Monday, 23 January 2017

My 2016

With yet another year behind, it is time to write a summary of what it has been like for me. I noticed quite loud wishes for the year to be over faster, particularly in relation to all the celebrity deaths, but I've always wondered why are people hating on 2016 if it is just a certain period of time, a social construct, like any other year, with no further meaning than what we give it ourselves. And the night between the 31st of December and the 1st of January, like any other night, has no magic powers to end all misery. So in the end, all we can really do is take life as it is, do what we can to make the world a better place and not worry about what we can't do.

For me, 2016 has been very challenging and difficult on one hand, but on the other hand it has contained some of the most amazing experiences, so, funny enough, I can call it both the worst and the best of my life so far. I have never had so many challenges and things to worry about and fix before, but I have also never travelled so much before.
New countries I visited in
2011: United Kingdom
2012: none
2013: Sweden
2014: Does Åland count?
2015: Poland
Where do I even start?
But as always, I will do a brief month by month summary.


January was generally a quite peaceful month; I had some interesting courses at school, for example a Swedish course where we were taken to various places around Turku. I also had my first (and also last, as it turned out) sea swim of the year in an ice-hole. On the last days of the month I embarked on the first Baltic Sea ferries-trip with Sverre (which unexpectedly turned out to become several more over time), doing the Finlandia and Superstar from Helsinki to Tallinn and back, and then starting a cruise to Stockholm on the Mariella.


February started as I was still travelling with Sverre, and in addition to the aforementioned, we took a chance of cruising on the Gabriella while she was replacing the Amorella on the Turku-Stockholm route. After returning home, I built the two ship models Sverre had given me as late Christmas presents (Trollfjord and Color Fantasy), and I filed my collection of ship boarding passes (which I have mentioned a couple of times in the very early days of this blog, such as here.. needless to say, the collection has grown more than tenfold since then). Later on I had a cruise on the Silja Serenade with my mother.


February ended and March started peacefully, but the one single brightest memory from the month is my 2nd Baltic Sea ferries-trip with Sverre, which we did to celebrate his birthday and the return of the Silja Europa from Australia; during that trip I also visited my old home (and most importantly, was briefly reunited with  my sweet kitty) for the first time since I moved away. However, it was also in March that I split up with my boyfriend of the time, which dropped a huge extra load of problems on  me, which I had to deal with over the year. Already before the end of the month I was back in Tallinn again, mainly aiming to pick up my new shiny Seafarer's Discharge Book.


April started with one of my more memorable courses at school, the Radar course; most of it took place in the bridge simulators where we made plenty of mistakes, often resulting in hilarity. That course was followed by an enormously fun Basic Safety course, which was mostly practical, using various lifesaving equipment and most importantly, swimming! And after that, I had some days of practical work on the tall ship Amazone. So, my wait for one of the absolute highlights of the year wasn't long and boring at all; and I made it even less so, when I went on a daycruise in the archipelago just some days before, also seizing the opportunity to sail on the Baltic Queen while she was here replacing the Galaxy. And then the highlight itself - on the 21st I flew off to Norway for the rest of the month, having no clue what awaits. And what I got was some of the greatest adventures of my life so far.


After returning from Norway on the 2nd of May, I immediately had a practical firefighting course, and  after some weeks of inactivity, another practical course with more focus on lifeboats and liferafts. My mother visited me for a weekend. Towards the end of the month I was in touch with the Apprentice Mill, which means that I suddenly got very busy. And so, on the last day of the month I took two buses to Kotka and embarked on Finnlines' Finnsun for my first on-board training.


The entire month of June was spent on the Finnsun, with a few exceptions when I got to go ashore. Nonetheless, there was a lot of excitement for me on board as well. And in June, the Finnsun took me to see Lübeck in Germany, Kotka (again), Santander and Santurtzi in Spain, Paldiski in Estonia and Aarhus in Denmark, as well as several other ports where I did not get to go ashore.


Most of July was also spent on the Finnsun, now feeling much more comfortable on board. The weather was generally nicer too as we did another trip to Biscay; this time I went ashore in Ferrol and Santander in Spain, Rauma in Finland, St. Petersburg and Aarhus. After finally disembarking on the 28th, I flew straight to Norway again, where I spent some days resting and having a good time.


In early August I finally returned home, though only for a couple of peaceful weeks that I spent mostly watching the olympics and killing time, as well as visiting a friend in Helsinki. Towards the end of the month, I headed off to Norway again, this time for my own birthday celebrations, which lasted well into September.


On the 5th of September, a day after returning home from Norway, I started school again, with a course of radio communication, effectively replacing the Restricted Operator's Certificate I got during my pleasure boat license course with a General Operator's Certificate. I also participated in the filming of a commercial clip for my school and met up with my parents for a day in Helsinki.


October was the last month when I could enjoy living alone in a huge family apartment, however the stress of having to find a cheaper place was taking a toll on me. Very fortunately, just two weeks before the end of the month I stumbled upon the perfect offer, so the rest of the month was spent packing up. Towards the very end of the month, Sverre came to visit me and we had a daycruise to Stockholm.


On the first day of November, it was time to free up my old place and move a short distance to a similarly nice, though remarkably different place. Then it was all about settling in as well as having a good time with Sverre during the rest of his visit. After Sverre left, it was more settling in as well as quite a lot of schoolwork.


In December, it was mostly attending school as well, almost all the way up until Christmas. Christmas itself was somewhat dull, but right after Christmas I embarked on a journey to Norway again, and welcomed 2017 on a special cruise on Fjord Line's Stavangerfjord somewhere in Kattegat, underway from Copenhagen to Stavanger.
And as the said New Year trip started, Sverre gave me his spare little-used camera, which was a remarkable upgrade for me and means that 2017 will definitely be a year of better photos!

Happy New Year!

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