First impressions of Helsinki

Now then, for a little of my life off the Football field…..

I arrived nearly two weeks ago and was greeted at the airport by Teemu, a friendly giant with a grin as wide as the Gulf of Bothnia. He took me to my apartment in Kontula where I met a very sleepy JD for the first time. The next day we began practicing and have been doing so regularly ever since.

JD is a fine fellow. He played football at the University of Memphis and like many US import players, this is his first venture outside the security of the land of the free. Naturally I have taken it upon myself to impress upon him the entirety of my British wit and wisdom in our time here and he is learning fast.  He’ll be a xenophobic cynic yet!!! I also regularly serenade him with Oasis’ greatest hits through our paper thin walls on my £30 argos guitar. He hasn’t killed me just yet – he needs me to cook for him……

Joe in my hat and looking all the better for it....

We are regularly informed from all corners that Kontula is the ‘ghetto’ of Helsinki. Other than the people being generally drunk and unattractive (we fit in well), it seems like a fairly nice location. Public transport is excellent (and free – thank you Wolverines!!!) so we are in easy reach of whatever we need. Each day we eat for free at a little restaurant down the street (thanks again Wolverines) which serves decent food at the very best price.

The people on the team are all extremely nice. I’ve made a number of friends amongst both the offence and the defence. I am as yet undecided over Finnish people in general (where would we be without sweeping generalisations?!). Cue traditional British xenophobia……The words ‘excuse me’ and ‘thank you’ are seldom used in public situations. When boarding buses one would think that some time limit were in force as people push their way to the front of the ‘queue’. I think I am yet to board a bus in any other position than last. Alighting brings the same results – yesterday I was physically pushed from a bus by a lady of approximately 80 years of age whilst waiting to let a lady with a pram get off before me. Neither said a word to me. I miss queuing. Smiley face.

So that’s a few thoughts. Any questions…..?

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