My amazing journey is soon coming to an abrupt end... It has truly been educational, and has probably been the most adventurous time of of my life :D. I must say that I am having mixed emotions about leaving due to my immense love for this country. I can´t really say that I am not looking forward to going home, because that would be a lie. I am really looking forward to seeing my wonderful girlfriend, my friends, and my family again. I have experienced so much during these 5 months that I am really starting to get ready for my journey back to Finland.
One thing that many people back home might not realise is that it is summer in New Zealand right now. As we all know, Christmas is approaching very quickly, and so is it in New Zealand. In other words, they don´t celebrate Christmas with all the winter traditions like we do, instead they might have a barbecue at the beach or something like that XD. Yesterday there was this Christmas parade in my town, but I still can´t get the Christmas feeling as I usually have in December. It would surely be very interesting to spend Christmas here, but for me, I´m quite happy to go back home for the holidays :D.
For Christmas, people in New Zealand have a variety of signature dishes, with ”Christmas pudding” being the typical dessert. The Kiwi Christmas is more about the heat of summer and the beach, rather than Santa and his reindeers. They still do have all these traditions, but in my opinion, it is much bigger here in Finland. The food cooked on the typical barbecue is often ham slices or even venison. Shrimps and other fish are also barbecued. Many kiwis still have a hot fruit pudding with custard and ice cream as dessert, but cold desserts are also very popular. These include pavlova and whipped cream, meringues, cold fruit salad, jelly and ice cream.
I am still going to have my hostfamily try out "glögi" before I leave :D. It is one of my favourite things about Christmas, so I am happy that I can share a little bit of the Finnish Christmas with my hostfamily. Of course it´s not the same to drink glögi in the heat of summer as in the cold of winter, but still... :D. I´ve already had them try out "salmiakki", and at least my hostbrother wasn´t a very big fan, so it will be interesting to give them a sample of something else :D
As I told you, yesterday there was this Christmas parade here in Paeroa, which was actually quite nice. Many companies and corporations joined in, even though it might just have been for the free advertising :P. The parade was packed with kids, which was good, because they really seemed to enjoy it. I have some pictures of the parade below!
Thank you for reading all or at least some of my blog posts! I have truly enjoyed writing them, so I hope you´ve enjoyed reading them too! I would most certainly recommend an exchange year for anybody who would like to broaden their view on life and experience something completely different. I would say that these 5 months most probably were the best months of my life, so thank you once again!
Richard, signing out!