Last night in Finland

Well this is it! My last night and my last update from Finland. I am sitting here watching Brazil and Chile in extra time in the first round of the knockout stage of the world cup in my hotel room which is right next to the airport which is convenient that I was able to get a room here because it is like a three minute walk to the terminal which is nice when you have a 7:00 a.m. flight. Man I can’t believe that I am leaving Finland. In some ways I have the same feelings that I had when I was leaving three years ago as a missionary. I am really excited to see my family and friends and get back to the wonderful red white and blue but I am going to miss the wonderful place that Finland is, I am going to miss it a lot.

Well this past week has been awesome! I have been traveling a bit up north to Oulu and Rovaniemi and then I came down to Helsinki where I met up with a few friends that served missions in Estonia, so before they went down there they came up to Helsinki for a few days so I could show them around and prove once and for all that Finland is better than Estonia (everyone already knows that though J). They enjoyed it but they were still pretty convinced that Estonia was better. Well some of the highlights were going to the sports bar to watch the Germany vs USA soccer game, sauna in the woods, Suomenlinna, and getting attacked by the crazy Helsinki seagulls. It was a lot of fun and a great way to wrap up my internship and trip to Finland.

I have really learned a lot during my time here, I have grown considerably and will never forget this opportunity and all the experiences I have had. I hope that I can continue to learn and grow from this experience and that I can use this to open more doors in the future for myself and others. I love this country and I will miss it so much but there really is no place like home. I will update this blog one more time to share how I am transitioning to being home and how everything is going in my first week home. Till then!

SUOMI SUOMI SUOMI!!!!!!!

My last week at my Internship

Well my last week went really well. On Monday I got back to the office and started working hard on getting my research report in good order. After work that night the company took me out to dinner for my farewell dinner. It was fun and a really good way to start the week. They gave me a company jacket as a gift for my time there. The rest of the week I was pushing as hard as I could to write the report as well as I could and really pushed myself to another level to write a good report. 30 plus pages and a few days later I was proud to present my report, which was actually still unfinished, but they seemed to really be impressed with it and all the data that I got from the survey, interviews, and secondary research. It was awesome being able to present on the hard work that I have done over the past two months here. I think the best part was the fact that I felt like I performed well and I felt good that all the information and suggestions that I gave were solid and well thought out. In short I feel really good about it! After my presentation and my day at work I packed and planned my trip to get to Oulu.

After waking up at 5:30 in the morning on Friday I walked to the bus station in Hameenlinna to catch a bus to the airport where I would take an hour long flight north to Oulu. After getting to my plane and enjoying a short trip to Oulu I met up with some people from the ward here and we partied hard for Juhannusatto or Juhannus eve. The members rented a cabin in the woods where we spent the night playing soccer, eating, and going to Sauna. It was great and so much fun to catch up with a lot of old friends. The rest of the weekend has been pretty much catching up with people, eating a lot of food, and exploring Oulu. It's fun to be here back in the north of Finland where I spent most of my times as a missionary. It's been fun to be back and nice to be able to relax and travel now that I don't have to worry all the time about work.

Last pic at Immuno Diagnostic Oy. Great people and a great opportunity, I'll be forever grateful.

Last pic at Immuno Diagnostic Oy. Great people and a great opportunity, I'll be forever grateful.

A look out point in Oulu.

A look out point in Oulu.

Me sitting on Toripoliisi's shoulders! This was taken at like 11;30 pm still bright out!

Me sitting on Toripoliisi's shoulders! This was taken at like 11;30 pm still bright out!

Land of the midnight sun sure is beautiful at midnight!

Land of the midnight sun sure is beautiful at midnight!

Week 6

What a great week! This week was one of the funnest and busiest of the entire internship. I started off the week with Monday in the office working on the final market research report and got prepared for the trip east to Jyvaskyla, Joensuu, and Kuopio. The next morning we loaded up the car and jetted to Jyvaskyla where I had a customer interview that went well but wasn't as informative as some of the previous interviews I have had previously, but after lunch there we headed to Joensuu where we would spend the night and have a presentation on Wednesday, so we got there and me and a coworker who hadn't ever been to Joensuu set off to see what the city had to offer. It was fun to see the city but there wasn't really too much there to see so it was a quick walk around. The next day we had an exhibition and presentation which went well but wasn't anything special, attendance was a little light but the right people came and I think we will get some more business out of it. After that we packed up the cars and left for Kuopio where we would have two exhibitions the next day and a number of presentations, including one where I would be presenting on our flow cytometry products to a group that does a lot of flow work. It was fun and in English which helped, most presentations are in English because there are always a few people that don't speak Finnish. I got a crash course in everything on the drive there and I went up there and swung for the fences, I thought it went really well. I didn't know how to answer some of their questions but it was a great opportunity to invite them to come to our exhibition and later presentations, which many of them did. It made me feel good that I was helping on the sales side as well to help grow and advance the business. It always is a great feeling to give back to a great company that has given me such a great chance to learn here. Well after that I changed my plans a bit. I was originally planning to leave with the Hameenlinna part of the group on Friday but instead I left with the Espoo office group on Thursday right after the final presentation so I could have one extra day in the office to continue writing the report. That all went well, they drove me to Vantaa (North Helsinki) and I took a train from there back to Hameenlinna. It was great and I was able to spend valuable time in Hameenlinna working on the report. 

Then on Saturday morning I was able to hop on a train and head to one of the greatest cities on earth. VAASA!!! I served in Vaasa for 9 months on my mission and it is well it's paradise in Finland! I got in and took a major walk down memory lane and then hung out with many of my friends there. Went to a club which was fun and then went to church the next day. It was special being there again! We went to the beach after church and all just hung out there for a while and then I took the last train out from Vaasa back to Hameenlinna so I could be back for work today. 

Wow what a great and fun week! It really had everything, a lot of travel and a lot of fun. A great way to spend one of my last weeks in Finland!

Setting up for an exhibition 

Setting up for an exhibition 

pic of my coworker Vesa hard at work 

pic of my coworker Vesa hard at work 

Working from my car office 

Working from my car office 

Kuopio is beautiful!

Kuopio is beautiful!

Me with some members and Jaes Jones and his wife Hillary, Jaes and I were in the same district for a long time in the mission field and both were visiting beautiful Vaasa on the same weekend!

Me with some members and Jaes Jones and his wife Hillary, Jaes and I were in the same district for a long time in the mission field and both were visiting beautiful Vaasa on the same weekend!

Walking home last night from the train station at like 11:30 p.m.

Walking home last night from the train station at like 11:30 p.m.

Week 5

Well this week has definitely been a little bit slower than it has been the past few weeks. I think I have said this before, but these people at Immuno Diagnostic love playing golf! I went twice last week and had a lot of fun… I think I am going to need lessons when I get back though I need to get better especially if I am going to playing this much golf throughout my career. I had a couple other fun things happening this week, I went with a couple of coworkers down to Helsinki to meet with a few researchers at I think the biggest lab facility in Finland. It was a fun time and I was able to meet with a few people that really helped contribute to my research. After we got back from Helsinki and after a few more hours of intense scrutiny of my survey, which looks very little like the original survey, we finally launched it and in its first week we received 14 responses which is quite amazing when you think that the majority of Finns are on what they call kesaloma or summer vacation which lasts pretty much the entire summer, more on that later. We will see if we can get to my goal of 20 this week, I would be ecstatic but we will have to see about that. I also started writing my report and with a couple weeks left here in my internship so I am feeling really good about the spot I’m at right now.

This past weekend was pretty fun I went to Tampere, I think that’s about the only major city in Finland that I hadn’t visited yet and it was a fun day trip. The picture at the bottom is a mustaamakkara or a blood sausage which although it looks terrible it’s actually pretty good. Beyond that it was fun and for the most part uneventful beyond that.

My next week will be crazy! I am going to be traveling pretty much the whole week except for Monday. I am going to Jyvaskyla, Joensuu, and Kuopio for biotech exhibitions from Tuesday through Friday which should be crazy! But also should be fun. I set up my own Flow exhibition which I piggy backed off of an American researcher’s flow cytometry meeting which should be fun, I also found an opportunity to plug a sales opportunity into it as well, it’s something I actually have become pretty proud of and I hope we can set it up so that we can sell to more of these people which is just one thing that would make my time here really worthwhile so I will have to keep you updated about that. Then I get back Friday and leave Saturday for an old mission area in the west of the country called Vaasa where I served for 9 months so I am really looking forward to that.

Anyways I will update again soon but I hope you are all doing well.

I heart Tampere!

I heart Tampere!

A long line for some legit Tampere mustaamakkaraa

A long line for some legit Tampere mustaamakkaraa

Finally some mustaamakkara! That's Lingonberry jam by the way, not blood.

Finally some mustaamakkara! That's Lingonberry jam by the way, not blood.

All gone, it's actually pretty good!

All gone, it's actually pretty good!


Week 4

I can’t believe I have been here for a month! Time has flown by. Well an update with work first, I wasn’t able to complete the survey this past Tuesday so we are going to launch it this coming Tuesday in hopes that people will on Tuesday get back into the swing of things at work and actually take it. I am really excited for it and the numbers and information it will give us, and if we get a wide enough sample this could take care of pretty much all the primary data we would need. Anyways let’s hope it goes well because getting in touch with people to meet with them or schedule a phone conversation led nowhere this past week. I blame part of it to Finnish summer vacations which are pretty much the entire summer and lead to a lot of unanswered phone calls and emails, more on that in a minute. I started drafting the research report though and started putting in parts of the 20 pages or so of notes I have collected so far in my research, I just really hope that I can get enough primary research to make this whole thing worthwhile. Anyways so Thursday was a Finnish Lutheran holiday called Helatorstai which after a lot of explanation from coworkers is a holiday that I think celebrates Christ’s ascension into heaven, don’t quote me on that. But since we had Thursday off and my boss told me that no one would be in on Friday that I would have a four day weekend. Oh what to do in Hameenlinna for four days… NOTHING!!! Anyways I was invited to go play golf by a coworker on Thursday (These people really love to golf, I think that should be implemented in the business pre-requisite courses) unfortunately though it was cold and rainy all day so no such luck. So after reading and relaxing and riding my old man bike all around the city for two days I went to Helsinki yesterday where there were was a lot of excitement!

Miley Cyrus, reindeer, salmon soup, graduation, plastered students, and visiting the first area on my mission. That pretty much sums up my Saturday in Helsinki! My goodness it was crazy! I got down there in the morning and walked around the city a little bit, I hadn’t been really around to some of the old sites in years so I went to the tuomiokirkko (the big white Lutheran church), walked to the harbor and to the market place where I got myself some reindeer, potatoes, and salmon soup (SO GOOD!!!) and walked along the shore and saw the American embassy (seeing the good ole stars and stripes flying was pretty great), the old mission office. It was awesome, then after walking so much I sat down to read for a minute on a nice park bench when I hear these girls screaming at the top of their lungs the song “Wrecking Ball” by Miley Cyrus over and over and over again (the Finnish teenage girl screamo version is not as good in my opinion), so I walked over to where there was a fence and about 300 young Finnish girls, I went up to one and asked what they were waiting for and she said that Miley Cyrus was in that hotel and they were waiting to see her. I thought about waiting but decided that there was a better way to spend my Saturday than wait with a bunch of hysterical Finnish teenage girls for Miley Cyrus. So instead I hopped on a commuter train to an area where I lived as a missionary and had a nostalgic moment as I walked along the paths that I did as a missionary, it was crazy when I recognized some people that I knew while I was there. It was fun to talk with them for a little bit and catch up on some things. Anyways I caught my train back and the drinking began, a bunch of 16 year old kids getting wasted on a train (which they aren’t supposed to do, as they were reminded numerous times by the train conductor) but they were hilarious and it was kind of fun laughing with them, they asked me where I was from when they were leaving, I told them the states and they for some reason started singing happy birthday to me in Finnish as they were leaving, it was an interesting experience.

Anyways, it was a good and interesting week and I am looking forward to another challenging and fun week at work.

A picture of Hameen linna which means Hame's castle that is why the town's name is Hameenlinna

A picture of Hameen linna which means Hame's castle that is why the town's name is Hameenlinna

Some Reindeer with mashed potatoes and lingonberries.

Some Reindeer with mashed potatoes and lingonberries.

Lohikeitto or salmon soup, one of my favorite meals!

Lohikeitto or salmon soup, one of my favorite meals!

Maybe the most beautiful picture of Hameenlinna!

Maybe the most beautiful picture of Hameenlinna!

Week 3 Update

This past week has been pretty crazy but awesome in a lot of ways. My project is coming along and has challenged me perhaps more than any other project I have ever done in my entire life! It has been a true challenge and I am loving it, yes it is frustrating more times than not but it has really changed a lot of things including my own drive, I am determined to make sure that this market research gets done and it gets done well, unfortunately though it's not just one of those things you can go and Google... I've tried. Well anyways, I had the opportunity to go and interview a couple of customers this past week in Helsinki which turned out to be really helpful and effective as I have tried out a new set of questions that I think are going to better give me the information I need. That was a fun little road trip and as I was driving back realizing that I needed to reach out to more people I got an idea, why don't I make a survey? Surveys were one of the things that during my time at ASUU really helped and I leaned on surveys to give me the information that I needed to be an effective Chief of Staff. I got back to the office and started creating a Google form which has been met with a lot of challenges but I have been pushing through and I am excited to launch it, and I figure out of the number of people we have on our list to contact if I get 15-20 responses to the survey I will be happy with that. I just need to get more of that important qualitative data. Anyways that is something I am focusing on a lot and I think it will pay off.

Over the weekend we had our company retreat which was a lot of fun! We went to a place called Vierumaki (about 100 K from Hameenlinna), which is a resort town. We also had 3 people from the corporate Board of Directors there visiting from Sweden. We had a really good time. The morning was all meetings and vision and goals etc. then we had golf lessons from the Finnish Junior National team coach which was fun and I learned a lot about how to fix my swing. then we did some archery then some other activities, but the best part was what we did in the evening. the shuttled us out into the woods where there was a cool cabin set upon a pristine lake with a savusauna (smoke sauna) right next to it! We visited the savusauna and may I just say if you ever have the chance to come to Finland, don't leave without visiting a savusauna, it's really different but awesome! We cranked the sauna up to 100 C plus which was crazy hot and then we would go and jump in the lake and cool off, wow that was probably the best thing I've done so far in Finland! Anyways you've got to go! After the sauna we ate dinner in the cabin under candle light which was pretty cool and it was great food. Then the partying began and I think right then they all were really grateful that there was a Mormon aka built in designated driver in the office. I drove them all home the next morning and it was a fun time.

Things are going well though, I'll be sure to write again soon and let you all know how things go with the survey.

The Savusauna on the left there and above at the top of the picture is the cabin

The Savusauna on the left there and above at the top of the picture is the cabin

the pristine lake

the pristine lake

dinner

dinner

Dinner conversation, mostly about American domestic policy actually, interesting to talk about in Finnish 

Dinner conversation, mostly about American domestic policy actually, interesting to talk about in Finnish 


My Second Week!

My second week on at my site, and what a week it was. I am glad to report that the culture shock seems to be wearing off a little bit and I've been able to focus on the tasks at hand. Last week I was thrown right into the fire going on my third day here to go interview a customer so I could get started on my market research. They gave me keys to the company car and pointed me towards Turku (a couple hours by car), THANK GOODNESS FOR GPS! It's been good though just jumping right in and to be honest I am really grateful for the trust they have put in me, it's a very humbling and empowering experience when they just throw me into the fire and trust me not to crash the car, ruin a relationship with a customer, and tarnish all the hard work they have put into getting to where they are at. This week was much the same, I started the week on the computers cranking away at some research. I think it's the nature of the work but I come home exhausted and usually with a headache because I don't understand any of the words in English or Finnish. Studying things like quantum dots, antigen and antibody connection, staining cells, and lasers really makes me wish I had taken courses in biology, chemistry, and engineering before starting here. Well since that opportunity has passed I now just cram and try to remember all the things I learned, it's been better this week though and I had some interviews that I was able to prepare more for and I found that when I take an hour on Monday and a few minutes every day to just sit back and set some goals for the week or day I can take what seems like an insurmountable task and break it down into tasks that are surmountable.

So on Wednesday after researching and thinking about questions I wanted to ask customers that would help me get the information necessary to better understand the market here for flow cytometry I went with a few other people from the office in Hameenlinna to an exhibition we were putting on in Tampere. In Tampere I was able to talk with a few people about the things I needed to know and tried to help out with others that were coming through to see what we had to offer. All I can say is at least I tried. Whether they were speaking Finnish or English there was a point where I had no idea what they were researching and what products they were looking for. I would then turn them over to someone else who could help them find the things they needed. It was fun though walking around and talking to people and trying to see what they were researching and I think it made a good impression on them and I hope they will then go on to purchase Immuno Diagnostic products. My Dad used to tell me that every person in a company is a salesman no matter what your official title is and I think I got my first lesson in that.

The rest of the week has been mostly made up of trying to contact other people using flow cytometry in their research to get further information on the subject to help me do my job, it's been pretty fun and I even got to call an American doing research here and interview her over the phone. I have to admit that with all the Finnish I have been speaking and trying to understand at work, talking about science with an American was so nice, she had to speak to me like I was a child so I would understand everything but I think it helped me get a better grasp on it all. Things are getting better though, I was able to sit down and meet with one of my supervisors, she's like my day to day supervisor, and discuss some of the goals I wanted to accomplish for the week and I feel like we have started to build a better working relationship in the fact that I know better how to communicate with her. It's been a whirlwind experience and it has been draining but extremely education and I think work like this and pushing myself to try new things out of my comfort zone are going to yield great results as far as a career and future educational goals go. I'm tired and definitely ready for the weekend, but also excited to see what next week will bring as far as new opportunities and challenges.