Hello everyone! ❤ I cannot believe that the last time I wrote a post was in June of last year. It’s been nine months! I have to be honest, it has not been an easy nine months. Studying two degrees at the same time whilst juggling work and family life was not a great idea. It was absolutely crazy! Last Fall was one of the most exhausting times in my life. But I’m not a quitter, so I powered on. Here’s a recap.
After my last post, hubby, son and I spent all of July on our sailing boat sailing all the way to the Åland islands. The summer was fantastic with beautiful, hot days (and nights!) – definitely not normal summer weather for a Finland. I loved every minute of it. Till three weeks on when our boat’s propeller fell off! As you can imagine, that meant trouble. Luckily, after having to be towed and some adventure related to that, we were able to have a new one assembled. But as everyone in the boating business was on holiday, we had to make do with a propeller that was way too big for the size of our boat! From there, the sailing went downhill due to the propeller problem, the boat’s other malfunctions and high winds. Even our son got fed up at that point and took an archipelago bus to the city. When hubby and I finally made it home, I didn’t want to even glance in the way of our boat and was very happy to pack it up for the season.
In August I started my three month study leave from work. Now I must say that I had very silly expectations for those three months. I seriously thought that I would do some studying but mostly I would be aqua jogging in the mornings, lounging around in cafes in Helsinki and exploring museums. The reality was very different. Because I was off work, my income was small and I didn’t even have the finances to travel to Helsinki once a week! I wrote my thesis almost every day for the exact amount of hours that I would have been at work and used the rest of my time for the international teacher education studies in Hämeenlinna.
In November I returned to work and continued studying. This was the most tiring phase, as I had two schools and work going on at the same time. Nevertheless, I was very productive. I managed to graduate from my Master’s studies in December (with excellent marks for my thesis!) and I’ve just finalized everything for my pedagogical studies. That means that I will graduate (again) at the end of the month. Thank goodness! In addition to all this graduating, I started a new job in February. Hopefully things will settle down from here onwards and I will finally be able to embrace my free time.
During these nine months I have managed to travel but not too far as there simply hasn’t been any time (or money). For Christmas our family drove to Ylläs in Lapland which was fabulous. It was dark all day but we had a cosy cabin where hanging out with the family made me happy. I visited Tallinn every single month (for a day trip or weekend) except in January when my goddaughter and I went on a cruise to Stockholm instead. I’ve had weekends away with friends in local destinations of Sipoo and Turku.
For those of you not from Finland – you may be wondering what all this studying has cost me. You will be surprised to hear that nothing really. Even though I already had a Master’s degree from before, I still got all these studies practically free. I recall paying 100 euros for material fees but that was it! I was also entitled to a student card which meant that I have been enjoying cheaper student prices in places like swimming halls or the theatre. For my study leave, I even received an adult education allowance! So to sum up, I would say that I have been very lucky to be able to do these further studies which I probably would not have done if I didn’t live in Finland. Studying has been activating and most importantly, beneficial for my professional development. However, I am not sure if this kind of model of letting people study whatever they want and do however many degrees they want for free is something that should be maintained in the long run. But, as it is still possible to do so, I decided to embrace it all the way.
Now, I’m cautiously getting back to blogging. Writing this post feels great, so I hope we will be seeing more of each other in the months to come! How are you? What have you been up to? Are you still actively blogging? ❤