The first thing that comes to my mind when thinking about ‘’Finnishness’’ is the need for own personal space. Finns are so private about their lives that even their neighbors don’t know each other. I’ve even heard personally from another Finn that he can’t stand using public transportation if it is a rush hour, so in the worst case scenario he’d rather waste his money on a taxi than take a bus. Funnily enough all these rules stop existing once you enter a Sauna with a bunch of Finns (or when a Finn man is drunk).
I am not that typical a Finn myself, I don’t like salmiakki (Finnish ‘’delicacy’’), I don’t watch sports (IE. ice hockey) and I am annoyed how much personal space Finns take in a public transportation. The worst is the regional train where there is no seat reservation, and there are usually three chairs in one row. What does a Finn do? Either takes the window place and put all his belongings on other benches, or if only the window seat is taken, he leaves the middle bench empty so no one can sit there. Finns efficiently render 50 percent of the benches useless.
This next story actually happened to me couple days ago. I was on a bus that was rather empty, many seat rows completely available, yet someone decided to sit next to me. My little Finn inside of me woke up immediately and wondered why this person would sit right next to me. It struck to me when I looked at him, he wasn’t a Finn. After a short moment he started talking to me, and asked directions. Luckily enough he would need to stop at the same station as I, so instructing him was not a problem. Since the journey was still going to take almost an hour, we started to have a conversation and I found out he is a foreign exchange student from Pakistan and studies in the Tampere University of Technology. It was a rather pleasant conversation and certainly more interesting than the one that I’d get staring at my phone for an hour. One more not so Finnish-like thing he did was ask my phone number so he could add me on WhatsApp. Rather odd to me just because of one conversation on a bus, but I decided why not.
One more example that the word ‘’Finnishness’’ brings into my mind? Writing this kind of rant about Finns (Finns love ranting about other Finns, especially on the internet) and realizing it myself when getting to the end of it.