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First impressions from Lapinjärvi

23 September 2008 07:00:03 non-military service

22 September, 06:20 - Kamppi, bus station

Sigh. Duties. This is the day I've been trying to avoid for the last ten years. Exactly ten years and thirteen days ago I took a bicycle ride (with a bike with rapidly flattening tire if I may add) to place where they would decide my future. I took the test of funny questions such as "do you feel like you're being followed/watched?" and "do you like touching statues?" I handed them physican's evaluation of me, they interviewed me and asked which organisational branch of Finnish self-defence forces I would like to go. Then they had a brief conversation and told me that I would not be going to air force. That was it. They didn't want me so fine, I'd be going elsewhere. Bah, it's their loss. Now I'm ten years older, I have my MSc and I'm going to work at University. Considering it all I'd call it a good deal. Besides, all the waiting paid off -- now this non-military service takes 12 months instead of 13 months.

06:35 - In the bus

If I haven't seen a pissed bus driver before now I have. Either he isn't too happy to see this many young to choose non-military service instead of happy camping trip with FSD or he has just got up with wrong foot. Or perhaps he got fed up with people asking where to get off, or maybe he didn't like processing those green slips of paper that grant us free bus rides. Personally I would place my bet on the option one. Some people are simply hostile against people who choose non-military service. Oh well, one can't please everyone.

07:19 - In between

Migrating birds. Even the birds are heading away from here. Why are we still going this way? I'd much rather go back home, get some sleep and pet my cat.

08:05 - GPS fix

A-GPS really rocks. It took just one minute to get a fix in a bus moving at 100 km/h.

08:35 - Reception

Standing in a line. It seems that we (as in newcomers) are not particulary thrilled about being here. People seem to be so down that's almost like they're expecting to be executed. I know, Finns do that anyway but I'm telling you, the mood isn't exactly at all-time high. Also, apparently not everyone has read their invitation letter as they don't have a passport picture with them. I'm glad I found mine just last night. The line's moving awfully slowly.

09:22 - Settled in

We've succesfully signed in, received our non-military service passports, and bunked in. They put me in a four-person room, which is generously equipped with a table, two chairs and two two-store beds. Since I did have a choice, I picked the top bed. I don't know much about the others in our room, but they definitely seem younger than me. What a surprise.

10:40 - Back from expedition

We decided to go out and look around the place a bit. People here felt an unsurpassable urge to find the grill/kiosk that supposedly was somewhere near. However they were unsure of today's schedule (which was clearly stated at the reception desk) so I lead them to the info where I cleared out the thing. Some of us were a little unsure about the road, even though we had just come the same way here. We'll get our first chance for free meal at 11:00 and the introduction will take place at 13:00. I can't wait... Anyway, it seems that at least one of the fellows in our room is probably 19 suns old. They're constantly talking about how things were at comprehensive school. Oh gee.

11:32 - Nature calls

Hear hear, free food at 11:00! We had spaghetti with con-carne -style sauce (Finnish way) and I have to give it to them, vegetarian/vegan version with soy was good. A bit thin but tasty. If they keep offering food like this at least I'm not going to starve. I left the others in the dining hall and went to check out the nearby lake. There's a narrow path following the shoreline -- which is where I'm typing this. They didn't lie when they said the place was pretty. This place probably looks better during summer but it's not bad right now either. It's early autumn and there are already some autumn leaves littered around. Even though there's constant humming sound coming from the other side of the lake, the place is very peaceful with the waves gently hitting the rocks and the shore, the leaves rustling in the wind and the birds singing... Only if it was a bit warmer. Maybe it's time to move forward.

23 September, 07:22 - New dawn

During a break yesterday I managed to stick with some other people, including one from Uni. Two of them have just finished upper secondary school, two zre older. At the end of the day we ended up chatting about various things such as Nethack, Adom, MacGyver, anime in general and some movies. This is looking good. :-) When I finally entered my room I found the others fast asleep, although one did wake up. I ended up turning on the lights instead of playing with my torch. I plugged my gadget rechargers and connected my N810. I hit the bed a bit past 22:35 and found it hard to sleep. The bed's too soft.

This morning I woke up (the last time) at 6:30. I stayed in bed for half an hour until I heard others getting up. I gathered my gear, left the others sleeping and headed at our floor's "community room" to finish my morning business such as brushing my hair. The breakfast is at half past. Talking of which we had some red beet soup with tofu for dinner and bread for supper.

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