Tag Archives: France

Paris When It Sizzles

It has now been four and half months since I arrived in Paris for the first time ever. Since then, I have nearly finished my studies, travelled around France, eaten a lot of baguette and of course made new friends.

During these four months I have studied management in ESCE International Business School. I am one of the whopping seven Finnish exchange students in our school. In total there’s almost 100 of exchange students and we come from all over the world. I have had eight courses, varying from two to eight credits. My courses mix bachelor- and master-level studies. 

My schedule hasn’t been tight, but the work load has sometimes been a lot. Despite of that, I have been thrilled to participate in courses that my home university doesn’t offer. Just like in TAMK, most of the studies included a group work project and that enabled me to get to know people from other cultures.

Throughout this semester, my weekends have been somewhat scheduled. Surprise surprise, friends and family wanted to visit Paris (and me) often and I have acted as their tourist guide. In Paris it’s also super easy to hop in a bus to Belgium, Netherlands, UK, Germany, Monaco… You name it. Opens a whole new world of travelling for a Finn.

Here are some things that were new and/or surprising to me:

  • People always jaywalk. If they don’t, they are tourists.
  • Don’t you dare to buy bread from your closest supermarket. It’s boulangerie or nothing. And you wouldn’t want it any other way.
  • Lunch takes 1-2 hours and contains two courses. It is not just about refuelling for the end of the day. It is about enjoying the food and the company.
  • Big percentage of the restaurants close their doors between lunch and dinner, 14-19 o’clock. The restaurants that have their kitchens open and working, are marked with the text ‘service continu’.
  • French people actually know english and aren’t afraid to use it. And also, I haven’t crossed my path with a Frenchman or -woman that would have been notably rude.
  • C’est la grève! As in, these guys like to make political standouts – such as a strike of public transports, that lasts for months.
  • Having an oven is a luxury. Same goes for elevators and central heating.
  • French people are most likely lately and not a single bit sorry about it.

This has been my first time ever in France, but much to my own delight, I adapted to the culture fairly quick. Maybe it’s the C’est la vie -attitude that got to me. Not worrying and stressing about things that I can’t change.

As a destination for exchange studies, I would recommend Paris for a nature that is easy-going and organized. For instance, you may receive information fairly late, but be sure it will arrive. Having a laid-back attitude helped me enjoy my time in France more.

Bisous,

Heidi

  ¨

Finlandais à Paris

Not the Sacre-Coeur but still a beautiful building.

Bonjour!

I’ts been over seven weeks since I came to Paris and the exchange has exceeded my expectations. The city is beautiful: full of history and breathtaking architechtury on the old buildings and the first internship was the best ever. I’ve visited many of the touristy places and of those the Sacre-Cour church at the Montmarte hill has been my favourite.

On my spare time I’m usually at the gym or eating pastries and, oh boy, the French don’t praise their pastries and bread for nothing. I can’t say which of the delicacies are my favorites because there are so many. But if I must choose the ones I have eaten the most, I would say croissant, baguette and this little cream puff like pastry with sugar crystals on top of it called chouquette.

Lemon Tartelette and other delicious French pastries

My first internship was at rheumatology ward in Cochin Hospital. People came there to rehabilitate mostly because of rheumatism, chronic low back pain, scleroderma or knee or hip replacement surgery. They stay in the hospital approximately 5 days and work 5 hours per day with multi-professional team. So they had physiotherapy, occupational therapy, relaxation, hydrotherapy and maybe saw the podiatrist, physical education instructor, psychologist and dietitian and of course the doctor. I was also fortunate to go once or twice a week in the hospitals respiratory ward where people came usually from intensive care unit because to rehabilitate to be able to go home or to a rehabilitation center. In there I saw many interesting and special cases and learned more about rare diagnoses such as Guillain-Barre syndrome and Lupus erythematosus.

At the hospital, working with the individuals and groups without speaking the language

Cochin Hospital.

 

has been hard but very rewarding. My classmate, who came also for an Erasmus exchange, and me have had private french lessons from the teacher from our school in here, which has been really nice. We’ve tried to learn some useful words and phrases which has helped us to work with the patients. Even though I didn’t know any French before coming here, it has been fun to see that when people speak it all the time around you, you start to pick up some words and sentence without even realizing.

An eclaire a day keeps the doctor away.

Working culture in France doesn’t differ that much from Finnish culture. In my first internship, they were specialised in chronic lowbackpain and the rehabilitation happened in a gym room and there could be 10 patients at the same time working. It is not usual in Finland to have so many patiences working individually in the same space but in Cochin hospital they’ve made it work pretty well. One big difference what I’ve found is that the lunch brake is much more longer here in France. It can be from 30 minutes to 1,5 hours and it is a peaceful gathering where people chat about their lives and really connect. In Finland we could also try to really sit and relax and enjoy our meal with our co-workers. The lunch is usually here at 12:30 or 13:00PM and that’s something that I haven’t got used to, yet. I think it’s a bit too late for me because my tummy starts to rumble already at 10 AM. But when in Paris, do as the Parisians do (except don’t smoke).

 

 

 

-Veera

 

 

Greetings from Paris

I’m doing my 6 weeks internship at Cochi’s Hospital. Hospital lies very close the beautiful garden of Luxembourg. People are very friendly at the hospital and my tutor speaks good English. Some of the patients don’t speak or understand at all English, so sometimes it’s a bit difficult to give some physiotherapy. I don’t speak french at all, except few sentences and words. Some patients have asked me why did I come to France if I can’t speak french? Well yeah… That’s a question. I have spent a lot of time at the rheumatology and ortopedic sections where people suffer a lot of low back pain. Postoperative physiotherapy is also given at the both sections. I have also had  a couple of french lessons at the Ecole d’Assas. Just trying to learn some sentences and phrases what I can use with patients who don’t speak English.

This is how they recommend patients to eat

After 6 weeks internship at the hospital, there’s an international week at the school. There are going to be lots of presentations about different areas of physiotherapy. After the international week, I have 4 weeks internship at Cardiology and respiratory center in the north side of Paris.

Jardin de Tuileries

I’m spending my free time at the local gym called ”Fitness price”. I try to workout 2 to 4 times a week. It gives me good feeling and improves my endurance condition. I have also seen many sights, for example Eiffel tower, Triumphal arch, Champs Èlysée, Sainte-Chapelle, Church of Notre Dame, Sacré-Coeur, Luxemourg garden, Tuileries Garden, The Pont Alexandre, Pére Lachaise Cemetery… Paris is a historical town and there are lots of old buildings and much to see. Maybe 3 months is not enough to see everything that the town offers?

      

 

French pastries are incredibly good and tasty! I spend my free time… eating. I have already tasted opera cake, macaron, mille feuille, croissant, baguette, chocolate tart (twice…), eclair, nutella crepe, madeleines… This is the city of gourmet. If you go to café and order one cup of coffee, it’s going to be a really small cup. I’m serious. I think they don’t understand that I’m a finnish girl and I need a bucket of coffee!

Physiotherapy studies last here 4 years ( in Finland 3 ½ years) and they have specialized studied in their education. Physiotherapy is similar in the hospital than it’s in Finland. Here they invest a lot of time and resources to intensive rehabilitation. They rehabilitate their patients 5 hours a day! That’s something Finland should learn from example! Here also multi-professional collaboration comes out very clearly. Doctors, nurses, physiotherapists, occupational therapists, social workers, personal trainers, podiatrists and orthotists work as a team.

Bienvenue à Nice!

I spent my student exchange in the beautiful city of Nice, France. 4 months on the Riviera coast makes you truly understand why so many choose to invest into an apartment there; the surroundings are stunningly beautiful, the sun is shining for 305 days around the year and Nice has the French culture & cuisine. What is there not to love? On a longer stay one can realize that Nice is so much more than just a city with palm trees and beaches.

 

I was studying in IPAG business school and took the 3rd year courses. The school is a private business school and a rather small one, located in the city center. I took 5 courses, which results in 30 ECT’s, but yet I had a lot of free time. Especially in the very start of the semester I had many day offs, which was great as we had time to go to explore the city or just relax on the beach. However the schedules kept on changing a lot so if you noticed a free day in 3 weeks, it was very possible that something might appear. This affected mostly long term planning for longer trips.

Otherwise I felt that the school was easy. Some of the courses had similar content as we had already studied in TAMK during our 1st year. We had quite a lot of group work and home assignments, but the subjects were easy and there was not a lot of effort required to pass them. Our studies were divided into lectures and tutorials, which basically meant that lectures were about classic lessons where the teacher taught us and the tutorials were for our own learning. During the tutorials there were group projects, assignments, discussions and otherwise more modern methods used for teaching and learning. The teachers had very different styles of teaching, which I found refreshing but some of the students complained about this fact.

I had the opportunity to take courses not so related to business, such as French language and French culture & civilization. The French lessons were held in French, which may seem extreme but it was great for improving your understanding of spoken French. The culture & civilization course I recommend for everyone, the teacher loved to talk about France and the weird customs they had and was also very interested in our cultures.

During my free time I traveled a lot in Nice and on the coast. In Nice I concentrated on the many restaurants, cafes, parks and the old town. The local buses are very cheap so it was easy to see all the smaller “towns” nearby. My absolute favorite was Saint Jean Cap Ferrat, which had the most beautiful walking path by the sea. I also hiked to the old village of Eze, where we found a lot of small boutiques and restaurants. The hike is a bit of challenge but I strongly recommend it! In addition to Cannes, Antibes etc. other French cities, I had the chance to visit the national park (Mercantour), the countryside of Bordeaux (wine, wine, wine), Madrid, Milan, San Remo, Ventimiglia and of course Monaco (many times). Nice is located wisely and travelling is easy.

Wine, cheese and miroir d’eau

Salut from the wine capital of France, Bordeaux! I’ve spent the past fall here in the city of wine and I’ve completely fallen in love with it. I study Business Administration with a major in marketing and the exchange school here, Kedge Business School, offered all kinds of specialized marketing courses like Wine Marketing (actually drinking wine in class!) and Luxury Marketing. I’ve definitely enjoyed it here a lot. The school is very new with lots of different facilities and possibilities of student life. I joined a student association as well as a sports team to meet more French people and I definitely recommend it, it’s proved to be an amazing experience and an opportunity to befriend the locals. Courses don’t run all week, every week, which left me a lot of time to travel around other cities in France and also to go discover Spain and Portugal.

Miroir d’eau in Place de la Bourse

The French say that Bordeaux is like a little Paris because it’s smaller, cheaper and very, very pretty. It’s 45 minutes from the ocean by a local train and Bordeaux itself also has a lake beach where I spent many afternoons until late autumn. Great wine is very affordable; you have the possibility of visiting many wine châteaux all around Bordeaux and doing wine tastings.

San Sebastian, Spain
San Sebastian, Spain

France is definitely very, very different culturally and a big part of it is the bureaucracy. Things here definitely take more effort and a lot more paperwork to accomplish. The French also really pride themselves in their gastronomy, so I’ve learned that a lot of business is conducted over long dinners. The French truly enjoy many different courses at every single meal and they savor the time they’re spending eating with other people.

Carcassonne medieval city

Gros bisous !

Greetings from the city of love

Bounjour á tous!

I’m doing my exchange studies in Paris, France and the time has passed very quickly. I have been here now for 10 weeks and I have three more to go. Here, I’m studying in PSB (Paris School of Business) and I chose to study Luxury.

Studies and school

I chose five courses, because I wanted to get an certificate from PSB, that I have studied the track which includes 3 core course and two electives. I chose the track Luxury Management and I have the following courses; Doing business in Europe, French, History of Luxury, Fundamentals of Luxury Industry and Luxury Merchandising. The courses havebeen very interesting and I chose them, because I wanted to study something that differs from our’s school courses. It was great to get acquainted with different brands and different merchandising techniques, for example we went to a luxury boutique and we took some pictures and made some notes about their merchandising. Also, in other course we have made some research about luxury markets in globally, as well as in China and in the USA.

Free time

On my free time, I have experienced city a lot with friends from school and also with my friends from Finland, who have visited me. I have been in different parts of Paris and also I have seen many sights such as Louvre, Versailles, Disneyland Paris and of course the Eiffel Tower. Besides Paris, I travelled to a South-France, which was part of our integration week in PSB. It was great to see the Paris countryside as well.


 

Here, in Paris the restaurant culture is different than in Finland, for example there are a lot of cute restaurants and cafes.

What is different?

Compared to Finland the lessons are much longer and the teachers are more conservative. One lesson lasts 1.5 hours and usually we have two classes per day, so my school days lasts at least four hours a day. The school system is more hierarchical here, and also the teachers can be very strict, if you’re not coming on time for a lesson. Also, I have had much more presentations here than in Finland. It’s also different that they have shared the rating system, for example we have mid-terms and final exams both here. This way they try not to put enormous pressures on the students.

Also I have noticed that French are not very punctual, for example in Finland you will get all the details about the course and the exam during the first lesson, but here in France, you will get all the details just a week before exam or presentation. This has been difficult to accept, but I’m almost used to it.

Bisous Suvi

Even late, bonjour la France!

During the last semester, I went in training exchange in my home country, France and more precisely: next to Paris. Now, even though it is a country I know — and with which I keep a love and hate relationship –, this semester was rich in experiences.

… do I really need a caption for this?

My practical training consisted in elaborating a tool for a grocery store, which would help them in keeping track of their environmental impact. This was a very valuable exchange, as in addition to my main project I got lucky enough to participate in the daily life of the grocery store and in a management seminar which taught me a lot about work life. In addition to this, getting along very well with nearly all of my co workers (and with my superiors) was  plus that I enjoyed a lot.

As you can see on the picture, they enjoyed my last day…..! (I blurred the face of my co-worker, don’t be scared)

 

 

Apart from work, my time also was amazing. I met a ton of new people: I have been an activist for animal rights for a long time, and I made sure that this semester was full of events. You can see in the picture below an example of a demonstration that I participated in in Paris and for which I came back home covered with fresh red paint…

Demonstration for animal rights in Paris for the Organisation 269 Life France.

Of course, I cannot write about my semester without talking about the elections for which… surprise surprise, I was also an activist. I participated in my first political demonstration, which I thought would have been less peaceful but turned out to be thrilling. Whether you agree with the outcome of the elections or not, this process was very enriching.  In the picture below, you can see my friend Christophe and I holding our sign, “Vegans insoumis”.

I by the way made this sign! This happened on Place de la Bastille, in Paris.

And to top off my semester, my friend took me to Etretat, an amazing city that I enjoyed beyond words. You can see a picture taken with his GoPro camera on top of one of the hills of Etretat on the right!

 

 

All in all, this semester was a very good time. I cannot unfortunately tell you how different working in France is compared to Finland, as I have not yet had the occasion to work in Finland. But truthfully, this exchange was “formidable“!

5 tips to become like Parisienne

Bonjour ! This is Yuko, a Japanese from Paris! More than 10 month have already passed in Paris. I was intending to write this blogpost card in the end of my stay, because life in Paris is such a « Cliché » that I would not be able to give any good advice during the beginning of my stay. Yet I don’t feel like I know everything about French culture and about being in Paris, but maybe enough to give some tips for you. These are the top5 of the necessary attitude you might have to master during your stay in Paris. 

-1. Study hard? or Smoke hard?  #Study environment at school

Contrarily to Finland, French people loves the status of being in the good school. The school I went for a Erasmus semester was especially a school with people from the high social level. It’s a school so called « Ecole de Commerce » which is (private) business school, like TAMK, whereas here you have to pay for tuition fees if you are a full time students. I found students here were well-dressed all the time, especially the French students. They smoke really hard at the same time. Smoking is really a way to get to know people here in France, but it seems like it’s also a way to cope with the stressful time of studies. I felt like the school is always covered by the smell of cigarette, because in between every break time, they go out to have cigarette.

During the courses, you need to study hard because the chance for taking exam is only once. If you fail, that’s the result. Basically there is no date assigned for extra exam date.

Tip 1.  Study hard or there’s no second chance,  smoking might help you with that.

After being in Finnish academical system for 2 years, i find French school system still traditional and very ineffective. At least throughout my experience. Especially i had the special case this semester that the administration at receiving school in Paris was renewed, that everything was in delay, and messed up. If you are happen to come to France for the exchange semester, you yourself should be seld-determined, and organised.  Tip 1.2 Never expect the French school to be well organised like in Finland.

-2. Keep calm and do not organise  #Things are not that organised as in Finland #Comparably slow life (Parisienne knows how to enjoy life)

Again, about organisation in this country of love and joy. You better be able to get used to how things work in France, in Paris. Everything takes two times more than in Finland. Especially, Visa and bank thing takes SO MUCH TIME. Well the Visa issues is also a matter of luck. I’ve heard someone took 2 weeks, and for me it took 3month, in the worst case 6month (You are already illegal, but just waiting for the Visa lol). Not only because there are more people living here, French administration is slow because of the inefficient paper works. Anyway people seem to enjoy their life here. As a Japanese, the biggest difference could be the attitude towards vacation. In France, they can just stop working in the middle of the task and leave for the vacation. It is impossible for Japanese to excuse the delay of task by the reason of « vacation ». In Japan it’s always « customer first ». What i see from my few working experience here, they are quite idealistic, creative, but unfortunately very ineffective to achieve those creativity. However this tends to happen in the traditional minded company or French people who doesn’t have enough international experiences.

Tip 2.  As long as you are working in the French company, these can not be avoid, you have to accept the way they work and maybe don’t be upset. But if you are trying to enter international market like Japan with French attitude, this will never gonna be accepted.

-3. Enjoy « Midnight in Paris » #Fantastic night walk in Paris and about walking in Paris

Many people ask me, what is like to be in Paris? What do you like the most about Paris?  I would tell, i love the night walk in Paris. Especially walking along the Seine never let me down. You can observe beautiful city lights, with the most beautiful architectures like Concorde, Orsey museums, and Eiffel Tower… It is so Parisienne thing to have wine and food, and sitting by the riverside, stay there all night long. Sometimes it smells really bad (you know why) but you just have to find a spot that is clean and with fresh air. The best part of this night walk is just that it is less crowed than day time, especially along the Seine, and the central like Marais. You will feel like you are in a totally another world with the historical buildings and mysterious light ups with some street musics sometimes.

When you are in the main streets and popular area, it is totally fine to walk around and enjoy « Midnight in Paris ». The more North of Paris you go, the less safer you feel. But anywhere and anytime you walk, you have to pay attention around your self. You never know where the pick pockets are spotting you, or it could be the speeding car that ignores the street signs. 

Tip 3. It is really worth walking around Paris during the night, only when you are little bit more sober.

-4. #French way of conversation: Talk, talk, and talk, and eat, and drink

French people, they love to talk, not only talk, but discuss. They build friendship by discussing a lot of topics. At least they care about politics, social issues and love to share there life events. In general they spend hours to eat, because 90% of the time, they are talking. Unlike Japanese, where it takes time to get into the discussion because of the language barrier and all that, French can discuss no matter what ages or level of studies they have. Some people they are not confident enough to speak in English, but young people here i have a impression that they all speak good English.

I also had many International friends in Paris, this is also another way to enjoy conversation obviously, sharing each experiences in Paris, and how they see French society from their perspectives.

Tip 4. Do not hesitate to dive into the flow of French conversation. That’s almost the only way to become friends with them. Sharing French experience with international people here also help you to understand and get the intercultural competences.

-5. #Live in festive city,

Paris never lets you down in terms of it’s variety of activities and festivals that goes all year around.  People here loves to go out, and be inspired by arts and culture. People here are really open minded towards different cultures. For me the French stereotypes of being racist is not real ! Well it is also because Paris is centre of everything, and people have more easy access to experience multicultural activities. But not only that, there are many association existing in Paris, that deals with Homeless issues and refugees and more. Thanks to these groups, there are many opportunities for local people and new comers to integrate through cultural activities like food, film and art festivals.

Tip 5. Participating as many activities as possible here in Paris is definitely worth it. Not only it’s fun but you learn what is like being in society that accepts/cope with « diversity ». 

:::::To conclude:::::

In my opinion, Paris is the place to enjoy life and have multicultural experiences.  Since i’m at the end of my one year stay in Paris, (which includes my Erasmus exchange semester and internship period )I can tell that, I still prefer Paris to be dreamy. That means “living” here shows so much realities that you want to discover and don’t want to.  So maybe it’s not necessary to build a career here as a foreigner. It depends in which area of work you want to discover, of course. However i felt that in general, France still has strong atmosphere of following hierarchies (school system, how the teachers or the boss would behave), and especially in Paris rich stays rich, and they could be quite superficial minded… It is complicated indeed to describe this, because I met so many people who is really kind from their heart, but on the other hand I got really tired “living” in Paris.

Anyhow, Paris showed me a lot of things, let me observe well how the society could work in this beautiful city !  I would love to come back here for time to time, maybe for short holiday or temporary work 😉 

Bisous ! (“kisses” in French )

photo credit @dreisalz_photo

Sous le ciel de Paris

To start with, here’s a video to get you on a Parisian mood (opens in  a new tab):

sous les ciels parisReturning to Paris after living there before for two years felt like happy comeback home. Even after a bit longer time, the French metropole doesn’t cease to amaze me and take my breath away – both in good and bad. This time Paris called for the internship of the 2nd year of my social work studies, taking place at a small association. They help those who are victims or in the danger of prostitution or pandering and who want to be assisted in their social reintegration. And now over the half of my 3 month internship has already passed!

paris1Getting the possibility to join this team has been an eye-opening experience and the things faced here aren’t easy. However, it’s very interesting and diverse: meeting and accompanying customers in various matters, planning and realizing projects, familiarizing myself with the life of an association.. Apart from all that, I’ve also got the chance to participate in a training and to follow a hearing at the tribunal.

I like the fact that at this association the relation to the customers is rather warm, close-knit and at times even a bit non-official. As I don’t yet have much working experience in the field of social work even from Finland, comparison in these terms is rather challencing. The cultural differences I’ve been able to notice are pretty much the same as in daily life: starting work later in the morning, greeting by a “how-are-you-doing” that doesn’t expect a long reply, using a lot of politeness structures in emails, wishing “bonne appétit”, sometimes everybody is speaking at the same time, exchanging cheek kisses.. Also the language barrier to French causes some extra difficulty and can be very tiring at times but I’m learning more every day.

landscapeMy freetime in Paris is mostly filled with spending time with my French boyfriend and also  discovering new parts of the city and things to do in Paris that I wasn’t yet aware of. Apart from that, the daily life is rather similar as in Finland, the routine happens everywhere. Anyway, I’m enjoying  the goods sides of living in a big city before coming back soon to my favourite city in Finland, Tampere 🙂

 

baking1       And to fin(n)ish, some homemade Karelian pies – bonne appétit!

Bonjour à tous!

I can’t believe how fast the time has gone during my semester in Nice, southern France! I’ve been here for over three months now and I only have three weeks left. These past months have been the greatest of my life and I’m already stressing about leaving, I’m not ready! First few weeks went by in a blur when life was all about new places, new people, different language and beginning of studies, but after getting used to everything I’ve really enjoyed my life here. After all, how can you not when the sun is shining 95 % of the time?

P1240041

I’m studying at IPAG Business School which is a private school that has campuses here in Nice but also in Paris, Los Angeles and Kunming. When compared to TAMK, the school is very small and I was really surprised when I first got here. There is no actual cafeteria where you could buy lunch, but only a small café that serves sandwiches and other small snacks. During lunchtime everyone just goes to boulangeries (little bakeries) near the school and eat plain baguettes. There is nothing more French than people walking in the street with a baguette in their hand.

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Studying compared to TAMK has been a little more challenging than what I expected. We usually have seperate lectures and tutorials from the courses which mean that in lectures we just sit and listen, and in tutorials we do group projects in small groups. Lectures are very similar than lectures in TAMK but the strong French accent has made listening to the teachers sometimes very difficult. Also the tutorials are something that took me awhile to get used to. In TAMK we are used to doing our group projects on our own schedule whereever and whenever we want so sitting in a classroom writing a project together with the group feels sometimes very unefficient.

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I usually only have a few hours of school a day so I have a lot of freetime! Still I feel like I don’t have enough time to do all the things I want to do and visit all the places I want to see! I live with my Finnish roommate so I never get lonely and usually we spend our days hanging out with our friends, taking trips to nearby towns, doing a little shopping and tanning at the beach. Traveling around the French Riviera is very easy and cheap, for example a bus ticket to Monaco costs only 1,50e! Going around in Nice is also very easy since the city is relatively small, there is one tram line going from one end of the city to another and there are also the bikes (vélo bleu) that you can rent. The city is very cozy and cute and life here is very relaxed. Local people spend their evenings just hanging out at the beach which is so different from the busy Finnish lifestyle.

 

All in all, I really enjoy my time here and I’m going to use the time I have left as well as possible. There is still so much to do and see and I also want to have some time to just enjoy the weather and atmosphere here.

 

-Eveliina