29/06/2015

If you care to find me, look to the western sky!

You know what's the worst thing about moving? Well let me tell you. It's this:
It's the sudden realisation when you wake up to notice you own 64 coat hangers.

Apart from that: I'm in Canada!

Getting from Helsinki to Toronto was a little bit of a project. This project consisted of 7000 flought kilometres, 19 hours of travelling, 2 planes, 1 car, 1 bus and 1 train. The route was the following:


My flight from Helsinki to Frankfurt was spent in a coma, having to wake up at 6AM in the said morning. However, I was already mentally preparing myself for a 6,5h layover at Frankfurt airport. My previous experiences with long layovers have been gained at London Heathrow and Amsterdam Schipol, both overall very comfortable airports (if you exclude Heathrow's 45-minute limitation for the use of wi-fi), so expectations towards Fraport were set high - which was a mistake.

Because this airport, my dear reader, is complete nonsense.

Heathrow has 5 terminals. So far I've always had to change a terminal between my flights between the furthest possible options, but I've survived that with a couple of shuttle buses (takes 30 minutes). Schipol doesn't have terminals, it's just one big sunflower-looking thing with 8 piers. But these airports, considerably two of the busiest in Europe, are a child's play compared to Frankfurt.

In Frankfurt they throw you out of the plane and say "piss off".

After 2,5 hours of wandering around the airport trying to figure out why the information board says my flight leaves from terminal 1 (arrived to 2), hall C, but my gate is stated to be "B", I found my way to an information desk, where the clerk seemed to be rather amused by my question. "See, your check-in counters are at terminal 1C, but your flight leaves from terminal 1B." Of course.

Little did I know about the fact that surviving the Fraport experience was probably the easiest part of my 19-hour odyssey. My flight from Frankfurt to Toronto was operated by Condor, a company that the immigration officer in Toronto described with words "never-heard, does this thing even exist?". The flight was a 9-hour transport inside a flying washing machine. I was holding on to my seat, immensely glad about the existense of my safety belt, as the turbulence was tossing the aircraft to all possible directions for the majority of the flight. The most exciting feature of the whole flight was a glimpse of the mountains in Greenland. My attempt to take a picture of them can be seen here:

I got to spend this rollercoaster of a flight sitting next to a 90-year old German woman, whose name I sadly never learned. She was the sweetest!

She had stories. The woman had moved to Canada 60 years ago, her daughter was born in Canada, married to a man from Montréal. She has 3 grandchildren, the youngest one being my age. Every year the woman visits Frankfurt for a week to get bretzels and dark bread for her family. The stories went on as I felt little drops of German saliva landing on my face (a half of her teeth were missing), but honestly I didn't mind. I told her about my travels, my plans in Canada, about Alexandre. I showed a picture. Turns out there is an Oktoberfest held in her city, Kitchener, every year. I promised to come for a visit with my beer-loving boyfriend. We accompanied each other out of the plane all the way to the customs. The last time I saw her was when she took the lane for the residents as I was stuck in my visitor-queue.

Finding my way away from the airport (after waiting for the luggage for two hours - thanks Condor) turned out to be a bit difficult. I ended up taking the bus number 52 to Lawrence West Station and switching to the subway line 1 there to Osgoode Station. Took 1,5 hours. Makes you miss the bus 615 from the Central Railway Station to Helsinki-Vantaa, really. I was close to tears from exhaustion as I finally crawled in from my hostel's door in downtown at 9.30PM local time.

The next day I discovered the utter awesomeness that is Toronto.

The CN Tower

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07/06/2015

A Story About Leaving

I was walking back home from the store today as I ran into someone I know. We exchanged news and chatted for a second, but on the moment of goodbye it was hard to find words. "The best of luck in life", would've been a bit corny for sure, but my "enjoy your summer" ended up sounding somewhat blunt. What do you say to a person you've vaguely known for several years, but might never see again?

There are exactly two weeks to my departure. It's not the first time I'm leaving Finland - actually it hasn't been even a year since I returned from my 8-month extravaganza in Europe, Canada and the United States - but it's certainly the most permanent so far. After spending a year in Canada I wish to pursue a Master's degree in the UK. In other words, my return to Finland is more or less unclear.

Cherry trees were blossoming a couple of weeks back in Helsinki

I've lived here for 24 years. My family is here, my friends are here, my university and my job and hobbies are here. Quite a sturdy castle I've built there. To be able to turn my back on all of that and take the leap has asked for sweat and tears - not to forget the kind of amount of paperwork that has made me doubt my decision more than once. Seriously, all those forms. Migration really isn't a child's play.

But I did it and it's official - I'm leaving. Since the day I got the Port of Entry Letter from the Citizenship and Immigration Office Canada I've tried to wrap things up in here in the form of packing, selling my property and having hasty coffee sessions with my friends - and they always end too soon, it's all a mess. To hell with all these goodbyes.

I'm leaving Helsinki on the 24th of June, and flying to Toronto with a layover in Frankfurt. After spending a couple of days in Toronto I'm carpooling to Montréal. How I will get from Montréal to Québec City is still a little bit of a mystery. All this is a big ugly mystery, but at least it will be an adventurous one.

Last summer in Montréal

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