Emotional Roller Coaster

Everyday Adventures

They say there is a psychological process to the experience of studying abroad. It looks like this:

Being me, I hoped to surpass most of these and just stick in the honeymoon/adjustment phases. But alas… Kalliope is human so that didn’t happen. The thing is, this graph doesn’t show it exactly as it is – it’s only a basic outline. Everyone’s experience is different and it’s not always even linear. People can move around on the graph depending on the length of their stay. It’s been a crazy ride! It’s not even over yet. So here’s a little insight into my emotional roller coaster.

Anticipating Departure

You can look back at my old blog posts and see just how excited I was to get started with this. I’ve been dreaming about traveling the world forever, and I’ve been making plans to go to Finland since my last year of…

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Midpoint Reflection – Some Lists

Everyday Adventures

WHOLEY PICKLE STICKS I HAVE BEEN IN FINLAND OFFICIALLY HALF THE AMOUNT OF TIME I WILL BE IN FINLAND! (Actually, that’s not true, I still have three days until then, but I’m writing about it now because I am impatient.)

There are a few things to mark this momentous occasion:

  1. On this day in history, Kalliope Irene experienced her first European Fall Break. It lasted all week and she still had one class and a choir rehearsal, but she didn’t have to get out of bed at all except two hours Thursday and one on Friday (but, I promise she did anyways).
  2. On this day in history, Kalliope Irene received her first final grade for a University of Jyväskylä class. She received a horrible grade that she would be sick to her stomach and in tears about at home (it was a 2 – which translates to a C or…

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One Month in Jyväskylä!

Everyday Adventures

Wow!!! Today marks a month since I set out on this journey. It’s crazy to think that a month ago at this time I was sitting in an airport in Chicago just waiting for time to pass. Actually, that’s not true. Time zones ignored, I had only just woken up to load up the truck and head out.

Since that day, I have experienced so many amazing things, met so many amazing people, and have learned more than I think my brain can hold. It’s been so wonderful. And I haven’t even left the city yet!

In no particular order, here are some of my highlights of this month:

  • I have learned to budget. It took moving out of the country to make it happen but now I know how much I can spend and still have room for rent and food. At home, because of how American college dorm…

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Everyday Adventures

I am going to bed tonight and I’m so mind blown by what the world I live in. Like this is me right now:


Let me tell you a story. In fifth grade, I made friends with this super weird guy who for some reason, decided to talk to the lonely girl on the playground. He had more wanderlust than I knew how to handle, but soon enough we became best friends and spent the majority of our time wondering what it would be like to live… well, anywhere but where we were. What if we lived in the city??? It would be so great there! Where do our families come from? What if we went back there? We will travel the world together some day. For now, let’s build our own Terabithia.

So we did.

And together, we wandered to worlds so unknown, they didn’t even exist. It was…

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I think tonight, I will finally sleep like I belong here. Today is my second full day in the city and I am beginning to walk with confidence. To be comfortable in a place where the words don’t make sense. To find people I can connect with. To understand that American coffee is for suckers. Ha!

Yesterday was a super long day. I walked more steps yesterday than probably the entirety of the two weeks before combined. We started first thing in the morning meeting everyone in our little groups of people we got paired with to get to know and we started our information sessions. There, we heard about the student union and about the apartments and about the education practices of the school. After that, we got lunch and wandered around the main campus (theres three) and the city.

While in the city, I was actually surprised to find so much that I was familiar with. I found the McDonald’s! And a Subway, and an H&M. I heard Rihanna playing over the speakers. And there was even a restaurant called American Diner that I will eat at at least once. I plan on saving it until its a super cold, rainy, droopy day and I just want to be back home. Passing it yesterday, I could smell the nasty grease. It is going to be grand.

But there was also so much that was unfamiliar to me. Malls built into the city that look like nothing special from the outside. The city itself was such a change from home, even in the cities I have been in. There are countless bars and clubs – and even some coffee shops right next to them! I was blown away by the sheer mass of bicycles around. And the public transportation is so efficient. Also, There wasn’t a single piece of trash anywhere to be seen.

Unfortunately, after such a full day I expected to be sleepier than I was. When I got back home the jet lag finally kicked in. I fell asleep at 8pm and woke up at Midnight. Which was actually 4pm to my body. I lay awake and my mind was racing. Take a look into my sleepless mind:

Should I rent a bike or buy one?

I should arrange to meet up with my Finnish family.

I really need to start signing up for classes. How do you do that? Let’s go look it up. I really want to be ahead of the game on it. 

The coffee here is really bitter.

If I make coffee, where should I recycle the coffee filter? Is it paper? Textile? Is it even allowed to be recycled since it’s dirty?

Where are the plastic recycle bins? My apartment only has bins for glass, paper, metal, and compost.

What time is it at home?

This bed is really hard. I should get a mattress cover. 

Well. About 4:30am I finally fell asleep again. 8pm to my brain. That explains it.

Today I’ve been much nicer to myself. We started the day with equally drowsy information sessions. How not to get caught by phishers and why you wanna take Finnish classes and how to adapt to the new culture. Then we had lunch and the real fun began.

We finally got to see the part of campus that Google shows you when you ask it about JYU. And we got to explore on our own a bit. A huge group of us wandered around the lake in the rain and although it made our shoes wet for the rest of the day and was a bit miserable when we didn’t find the place we thought we were looking for right away, it made for an adventure! And when we finally got to sit down and drink some coffee (or hot cocoa in my case) we all got to learn from each other about how the governments, schools, and many other topics compared between Holland, Austria, Turkey, Latvia, and home. We also bonded over stories like Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, and Game of Thrones. What started as a quest for a pick me up turned into an adventure to a new place and time learning about each other.

Eventually though, we decided it was time to come back to the rest of the world. We’d just missed pancakes! But we got some picnic food and sat around continuing to learn about each other.  We discussed religion and culture and wow! It is so amazing to hear what people outside of your own circle understand about topics you hold close to you. And it’s even more special to have open conversation knowing it’s safe.


After the picnic was a concert from a men’s show choir made up of university alumni. It was a super strange experience to attend a concert 90% non-english. That being said, it’s also special to be reminded that music is universal. Even though I did not understand the lyrics of most of the songs, I could understand the feelings. Between me and my friend sitting next to me, we had a good time. The show made us laugh, made us dance, made us smile. And that’s all you can ask of a performer.

Interestingly, the enthusiasm expressed by the performers was not as evident in the audience. I believe everyone had a good time; the concert was also attended by freshman of the university and they laughed at all the jokes in the music that I didn’t understand. But it seems that Finns enjoy entertainment rather passively to what I am used to. I wanted to stand for the concert! I wanted to dance and be crazy and really get into the spirit and embrace the energy that the performers were sending out. But the audience was not as interested. But that’s okay. Lisanna and I enjoyed it enthusiastically from our seats!


Also we learned a new Finnish word today: onnellinen; happy. If you listen to this song, you won’t have to have needed me translate it for you.


After the concert, a big group of us went to the pizza place in our apartment complex, Kortepohja. We spent way too long in there but when you have two Americans, a Dutch, an Austrian, a German, a Latvian, a Finn, and a few others all in one place and it’s one of their birthdays, it gets crazy! We all got to talking and sharing about each other and we discovered amazing things about how our histories intertwined, how each of our politics function, and the significance of language learning in school. At one point, Christopher and I just sat back and listened because everyone was talking across the table in different languages, comparing each other’s speech and learning from each other. It was something I think everyone should encounter at least once in their lives, but doesn’t happen often enough. Even after the pizza place closed, we stayed outside discussing our countries’ teacher training programs and more for long into the night.

But today is only Wednesday! There is so much to do before classes start. Tomorrow I am going to meet my friendship family, and a bunch of us are on a mission to finish stocking our apartments with the essentials and get bicycles. I should be getting a cell phone SIM card by next week so I’ll have an official Finnish cell phone number and data and everything will be set to go! Tomorrow, I should be able to sign up for my classes as well! And then there will be one more day of orientation, a good weekend to get ready, and classes start Monday!

So anyways, now I’m going to bed. I think I’m going to sleep better tonight. I can tell this place is special. I am onnellinen. I’ve only met two new Finns but I am surrounded by amazing people and I am ready for anything Finland can throw at me.

“The best way to predict the future is to create it.” – Kalliope’s Blue Diary Cover

Originally posted on Everyday Adventures.

6 Days to Go – My Last Week in Kansas

My name is Kalliope Craft and I am a junior elementary education major. This semester, I will be in Jyvaskyla, Finland studying the culture and Finnish primary education. I move into my apartment in the city on August 28th with a couple French women and as far as I know I’m one of two Americans attending the university this semester.

Oh my goodness it’s so close I can taste it. There’s so many emotions. So much to do.

Sadness: The hardest thing about leaving the country to go on an adventure is leaving behind the things that mean the most to you – the people. I am leaving behind my family, my friends, my boyfriend, everyone. I will be isolated in a new world. Leaving is hard, and until this week, I hadn’t realized that the beginning of this adventure is the putting-on-hold of another.

Relief: Thankfully, a student at my new school did her own study abroad trip to Emporia last semester so I will have a familiar face. I will be met as soon as I get to Jyvaskyla by a student tutor who will be there to help me get comfortable. I’ve already met one of my new roommates through facebook and I have a feeling we will get along really well. And lastly, I was just told today that I’ve been matched with a Finnish Friendship Family and I’m so excited to meet them. They are a family in the town I will be living with with three children and I will be able to learn so much from them about what “normal” looks like in Finland. So, even though I’m leaving behind amazing people, I am so relieved to know that I will meet so many more amazing people from the moment I step foot on foreign ground. 

Anxiety: What if I get so overwhelmed that I give up? Nothing will be familiar. The weather will be strange, the culture will be strange, the school will be strange. The city speaks Finnish, my roommates are French, and as far as I can tell, there’s only one other American going to the school at all. What if it’s all too weird? What if I run out of money? What if I get lost? What if my stuff gets lost? No one likes to face these thoughts but it is something I have to battle with. I have faith God’s watching over me. I really believe everything will be okay. But there is so much that could go wrong, and there’s even a chance that I’m in too far over my head and I just won’t like it.

Excitement: I have dreamt of traveling the world since I was in about fifth grade. I’ve had it in my head I would study abroad to Finland since junior or senior year of high school. One of the things I inherited from my Slytherin mom is the drive to realize my dreams. To make the world my own and make what I want happen. I said I would do this, and now I’m doing it. In 6 days, this dream I’ve had locked in my dream vault will no longer just be a dream, it will be happening. 

So anyways, that’s just a glimpse of the emotional rollercoaster that is preparing to study abroad. I know it won’t get anymore stable any time soon, but I also know it will be okay.

Between packing, making sure the bank knows I’m going, figuring out what to do about my cell phone, I’ve had a lot of final detail things to take care of this week. I’ve also got a lot of people to say “see ya later” to. So far I’ve only cried about it once, but it is only Tuesday.

The bulging Christmas box that is my future is about to burst open and I really hope what’s inside is beautiful. Six more days. And then Finland is my home.

“There are no limits to what you can achieve on your journey through life, except in your mind.” ― Roy T. Bennett, The Light in the Heart

Originally posted on Everyday Adventures.

Understanding American Culture

Understanding American Culture – From Jakarta With Love

The influence of western culture is prevalent in Indonesia; Jakarta more specifically. Hundreds of malls filled with western stores such as Louis Vutton, Nike and H&M. The advertisements showing typical pretentious stock photos of happy white families which we are accustomed to in the states. You can hear “Closer” (for the millionth time) by the American duo, The Chainsmokers, playing throughout the mall. While you are walking you can’t help notice the eyes which gawk and stare at you as if are some kind of alien. Bule, Indonesian-slang for a western-looking person,  is often shouted out at you.

I was not fully aware of the scope of American influence before I came to Jakarta. American culture can be found in many aspects of everyday life that you may not realize. From language to the rise of popular American west coast- urban street brands such as, Vans and Thrasher.

I considered the United States to have a good reputation globally. I thought we would be perceived as intelligent and forward-thinking. The stereo-types I hear about America are mixed. People consider the citizens good people but often times view the government as controlling and out to ruin the world. When meeting new people, the first question that is often asked is, “Did you vote for Trump?” I must choose my words wisely when answering this question and try to educate them as cordially as possible on the messy politics of America.

But for the most part the stereotypes which are though about America are often taken from movies and television. Which is a idealistic view of American people and their beliefs. White people are often put on a pedestal as in movies they are seen as the most beautiful. The girls get a romanticized view of what American men as some how a superior race of human beings. Which is bull****.

By: Logan Cayton, From Jakarta With Love