First week of school
IWG Class of 2017/18
Once again I found myself packing my bags for a big trip to Finland. The Polar Night Magic trip is what started all of this so It felt right to be returning to the place that made me give it all up for a life outdoors. And I think over the next 10 months I will certainly be outdoors.
Everyone remembers their first day of school as a child, In Wales you start at three and a half so you're super small. But things haven't changed much, I still don't like brushing my hair, I still ate my breakfast in a massive rush and I still started my first conversations with the boys talking about riding bikes.
Now the Finns are known for their admirable lack of small talk, they haven't been brought up to do an internal shiver when conversation ends and no one follows it up. They don't feel the need to fill that silence - once I got over filling it with nonsensical babble I realised in my head that I've always been bad at small talk anyway so this was great.
The first week was great, they took it easy on us and let us all settle in to not only the course but each other and the 'Big yellow house' that most of us would be living in over the next 10 months.
We got given a tour of Kuru, it's common in Finland but its very very small. When I looked on the map I always assumed it would be a considerable size because of the size of font on Googlemaps. This does not apply in Finland - apparently a few shops, a library and one bar makes a place big enough. Lets just say this - you have to drive about 50km to hit some civilisation. But hey who wants to be civilised anyway!
There are 16 of us, split half & half between males and females. There's 7 Finns, 2 French guys, 1 Dutch guy, 1 Irish, 1 Scottish, 1 Russian girl, 1 Spanish guy and 1 Belgian guy. So we're a nice mixed bunch, what is great too is that because it's an adult course there is such an interesting mix of people. Some have just been travelling all over the globe, others have children and are commuting to the course everyday. It's going to be so great getting to know everyone and having the support of the group to get us through the challenges of the coming months.
The first week was a great introduction into exactly what we will be doing over the next few months. We went through how the course was construted and how we would gain and receive the qualification. We then went in depth about how to plan an expedition and got given our groups for which trip we would be in charge of. Then we were tasked with creating a food plan for our week in the forest. It sounds simple but we had to work out a plan that meant that every person got the right calorie intake for the days activities, including the breakdown of proteins, fats and carbs. It was all really interesting, and something I'm sure we will develop as we plan and cook for the group.
As mentioned our second week would be spent in the forest. Learning basic wilderness skills, how to build a badass fire, what wood burns best, different ways of starting it etc. We would also start working on our orienteering skills...mine are non existent pretty much so that can be something to practise at the weekends.
The last week left me keen, nervous but mainly excited about the next year!