I will be studying in Finland this summer in Savonlinna from early July to the end of July, and then hopefully going on to Russia. This blog is to document this experience for me, and also to talk about anything else that happens to me on the way. For example, last night I went to Maple Valley. If you have never been to Maple Valley, it is located more or less south of Issaquah and is home to a preponderance of people who enjoy activities like "wheelin'." But Maple Valley also has a certain sophisticated charm. My girlfriend and I went to a very posh neighborhood that reminded me of a gated community except for the fact that it didn't have a gate, where we hopped a fence, and jumped off a dock into Wilderness Lake. All along the lake we could see lights from houses glowing and the silhouettes of pine trees, and on the far side of the lake we could faintly hear people laughing around a camp fire.
Tomorrow I go to New York. I like New York. I didn't used to like it, but that's because the first time I went the only thing's I did that were touristy. However, the second time I went I didn't do anything touristy. In fact, I wasn't really even in New York; I was in the Hamptons eating 25 dollar crab sandwiches and riding in limousines in Montauk. The only time I was in the city I walked around the Lower Eastside, realized there are more hipsters in a half-block radius of the Lower Eastside than Capitol Hill could ever imagine, and then I ate seaweed at a Thai restaurant. Now I will go back to New York and I am excited to once again do nothing touristy and just hang out with friends, generally.
After I go to New York and I will go to DC and then fly up to Montreal. I am particularly excited about Montreal. Montreal is 70% French speaking. This is pretty high (Montreal is the second biggest French speaking city in the world [!]) but it will get a lot higher when I leave Montreal to go to Sainte-Agathe-des-Monts, a city that from Wikipedia appears to be known for just about nothing besides the fact that it is relatively close to the ski area Mont Tremblant. However, French is spoken as a first language by over 90% of its inhabitants, and that's a good enough reason for me to visit. Then, I come back from Montreal, have eight days in Seattle, fly to Iceland, and finally fly to Finland on June 29th.
Like I said at the beginning, I have dropped out of school. Yesterday marked my final days as a student/teacher at the University of Washington. This is one of the reasons I wanted to start this blog. By dropping out of school and traveling to faraway lands and most likely growing a beard I will be venturing into the ever so hazardous territory of "finding myself." Ostensibly, this is the reason why many people travel. But I don't want to "find myself", because from what I can tell that just basically means turning into a hippie and no longer frowning upon drum circles. I want to find other things. I want to find other people. I want to find other places and other foods and other languages. And maybe I will discovery a few things about myself as well. But I will never, never play in a drum circle.