Highlights of our journey in Finland (so far)

It has been almost six months since my wife, Micay, and I moved to Jyväskylä to pursue further studies and it has been the few of the best months we have ever had so far. Being over 9 000 km away from home, it has not been that difficult for us to live here because of the great opportunities and experiences we have had here in Finland. Here are some of the highlights in my experiences living and studying in Finland that will be most memorable and meaningful to me.

1. Moose Cup 2013

Moose Cup 2013 - photo (c) of Happee Floorball Club
Moose Cup 2013 – photo courtesy of Happee Floorball Club
Our sport event planning & implementation class
Our sport event planning & implementation class

It was a day of fun-filled event and great atmosphere among international students playing floorball. And for our class in the Sport event planning & implementation, it has been a stressful yet a worthwhile experience. In this course, I was able to know more and appreciate the people from our SpoSMaPro group, in understanding our individual differences and in seeing each other’s unique personalities and work ethic. It was a good time to get to know each other more as we worked together in this event.

2. City of lights

Micay with her mom in Paris
Micay with her mom in Paris
Me and Micay
Me and Micay on a city tour

Although Jyväskylä is also known to be the world’s northernmost city of light, my wife and I was able to visit another city of light during the short one-week break last autumn semester. Last October, we went Paris to meet and spend time with my mother-in-law during the break. It was a great opportunity to be able to travel with the people you love. I think it is nice to have such a break during the semester, in order to relax and to recharge mentally and physically for studies.

3. Winter sports

Winter sport school at Laajavuori
Winter sport school at Laajavuori
With Miguel at Tuomijojärvi (lake)
With Miguel at Tuomijojärvi (lake)

Coming from a country of tropical islands, activities such as skating on a frozen lake, snowboarding, sledding, and skiing are all new to me. Although winter this year had few snow and not as cold, I am grateful to be able to try out different sorts of winter sports during the winter school in January. While most people are not so convinced, I can say that I love and enjoy the winter here in Finland because of the different environment for me and the various activities I can participate in. I look forward to next year’s winter (which I hope will be a real Finnish winter–colder and more snow).

4. Urban life group

Our Urban Light group
Our Urban Light group

Micay and I are part of an Urban Light small group which is made up of 12 international students from eight different countries (China, Finland, France, Nepal, Philippines, Spain, South Korea and the U.S.A.). We meet every week where we share our experiences as a student and in life in general over some bread and tea or coffee. It’s a privilege to be able to journey life together other people, especially with friends. In this group, we are able to share our stories, encourage one another, and do a lot of things together.

5. Filipino community

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Ravintola paiva with some of our international friends and guests
Our small Filipino community in Jyväskylä
Our small Filipino community in Jyväskylä

I always feel at home when I am with my other fellow Filipinos. Although we are not directly related to each other, our family-oriented culture and strong sense of connectedness allow us to get along easily and enjoy our time together, even in abroad. Last week, we participated in the Ravintola Paiva (Restaurant Day) by serving Filipino cuisine at the Monikulttuurikeskus Gloria. It was a good and successful day as we were able to share with the Finns and to other international friends Filipino food and culture.

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