So, about three weeks ago I began millitary service here in Finland, the duration of which is undecided. Originally planning to be here only 6 months, there is also the option of 9 or 12 months depending on what you would like to train in or achieve, for instance if you have any desire to let power go to your head you should stay for 12 months and become an Alikersantti (Corporal).
(It was suggested to me that officers school might be a good option as I am fluent in English. The suggestion came despite my almost complete lack of fluency in the Finnish language. However, let us see how basic training goes)
After driving for two hours from my current home in Töysä to the military base in Niinisalo I walked through the gates, showing my conscription form to security I passed into what I didn't really realise was land that not just anyone can walk onto. It might have felt like a privilage, however, It didn't. It felt like a mixture of waiting in line at airport security and the first day of a new school, both experiences which leave me feeling nervous despite being sensible as to what I should expect. Walking through those gates left me with the positive aspects of airport security and first days of school too, and while I felt completly alone I also had a stubborn determination to stay calm, suck it up, and act like an adult!
After checking myself in, and attempting to drink a cup of steaming hot, sour black coffee I was sorted (in a somewhat less magical way than at Hogwarts) into a batteri, jaos, and tuppa (battery, unit, room (I think)).
Then off we went to the supply store room to get our first batch of military equipment; 5 tee shirts, 5 pairs of socks and underwear, 2 pairs of training jackets and 2 pairs of pants, leather boots, shower sandels, running shoes, gumboots, speedos, black shorts, track suit, 2 towels, a cap, a beret, a big back pack, a drink bottle, fork-spoon combo, food canteen, and, a sack known as sipuli sakki (onion sack). Lugging all this equipment back to our room we ran a check to make sure everyone had everything, then we organised all our gear into what had originally seemed to be quite a large locker. Having folded everthing as neatly as I could space was quite tight by the end of the day, still, the three empty clothes hangers fortold of more to come.
Changing into a pair of cammo cargo pants, an army green tee and running shoes we headed for the dining hall, in amateur formation, then back to the sleeping quarters to put on our shower gear and make a hasty dash to the showers. I think we went to bed after that (10pm bed time), though I get a little fuzzy on recollections after lunch time.
Waking up, or rather getting woken up at 6am the next day was surprisingly easy, despite having slept in till about eleven the previous day. Once again we applied bathroom gear, made a dash to brush our teeth, make buisness, and then rush back to get dressed for breakfast.
Things have not been too dissimilar since...