Being back in other familiar surroundings I have noticed about how I have changed during this past year. Some bits and snippets below:
- I automatically say Merci or Dank u instead of Kiitos. Furthermore, I read French words such as "entrecote" in French (and with the circumflex accent even when there's none written).
- I kept on wondering about the large expanse used by Finnish cities, which is needed given that people really like being surrounded by forests. In Belgian standards, living in western Espoo is like doing the Mechelen-Brussels commute every day.
- Life without Central European TV is not the same. That's why I got the cable package that includes it.
- I understand business issues much, much better, but now have to get up to speed with what happened at work during my absence.
- I understand even less the Nordic attitude towards alcohol, summed up as: let's drink until we're not constrained by social rules, and then drink even more. Finding a bunch of absolutely wasted teenagers on my first day here made it even more painfully clear.
- I appreciate the purity of Finnish water and the cleanliness of Finnish streets (except for the occasional saturday morning vomit – see above) even more.
- I'm even more of a cultural mess, for good or bad. My home here feels more like my home not really because it is in Finland, but because all our furniture, our clothes and, most important, our stories are with us again.