So. Incredibly. Good. oh and with a view of the ocean of course. #visitfinland)

July ended with some sushi in Ekenäs on the docks surrounded by my favourite people. As July ended it meant that August was just around the corner, and now August ladies and gentlemen was a month full of well everything, but mostly alcohol. Oh and incidentally it contained the best party weekend of the year: PADVASTOCK 2016. Stay tuned people, stay tuned because August was bitchin'.

Toodeloo!

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Hello, I know you have waited for this. Jk. I know you do not even know what I am talking about. Well I will tell you; every year I do a run down of my summer months, mostly because it is fun for me to do it and it is fun to have it in a blog to look back on and remember those three lovely months of the year.

As I got back to Finland already in the middle of May I am going to start my summer there, so here comes half of May and all of June!

The two first things that I did when I got back to Finland were: Drive down to Padva (Left) and go enjoy a nice glass of red at Baywatch in Ekenäs (Right). The weather when I got back was absolutely amazing and super warm so it felt like full blown summer in the middle of May!

On top of that - since I wasn't working full time yet - I spent my days frolicking around with my friends. We drove around looking at the incredible state the nature was in, we sat on the docks in the harbour and had picnics, we caught up on everything that had happened in each others lives and just enjoyed every second of early summer. Ahh.

In an effort to see all my friends at once and have a little 'Summer Starter BBQ' I gathered all my friends in our winter house, had the bbq warm and supplied them with some alcoholic punch and music. Quite a few lads and ladies showed up (yay) and we sat out on the veranda all night talking, singing, eating and enjoying some alcoholic beverages. I was so happy that so many of my peeps showed up for this gathering.

After that came the graduations and the real first sign of summer: Graduation parties. One day where no matter what the weather is everybody is dressed like it is +30°C outside anyways and the mood is high. Me and my friends are no strangers to this and took our duty of being drunk from midday to early morning very seriously. It was a good night and the birds were chirping as me and my friends made our way towards the flat we were crashing in that night. Ah, the start of summer.

A very unlikely event happened a couple of days after that, a lot of my friends and I had a day off at the same time. SO we took our cars and drove to the Southernmost town of Finland where we had some wine and pasta and hung out in broad daylight together! All 8 of us! I love it when spontaneous things happen.

As I had started working more (we are now in June) I spent quite some time in Padva, hanging out by the dock enjoying the amazing view but also hanging out with my cool little nephew who was chillin' like a villain everyday in Padva.

When in Padva I always enjoyed life a little more, I remember being mesmerised by the fact that it was still super light out at midnight. Finland is far up North that the sun only sets for a couple of hours in the night in June, it is practically light out 20 out of 24 hours a day, and this happens every year and has happened every year of my existence yet I am always mesmerised. It is so incredibly cool. (ps. kids, visit Finland) (I should get paid for this)

The days following up to the end of June I spent working, shopping important wine for Midsummers Eve with my mother (we like to bond by going alcohol shopping) and spent some quality time with Dad driving the boat to Padva from Pojo, which is about a 2 hour boat journey. I also got to drive the boat a bit, which is always appreciated.

I almost forgot, after a night of hanging out with friends and driving around I was driving back home to Pojo and got a flat tire about 2 km from my house. It was 3 am in the morning but I called mom and told her what had happened, she showed up and told me to leave the car because dad will drive by it in 3 hours and fix it on his way to work........ For 3 hours it stood there, next to houses and a road, 2 km from home. During those 3 hours some idiot(s) smashed two windows, stole my car charger and tried breaking into the car... Idiots.

On a happier note though I apparently bought my Apple TV in June, money well spent.

In Finland in the end of June you celebrate Midsummers Eve, it is the feast of summer and a great excuse to party like there is no tomorrow. I spent my day at work with all the customers doing crazy last minute shopping, the store is jam packed. After that I had a great lunch with the family and a nice boat ride (OFC YOU HAVE TO GO BOATING ON MIDSUMMERS EVE). After that I jumped in my car and headed for my friends party where I celebrated Midsummers with my favourite people. Oh and in style ofc.

The day after that I did probably one of the best things you can do in life: Horseback riding in Rilax. Rilax is in Bromarf (the town I work in) and has this old mansion from the 18th century situated in this little tiny coastal village in southern Finland. Anyways, Rilax was a place I spent most of my summers in from the age 10-17. Working, helping and riding horses in this beautiful environment. So when my riding teacher came into the store and asked me if I wanted to come riding over Midsummers I could not refuse the offer.

It was me and a couple of my friends, a warm June evening, galloping along the fields in Rilax. It sounds and was picture perfect. Ah, the best hobby.

Thus June hath ended.

I will continue with the other months some other day, probably soon because today I finished my last essay and now all that stands in the way of me and Finland is the exams!

ttyl ya'll!

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(If you haven't noted by now: Yes I do have a slight love of expressing myself through gifs) (ps. not jif) (if you pronounce it like that leave now please)

Hello! Ah the wonderful life of procrastination is upon us once again! Therefore you get blog posts, so basically everybody is happy right? Procrastination is here and it is settling in quite nicely into its old patterns: Make a list of things that have to be done-> Spend hours on making it really pretty-> Complain about all the things you have to do ->Do nothing. So in order to coincide with this I would like to tell you about all the things I have to do:

Wednesday November 30th - An Essay worth 80% should be written and done with extra care and love, well it is Monday night right now and I have -5 words and I am doing this instead....

Friday the 2nd - Semester 1 ends or should I say semester what? I am telling you I have barely had a semester at all this fall...

Sunday the 4th - I geniously booked a flight for 6:30 am on Sunday morning... Which means I have to leave here at about 2:30 am... Anyways who cares I get to leave!! Only over the pond to England to visit the sister and her boyfriend but still, always nice to go on an adventure!

Wednesday the 7th - I return to Ireland to stress and learn all the things I need to know for:

Saturday the 10th - First exam time! The first exam I have is Comparative Politics, now what is that you may ask, well I do not really know either so we better ask someone else...

Tuesday the 13th - Second exam: Sociological Theory 2, it is just as fun as it sounds and for that one I know nothing either. Got a good streak going aye?

Friday the 16th - a 9 am exam about Individuals and The State, so the theories of Hobbes, Locke, Rawls and Rousseau. At 9 am. On a Friday. Oh dear.

Saturday the 17th - THE LAST DAY OF EXAMS. Yay for that but nay for how. I have one exam at noon: Capitalism and Democracy and then another one at 6pm: Sociology of Nations. The last ones are pretty 'bullshittable' so I am actually not too worried about them.

THEN IT IS TIME FOR D-DAY. SUNDAY THE 18th!!! At noon I will be happily sitting on a plane towards Scandinavia with a quick layover in Oslo and then a short little flight to Helsinki!

JOY JOY JOY!

I am really writing this so that I can see it for myself, up until pretty much today I have been sad about it being such a long time until Christmas and until Finland but today when I started thinking about all the things that should be done and the fact that there is only two more Mondays standing in my way of Christmas Holidays reality kind of hit me. Wow. I have no time to do the things I have been putting off for 12 weeks. Haha. Classic Lina. I know, I know.

However, don't get me wrong I am actually not that stressed. I am taking it chill, getting on top of my things and getting ready. Every now and then I get emotional outbursts of excitement for Christmas, of the Holidays, of seeing all my friends and of drinking wine. Ah wine. Oh and let us not forget: Of the fact that in 20 days I will be driving again.

Other then that realisation today I haven't done much. Well. Actually, I biked 12 km today to get a 'package' from the closest post office. It was a letter that could have been pushed under our door. 12 km for that. 12. In windy Dublin. Not the greatest of feelings but a good work out so winwin?

Alright I need to continue learning about Franz Boas contribution to the development of Anthropology.... Yay!

Ttyl ya'll.

I am so gonna ski in Finland. Ps.

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