Winter is enjoyable if you have some hobbies
Coming from a tropical country with four seasons full of sunlight, I saw Finnish winter as something very exciting and scary at the same time. However, after a few months of living in the winter, I have learnt from the Finns that this season could be uniquely interesting and enjoyable if you have some hobbies.
Walking is good for our health. In winter, it helps to warm our body and release energy which induces good sleep at night. As you may know, many people often face sleep disorders in winter due to lack of daylight. Walking is recommended as a therapy to regulate our sleep circle to avoid the consequences of this disorder.
Moreover, I love to breathe in the fresh air when I walk. It is always worth reminding ourselves that we live in a country with the cleanest air in the world. While walking, I can also notice the unique beauty of the season. As a result, I feel more connected to nature. For me, it is a healing experience.
That's why I always find excuses to leave home for a short walk every day, either to shop, to the library, or to work.
There is no reason to stop exploring the city despite the cold weather. Oulu has been loved because of many beautiful attractions, and when winter colours them in white, they are still gorgeous.
You can, for example, go to see the Bobby Statue, Kauppahalli- Market Hall, outdoor sculptures, Nallikari beach or the Oulu botanical garden, you name it. You will be surprised by how different they are compared to their summer versions while still looking very nice and attractive.
In Vietnam, I rarely cook because of my busy working life. When I moved to Finland and came back to student life, I started to cook and gradually became extremely interested in the activity.
Cooking brings so much fun in preparing ingredients and implementing the recipes. I have tried everything from familiar recipes to completely new ones. I also tried baking for the first time in my life, thanks to the high-quality oven available in every student apartment of PSOAS (PSOAS is the company that manages student housing in Oulu).
My family is surprised by my current cooking level, and they are also happy when they see me in good health without the help of my mom's cooking or restaurant food. That is a bit embarrassing to admit, but I feel so proud at the same time. :)
Last Christmas holiday, I went to Rovaniemi to visit Santa Claus Village. I had a lot of fun walking around, taking photos, playing with huskies and reindeer, as well as seeing Santa Claus. In this blog's cover photo, you can see I was with a gentle husky in Husky Park, Santa Claus Village, Rovaniemi.
In early 2022, I also had the chance to go to Ylivieska to work. The trip made me realize that each Finnish city has its own beauty and cultural customs. I appreciate those opportunities so much. Sometimes it is significant to change your place of stay. That is how travelling can help you escape from the boredom of a long winter.
When winter comes, I am more motivated by house decoration. Nothing compares to the feeling of coming back from a cold winter day, entering a warm and cosy room with candle scents and twinkling lights on the walls. That would be the perfect time to enjoy a cup of Glögi and a favourite movie.
In Finland, you do not need a huge amount of money to start decorating your room. In Oulu, you can find home decoration stuffs at a reasonable price at Tokmanni, Clas Ohlson, Flying Tiger, Jysk, Finlayson or Oulu recycling centre.
Aurora is such a powerful and unique natural phenomenon that my friends and I could not stop screaming when we saw it. Fortunately, Oulu is one of the best places to see the Northern Lights in Finland. I have been lucky enough to see the aurora dancing overhead in Oulu a few times. Despite the sub-zero cold, I was eager for the hunts that usually lasted for hours.
In the silence and cold of winter, hunting the aurora will make your winter more dynamic and full of excitement.
I have been practising watercolour painting for several years. In Vietnam, I had painted some pictures of snow, aurora and pine forests, but at that time, I had never seen such scenes in real life. When I moved to Finland, I felt so happy that I could finally see what I wanted to draw.
Pine trees now can be seen right from my window while snow is right under my feet. I hope my painting skill will be improved with this strong inspiration from nature. Painting can train our patience, calmness and concentration. And winter is a perfect time for this hobby.
Those are my hobbies during winter in Finland. I hope you find them helpful. As the new year begins, you will notice the daylight increasing, and soon you will get more than enough daylight when the summer knocks on your door. Therefore, enjoy every season because you may miss the winter so much when it is over.
About the author
Ha Pham Thi Ngoc from Vietnam is pursuing her master's in Learning, Education and Technology at the University of Oulu. She is an ambitious educator interested in the research of self-regulated learning in challenging situations. She is enjoying her student life in Oulu so much.