I don’t really know how to start off this post other than to say this is probably the craziest decisions I have ever made in my life.
Tomorrow morning I have a flight booked at 11:25 which will take me from London, the city where I have lived all my life, to Finland, a country known for Nokia, cold weather, hard alcohol, and a very small number of very quiet locals. While out there for a yet to be determined time period I will be learning to shoot guns, polish boots, run away from bears, and whatever else the army feels like making me do.
Why the Finnish army? Well, my mum is from Finland originally and so I’ve got dual citizenship. Over there every guy at the age of 18 gets a letter in the mail effectively saying “Unless you have a pretty good reason, you’re going to be spending a year in our military”. I like to think that I have said “pretty good reason” but over the last couple of year I figured that this is something I want to do.
So before I go any further I figured it would be good to compile a list of all of the reasons why this is a stupid thing for me to do:
– I have not been to Finland in about 10 years
– I’m not exactly the toughest cookie in the tin
– I get sick very easily (I managed to get shingles 5 times before my 18th birthday)
– I am very skinny
– I have a very minor heart condition
– I have never been on a plane on my own
– I am missing my entire summer holiday
– I am missing results day for my A Levels
– I have never held a gun in my life
– I have a head of hair that I enjoy tending to which will be shaved imminently
– My idea of independence is being left home alone for a weekend and not burning the house down
– I am leaving behind all of my friends
– My light reading is comprised almost entirely of The Complete Works of Shakespeare
– I spend the majority of my time on the internet
Oh, and I don’t speak a word of Finnish.
The weirdest thing though is that I am actually really looking forward to it. I thought that filling up my suitcase would put the final nail in my coffin of nerves but it has actually had the complete opposite effect. Something about the sight of the three bags of coffee that I am taking as presents to my family out there (a Finnish custom apparently) is strangely exciting. It makes it feel less like a step into the unknown and more like a holiday. A holiday in which I will be shooting guns in the middle of a snowy forest a thousand miles away from home.
I think my friends and family have been the best at putting me in good spirits though. The last couple of weeks have been great. From rainy indoor barbecues to Laser Tag, from prom to Nandos dates, everyone has been so great in sending me off and I honestly couldn’t ask for a better group of people to be my friends. You all will be sorely missed and I can’t wait for all the fun we can have when I get back!
I don’t really want this post to be too long so I think I’ll leave it on that slightly soppy note (I have a lot of packing still to do). Thank you everyone for being so supportive over these last 18 years, now I just need to get through this next one.
I am excited. Slightly terrified, but excited.