Sean, Mike, Kay and I arrived in Helsinki Tuesday night to join a group of 12 students from UT. After feeling mildly lost, we finally found Scott Wall (the program's head), who promptly gave us a map of the city, and instructed us to find our way to the hostel. After a long day of traveling, it was nice to finally arrive and meet the group - after dinner we had a "scavenger hunt" to orient ourselves in Helsinki. Our group of course got lost, but it was fun - you'd never know it was so late as at midnight it still looked like a typical night at 8pm. The Finns were out in abundance as well, enjoying the light they missed through the dark winter.

Wednesday morning we had a short orientation to the Otaniemi Campus (where we'll have class for the summer), which is a beautiful campus with amazing facilities. The wood shop alone would make the best carpenter salivate, and the shop itself has a sauna on the ground floor (sauna is that important to the Finnish culture). Then we left for Kiljava, an hour's bus ride away, to become better acquainted with each other and start learning the traditional Finnish measurement skills to document our summer project. The past few days have consisted of good food, company, a lot of dimensioning and drawing, and Jari Jetsonen teaching us important Finnish phrases - from the words "thank you" and "sweat" to "greetings from my ass" (apparently what you'd say if someone's work was not good). It's been a lot of fun - probably not entirely reflective of the work load to come, but fun nonetheless.

We left Kiljava this morning, and are now several hours and bus rides away in Kauttua, where we will be for 4 - 5 days, documenting a terraced house Alvar Aalto designed. We just arrived a few hours ago, and everyone rushed straight away to their rooms, as we finally have internet access again. We are just getting started making dinner together, then will relax before starting the big group project tomorrow morning.

The group - outside the SAFA (Society of Finnish Architects) - our first stop in Kiljava.

Our house in Kiljava - photo taken around 10 pm.

Early drawings at the old sauna to practice measuring/group documentation.

Sauna time before dinner - cooling off in the lake.

My favorite house in Kiljava - of course it's the one with the yellow door.

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