Moi! My name is Ellen and I am studying in Finland at the University of Helsinki. I am a mathematics major at Amherst but at the University of Helsinki I am a student in the Faculty of Arts. I have come to Finland hoping to explore Nordic life and to experience a more self-guided education system. While I am attending school in Helsinki, Suvisaaristo (translated as summer islands) will be my home, and I look forward to writing about my intertwining experiences in both worlds.
- “Monsieur, c’est pour les femmes.” “Oui,” I respond, “oui, oui… je suis la faim.” Faim? La faim? Really, Ellen, you are The Hunger, is this some new superhero? You took the time to take off your sweatshirt, cover your hair with a hat, and pull the necklace out from under your shirt, but somehow, you forgot to prepare your tongue. Well done. “Femme,” I blurt out, “je suis une femme.” It takes a few moments, one to look down at …Continue Reading »
- Kukka and I became friends the summer before my senior year of high school. We spent a few years together studying violin at the Manhattan School of Music, but eventually both of us left MSM. Kukka went to Finland and I went to community college. Four years have passed since we left MSM and now I am also in Finland. Upon arriving in Helsinki, I met up with Kukka at Musiikkitalo, the Helsinki Music Centre, and she offered a piece …Continue Reading »
- About once a month, one of my housemates greets me in the morning by asking me if I know what day it is. Every time I immediately become concerned that I’m late to pay rent. But that’s never the case. Still, she likes to wait a few seconds while my face contorts with mild panic. Eventually she tells me, “there are witches and cats wandering the streets today. If someone knocks on the door, don’t open it.” Sometimes I think …Continue Reading »
- I came downstairs to have breakfast and was offered a glass of champagne. I accepted it. For a moment, I stopped and thought about why I’d said yes. I’d never said yes before. And then I decided I didn’t need to know exactly why I had said yes. So, I had a glass of champagne for breakfast. Comfort had snuck up on me in Finland and instilled an inarticulable change in longstanding inhibitions. I felt at home and comfortable in …Continue Reading »