“My Experiences of Finnishness”

MÄMMI ”Mämmi” is the finnish easter dessert which is made of water, rye flour, powdered rye, seasoned salt and dried powdered seville orange chest. It looks like a dark brown goo and it doesn’t really smell anything at all. It does not sound delicious, but many many finnish people eats it a LOT on easter. Usually people either LOVE it or HATE it, it’s not common to like it a little. This is why I chose to write about mämmi, mämmi gives finnish people opinions. It is very typical that finnish people don’t have so many strong opinions. Usually answer is to everything; ”whatever”, ”it’s Ok”, ”as you wish”, and others answers as boring as that. When you say ”mämmi” out loud on the conversation i bet you gonna hear immediately either ”Yum! Love it, wish i had mämmi now.” or ”Yak! I hate that mush.”

ICE HOCKEY Ice hockey is a national sport in finland. I think it is the most watched sport in finland and finnish ice hockey team is really good and known worldwide. Winning a ice hockey game is important to finnish people but even more important is to NOT loose to sweden. It has always been the main rule ”We can not loose to sweden”. I think it is more like a joke.

SAUNA Almost every finnish people house have a sauna. Sauna is the place to relax, drink beer or ”hangout” with friends. In generally people think that finnish people are not that social and that they are shy folk. For example finnish people never sit next to someone on the bus if there is a empty line on seats available. But the only place where this not apply is sauna. In sauna you sit butnaked on line and it is okay but when you have to wait a bus or something like that you always have to have your own personal space.

Communication with Finns

How & Why Finns gather together

Finns are work orientated people. If there is no task to do or reason for a meeting you will likely not see any Finns. If a Finn goes out on a weekend he or she needs a reason to go out, for example to go to see live music or have a meeting with classmates. Just hanging out without a specific reason and having a small talk is difficult and unusual for most Finns. For discussions with other people a Finn needs some topic to start from, otherwise the Finn might stay silent.

Communication and making Finnish friends

When meeting Finnish people for the first time they tend to be calm and collected. They say hi and shake your hand and then a Finn could ask: Where are you from? And after that they usually ask: What you do for living? And the conversation might end there if you don´t find anything else to talk about.

After this Finnish small talking you need to gain the Finn’s trust. To build the trust you can find something to do together,   some work  or share a hobby for example go to a lake sauna. Gaining a Finns trust is not easy but worth it because it builds a lasting bond.

#gatherings #communication #work #culture #sauna #socialskills #smalltalk

 

An examples of how to connect with Finns in Finnish nature:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Art of Finnishness

Finns are known to be one of the strangest people on the planet. Us, as Finns, may consider ourselves totally normal. In my experiences, however, that is not the case at all. In this blog text, I intend telling you precious readers a few examples of this.

During my several years of belonging to an international group inside and outside of education, I have found an ever-increasing amount of peculiar Finnish things in myself and other Finns:

 

  1. Punctuality

Finns are greatly appreciated abroad for their punctuality. When a meeting is set to start at 10:00, it indeed starts at 10:00. For us Finns this is a given. Outside of Finland it really is not, though. Finns show up to work well ahead of time to ensure that they will not be late. Abroad I believe that work and lectures do start on time, mostly. When it comes to meetings however, it will be a pain for a Finn outside of Finland. The concept of time elsewhere is rather flexible, in some cultures more than others. It is more often than not when people are some ten minutes late, when a Finn has been going out of their ways to make it to the designated location exactly on time. This is one of our greatest attributes but will regardless cause us a little discomfort.

  1. Personal space

In many cultures it is considered totally normal to be up-close and personal, touchy and feely. Cheek kisses as a greeting may be the most common of a habit that Finns are absolutely strangers to. Finns do get a tad uncomfortable if a small talk conversation is held too close to their faces, or if a stranger attempts to reach for a hug and kiss. A great illustration of this very feature is a picture of a bunch of Finns at a bus stop.

As shown in this rather hilarious picture above, Finns like to enjoy a respecting amount of space between each other. This is valid in every situation, except for Sauna, which is a loophole. I will tell more about this a little later.

 

  1. Awkwardness

A sub-topic of what was discussed in the previous statement is awkwardness. Finns feel socially awkward and uncomfortable in a small-talk situation. One just simply does not sit next to one on the bus and start talking.

 

  1. Honesty

Finns are also known to be one of the most honest people in the world. This is in better and in worse. If you cannot handle the bad, you don’t deserve the good. When a Finn goes abroad, we might find that it is sometimes difficult to express ourselves due to the misinterpretation of our honesty. We say it how it is, even when it’s not good. It does not mean we are rude, we simply speak our minds. This is my personal favorite thing about Finns. You pretty much know what you’ll get with us. There’s no unnecessary time wasted on sugar coating things.

  1. Sauna

Now this is the interesting part: Finnish people love to enjoy their little steamy room with wet rocks on a stove. They sit up high in a tiny room, butt to butt, sweaty and yes, NAKED. This is where mysteriously the need for personal space just disappears. Then water is thrown on the hot rocks to create heat and moisture.

While sitting in a tiny space almost on each others’ laps, they like to spank themselves and each other with a bunch of birch branches (with leaves). This is supposed to improve circulation while creating a nice smell in the room.

In a package with this comes cooking sausages on the hot rocks, inside a tin foil wrap. One might want to enjoy an occasional frosty beer or two. If an extremist, one might want to run and roll in snow, or dip in ice cold water from Sauna.

  1. Pride in paying

The last but not least very Finnish thing is that we LOVE to pay for our own stuff. In most cultures it is normal that for example in a restaurant one pays for everything, and it is then settled later, usually in the next restaurant gathering. It is not so strict that every single dime is settled evenly. Finns may feel guilty if someone pays for them, and they often insist paying back every cent. Abroad this may be a surprise for people, and they may even feel a little insulted if a Finn refuses to be paid for since in many cultures it is a matter of honor, especially for men.

 

 

These and many other things make us Finns a very intriguing group of people. Get to know us and understand us, and you will have loyal friends for life.

What is it like to be a Finn?

Finland is a small country with big opportunities. We have four beautiful seasons, outstanding pure nature and a society that takes care of its members. Like all countries, Finland has its issues, but I highly believe that they are been seeing smaller when putting in to perspective. This is one reason why people should explore the world and its differences; it makes you see your home country in a whole new light. In this case –  very positively.

Finland has some things that no other country can offer to a Finn, such as sauna and the outstanding nature that gives us energy and pure oxygen to breathe. We have climate that provides us with four seasons: spring, summer, fall and winter. Every Finn waits for the Finnish summer through all of the other seasons and just wishes it is a warm one. I guess that’s the beauty of it – you never know how it’s going to be, but you know it’s coming.

Personally I love all the four seasons and each one has its own good sides. Spring is the time when everything comes back to life and the nature starts to really show its beauty. Finnish summer is amazing with all its pure lakes to swim in, grilled food and cottage life. It is a time when you can explore different cities in Finland and feel like a tourist. Fall is stunning with all its colors and fallen leaves. The weather is crispy and this is a time of the year when usually something new starts. Finnish winter is like no other – endless possibilities for activities, breathtaking views and a perfect season for the Finnish privilige – the sauna. Nothing beats the combination of cross-country skiing followed by sauna on a crispy winter day.

 

Finland is a great place to live in. When travelling, you will see that not many countries take care of their members the way Finland does. Our country offers same options for everyone, regardless of the background. We have a free education which is utopia for most of the people. So let’s appreciate our beautiful home country and all the things it offers to us.

Finnishness – Four Seasons

Even though, I’ve always wanted to travel as much as possible and maybe even move abroad at some point, Finland will always be THE home for me, a safe haven. Finland might seem a bit boring with a quick overview, but in my experience it’s everything except plain and boring compared to other countries. We might not have exotic jungles, huge mountains and beaches with turquoise water, but we have four totally different seasons, which makes every place four times more interesting.

We can enjoy the summer nigths by the lake, and we can use the same exact spot to go ice swimming in the winter. We can take a boat ride around one of the thousands lakes we have in the summer, and use the same lake for skating or cross-country skiing while it’s frozen in the winter. The diversity of the Finnish nature makes it unique in so many different ways.

Although everything stated above is amazing, in my opinion autumn might still be the winner out of the four seasons. The melancholic people we are, we enjoy to wrap ourselves in the blankets and stay in to watch the raindrops falling into the window surface. The transition from summer to winter is a short period of time, but it can be insanely beatiful, naturewise. When the leaves change their color before they finally fall, and the cold breeze finally wakes you up when you decide to leave your house.

The fact that we can enjoy the beatiful nature of Finland in four totally different ways is something you just can’t ignore.

Finnishness – The ultimate comfort zone

I have always been a shy kid; although I am comfortable with talking one-one with another person, it just seems more and more difficult to communicate when there is a bigger group around me. And when I come to Finland, this seems to be my ultimate comfort zone. Privacy is something very valuable to Finns. No small talks with strangers, everyone is wrapped up in their own little world. That’s why I feel so relatable when reading “Finnish Nightmare” by Matti. Actually, nowadays I see young Finns are very active, and they acknowledge that being in this comfort zone is not a good way to make friends.

Trong hình ảnh có thể có: tranh vui và văn bản

But besides this matter, I think there are a tons of Finnishness that I appreciate living here as an international students. The way people always say thanks, no matter if they are giving or receiving stuffs. This makes me feel very appreciated, for every single thing I do for anyone. Saying thanks is not something we say commonly in my home country, Vietnam. Often we just walk into the shop, buy something and leave. But after I return to Vietnam in my summer break, I said thank you a lot. And I think that would make someone’s day a bit brighter than usual. Finns are also very kind when it comes to helping others, even when they are someone you do not know. They always try their best to help you if they could, and doesn’t mind anything. When I was at the gym, trying to bench press and couldn’t lift it up, a very kind guy quickly came to help me spot the weight.

All of these Finnishness is why I feel like Finland is my ultimate comfort zone. But yet, I still chose to go exchange abroad and not staying here for whole 4 years. Because I think if I go and explore different cultures, I will appreciate the Finnishness even more. Or maybe, I will find another comfort zone, since my destination country will be Japan whose characteristic is very similar to Finns. But there is still a whole journey ahead, let’s see how it’ll go!

Being Finnish

Being Finnish

If you ask from foreigners about how Finnish people are like, they can give a many different answers, but the main things, what I have noticed so far is that Finnish are quiet and honesty.

Quiet reflects almost everywhere in our lives. You can see it in your everyday life. When we are waiting a bus on at bus station, people keep a little distance to the others if they do not know each others before. That way you can easily avoid a conversation with strangers. We may not small talk to strangers for instance if we ask directions to somewhere. We are not small talk folk! The silence reflects also to environment. Walking in nature or being home, you really can notice that we love silence. Many people go to relax to the forest and enjoy fresh air and silence. There is nothing more relaxing than enjoying a good relaxing walk while you can thinking about your stuff or whatever you have on your mind. Even if you are in city centre in the middle of the day, you might feel the peaceful atmosphere.

On the other hand, there’s a large difference, when Finnish drink alcohol. Then we turn out to be very social and every person we meet is our friend. It can be a quite odd to foreigners to see two totally different sides of Finnishness. It doesn’t matter, where you come from or who you are. You are then one of the others. We could say that the best way to get to know to Finnish is having a beer with them.

Being Finnish means also that you are supposed to be honest. In most cases it’s true. Of course people are different and some of us are not honesty. Though, we like to consider ourselves honesty. It has both positive and negative aspects. For instance, if they have an appointment, they are on time. Being on time shows respect to the other. Also, when they are talking, they get straight to the point, which may be a reason, why we don’t have a skill of small talk.

There’s a reason, why foreigners may feel Finnish are sometimes rude. Being honest means also you will get the straight answer whenever you ask something. Usually it doesn’t matter if you know the other person before or not. We don’t like to mince words. If you have something to say, it’s better just say straight than wonder afterwards, what you should have said. Even though we say things straight, it doesn’t mean we are rude. We just express our opinion whether it sounds rude or not.

Finnishness

I couldn’t be happier to be Finn! This small, only five million people, country includes so many privileges which we consider self-evident. For example free education, partly free health care, clear water from the tap and of course one of the safest country on Earth. What else can you even add on that sort of list? I think with those privileges Finland is the best country to live in!

Kuvahaun tulos haulle Finland

Other thing that makes me happy as being a Finn is our beautiful nature which I appreciate way too rarely. Greatest way to enjoy Finland’s summer is to go to archipelago. In a sunny and warm summer day this is the best way to see the most beautiful side of Finland, in my opinion. A lot of Finns enjoys summer in their summer cottages where they relax and get themselves ready for the cold and dark autumn.

Kuvahaun tulos haulle Finland

In my opinion Finns aren’t as introverted as usually told. I think we are pretty warm-hearted, kind and helpful. If people just dare to ask for help they will get some even from the coldest persons in Finland. Nowadays younger people are more likely to have some small talk with random persons than the older generation. Finns have improved their social skills a lot from the past. As a good example could be all those crazy events Finns are arranging all around the Finland!

Kuvahaun tulos haulle torille

In the picture Finns are celebrating ice-hockey gold medal from 2011 World Championship tournament!

 

Thoughts about Finland?

Three things come to mind when you start thinking “what I consider as Finnish?” First and foremost, northern nature. Nature has always been a big part of Finland and Finnishness, it provided for our ancestors and still does to this date! Second thing, this one is only in Finland as far as I know, that comes to mind is Sisu. It is an attitude, a way of living and doing things, and in my books, one the most Finnish things there is. And last but not least is of course Sauna. It is strange how important sauna is for Finnish people, but history plays a big part in this too. Sauna was and is the place to relax, when massagers used to go from door to door, the treatment was done in the sauna. People gave birth in saunas as well!

As I have been travelling, I have noticed that I appreciate Finland in certain things more and more as the years go by. These three things are equality, education and solidarity. Finland is a model country when gender equality is concerned, we have one the most sophisticated schooling systems, and every one is given the opportunity to use their potential to full. I mean, I call Finland a safe haven for a reason.

The best of Finland!

I love browsing the world! That’s my hobby and I’ve been lucky to be able to travel a lot around the world. I love each continent and their cultural and nature’s diversities.

By traveling, I began to appreciate a lot of things in my country, Finland. Almost every time I find things that make me miss my home country; There just always seems to be things that simply are better in Finland.

 

I’ve put together all the things I have longed abroad and can be found in Finland. How would you like to live in the following country?

Finland is a country where you can enjoy all seasons and natural colours. Here is a unique beautiful nature, which is at the same time very peaceful and relaxing. There are no earthquakes, volcanic eruptions and other natural disasters in Finland.

In addition to the pure and safe nature, there is everywhere clean tap water (probably the best in the world) and you can easily find healthy food at the stores. Here you can find culinary delights and high-quality restaurants that represent every continent. The schools offer a free lunch, which is also healthy. Studying is free and for college studies, you get what financial aid you do not need to pay back afterward.

 

 

When talking about food, Finland has the best liquorice and rye bread in the world! And as a beer lover, I must mention that the microbrew scene in Finland is quite large and delicious.

This country is a welfare state with freedom of expression, freedom of religion, and there is no discrimination against minorities here as in many other countries. There is hardly any corruption in Finland, in addition to which security and safety are guaranteed. The official is also unbribable. Class differences are quite small compared to many other countries and almost all Finns are honest. All people have the same rights!

So here are a few things that I have longed while touring around the world…

Welcome to Finland! …which, unfortunately, is also more than the things mentioned above.