Monday, 4 January 2016

My 2015

One more year has passed, and as I have done for many years now, it is time to sum it up month by month. As this blog has been quiet for the most of the 2nd half of the year, I will try to make up for it somewhat.


After welcoming the New Year on my favourite ship, the Viking Grace (where I unfortunately have not returned since), and returning from Stockholm the day after, it was soon time to return to Tallinn and return to the daily life of a high school senior. It marked the start of a restless and stressful period packed with school-related work as well as the job I was still doing, the only getaways in January being a weekend trip to Finland and a visit from my friends from New Zealand. I applied to a university in Finland and also got to witness the docking of Viking Line's Rosella in Tallinn as she received her uniform stripes, which turned out a complete fiasco until they were fixed later on in spring. 


The busy and stressful days continued, I was taking a weekly course of Finnish for most of the month in addition to school and work. Matti was in Tallinn for most of the month, easing the stress somewhat, and in the end of the month as I had some days off for the Estonian Independence Day, I returned to Finland with him and recharged the batteries a bit. As I was doing that, I got to check out the changes made on the Finlandia during her docking earlier. I also had my final English language lesson of high school and possibly my whole life, as I received my CAE C2 certificate, deeming such lessons unnecessary. 


Early March marked my first vote at the general elections in Estonia, as well as a visit from Nelly, Mikko and Bim. In addition to the continuation of the hectic daily life, I was working on booking a little adventure for myself, which was fun at times, particularly when the confused faces of the employees at the Tallink booking office in Tallinn when I asked them to book me the taxi service from Mariehamn to Långnäs. "Has anyone ever had to book this before?", they were asking each other. Fortunately I did get what I wanted and soon found myself doing four cities and three ships in 24 hours, a story I've already told in this post. After the vacation, it was just back to normal and I started counting the schooldays I had left. In the end of the month, I met up with Jin as she was in Tallinn, and my favourite band Nightwish released their latest, and in my opinion best album.


April marked the end of regular daily school lessons, giving me a lot more time to work on the necessary final projects, my job and many other things. The final, nation-wide stage of the olympiad of Finnish language for Estonian high school students came to an end and I came 2nd, which earned me a place in the epic summer camp I had in July. The following day I took an entry exam to a university. Plans were also made for May-June; therefore I could sum April up as the month with many key events that set a lot of plans for the rest of the year.


The month started with me participating in a mass cycling event in Tallinn and Rosella's terrible stripes getting fixed. I also finished most of my final school projects, which finally put an end to the stress. To celebrate, I went for a vacation in Finland and after returning, finished the last of them. In the very end of the month I sailed from Tallinn to Stockholm on a small sailboat, a journey that took about 40 hours and is written down here. From there, I returned to Finland.


The first half of the month was spent in Finland; I visited the Linnanmäki amusement park, which unfortunately turned out to be my only amusement park visit of the season. The same evening I was overjoyed to find out I was accepted to the university. Some days later I boarded the Baltic Princess for the Nightwish concert-cruise I had been anxiously looking forward to for many months, during which, in addition to all the other obvious things, I received a great lease offer for Turku starting in August, which I accepted. On the 20th I had my graduation ceremony, which meant that I had to return to Tallinn. Relieved to finally have 12 years of school over with, I spent the rest of the month working, resting and volunteering as crew on small sailboats.


In the month of July, the absolute highlight of my year, the Gymnaestrada volunteering camp took place in Helsinki. I wrote very detailed daily reports of it on this blog as well, but to sum up, it involved working a somewhat crappy job (to not be misunderstood, it was a lot of fun!) in the first half of the day and enjoying a wide range of various fun activities in the evenings, meeting new people of various origins and backgrounds, and just mountains of fun in general. I would have definitely been happy to spend more than 10 days in such a lovely environment, but fortunately I have many new friends and a lot of epic memories from those days to make up for that. After the camp was over, I returned to Tallinn to slowly pack up my life there, quit my job of a year and a half and enjoy the last of everything I was about to leave behind.


The first week of August I spent continuing to pack up my life and take the last of the joys of living in Tallinn, including a daycruise to Helsinki on the 2nd. On the 7th I loaded my belongings on a truck and moved to Turku. The rest of the month I spent settling down, getting some necessary things done and enjoying the summer that finally arrived. On the 30th, I took a daycruise to Stockholm (without disembarking) on the Amorella, which proved to be an excellent opportunity to take ship photos.


As September started, so did my maritime studies here in Turku. And so it was that the whole month was mostly getting settled in school, which is definitely nowhere near as stressful as high school was, and I've really enjoyed it. I was also visited by one girl from the Gymnaestrada camp, but besides that, nothing particularly remarkable happened.


In October I mostly continued my studies and making friends at school, and in the middle of the month I had my first on-board training, albeit just one night, on a sail ship called Amazone. We departed from Turku in the morning and sailed to Kasnäs in the southern end of the arhcipelago, arriving in the evening. We spent the night alongside there and enjoyed the sauna near the harbour, and departed early next morning, arriving back in Turku in the afternoon. At one point, on our outbound journey, a shower opposite to my cabin started spewing out sewage water, flooding the corridor and getting some in my cabin as well. Fortunately it was stopped and cleared up in some time, but in the meanwhile I was doing my best to keep the cabin as undamaged as possible and took a few photos to scare my friends. It was also our job to take care of the steering and navigating, and I got to do a bit of both during the two days, and coincidentally I happened to be steering when we passed through one of the narrowest straits in the archipelago, which was quite thrilling. Generally, after returning home I only found myself wishing it had lasted longer.
In the very final days of the month I spent a very fun 24 hours with my best ship-people Nelly, Sverre, Dave, Timo, and Mikko (and very briefly, Kalle), as they were doing cruises and stayed in Turku for a night. Definitely a highlight of the final months of the year, we spent the time visiting the maritime museums and partying.


The  beginning of November was mostly spent studying, recovering from the aforementioned 24 hours and minding smaller, day-to-day business. In the later days I had a very thrilling three day metalwork course as a part of my studies, where we used various methods to create anchors. So now that I own a fancy handmade anchor, all I need to do is to buy a boat for it. After that course was over, I went on a shopping trip to Gdansk with Matti and a friend of his.


An unusually Christmasy month for me, as the very enjoyable school party was already on the fourth, and the rest of the month was mostly spent doing various holiday-related business, such as baking gingerbreads, sending and receiving gifts, and so on. I also finally got out of Turku for a couple of nights during the actual Christmas days, which I spent in Tervakoski and Jämsä. Other than that, the month was somewhat peaceful, as well as the New Year, which I welcomed here in Turku.

All in all, 2015 went much as expected, with a few very nice additions along the way. There was a little more stress than during the previous years, firstly about getting high school over with, and then, after I moved and started university, the empty feeling of having achieved my most immediate goals followed. However, there has always been so much going on that I have never had the time or need to dwell on any negative thoughts. When it comes to my expectations for the upcoming year, it's very difficult to know for sure. It would be nice to continue my studies, which should include the first longer period on board this year, and it's also about time for another epic round trip as it will be two years since the last one. But only time will tell how it all turns out; at the very least I've already got some plans for the nearer future to look forward to.

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