As soon as we made our way to Tampere's main square via taxi, we met up with our "tutor" Niina. She was very friendly and spoke very good english, but insisted that we immediately go shopping for bed linens and food because if we didn't, we would probably have to sleep on the floor with no blankets and starve. This was stressful. In the first two hours of our arrival, we had suddenly spent 200 dollars and had ended up only with the worst bed linens imaginable and just enough food to make salami sandwiches and PB&Js.
We arrived with about 100 pounds of luggage each. This did not help when we had to take a bus and then walk half a mile to our apartment building. And that, was only really my luggage because the airline managed to lose Meg's two checked bags. We came to pick up her bags the next day, but alas, the three people who were working in the airport simply did not know where the bags might be. We returned the next day and finally left with said baggage, after waiting for three hours and spending 4 bucks on two candy bars for sustenance.
After two lunches and two dinners of cold sandwiches, we had McDonald's downtown and it tasted so good. I don't even like McDonald's...at all. But it was the best thing we could find for under 10 bucks and it was well worth the splurge. The downtown here is rather large and reminds me a bit of Minsk. It has that cold, industrial, soviet look with a few architectural buildings scattered around. There is even and H&M. Despite the fact that we both knew we could not even think of buying anything in the store, it was comforting to be somewhere familiar.
Our apartment is a bus ride from town, which has caused some financial issues because a bus ticket costs 2 euros (3 bucks) and the ticket only lasts for one hour. I have probably spent at least 30 dollars just taking the bus to and from town to get all of our errands done. Luckily we will be able to buy a discounted bus pass on monday. Phew. Our apartment is spacious, but quite stark. There is not much furniture and our beds are terrible. Despite the fact that we are pushing it to stay up past 8 pm, we have both woken up with tired and sore bodies.
We finally made it to the store yesterday to reluctantly buy a 20 dollar water pot so we could actually cook food. We discovered that spaghetti, meatballs, bread, potatoes and eggs were all relatively cheap, but that we would probably be having little to no cheese during these four months. I believe a bag of plain mozzarella was about 9 dollars. Looks like noodles and butter for us!
We start our orientation at the University tomorrow and I think things will get better from there on out. We will hopefully meet some cool international students, although I am slightly worried about finding fun things to do around town that won't break our bank.
I looked at what classes I might take and I think I found a couple good ones. I will hopefully be take a class on U.S. Presidential Elections and a seminar on Gender in Politics. This will amount to class once on mondays and once on wednesdays. As long as money allows, this should provide for some fun travels!
So long for now. Miss you all.