25 October 2015

My 24th birthday

I was actually originally going to post this as a part of the previous post, but I suppose the occasion requires its own post. So, as the title gives away, it is actually my birthday today. As of today, I am 24 years old. Which is a good age number, since 24 is one of my top favourite TV-shows of all time, haha.

My birthday tradition for few years (since 2009 actually) has been to organize a little photoshoot for myself. I hate being in front of a camera and I am not one of those selfie-takers, so this annual photoshoot is one of the only times I take photos of myself. So it is kind of a big deal to me. This year however, I am currently living in a hostel in a shared room, so setting up my photoshoot is not a very practical idea, plus I am already uncomfortable enough taking photos myself, let alone with audience. So my photoshoot will be delayed until 3.11. I will more of celebrate my birthday then.

Since I do not have new photos for this birthday (yet), let's post couple of old photos!

This first one I do not know exactly when it has been taken, but according to my father it is from a photoshoot (taken by a professional) for my first birthday. He does not remember if it was taken exactly on my birthday, but very close at least. I have recently posted this on my Instagram and Facebook (oh yeah, I have one of those nowdays), but I just want to post it here too, because this photo always makes me laugh!

Making evil plans since 1991. Okay, this photo was taken in 1992 obviously, but you get the idea.

This other one I took in 2012, on my 21st birthday. This is for some reason one of my favourite photos ever taken of me.

Twenty years between those two photos! Are you able to recognize it is the same person? I will post a new comparison photo once I take the photos for this year too.

On a conclusion: Happy birthday to me.

My new life

Hello World (or at least my blog)! Mariya here, long time no see. Oh, where to start. It has been about three months (is it really that long! That's what she said..) since my latest blog post and a lot of things has happened since. It would be literally impossible to show them all into one blog post, but let's give a quick sum up:

1. I moved to Aarhus, Denmark
2. I started at the university

Okay, that is a pretty short sum up, but these two facts cause that I have had very eventful months. I will definitely want to write more about these things, as I have mentioned before, so we will get more deep into these matters little by little. But let's start with this short notice message.

When I most recently blogged, I did not realise it wouldn't be for a while until I blogged again. I assumed I would always have time for blogging, since I truly enjoy writing, but it turned out not. August was a very stressful month, since I needed to start preparing for moving, even when I did not even have a apartment or anywhere to move into. Moving to another country is always stressful, and I can say that if you have no idea where you are going, it is even more stressful. So, how did that end up? I will soon write a blog post about my arrival to Denmark.

But yes, I was way too stressed and worried about moving and starting at university during August, that I could simply not write even if I had some time for it. A lot of my time during my last weeks in Finland, went to organizing my things (I got rid of most of things, or left them with my father to be sold in a flea market) and stressing.

After arriving Aarhus, you can believe I was even more stressed with constant living place issues and the start of school. On top of that I left that piece of shit, which use to be known as my laptop, back in Finland, which made blogging decently hard. It took me couple of weeks to find that perfect computer and convince myself to spend so much money on it (meet Tonni here, or on the other maybe I will blog about her later on).

I do not say that I have time for blogging now, because I am constantly super-busy with school stuff, studying from morning until late at evening six days in a week, but since I truly enjoy writing, I will make time for blogging and writing. I do not know how much I will have time to write, but I will at least write. I am FINALLY getting a permanent place to live in 8 days, so maybe that helps something. We will see.

I have so many things to write about, that I have no idea where to start from! I promise there is lots of interesting things to come up (living in a foreign country, what I found weird about Denmark, university studies...), so stay tuned!

31 July 2015

University admission!

Yep, that is a (lovely Instagram) photo of the university admission letter I received today! Actually, I checked the university's website yesterday to find out I was admitted, but I wanted to wait for the letter before announcing it. And I just confirmed that I take the study place offered, so I am officially going to university this Autumn! It is not a huge surprise, but let's give it a round of wohoos.

So, in just a month (!!!) I will be starting at the university. The university I got accepted into is in Aarhus, Denmark and it was my number one option, so it worked out perfectly. There is so much things I need to do before, most importantly get an apartment! Bank account, telephone subscription, bed... All the things I am going to need! August is going to be so hectic.

I know I have not been very active on this blog lately, but now it is to change. I have had not much to blog about recently, but obviously with this new chapter in my life lots of interesting things are going to happen. This is exactly the reason why I originally started this blog: To follow my journey living in a foreign country and other things related. So now we are getting to the point! I am still wondering about starting vlogging, but at least here in this blog, I will be talking about my experiences.

This post may seem a bit messy, but that is how my head feels like currently with so many things to take in consideration. But there is definitely lots and lots of interesting things to come starting from 1st of September, so stay tuned!

30 July 2015

Finnish school system basics

[This post has no photos as of yet, but will receive them later on. As of now, my computer is not cooperating well, since somebody (read: me) spilled a glass of water on it. Please bear with me until the problem is solved!]

Since in my previous post I talked about my university entrance examination and about the Finnish higher education application system, this felt like a good time to take a deeper look into Finland's education system. This blog is not just about my life, but I also want to feature things from the Nordic life style. Obviously since this is still my blog, these things will be talked about from my point of view and personal experiences. For more proper text, try Wikipedia or something. If you want to read about these things from somebody's who has experienced these things point of view, this blog is here for you. Hmm.. I think I just wrote something that should be in this blog's introduction (once I finally finish that)!

I do not want to write a dry, boring post and will of course feature my own comments and experiences. The main focus is on the high school system, since this post is part of my high school related posts and it is the one I mostly want to talk about.

[Here will be a photo]

In Finland students start their schooling the year they turn 7. There are few exceptions, like when your birthday is very late that year, but I do not know much about that. In example, I started the first grade on 1998; I was still 6 years old when the school began, but turned 7 in couple of months. Before the beginning of the primary school, children can take preschool for a year. Preschool is not a very serious thing, since you basically have some lessons in the middle of your kindergarten day. At least, this is how it was back in 1997, but it could have changed. I think I actually could have read that the preschool is nowdays mandatory, but I am not sure.

The primary school in Finland consist of 9 grades, three of which are upper level. The school year runs from around mid-August till late-May or early-June. The school year is divided into two parts: autumn semester and spring semester, the Christmas holiday being the divider. At the end of the autumn semester, you receive a mid-term diploma and the real diploma for that year you get at the "spring festival", which is kind of a graduation party thingy.

The difference between the first 6 and the last 3 grades of primary school is not too big. During the grade 7-9 you have more options (like choose between some subjects) and it is less class-formed; In the first grades you basically have all the lessons together with your own class. In some, most I think, places you will change the school after sixth grade, since they usually have separate schools for upper and lower grades. Many still have the same school mates, since students just usually switch to the nearest school. And of course it gets a bit more serious in the upper levels, but otherwise it is pretty much the same throughout the primary school.

[Photo to be placed here]

After graduating from primary school, Finnish youth has couple of options (I am obviously speaking on default standards here): go to high school, go to vocational school, go to work or something else. In Finland you are only required to study primary school, but after that school becomes voluntary. Since it is very hard to get a job without education and you are 15-16 when you are out of primary school, youth usually goes to either high school or vocational school. This is of course if they get in, since many schools, high schools in particular, have high grade point requirements to get into the school.

High school and vocational school are considered the "second degree". They both last 3 years on average, though you can sometimes speed up your studies, ie. by taking more classes at a time. And of course you can study on a slower pace. Particularly in high school you can affect the speed of your studies with your course selections, while in vocational school it is more predetermined. It is said that high school is more of academic studying, while in vocational school the focus is more on the practical sides. Some people argue over which one is better; in high school you study many subjects, though the hardness of the studies is respected and it is better degree while applying to higher education. Vocational school focuses only on your study subject and you graduate with a profession. In my opinion, both have their sides, but on default I would say: if you want to study on an upper level (university, etc.), high school is a better option.

I will talk more about high school after these two paragraphs, but first let's take a look of options after second degree phase. Like on the secondary level, the highest level is divided into universities and polytechnics, aka. academic vs. practical studying once again. You could say that from high school you go to university and from vocational school to polytechnic, though this is not accurate by all. Of course some do not even study on a higher level, especially after polytechnic. There are entrance examination to everything, besides high school, and you tend to need high GPA, so not everyone who wants to get to study in a university or a polytechnic.

You apply to universities and polytechnics through same means, so they basically are very similar study options. Only majors differences are that for my knowledge polytechnics have less possibilities for master's degree -likes, while in universities master's degree is the main thing. In Finnish universities you actually get accepted to both bachelor and master degree the same time, so you do not have to apply again for the master's program, if you wish to carry on studying. Bachelor's degree takes 3 years, master's 2, though this can be affected by your course choices and studying speed. On default, getting polytechnic degree takes more time than university. My knowledge for the higher education comes from secondary sources, since I have not studied in it, so I do not think it is fitting for me to say much about it in this post.

[Another photo spot; please bear with me!]

And now finally the high school part. If a student goes to high school straight from primary school, they usually start high school at age of 16. Besides regular high schools, there is also ones for adults, usually known as "evening high school", since the classes usually are held at evening, due to many of the students being at work during daytime. Many evening high schools have an age limit of 18, so underage students can not get in, unless perhaps in a some special circumstances. In Finland, there is also an option to study both high school and vocational diplomas at the same time, though this usually takes longer and is obviously harder. Those studying for a so called "double degree", usually take their high school lessons at the evening high school, even if they are underage.

As it is clear from reading this blog, I studied in an evening school, so mostly my experiences are from there. Though the differences are not that big, since we are talking on the basic level. The biggest difference is that in evening high school, you need less courses to graduate and the unnecessary crap is cut out (aka. gymnastics, arts...). In Finnish high school, students continue mostly the same subjects as on the primary school. Here is a list of the subjects and on parentheses how many courses you need to study each:

Mother tongue and literature (6)
Second national language (6)
Foreign language (6 on A level, 5 on B level)
Mathematics (10 on higher level, 6 on basic level)
Physics (1)
Chemistry (1)
Biology (2)
Geography (2)
History (4)
Social studies (2)
Philosophy (1)
Psychology (1)
Religion / Ethics (3) *you can pick which of these you study
Gymnastics (2)
Music / Art (1-2)
Health education (1)
Student counselling (1)

I think that gives you an approximate idea what Finnish students study in primary school and high school. You need 75 courses to graduate, so you need to take electives besides the mandatory courses. Since besides getting the high school diploma, Finnish students need to also take part in "finals" aka. matriculation exams, many students take electives on those subjects they take their finals on. There are electives outside this list too, but mostly it is these subjects.

The "finals" are held twice each year and you can decide when you part-take, though mostly students take their finals on the spring they graduate, though many spread their final examination, ie. taking half in Autumn, half in Spring. You need to write at least four subjects; Mother tongue and literature (in Finland there is three national languages) is mandatory unless you are a foreigner as then you must write Finnish as secondary language. The other three mandatory subjects you pick from: Second national language (Swedish to most), Foreign language, Mathematics or one from most of the other subjects. You can not ie. write multiple foreign languages as mandatory subjects. For example my subjects were Mother tongue and literature, English, Mathematics and History. The Finnish high school finals seem to be impossible to put in short, but I hope you got at least some idea.

I think that is most of it. This post only dealt with basics of Finnish education system; There are of course many other things that could have taken noticed, like the double degree option and apprenticeship, but this post is already very long as it is and I do not want to bore people. I know I said I would feature my own experiences too, but gosh how long this post is already! Perhaps I will make a sequel, if anybody wants me to. More information is of course available in the depths of the internet and you can always ask me, if there is something you want to know more about!

18 June 2015

University entrance examination

About two weeks ago, on 3.6. to be precise, I took part in my first ever (and obviously hopefully the last) university entrance examination. Now I want to write about the experience. Perhaps this post will help somebody who is about the have an entrance examination by giving an example of how things go or perhaps somebody will find this as an interesting look into the (Finnish) university world.

I applied to study business in various Finnish universities, so obviously this post is related to that. I know many other subjects have different types of entrance examinations and different schools have different procedures, but perhaps this post gives some kind of imagine what the exams could be like. I will also tell about my feeling throughout the day.

I would assume that somebody applying to study business, would have enough English skills to read this post, but if it would help anybody I can of course translate my thoughts into Finnish too. And I of course answer all questions, both Finnish and English.

As a background info, here is how the application and entrance examination systems work: In Finland there is a joint application system (other Nordic countries too, give or take on Iceland). This means that you send one application during each application time. In spring you apply to start the next autumn and in autumn the next spring. Most university programs (the progress is the same with secondary schools too) start in autumn, so spring is the main application time. In the application form you can apply to seven different programs, in both universities and polytechnics. You put your desired programs in a preference order; This means that if you get offered a place in the school you put first, you can not be offered a spot in the others. So, you get offered a place in the school that is the highest placed on your list of those schools that you are eligible to get into.

Some programs require an entrance examination, some do not. With business programs, there is a joint examination: All the business schools work together, so that you only have to take one exam and not a separate one for each school you applied to. (Though some specialty business degrees have their separate exams. These are usually the programs taught in English, so they have an English entrance examination.) You take the exam at the school you put as your first choice.

I put Turku as my first choice, even though the degree taught in Kuopio is my number one preference. This was because: 1. The city of Kuopio is so complicated to get into, that it would have been very expensive to get there (I would have had to stay at a hotel and take two or three trains to each direction) and 2. Turku has so high points required to enter, that I would not get those. Turku is also easy to get to (easy as only 12 hour train ride to each direction), so I decided to do my exam there. I could have put some closer location as my first opinion too, but those had lower point requirements, so I would be in risk of getting there instead of Kuopio that I put as second.

So after a sleepless night (I can not sleep in a train), I headed to Turku University.

Turku University's Business School

Honestly, I am not that interested on studying in Finland (in this post I talked more about this), so I was not very motivated to read the books. And since I was half asleep (I literally almost fell asleep couple of times and I never have fallen asleep while sitting up nor in a crowded room), I most likely messed up the entire exam. Oh well.

The first thing I did at the university was to find out where I was doing the exam. Since Turku University has so many applicants, they are spread out the campus to do the exam. The applicants are put into places alphabetically, so finding your place is easy. I came there almost an hour early, so I had some time to kill. I actually kind of wished that I had not, since I tend to get really nervous if I just stand there and wait for the exam to start. At least I had some problems to solve, like my soaking feet; At was a downpour a bit before while I was out walking towards the university, so my shoes and socks got all wet. Solution? I bought dry socks from a nearby store and changed to those. After that I was that creep who walked around the university in her socks (of course I did not put the wet shoes back on). I probably looked like an idiot, but thankfully I have stopped caring a long time ago. :D

Around the time the exam was to start there was a name call. I was a bit nervous, since I am fairly shy person and my throat was so sore that I could not really get a word out (I forgot to take a throat pastille until it was too late to do that). Luckily I survived with at least some dignity (okay, holding my wet shoes in my hands was not very dignified and made it hard for me to pick up the paper I was handed to). If you are nervous about the name call, my tip is to stand close to the person you are suppose to answer to. That way you do not have to yell "present" from all the way across the hallway. I purposely made my way closer when it was time for the name call.

Couple interesting points about the name call. I noticed a lot of the people called, were not even there; I was the seventh to enter the examination room and like over 20th to be called. This surprised me a lot actually. Other thing was that it took a long time, around twenty minutes. It was very boring to sit there and wait for it to end. I remember listening to the names and it felt like it was going to drag on forever (I remembered the last name to be called from the sitting order)! Who knew there were so freaking many people with the last name Häkkinen... It took about 20 minutes to get through the name call.

After everyone was seated, it was time for the instructions. Everybody needed to check their papers, calculators (you can only bring pencils and rubber with you, everything else is given to you) and sign the answer sheet simultaneously. The examination began at 10.22.

The examination books

The questions are on a pile of paper and you need to mark your answers on a optical answer sheet ( = you black the correct circle). They give you proper instructions on how to do everything, so I would not be worried about that. In Finland, the business school exams include only multiple choice questions. Most of the questions had four options, though there were also true and false questions. This may make the exam sound easy, but some of the questions were very complex and the answer options can fool you around. Also the calculator you get is very basic, so you need to be able to do the math parts without proper calculator.

In the train I actually heard somebody talking about the exam they had taken and I was very lucky I did not have to do that. They were applying to social work program, I think. They had been giving a 40-page pile of papers in the exam (I am fairly sure it was forty, though it could have been even more) and told to read it and answer the essay questions (four questions, some with multiple sections, if I recall correctly) based on the text. I am very slow reader, so I would have not even finished the papers in the four hour exam time, let alone had time to write my answers. I suppose this works very well for some, but for me this sounds like a nightmare.

In the business examinations, they give a list of the books the questions will be based on like a half year prior. You need to study three books and the things taught in a high school economic mathematics course, so overall four books (unless you did the mandatory math course in high school). This requires a lot work, so for some the exam type mentioned in the previous paragraph would sound more preferred.

You get one point for correct answer in the multiple choice questions and half a point in the true/false questions. For a wrong answer you lose half of what points you would receive for a correct answer. You can leave as many questions as you like unanswered. Unanswered questions do not take away any points. There are different amount of points granted for different books, so I myself focused more on those that gave more points.

The examination lasted for four hours. You can take a supervised bathroom break, though they advise you not to. You can not bring food or drinks to the examination room, so I at least became very hungry towards the end of the exam (even though I ate a protein bar just before the name call) and it too affected my performance. I sat on the first row right in the middle (they seated you in the name call order and I was amongst the first ones), which I found a bit bothering since the supervisors sat right opposite to me. Also, when people handed over their papers to the supervisors and talked to them, they did it right in front of me. This bothered my focus occasionally and I definitely had one of the worst seats of the room, if not the worst.

You can leave a hour after the exam starts. I sat there the entire time and find it hard to believe anyone could finish in just one hour. Since I could hear what they talked with the supervisor while handing in their papers, I believe that the most of whom left early were there because they had to and had no interest on getting into the school. Some also asked for a paper proofing that they were there to give to army, so I assume some also had participated to skip a day of army. It seems pretty much all of those that requested the proof of presence paper, left very early on, which just backs up my theory.

Well, like I said I probably messed up since I was so unfocused for multiple reasons and not well-enough prepared. But it is all good, just as long as I get into some Danish school I applied to. The results come about a month after the examination (they handed everyone a paper with dates and instructions about the results). I am interested to see how it went, but I bet not that well. At least I am one experience richer now.

Somewhere in this sucking photo taken through moving train's window, you can spot a rainbow I saw while heading home. A good sign?

I think that was about that. At least I now can not think of anything else to say on this matter. If you have any questions, I will try to answer them as good as I can!

08 June 2015


This is a fairly short post to announce in this blog a somewhat major point in my life: I have officially graduated from high school!

The official graduation day was 29.5. or 30.5., but since I do not live anymore at the city where my school is, I did not participate the graduation ceremony. But I did visit Turku last Wednesday, 3.6., for my university entrance examination (more about that later!). While I was there anyway, I had arranged for me to go pick up my certificates and hat from the school, so I received them few days ago.

I am very pleased with the grades I received and many people have been quite surprised by how well I did. When I went to pick up my hat and certifications, I was actually surprised: I received a stipend for doing so well in the school!! I was really taken back, since I had not expected this at all! It was not any huge amount of money (in my opinion it was a lot, but overall), but it was more of a symbolic value to me, since I have never received any stipends or such. I am afraid that I was so stunned, that when the office clerk handed the stipend to me, I did not show any gratitude for receiving it. Which is definitely not the case, since I am very happy and thankful for receiving it!

The Finnish student cap, aka ylioppilaslakki

Nordic fact of the day: When Finnish students (I believe this is the case with other Nordic countries too) graduate they receive a student cap to commemorate the occasion. Or actual students buy them themselves or their relatives buy them one. In my case, I received my cap from my school for free, since there is a foundation who donates those to all the students from my school. The hat is usually worn at May Day celebrations, which in Finland celebrates workers and students.

It feels kind of weird that this part of my life is over now. I still can remember when I was just considering the option of going to high school, around three years ago. Three years felt like a forever then, but I am surprised how fast in the end it went. As cliché as this may sound, but I learned a lot in the school and (as hard as it may be for me to admit) I think I grew up as a person, even though I was already an adult when I started. At least I learned that I can be a good student and learn things properly.

I learned a lot about many other things too:
I learned a whole new language (okay, I studied Swedish in primary school too, but could not remember anything when entering high school studies) and found out I am actually very good at mathematics. I learned appreciation towards physics and chemistry; I still do not like them, but understand more (my physics number went up from primary school 5 to 9, and chemistry from 7 to 10!).

Hmm.. perhaps I should have photographed the translation of the high school certification! (I have not yet received a translation for the matriculation certificate)

And most importantly my GPA went up from primary school 7 to 9.7 (9.666666666666667 to be exact)! This was the most important thing to me, since I went to high school just to get good papers, in order to get into an university. I have applied throughout the years to different schools with my primary school papers (vocational schools, obviously not universities), but since they have been bad (Just to clarify, the highest grade mark in Finland is 10, 4 being lowest with 5 being the lowest pass grade.) I have not usually been even invited to entrance exams. I believe with these papers I should be getting into an university!

I think that is all I wanted to write! I know I said in the beginning that this is going to be a fairly short post, but it seems I had more to say than I originally thought. Well, three years is a long time, so of course there is things to say about that time. Since this blog kind of wants to also introduce the Nordic culture and lifestyle, I want to write more about Finnish (high) school system. I also feel like writing some kind of motivation post, even though I tend to not like those. And also that university entrance examination post is coming up. So more about this subject is yet to come!

27 May 2015

Why do I blog in English?

When a blogger, that does not speak English as their first language, starts a blog they need to decide on which language they will write. Obviously, if the blogger speaks only one language or if the target audience of the blog is specific to a certain country, the decision is simple. But when the starting blogger speaks more than one language and does not seek specific audience, which language should they blog in?

For me it was really not a question. Finnish is my mother tongue, but I speak excellent English (if my writing ability makes this statement look unauthentic, it is more because of my slight case of dyslexia rather than English abilities). My Swedish and Japanese skills are not worth of taken into account here. Obviously I could blog in Finnish, but that was really not an option to me. I wanted to blog specifically in English for couple of reasons.


Well, like I have mentioned in this blog I hope to start university this Autumn and study in Denmark. In Denmark I would be studying completely in English. This obviously requires very, very good English skills; Obviously the business terms I would need to learn from about the beginning in any language, but reading the school books and writing essays and such in English would require very good English skills.

I already prefer to read in English, so I am not too much worried about the reading part. I did very good in my high school English and I wrote a lot in English before my blog too, but in high school I got use to writing in Finnish. I want to get more use to writing lots of text in English too. Writing essays and professional text is obviously very different from writing social media and forum posts. So I kind of want to use my blog as an English writing practice.

At first when I started blogging, it took me longer to write and I checked a dictionary all the time. It was not that my English was lacking, since I pretty much every time knew the word I was checking, but I was just insecure. I have noticed that I have now become more confident with writing in English in these few months I have been blogging. I write so much faster and I rarely use dictionary (and when I do, it is about some rare word that you almost never use, like terms related to some subject). I know my blog posts do not have perfect English, but that is because I write for fun and do not really proofread. To my university essays I would of course put more effort.

Even if a person did not have great English or any other language skills to start with, using the language of course makes them better. I have quite often heard that somebody has gone to a foreign country with barely any language knowledge and in just few months they have achieved fluency. Using the language most certainly does help with getting and practicing the skills. And of course me wanting to get better at writing English does not relate to just school, but to life beyond school too.


Besides getting better at writing in English, I also want to write in English for sharing reasons. This blog, and my other blog, or to possibly help somebody or share something interesting with people. The Finnish speaking blog reading audience is very small; There are obviously lots and lots of more people speaking English in this world (even big part of Finns reading blogs speak English), so if I want to share my stories and such with people, writing in English can reach so many more readers.

For me getting readers is not any goal, but I still want my blog to be available to any of those who would be interested in subjects I blog about. I do not think that many from Finland would be interested on my blogging subjects, but from worldwide audience there is obviously more of those who could find my blog helpful or entertaining. The main themes in my blog (at least from autumn onward, hopefully) will relate to moving into a foreign country and what problems and such I will face there. Since for many moving to a foreign country means having to speak English, it is a fitting language to blog in.

So, overall my reasons to blog in English are: 1. to become more confident at writing in English ahead of university studies, 2. to make my blog available as many interested readers as possible. I never really saw a point in blogging in Finnish, since in the future I will be mostly writing in English and the people who could be interested in my blog are most likely to speak English anyway. Now that I have gotten more use to writing in English, I find no reason why I should blog in Finnish. Actually, I find it easier to write in English, for whatever reason.

Just for fun let's mention that Blogger's spell-check found (I write in a separate program and then copy-paste it into Blogger) six spelling mistakes in this post: available x2, foreign x3 (oh, how ironic!) and onward (is it really written without s in the end?). This obviously does not count if I have in my carelessness written a completely different word in some point, but still a very good total, haha. I have actually noticed that native speakers tend to make more mistakes than foreigners. Maybe they realize that you do not have to write perfectly when blogging.