PROM 2015

These girls are gold!
Prom was held two weeks ago, I just haven't had time or patient to come here and tell you about it. I really didn't have any expectations I just wanted to experience it like everyone else.
Sam and I & Justin and Jordyn
I got my nails done with my friend Erin on friday (8th) and later I had a hair appointment. I went to Erin's house to get ready with my other friend Emma. Then we drove to my other friends house, who finally drove all of us and my date to this pretty garden where we took our pictures.

We still wanted to go to the hotel next to us since lot of our friends went there. We got some really nice pictures and then finally after a short drive we arrived to this place (lodge) where the dance was. Everyone got to eat dinner (buffet) and the food was okay. After that people started dancing like in homecoming/other school dances, and they played popular pop-, slow- and line dance songs. I danced the whole time, but obviously we didn't wear our heels and my dress was waaay too long, so my dancing was kind of well, limited. They had also set up a photo booth where you could take these cute pictures and luckily they were free!
The best host parents in the whole world!

Our prom had a theme and it was Alice In The Wonderland. I really didn't notice it though, in the middle of the dances I remembered that we actually did have a theme... The whole night went so fast, and before I noticed it was over. I felt like I was living my real ''American (dream) life'' because a) my first real prom b) I was the only foreign exchange student, but the last song ruined everything. It was 'I am proud to be American'. You should have seen my face when the song came on, haha.
Sam and I
Our school didn't have their own ''after party'', how some schools do like bowling etc. Quite many students had their own bonfires and parties. I went to couple bonfires that my friends had, stayed there for a little and then eventually went home and hung out with my host momma (late night talks are the best!!)
Mindy, Me, Jillian
Did I have fun? Yes. Was it different that I thought it would be? Yes and no. I was so hyped about prom in February and my friends were making fun of me, so I kind of tried to calm down.... Then the week before prom, it didn't even feel like it was the next week! I think 50 dollars is a big price of it, and if you would buy 300 dollars dress and do your hair at hairdresser, it would be crazy expensive. I was very happy that I could borrow my dress from my friend, and it was also really pretty one!
In general Prom was nice and I would love to go there again... Now I am really looking forward to graduation and my grad/goodbye party, even if my heart will broke in pieces.
The best brothers I could wish for

Thank you for the pics Kim, you always do a great job!!



Softball Banquet

Banquet (May 4th) was lovely in every way. We had our last softball game and I had my senior night. I started in Varsity's game and then went down to JV's. Both teams won, and then was time to go to the banquet. We started with dinner, everyone had brought something to eat (seniors were lucky we got to bring drinks).
Coaches made their speeches for us and seniors, and I got to tell you that I will miss softball so much... Even if I was really struggling at first, and I was so ready to give up in January, this was one of the best decisions I've made here. I got new lovely friends, I got to know amazing personalities and  I learned something new. I never thought I would start a completely new sport as a almost 18-year-old. Even if I still don't know how to throw the ball correctly, I think I did something right, haha. I am just saying, it's pretty hard to go from soccer to play softball, but I loved it.

When I get told that I actually did really great this season, I am hitting the ball in varsity games and that how I have developed as a player these past few months makes me so happy. Sometimes I'm too hard to myself, but then I remember that I just started, and there I am playing with the girls, who are super good and I should be proud!
Every senior got a basket full of her favorite sweets, goodies, and a poster that other players had written a little messages. I looove these posters so much! I have couple more at home, and I am taking all them with me to Finland. After all this, seniors still got this huge, framed picture (our yearbook photo) of all of us and couple individual pics. It was coolest thing ever, I really appreciate that amount of work they did for us...
One of my best friends Emma made a lovely speech for me. There was/were always a player(s) talking one of our seniors. The people who know me well enough, know that I am very emotional (crybaby) and especially during my exchange year... I am glad they had tissues there, haha. You don't even know how happy I felt that night. Maybe middle of my exchange my mom always kept asking me ''Whose your best friends there?'' I always told her that I have many close friends. As many of you know (exchange students) in America best friend label is a little different... Anyways, right now,  I know who my best friends are, after eight months. Being without your best friends back home is really hard. So, when my ''ex'' close friends tell me I am one of their best friends during speech (or whenever!) feels incredibly good. I was always afraid to say to someone that they were my best friends because here, it's so different. But not anymore!

Tomorrow we are having a senior trip to Baltimore. I am really excited! I will take my camera with me so hopefully I'll make time to take some pictures. AND when I find time, I will put pictures from prom which was awesome!

Sad, but happy


Life is good

I haven't posted any pictures lately, and I apologize for that. These pictures are from March and April!

 At a senators baseball game


 After musical cast party (I am not in the picture)

Our family in one picture

 Seniors at the open mic night (choir that I am in)

 Bff's!! I guess we can't get good picture together
 At my surprise birthday party

My amazing 'Dairy Queen' Ice cream cake!



April and Easter

So much happening this week and so excited! I had such a great time last weekend(27-27th of March). On friday my host family took me to ice hockey game where local team played. They lost, however it was interesting game and it was nice to spent time together. Every time I watch hockey I feel like home, it just reminds me of Finland!

Saturday. I got my nails done with my friend Amanda and her mom. When I got home, we started baking 'Slutty brownies' with my host brother. You start with the chocolate chip cookie layer, top with oreos and then you pour the brownie batter on it. SO yummy, rich, and gooey. Later that night, around 10pm Amanda and her mom came over, because her mom was going to dye my momma's hair. I wanted to get highlights and I got them! This was the first time in my life when I ''dyed'' my hair (Ella, soon-to-be-18-year-old ). And I love them, it was good choice to start with highlights, so I don't ruin my hair... We had a blast, as always, with our friends and family. It was 2:30am when they left. Can you tell we had good time?

Sunday we had my host family's cousins birthday party at Sky Zone. It was so much fun, I found my inner kiddo again!!


Easter was my last american holiday, dislike :( Anyways. Easter was more than I expected but it included a lot of family time. Our ''spring brake'' was from thursday till sunday (2-5th of April). Monday was supposed to be off, but we had one snow day in February, so we had to made it up.

On wednesday my friend had a first bonfire of the year, and it was so nice! We should have bonfire nights in Finland too. The next morning we went for a breakfast to the closest diner, I just simply love them. The first softball game was played on thursday and we won. I was realllly nervous, but I did it! Later that night my family did their first Easter tradition, egg painting. So they are real hard boiled eggs, and then you can tie dye, draw or dip them in different colors (it's dyed vinegar so you can eat them later) and it was actually really cool. I was just disappointed to myself because they didn't turn out as I wanted. Oh well, that was my first time. 

On friday I made Finnish cinnamon rolls, and buttery eye pastries (voisilmapulla) for dinner we had that same night. I doubled the recipe, sooo then I ran to grocery store because we didn't have enough flour, whoops. I went out with my friend Jordyn, because it was so nice out and we went for a hike, and the weather was hot (but I don't complain). Spring is here, or would I say summer cause 20 C is pretty warm to us Finns. 

 We had dinner with my host dad's family/siblings and their kids. One word. CRAZY. SO much kids, so loud and so much happening at the same time. But I really do like to spend time with them.

Well saturday was little bit different than I thought it would be. I had a surprise birthday party. Everybody had planned this so well! My friend Jordyn had asked me to sleepover at their house on friday evening, and the next morning we had to be home at 2:30pm. I am not the smartest, but everything makes sense now though, haha. We were supposed to go over my host mom's parents and have a Easter egg hunt. I was confused because we couldn't go home any earlier, but I really didn't care. I walked in to our house and there they were, my friends and family screaming surprise at me! I was so surprised and I started crying. Actually there is a video of it on Facebook. I am glad someone recorded my reaction, it's hilarious now :D I had a blast, I have such an amazing family and friends who made it happen. They're a blessing. So many friends and family friends showed up, and it made me so happy that they used their time to come over. I will remember this birthday forever, it just warms up my heart to even think about it...

Saturday night ended up with good friends. We went to movies and saw a scary movie called 'It follows'. Even it was a pretty bad movie it's always fun to watch horror with group of people.

On Sunday we finally had our Easter egg hunt! First we had to find our own baskets. My basket was filled with chocolate, different candy and cute water bottle. We emptied our baskets and then was the time for egg hunt. I think that's a fun tradition and I could see my kids doing it.

...And then Easter lunch. We ate it with my host mom's parents, her brother, Justin's girlfriend and host dad's dad. We had ham, mashed potatoes, gravy and corn, that is what they usually eat. Food was good and we had a great time together. Easter was definitely a fun holiday!!

Last week was busy. Three softball games and so many plans. On tuesday I had my birthday!!! finally 18! I had awesome day with lovely people. We also went to Buffalo Wild Wings (restaurant) that I have wanted to go for a long time. And the wings were so good... We were supposed to have a softball tournament on saturday, but it got cancelled because of the fields bad condition.  On saturday we had sleep over at my friends Carley's house. We had a little party for us since we had our birthday so close (Carley 9th) to each other. Just hanging out by the fire, listening to music and sharing laughs with my best friends makes me incredibly happy.

Spring season started and we got our first win! Oh how I've missed soccer! I love to play with my travel team, I really enjoy it.

I am truly sorry, but no pictures for now :( I just wanted to come and write something, I promise I'll do a blog post that includes JUST pictures.

Have a nice week everyone, already hump day!
Ps. this was older post, but I didn't have time to finish it, soooo that's why the text is little bit odd, haha.



My Exchange Year

Does it feel like I have almost been here eight months? No. Does it feel like I was in Finland yesterday? No and yes.

When I get home in June it will be weird, so weird. This year already feels like a dream. I miss soccer season a lot and everything just happened so quick when I first got here. Finland just feels like something that's so far away but still so close. When I talk with my friends or family I never think about that they're actually that far away, but that tells something. It means that I feel like home. And this place, town, is my home. I bet lot of you (exchange students) have heard this sentence ''exchange is leaving your home twice''. Oh yeah, it's going to be rough. I really wish I could buy flight tickets to everyone and they could visit Finland. I am already planning when I wanna come back and visit PA again.

I haven't written here too often about my 'hard times'. I KNOW. It helps some people to write down their anger or depressing feelings. That's not me, I'm too lazy to even grab my computer. The first thing that I do is I talk to someone, maybe eat my feelings ooor try to do something else to forget it (sleep).  I have had bad days and, there has been little problems but we've figured them out. Trust me every family has their own problems, that's life. I have great 'american' parents here and they are really experienced, I trust them because they know how to handle these situations. That's why I am glad to say that my host mom will be a representative next year and I know she'll be the best one!
I have had a great year so far. I am usually pretty positive person, and I don't have time or don't wanna use it to negative thoughts. I do worry about stupid things but when I get over them, I'm good. There will be times when you'll be sad and life is miserable, so why would you be negative when everything is actually okay? And that's the key, I am always trying to find positive from everything. I remember that my friend Roosa asked me this, when we were like in 3rd grade
''Ella why do you always have to be so positive?''
And the funny part is that I have met the most enthusiastic people here (surprise). You couldn't even compare me to them, haha.

It's amazing how quickly your friendships develop here. I got to know some people better in December and we are so close now. Can you imagine, just in about 4 months I've gotten friends who are so incredibly important to me!? I also have friends that I got to know after I came here and I love how we're still really good friends. They have never left me <3 I have never had that situation and it makes me so so happy.  The start is harder though, but don't worry. It takes time to build friendships and some of your friends you might meet later during your stay, like I did. Don't expect anything, just work for it! Even if you're cool foreign it doesn't mean people will be interested in you later and want to hang out with you. It takes time to find the right people, but it's definitely worth it!
I was reading my old blog posts and I was thinking that what I wanted from this year. I wanted to be a  part of american family/experience their everyday life. CHECK. Learn the language and speak fluent english. CHECK (it'll be better eventually, I promise...) I wanted to experience all the American holidays. CHECK (still easter though!) Try a new sport. CHECK (softball :D) To be a part of American high school. CHECK
I appreciate this experience so much (kiitti mamma ja isi) and couldn't thank you enough. I'll be 18 in about two weeks and I should be an adult? Well, at least when I go to Finland, not sure if I'm ready though...  I am telling you, I'll be the same Ella who left from home almost 8 months ago, but also the new Ella who has changed in many good ways. Ella, who learned to appreciate where she comes from, my Finnish family, friends, nature, school system and many other things. I will enjoy things definitely in different way.

I am trying to live my life here as much as I can because I love it, and I'll miss it a lot. Especially going for wings on monday, choral, my crazy family, mine and Nathan's car rides, and eating with the best lunch table ever!!

Have a nice week everyone :)



Musical 2015

Before ''the'' day...
3/11/15 Tomorrow is the day. We have our first Hello Dolly performance. I have been waiting for this so long and honestly I am really nervous.  First we're going to perform for elementary school and then for high school, although we're just doing act 1 or 2. Tomorrow night at 7:30pm we have to be ready to do the whole show! It's going to be a rough and a long weekend, but definitely worth it! I will write about this later next week with pictures. I am so glad that I got a chance to do musical in my school, it's just so cool.
 My beautiful waiter
 Rachel the Granny
 My lovely brothers <3
 The best reps ever!

3/15/15 And now it's over. Can't believe it. This week has been amazing, it's so hard to tell how good I feel with these people. Past three day have been so much fun and I've learned a lot. I never knew that I'd do musical during my exchange year, but it was definitely good choice! I've come so close with some of the people and musical was one of the reason why. Nothing like this would happen in Finland. We don't have anything like this is our school system and if we would, not ''everyone'' would get in. I learned to ''throw myself'' in, and singing, dancing, and acting at the same time. And guys believe me, it wasn't easy for me...

 Yesterday was emotional in many ways. My grade, seniors, had their last musical experience. I have good friends that are seniors, but there is a huge, talented group of seniors graduating this year. I think five of them had a lead role in our musical. They're amazing. And the other hand, this was my first - and probably the last musical, plus I am leaving in about 3 months. Well, at least it tells that I have so many great people in my life and I'll be missed, haha.
 Parasol ladies

 The best people

Softball girls

Thank you, thank you and thank you. I had an aaamazziing experience, I'll never forget this. We still have cast party today before everything is over... Love you all!