Goodbyes are not forever. Goodbyes are not the end. It simply means I'll miss you until we meet again!

Hello everybody!
*Kaikille suomalaisille lukijoilleni tiedoksi, että päätin tehdä viimeisen postaukseni englanniksi, sillä monet Usalaiset ystäväni ovat kyselleet sen perään! :) *
As you can see, I decided to write this post in English so all of my friends and families in the U.s. will be able to understand it. :D I have been home for about two  months now, which is pretty crazy. It doesn't feel like it at all! It feels like I just came home last weekend. The last week in Eugene and the first weeks back in Finland have been full of different emotions and it still hasn't really hit me that my exchange year is over now.. I just can't believe it! Before we go into my thoughts about coming home, I'll tell you guys about my last week in Eugene! :)

After the year-end trip I had only a week left before I had to return  to Finland. I would say I was kinda busy the whole week. :D I had to see all my friends and say "I'll see you laters" (not goodbyes, cause I'll be back!) and spend time with my hostfamilies. I also went to my last rotary lunch, and did all kind of fun stuff like run 10k in Butte to Butte.  We went to a rodeo,  spent an american 4th of July and I also got to go sailing with my friends! During the 4th of July we went to a lake and spent the whole day there doing all kinds of cool stuff and at the end of the day we saw fireworks.  It was my first 4th of July so far and it was so cool that I hope I'll have a chance to have another one some day! I also had an awesome goodbye party, where many of my friends came. It was a really wonderful evening! I got to see how much people care about me, and I felt like I was the happiest person in the world! Thank you so much for coming! It really meant and still means a lot to me!  

What else did I do? I don't think I can remember everything, cause it was so long time ago, but I can say that the last week was an awesome week, even thou I had to pack up my suitcases and say goodbyes! An incredible year got an unforgettable ending.

What a year!

We went to play volleyball with all the exchange students from my school (+few others). Love you guys so much!

Bonfire and smore's! <3 Haha Alexis, I love that smile on your face! <3 xD

Kendallyn <3 Missing u my sis!

Alexis and Caitlin! <3

 I hope you guys have an awesome year abroad, you deserve it! <3 Miss you tons!

my girls <3

This is the hardest thing I have ever done in my life; saying goodbyes..</3

Sailing with Katherine and Ben! <3 Thank you guys for taking me with you!

"A ship in a harbor is safe but that's not what ships are built for"

An outdoor concert with my host fam <3
During my last Wednesday in U.s. my best friend, Nicha from Thailand, stepped on a plane and headed back home. I went to the airport to say goodbyes  I'll see ya laters, and it was so sad... to hug her for the last time, to watch her going thru security and to see her smile for the last time . I didn't know when I would see her again, and it broke my heart.

Love you so much my sis!! <3

On Wednesday night I had my goodbye party, as I already told, and it was a beautiful night! So many people came to say goodbyes including my hostfamilies, friends and rotary people. We ate good food, talked, took pictures and had fun! I'll never forget this evening and the love I got to experience! <3
Here are some pictures:

Lacrosse girls! <3

;D <3


All of my awesome host families! <3 I'm blessed to have you guys in my life!

1st one <3

2nd one <3

3rd one <3

Two days before I left I had my last Rotary lunch. I was trying not to cry, but it didn't really work. When my counselor, Deanna, gave me a speech I was already crying during her first sentence. The tears were running down to my face, and I think I also made her cry. It was extremely sad to say goodbyes to the best Rotary club ever. These people were so kind to me at all times, and helped me so much. It feels weird that I don't have a rotary lunch to go to every single Thursday from now on. Thank you Southtowne Rotary club for hosting me! You guys are the best!


The evening before 4th of July we went to a rodeo, which is really american! it was my first rodeo ever, and it was really really cool. It was kinda scary at times thou. :D But anyways, the evening was great just to sit there with my sisters and to watch the cows and horses running while eating hampurgers. Could not get any better!

Trying to be a cowgirl ;P

On the morning of 4th of July me and my sister ran the Butte to Butte 10k, and it was a lot of fun! We didn't win the race but we won ourselves! ;D  <3

We have to do this again some day!

After the race, we headed to a lake, where we met my hostfamily's friends. We grilled, ate, swam, enjoyed the sun and did other fun stuff! I must admit that I was little bit upset at the beginnig cause i was thinking about my departure the next day, which made me feel sad. Eventually,  I forgot my worries and it turned out to be an awesome day! In the evening we went to see fireworks and right there, sitting under my banket while watching the fireworks coloring the sky, I started crying.

Ashley <3

I don't know how to call this, but it was sooo much fun!!

On the morning of 5th I woke up early and finished my packing. It didn't feel real, it felt like I was gonna go for a trip but I would be back after few weeks...Not like I would be going back to Finland. Eugene is my home now and half of my heart is gonna stay there forever and this Saturday I was gonna leave my home to go back home.. It was so confusing feeling, sad and happy at the same time, that I don't even know how to describe it. As always, all good things have to come to an end. So did my exchange year. After saying goodbyes to my hostfamilies and the few rotarians who came to the airport, I had to go. I didn't cry that much, but there was a storm inside my head. How did the time go by so fast? Why do I need to leave when everything is just perfect? Why cannot I stay here? Is this really happening? My heart was so heavy, I couldn't believe it was happening.

My brother <3

My sister <3
My another sister<3 (my hand is weird... :D )

On the left a picture of me the day I started my exchange journey and on the right a picture of me going back to Finland after a year. I think it's pretty amazing what a year can do and how much you change!

My first few flights went by pretty fast while staring out to the clouds and trying to sleep. I didn't miss any of my flights and got to New York on time where I had to wait about 10 hours. Luckily I met two other exchange students going back to Finland, and it was awesome to talk with them and to have somebody who truly understood. There was a lot of Finnish people in the plane and I couldn't help but laugh when I heard Finnish for the first time after a year. It sounded so stupid and funny!! I just couldn't believe that people actually speak like that! ::D Also, when I got to Helsinki, I was in shock cause Finland was so flat! No mountains in sight! And all the people were blond......XD

During my last flight from Helsinki to Oulu I was so excited that I couldn't sit still. It was cool to think that soon I would see my family and friends who I haven't seen in a year! The feeling was unforgettable. When I got to Oulu and got out the airplane I finally saw my family and friends waiting for me behind the gates. Haha I forgot to wait for my suitcases cause I was so excited that I just ran to hug my family. It was an unbelievable feeling to see them again! I couldn't believe they were real, it was so amazing! <3
my friends<3

After 36 hours of travelling and only 2 hours of sleep... :D I was pretty tired as you can see!:D

part of my family <3

My little sisters <3

With my Finnish sister, and my Michigan brother! He was an exchange student in 2012-13, one year before me, and he stayed with us for 5 months. He came back to visit Finland this summer, and it was amazing to see him again!!

She is my sweetie <3

At this point I had been awake for over 40 hours.. :D

My first few days back were kinda confusing. :D I was trying to speak English all the time and my Finnish didn't work at all. I even had an accent in my Finnish! :D I was thinking in English, and it was hard to try to change it. Even now, two months later, I'm still thinking half in English, which is only a good thing! ;D There was also a lot of things I thought were weird in Finland, like the toilet seats and food plates.
The weird thing about coming back was that nothing had changed. Literally, I felt like I wouldn't have been gone at all! All the people were the same just like all the sreets, the city, everything! I was the one who had changed the most, obviously. During my first week back I didn't see it that well (I knew it, but I didn't pay attention on it) , but the longer I have been back the more I see how much I have changed. :) For example how much more confident and openminded I am right now.

When I came back we had still about a month of summer break left, which was awesome! I spent a lot of time with my friends, saw my relatives, enjoyed the midnight sun, went to sauna at 1am and swimming at 2am, visited in our summer house and just enjoyed the warm weather we had in Finland! :D

So blessed to have so many friends in Finland and in U.s!!

This picture was taken around midnight..:D yeah, the midnight sun is real!

A view from our summer cottage

Fun night with my friends! <3

Again, this picture was taken around 2am... :D

Two weeks after my arriving happened something I had been waiting for a long time! Alana, my host cousin, came to visit me in Finland for a week!! <3 It was incredible!! It was so cool to show her different places in Finland, the culture and my family! Now she probably understands  better that why I am as crazy as I am! ;) Anyways, we visited Oulu, which is a bigger city close to my home, and Kalajoki where is the real Finnish beach! :D We also went to Sweden and visited a real Swedish Ikea!! :D Haha it was soo much fun! Love you and miss you Alana and you're always welcome back! <3

The famous police man of Oulu! :D

Give me some of your hair Alana! ;D

At the beach! <3

We had the best time!!

In Sweden with my two sisters and my cousin and of course Alana! ;D

My crazy cousin.. ;)

Fisch ;))<3

Finland is kinda pretty! :D
I started school about 6 weeks ago and I must admit that it's kinda hard to study again.. :D last year was so much easier and I didn't need to stress about my grades so now it is hard to get used to 'real' studying again! :D But it's getting easier and easier all the time! Many people were wondering that was I able to transform my grades from last year to my school here in Finland. No, I wasn't. :D Last year was a gap year for me and i have to repeat the whole year, and that's why I still have two years left of high school. It might sound "horrible" but it's not actually! :D The last year was so worth it, it was so amazing that I would never ever take it off! Exchange gave me so much more than one year in a Finnish high school could give, and I'm grateful that I was able to have that excperience!

The place I love to go for a walks and to relax!

My cutie :DD
Former exchange students and some other people were warning me last year that going back home is the hardest thing on exchange and the culture shock is bigger when you go back to your home country. It is true, but what I realized is that those culture shocks are different, at least for me. When I went to my host country, the environment was different and that created the culture shock. When I came back home the culture shock came from inside. Now I am different and everything else is the same. It's not easy to adjust back to my life here. I also miss U.s. a lot. All the people I met, Oregon, South and basically everything including the feeling of being an exchange student. It's hard to accept that it's over and move on. I still have the memories and the pictures and I know I'll be back some day, but it's not gonna be the same. Right now I am having hard time accepting that, but I know it's normal and it's gonna get easier as time goes on.
Life will continue on and there is a lot more adventures coming up. I'm really excited for the future, which is laying in front of me and I'm excited to see what life has to offer me. My future seems even brighter than before my exchange cause now I know how to step out of my comfort zone. My exchange gave me so much and literally changed my life, and I'm forever grateful for that. Now it's time to close this chapter in my life, and move on towards the next ones!
"Don't cry because it's over. Smile because it happened."

"If you never chase your dream you will never catch them"

"Memories are the road that let us to where we are today and lead us to where we are going tomorrow"
Thank you everyone who made this year possible for me and who have been part of my journey!! This year wouldn't have been  the same without you guys!! <3
It's  an extraordinary feeling that I have two homes, four families and friends from all around the world now!! <3 I'm so blessed to be me.

I'll see ya later,