Back on the track!

Hi again!

This week was pretty good, finally got back to work and become feeling a lot better. Last week was indeed nothing special. My week started at Monday, 1pm by going to work. The reason why I get there later than normally was because me, my boss and other stuff went to another city, Tolmin. Henna couldn’t come because she was still sick unfortunately. We went to Tolmin do inventory to another Mercator. (Mercator is a Slovenian retail corporation. a.k.a our working place here in Nova Gorica) Tolmin was really small but beautiful place to visit. On our way there I saw Alps and the Soča river! Here in Nova Gorica Soča river is more green than it was in Tolmin. There it was more clear and blue, almost like crystal! There is no rivers like that in Finland.

Soča river in Tolmin

Wensday Finnish teacher AP came to Slovenia and he came to meet us to our workplace. After we got back from work we decided to visit Sveta Gora with AP and Irena. In English Sveta Gora means Holy Mountain. At top of the hill there is a beautiful church and amazing view. You can see the Alps there as well as the Italian side all the way to the sea!

In the church there is a wall where people leave their crosses symboling their worries.

Driving down from the hill we had great view of the Nova Gorica.

Week at work went past really quickly and I learned couple of new things about their work system and I also learned to use scanner!
I’ve also helped out some customers. (who knows some English words) Customers are really curious when I told them that i don’t speak Slovenian. They usually ask where I’m from and what I’m going here and surprisingly many knows Finland or have even visited there!

Friday we went to Italian side of the border to Gorizia. This weekend there was a big international street food festival, which was amazing opportunity to get to know not just local food but food from other side of the world too! And the atmosphere there was amazing! We loved it so much that we went there also on Saturday night!

Saturday we went to Solkan, to see the Soča closer and to walk along the river.

As you can see the river here is more green.

Hope you had great week, I did!

Loves, Julia ❤️✨

Week 3..

..done! My week started with two free days so I headed to the beach of Tarifa. Loved it and it’s 10 km long beach, so there is space enough for everybody. The place is perfect for kitesurfers, because there is quite windy and big waves so there were lot’s of them on that day. Sometimes if you are lucky enough you might see dolphins and even whales at the sea, but I’m never lucky so I just saw my inner eyelids, cause I focused on relaxing.

Views to Africa

Days have gone so fast and again I have learned lot’s of new spanish words and new things about my job. There has been quiet days and very busy days and sometimes I wish I could be a octopus, because my hands can’t carry so much stuff than needed. Now I’ve told immediately to our Spanish customers that I don’t speak well spanish, I’m from Finland and student, so they have been very understanding and helpful and I try to speak spanish as much I can. Many little mistakes have happend, but nothing serious..yet! And I learn from those everytime, so I won’t repeat them. One day the Hoteles Globales “big boss” was visiting here and we had to be even more precise and look professional. Of course I was even more frightened that I was dropping something or doing something stupid, but it went well I guess.

Last week couple Finnish groups came to the hotel and were very surprised at what I did there and said that I looked like a Spanish. My coworkers call me “rubia”=blond so my Spanish camouflage colour is not quite finished.

Lobby area

Me and lovely Mariangeles. It was her last night at the hotel. We tried to look stylish but it did not succeed!

Till next time…


Week 2

After the first week culture shock and the beginnings constriction, I have already settled here fine. Of course I still miss the people at home, but I have a good feelings and doing pretty good to be only with your own thoughts. Fortunately, nowadays there are good communication tools so everyday video call to home helps solitude.

On Monday me and the hotel asistant manager Julie went to a local police station to get me my NIE number, what you need to have in Spain if you are going to work here.

My work days were between 9-13/ 12:30-16:30 and 19:30-23:30. The days go by the same routine almost everyday. Clean up tables, chat and help customers, pour drinks etc. And after every dinner you set all ready for the next dinner. After work we eat together and it is still quite weird to eat decent food at twelve o’clock in the evening and then try to go sleep after a huge dinner. I try to eat just a little bit, but sometimes it’s hard to resist those delicious looking cakes and other goodies.


Main courses: there is always options of fish, chicken and meat, rice, pasta, potatoes and vegetables

Every day I have learned something more and some new spanish words stick in to my head. It is still hard to make correct sentences and I’m shamed if I don’t know how to pronounce the words correctly. Maybe I just have to start using it bravely and my co workers are always helping with pronouncement and teach me new words. I’m still 0happy that the are so many English customers who I can speak with and it’s now much easier than first week.

The Weather has been warm, not so many sunny days but the temperature is still +26 and moist. My body begins to get used to this heat and it’s not so suffocating to work here anymore. Hotel is so near the harbour that you can hear many noises coming from there. Lot’s of police/coast guard helicopters, ships honks etc. At the beginning it was quite annoying sometimes, but now i’m used to it either.

I had couple day offs and I headed to Tarifa, which is only 45 minutes bus ride away from Algeciras. Tarifa is a bridge between Europe and Africa and divides the Mediterranean from the Atlantic. Lovely little beach town, surffers paradise and the southernmost city of Europe. There were lots of little boutiques, restaurants and cafes in the small, charming alleys. I definately come back with beachwear and lots of money, because there were so much unusual stuff what you can’t find at shopping centers. I also visit at the Castle of Guzmán el Bueno, which was built in 960. Really old castle and great history, but most of it was renovated too modern looking, so only old things which were left were the walls.


I’ve noticed a lot of differencies between spanish and finnish peoples behaviours and habits. They are very straightforward so it is not possible to avoid controversy, but once the air is cleaned everything is back well. When you meet someone, everyone is always asking how are you doing or is everything ok. Friends usually give a cheek kiss when meeting and otherwise touching and standing near each others when you talk is somewhat different to the Finnish character. We have been laughing here about our different eating habits. Especially younger people don’t eat here much vegetables and salads, so their plates were full of chips, pasta etc. and I had many green things. In Spain it is common to eat something sweet for breakfast so even here my workmates may have just churros or cakes and juice or milkshake to drink. And no coffee!! I have to get my daily coffee with breakfast or it’s going to be a really bad day!

Till next time…


First week


Fist week in Slovenia, Nova Gorica is been really nice and of course pretty new too. We arrived here last Saturday – Sunday night, 9th of September. First we flight from Helsinki to Frankfurt and there we switched to another plane to Venice. When we arrived to Venice our driver Tomaž picked us up from the airport and drove us to Slovenia, to our dorm.

When we arrived to the dorm, it was past might night and we were so tired. But unfortunately we didn’t get our own room then, because only person at the time in the dorm was security guard who didn’t know that we were coming, so she gave us a random room and said that we should come switch the rooms first thing in the morning. So we got up at 7am and went to reservation but we ended up switching to our own room way later that day. In Sunday we discovered the town and find out that everything is so close to our dorm. And of course let’s not forget that you can walk to the Italian border from our dorm, that close we are.

First week at work was nice, people here are so nice even if they don’t speak good english! Mostly we were just learning how things are done here. Monday we made inventory and later on that week we worked on lot of departments and learned lot of things and got to know people were working with. On Thursday was my 18th birthday and I was so surprised when we were called to come to the break room and all staffs started singing to me and they even had birthday cake with candles on it. The cake was by the way so good. Our work days starts at 7.30 and usually we’re walking there cause its close and in mornings weather it’s nice and cool.

The weather is been super hot here, everyday it’s been close to +30 degrees. I also had opportunity to go to Duino, Italy. It’s nearest place to go to see sea and of course to swim! It was so beautiful and the water was so clean, I loved it. The car ride to there lasted just about 30 minutes, so it wasn’t that far away.

Because the week was after all pretty hectic and everything was new, this weekend we are just chilling and resting for the next week.

Loves, Julia ❤️✨

Week number one..

..completed! I’m still alive and ok. I didn’t broke anything, I didn’t do any big mistakes and I have learned something so let’s continue that way for next seven weeks. My work shifts were most of the days between 8:30 – 12:30 and 19:30 – 23:30 so I did breakfast and dinner settings. At breakfasts my job is to collect used plates off the tables, change dirty tablecloths to new ones, set new cutlerys on tables and of course, be nice to customers, answer their questions and so on.. At dinners my job is pretty much same as in mornings, but then we serve drinks to our customers and also in the lunch time too. After every setting, we set the tables ready for next dinner, polish all cutlerys and glasses, take tablecloths to laundry, pick up empty bottles and glasses from the hotels floors which cleaners have collect from rooms.

Only problem is still that I don’t understand everything what our Spanish customers or my collagues are saying. And it’s hard to get answers to my million questions, because there is only couple workmates, who speak english and they are not always there when I needed. I still don’t know everything what I should know, but I guess I’ve learned before my last day at October 26th. I’ve been studying Spanish since last autumn and I know some basics and understand words here and there, so I can answer some questions made by our spanish customers. Fortunately there are now lots of customers from England and Germany, so I can easily communicate with them. I have to say that I have never had so many praise in my life than this week. Those lovely english customers are so polite and every night they praise how good the customer service representative I am, and how well I can speak English, (which I’m not) but I always try to do my best to make them happy. There are also a couple of Finnish customers here, so it’s nice to switch a few words in Finnish too.

My workmates are awesome, even we don’t all the time understand each other, but they have been so nice to me and teach me Spanish words.

Natalie, Victor, Maria, Esther and Belen

My freetimes and days off I’ve been on the beach and just wandering around the city and shops and stopped by cafes and of course read my Spanish book. Weather here has been very hot, even when it’s raining the weather is warm and feels almost tropical.

That temperature may be a bit of a lie.. 😊


So here I am… the big world all alone. Or actually I’m in Algeciras where is about 119000 people living here so I won’t quite be all alone here.

My name is Sanna, i’m 33 years old and I study second year at Tourism Industy in Gradia Jämsä and I do my work placement in Hotel Reina Cristina in Algeciras. Here has been couple students before and they liked working here and teacher recommended me this place so I said yes.

Last couple days before leaving were awful. I didn’t undertand why on earth did I wanted to do this and didn’t want to leave, but like some wise guys said that sometimes you just have to do something out of your comfort zone to experinence new things and learn a bit more of yourself. Of course I wanted to go because I love Spain. I’ve been travelling here, mostly in Canary Islands, but I wanted to try what it would be like working in this country. I also wanted to learn spanish language more and improve my english skills. But beeing away from my loving boyfriend, family and friends is hard but I can do this!

I came here two days ago and I have been exploring the city and also met some of the workers of the hotel. I read somewhere about Algeciras, that it is just an ugly port town in the south of spain and there is nothing to see. Well maybe it is not the idyllic spanish town with white houses and red brickroofs, but there are some beautyful parts and yes it is a port town where there are lots of shippingindustry and big steel and metalbuildings in harbour and also many old buildings because it’s quite old city.

Tomorrow I start my work at the hotels restaurant as a waitress. I don’t know yet exactly what i’m going to do, maybe cleaning tables and pouring drinks or something. I’m little bit worried cause I might be a little clumsy person sometimes, like dropping things or even stumble with my own legs. I’ll try my best not to break everything!

I’ll get back next week and tell something what have I done,learn or destroyed 😬

Hasta luego amigos!


Going where my heart is…


I left 2 months ago to take upon a new journey which life had put in front of me, and I can still remember the excitement and the sadness I was feeling. I remember how I cried leaving my husband behind, but I also remember the feeling of strength I had for going towards the unknown all by myself. And here I am, feeling those same feelings yet again, feeling sadness that this journey has come to its end but so, so excited to go back home to the arms of my husband and the warmth of my furry children. I must say that in overall I have enjoyed my time here, people have been good to me.



What was it that I came here to do, well, I worked in Chichester College in the Business department and I was working closely with the Admin Assistant and I got the chance to see what her job entitled.  First weeks I was walking on eggshells just to get my bearings on things, didn’t really know people, didn’t really know what was happening and how this office here worked, what was it’s purpose etc. Day by day, everything just started to clear, at least a bit. I got my own desk where to work and just that made me feel more like I belonged here, having a desk where to come every morning. Little by little, I got to know the people I was working with and I started to remember people’s faces and their names. There are still people on the department that I don’t know, we have 4 office rooms here where people are working so I’ve grown custom of the office that I’m in. My office is filled with crazy people (meaning it as a good thing) and one Irish who is the whole office’s sweets guy. People would literally come to this office and ask if he would have something to eat and if he weren’t at his desk people would help themselves to his drawers. This person is sitting right behind me so he is always offering snacks to me.  Their sense of humour is just fantastic and I must say that I have had fun in this office, but it’s home time for me. (A little private joke we used whenever we felt tired).



I have done a lot of archiving, photocopying, scanning, sending emails, and learned how to post mail here. I have also done of my share of answering phone calls and did a bit of research via phone. I have mastered skills on spreadsheets, updating, creating, making formulas etc. I have sold books to students, I have been typing letters and mailing them, using word mail merge. I have done a bit of inventory, splitting PDF files. I also helped a student in her mock exam, by reading it to her out loud. Therefore, I think I have learned a lot and many different things. I have had proper professional training and have gotten the support of my colleagues, and learned the office life in the UK. I must say that I have not really worked in an office before, so I do not know how it is in Finland, but I am pretty sure it would be similar to this; hard working people with good sense of humour and coffee (well, mostly tea here). I just think in overall this school cares for it’s students and want them to succeed as well as in their studies as in life in general.




I have been in the workforce for many, many years so I think I really have not changed in that regard; I know how the world works in working life, and I still consider myself a trustworthy, diligent and conscientious worker. If I had done this work experience in Finland, it would have been easier, but only because we would have shared the same language, but besides that, I believe I have managed well. I am sure my English skills have improved while being here, and I am writing English better than before, because I’m writing the blog every week in English, plus of course I have to write at work also. My listening comprehension skills have improved; I understand the conversations around me but I could very easily just phase it out and then it would just be a noise in the background.  Speaking of my verbal skills, I’m still very harsh on myself and I think I could do better, it isn’t as natural as I would wish it to be and I believe that would correct itself if I would stay here.


However, how could I stay? If my husband would pack our dogs and fly here with me! We would get a nice little cottage of our own and we would name it the Lynx Cottage. Many people here have named their houses and you could see the sign outside their homes, the house where I’m staying is called the Clayton Cottage. You don’t have to name your house, it’s not mandatory, but many people do. We would have a nice home, with fence that would go all around it, so that the dogs could run freely in the yard and we would have garden there and a palm tree! We would take nice strolls outside on the public footpaths that go through the fields and our dogs could run freely there as well. We would have different coloured door, something bright, inviting, and black frames on an otherwise white layout. We would have a fireplace because it gets so damn cold in here sometimes and we would have hot water bottles at night. We would have a gas stove and a washing machine in the kitchen. We would have to get a car and learn how to drive on the other side of the road so that we could pick up our friends at the airport who would come and visit us. We would enjoy the very interesting and incalculable British weather and we would not miss the snow in Finland, if we would, we could always visit. We would learn to be more polite and we would get drinks in the pub with the locals and share stories.  The airport would be a short train ride away and we would have better options to fly elsewhere for holidays. Yes, I could see the life I would have here…




I do miss home though, I miss my car, I miss driving my car and singing to a country song out loud. I miss my home, I miss my hobbies, and I miss my sisters, my mum and dad, my friends. I miss sauna, (I’m going straight there when I come home), I miss salmiakki and Finnish candy in general and not just the candy itself, the opportunity that I would be able to get it whenever I wanted. I miss the familiarity of my surroundings back home. I even miss those crazy sounds our neighbours make. I miss my husband’s cooking and his jokes. I miss the constant attention of my dogs, when they are all around my feet and following me everywhere, I miss the smell of their paws. 

I must say being here for those two months, I have seen a lot. Not just Chichester, but I also saw Brighton, Arundel, Portsmouth, Isle of Wight and London on my journey here. I have seen a castle, I have seen beautiful sceneries, and I have seen old buildings and ruins. Actually, where I’m staying, right across from it is this 2000 year old ruin, called Fishbourne Roman Palace and it’s the largest Roman ruins in UK and on my last Sunday here, I finally went to see it. I must say even though it was nothing more than old mosaic floors I can imagined how it once stood there. In addition, if I would be living here I would be rather proud of those old historic ruins because that is something I’ll never get to have in Finland.

Today’s my last day in the office and I spent last evening baking Finnish Pulla, and I think I did alright with the ingredients I had, I couldn’t find ground cardamom, so that’s what they are lacking. I also had a wee problem with the baking sheets, because the Pullas got stuck on it which is weird, because I bought the paper just to prevent that from happening. People seem to enjoy them and that’s what matters.

I just want to thank everyone involved in my exchange journey, in here in Chichester and in my school in Jämsä. I want to thank the patience of my teachers who answered calmly in every of my constant questions, before, during and after this trip. I’m also so grateful for the people in here who were patience as well and so, so nice and I will cherish each and every one of them for the rest of my life. I just can’t believe that I got the chance to have this opportunity at all. I have always considered myself someone who was born in the wrong country but I think I might be true Finn after all.

But now it has come the time to go where my heart is. Home.

The last week.

Had a heat stroke on last weekend, yep, not that awesome. I did a little walk to the nearest town which was about 5 km away from me and I knew they had this craft’s store that I wanted to see and also it was on the coast. Weather was nice, sun was shining and I walked listening to the soundtrack of the Greatest Showman and life was good. I popped in the Bosham walk which was a shop that was selling all the local crafts goods and I just walked there a bit. Then I walked in their “marina”,  sat down to eat my lunch enjoying the view and people watching. well it was more dog watching really, there are lot of labradoodles here and I’m alert for corgis (which I haven’t seen yet?!? Royal Corgis as they are) and any bulldogs. They have quite few French bulldogs here as well as Staffordshire Bull Terriers, if I have recognized the breed properly. After my lunch I popped into a pub and on the way there I saw these 2 kids trying to get a dog into this little stream because the dog was very muddy for running down the low tide. Well let me tell you, the dog wasn’t really that into going to bathe so I offered them my help and dragged the dog into the water. It was fun and again made me homesick. I had some ice-cream on my way back and I also popped into this other pub where I met a lovely old lady who was a widower. I had a nice talk with her and even though being homesick and ready to go home I was happy and glad that I got to know her. Isn’t this what all this I about, to meet new people, learn their cultures and everyday life even though you might never see them again. She invited me to see her again next Saturday and I might even go if I have time.  After that I walked back home, I had plenty of water but only thing I was lacking was a hat. I usually have a hat or a scarf on my head on my holidays where I know it’s hot and sunny, I just really think to pack a hat with me. When I got home I was feeling ok, but then at some point I got an awful headache and I could feel my skin burning hot. Whenever I would get up I felt dizzy and I couldn’t see properly and was feeling very sick. So not fun at all, I had plans to go to the beach on Sunday but I decided to skip it. People remember to wear a hat when the sun is up!! No kidding, it was horrible experience.

Started my last whole week in the office with light spirit and I’m planning my upcoming summer holiday, I have to say I still haven’t been to Kingley Vale and it might be that I won’t go at all. I know I really wanted to go there and I still do, but all the times we were discussing to go with my host lady the weather wasn’t on our side and then we just didn’t have the time and so on, because you would have to drive there and buses really don’t go there or it’s rather difficult and I must say I’m running out of time. I know I could just decide and go, but I’m kind of getting the feeling that I would like to leave it and do it when I would come back and have a reason to come back and do it. Does that sound stupid? I have done this before with my husband, we left a couple of things in Vegas undone just so that we would have a reason to go back.

This is my second last blog that I’m writing and I have a feeling the last one will be long one, so be prepared for that one. Until next time.

Almost home.

I have done a lot since I last wrote. As you all know my husband came to visit me, so I went to see him at the airport because every minute counts! I was so excited, that when I finally saw him walking from the arrivals I was literally jumping for joy and as soon as I could I just ran and hugged him, might have shed some tears of joy. But I was so happy! Our bus to Chichester wasn’t due till later so we got ourselves some breakfast and I saw that he had a Novelle water bottle with him which had maybe like 0.6dl of water inside and I asked him if the water was Finnish or did he refill it at the airport in here and he said that it was from Finland and I just sunk it down my throat. And let me tell you, it tasted sooooooooooo good! I have been traveling a lot and I must say, the best water comes from Finland. Period.
Weather was good and warm, but apparently really muggy and humid according to my husband, but I was glad that it didn’t rain, because the weather forecast had promised thunderstorms but luckily it only rain during night time, or not at all.  I showed him all the places in Chichester and we did a lot of walking. I showed him the wall that we have here, which was built by the Romans, we also walked through this old cemetery, well at least it used to be a cemetery and now the old tombstones where put to the side on couple of rows. I took him to the same Arundel Castle as I took my sister, but I knew he would enjoy it as he did. We also happen to be there at the same time as they had a re-enactment of a siege of the castle.
We took a little trip to the Isle of Wight. We were thinking of going to see the Osborne house which was Queen Victoria’s and Prince Albert’s summer home and rural retreat, but since we only had that one day, we knew that we would enjoy the sceneries more so we decided to see the coast line. It took us 1 change of train, 1 ferry ride and 3 change of buses to get to Freshwater Bay where we walked the coast line all the way to The Needles. Well, we didn’t walk to the tip of The Needles, because we wanted to see the white chalk rock formations. There was a chairlift down to the beach, but we decided to walk down because the lines where so long at the top and and took the chairlift back up instead. Oh, and it was a bank holiday plus midterm, which meant that the kids had a holiday week so pretty much all the families where there vacationing. There were people everywhere, even Arundel Castle was full and we had to wait in line to go inside the castle. But I must say Isle of Wight was beautiful and I think we might go there again, but definitely we must book a hotel and stay over a few days.
On early Wednesday morning my husband went back home and left me here, it was so great that he came to see me here, but it just made me more homesick. I got exactly 2 weeks left, and then I’m flying home to my family. I do have plans for this weekend though, and I’m going to make the most of the time I have left. I have a huge bag of candy of all the people I’m working with which I’m going to bring to work on my last day, I also planned baking pulla, and hoping those will succeed, I’ve had some bad experience baking stuff in foreign places and it’s usually catastrophe. Until next time, see you!