Monthly Archives: December 2016

My experiences of Finnishness

Summer cottage

In Finland there are over half million summer cottages. Summer cottage is place where Finnish people want to spent their summer holidays and weekends. Most of summer cottages are located near lakes. Usually Finns swim, boating and fishing on their summer cottages.

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Summer cottage is also place where Finns want to relax.  Almost every summer cottage has sauna that is the best place to relax and clean yourself. In Finland there are almost 3.5 million saunas and 5.5 million people.  So Finland is number one country of the world when comparing number of saunas per population. Sauna is heat up to 70-80 degrees with “kiuas” which works by electricity or wood.

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Nature

Finland is the land of thousand lakes because there are 188 00 lakes here. About 10 % of Finland area is waters and over 70 % is forests. There is everyman´s rights in Finland so everyone is basically  entitled to walk, ski, cycle or ride freely in natural areas as long as this causes no damage or no more than minor harm to property or nature.

Nuori koivu-mänty-sekametsä, ikä 25-30 vuotta. Alla kasvaa kuusia ja saniaisia.

One of the most beautiful place in Finland is Lapland.  Lapland is the cleanest corner of Europe and it is located in northern  Finland. Lapland has been proven to have the purest air and the cleanest wild food such as reindeer, game, fish, berries and mushrooms. You can see also northern lights there if you have luck.  Northern light is a natural light display in the sky predominantly seen in the high latitude regions.

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A nation hung over from international admiration – delusions of superiority

Preface
I wish i could give you a praising essay about the intriguing and marvelous characteristics of Finns,  our nature, education or culture. When it comes to giving sales speeches, I feel completely inept since i value truthful representations about any given subject and hence feel obliged to bring contradicting points of view in the middle of a monotonous hype.

 

Obsessed about the past
As Finns we’ve gotten accustomed to being internationally recognized as “the place to be”. This seems to be due to our seemingly well arranged social services and good results from international educational reports as well as being obscurely but adorably quirky as a nation. Let’s not forget that precious nature, though; Finland has acquired a well established high ground when it comes to nature.

It’s very important for us to be recognized abroad. Finns like to hold on to previously gained feats, no matter how old or how valid nowadays. We do like to take credit of being pioneers in IT technology, for example. I agree this might have been true agonisingly many years ago. In recent years we’ve not really provided the IT industry any significant innovations apart from some individual fads in the gaming industry. The illusion lives on through things like Nokia or Linux, which are nowhere near substantially successful in the modern world. It feels like we kind of fell out of the IT bandwagon because we were too busy patting ourselves in the back. We still are.

It doesn’t really matter to us that ever since 2009 we’ve been seeing a decreasing trend in Finnish results in the oh-so-notorious PISA assessment results. Of course this is noted on papers, but looks like no one’s showing real interest towards interfering with the drop since apparently we’re still on top and the PISA stamp on our foreheads from roughly ten years ago still hasn’t faded nor washed away.

We’re the land of a thousand lakes, right? I personally don’t feel like taking pride in something that just happened to take form about ten thousand years ago. I don’t know about you but i wasn’t there to take part in it. There are also things called coldness and the northern lights. You must have heard of them. I’m sorry to break it out to you like this but it’s not exclusively a Finland thing even if we tell  you so. In fact these very exotic phenomenons happen all over the top part of northern hemisphere. I, personally, have never seen proper northern lights here where i live, so don’t get your hopes up just yet. Also the tales of absolutely freezing temperates are not exclusively a Finnish thing either. Besides, last time i checked out the window we didn’t even have snow and it’s late December. If the temperature happens to drop drastically, we do complain about it even though we like to present ourselves as completely ice resistant heroes of the North.

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I’ve never felt too close with nature anyway. I enjoy urban environment and man-made infrastructure and I definitely don’t find myself overly euphoric or relaxed in the middle of nature. I admit that my personal preferences might have something to do with not understanding the hype around our nature, but what can you do. If you happen to think alike, well, I still have to disappoint you: our urban architecture and infrastructure isn’t that cool either. The northern lights in the picture above are actually shot in Alaska. Sorry.

 

Unable to change
Who doesn’t like change? Definitely not the Finns! It’s granted that you’ll be able to mourn about the airheads of the Finnish parliament year after year, but god forbid if you actually took any kind of iniative to try and change it! If you just shove the same people in year after year, surely something will magically change at some point. At least we hope so. Better luck after the next four years!
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Inability to change reflects to everyday life and opinions, too. In order to majorly change in the way we as a nation think requires a change of generation, a completely new set of people. We have a bad habit of grasping tightly on to our beliefs that have been taught to us and we don’t want to change them, even if someone has valid arguments against your own mindset. Essentially not being able to change your opinions is probably just a matter of pride since we just love being right about everything. If you find yourself cornering a Finn by reasoning against their opinions or beliefs, please be prepared for some childish argumentation on our behalf. This is only a sign that you’ve actually made us aware of the surrounding world and we feel uncomfortable with it and can’t show it to you. Yes, we can be just that stubborn.

It’s also worth mentioning that we do not laugh at ourselves. Ever!
Please handle with care.

Why I love Finland?

Finland is an exciting place to travel – our nature is so versatile!

Four seasons

In Finland the most important thing for me is that we have four seasons. The variety of weather is really awesome – I love summer, winter, fall and spring! I love snowboarding and sunbathing and everything in between.

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Society’s support

The most amazing thing in Finland is the support we get from our society. We all forget to appreciate that studying is free of charge and our study aid is really good comparing to any other country.

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Opportunities

Our technology is really advanced and we have many work opportunities here in Finland. It doesn’t matter where are you from and what are your parents doing – you can still do anything you want. And also – we all have the possibility to go abroad and discover the world!

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Finnishness

Finnishness and being a Finn is something that I don’t think a lot, it doesn’t mean that much to me. I dislike nationalism and the idea that you should be proud of your country. That doesn’t mean I don’t like Finland – vice versa actually, during my time abroad I have found out  I’m kind a fond of Finland.

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Honesty and comfortable silence

Finnish people tend to be quite honest, not to embellish things. When a finn says something very often she/he means it. If you agree to something usually it holds, this is a thing I like. I’ve spent time in southern european countries and it’s common here that people  make a lots of promises about various things, but those things never tend to happen. Being okay and comfortable in silence is also a thing I like. But rudeness is something I don’t like and it shouldn’t be just explained by “our nature”. If you accidentally push someone you’re ought to apologise. If you’re in a bus sitting next to window  and someone sits next to you and you want to leave, you say something, not just fiddle your gloves.

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Nature

I’m a city girl but during my time abroad I’ve started to appreciate Finnish nature much more. It’s clean, pure and always “out there”, easy to reach I mean. When I’m abroad I hike, visit cool nature spots etc. Now I’ve started to wonder why I never to this stuff in Finland, you can find awesome nature parks and hiking trails there also.

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Thoughts of Finnishness

For me Finnishness has not always been clear. When on elementary school we were studying English, we went through what does the people often do when they are in the UK or other English-speaking countries. That has made the stereotypes of Finland clearer, and when growing up there are somethings that I have recognized as “Finnishness”.

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Talking (or not speaking out loud)
Finns often tend to be comfortable with silence. When we eat, we don’t speak. It is a common rule and it is often quite amusing when you start to think about it in the middle of a dinner with your friends or family. Being comfortable with the silence is a good thing, since then the matter we speak of can be found more valuable than only speaking to make some noise. Also, often silence says more than words.

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Wood
Wood is everywhere and it represents the Finnishness for me. It is used in floors, ceilings, chairs, tables, saunas etc. Home decoration is quite important for me, and in Finland there are two types of people: the ones whose home is a “wooden home” or the stereotypical Scandinavian home. Now the wood itself has become a huge trend, which can be seen even in several clothing brands like Wulf&Supply and Woobs & Fellows.

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Hiking
Globally, hiking is a topic which separates people in two; the ones who love it and the ones who hate it. But in Finland, hiking is highly in common and people tend to do it even on their summer cottages. The nature of Finns is to love summer cottages, where are the bugs and mud, so how could we not love hiking and the forests.

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Winter sports
All Finns stereotypically love winter sports; one does skiing, other skating, someone loves to cross country ski. The matter is to go outside and enjoy the cold.

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Appreciation for school
Finns are taught to do their homework since primary school. The appreciation for school and the school system has been taught when we go to the first grade. Appreciation can also be seen on how the system appreciates the teachers: it is highly valuable profession. It is hard to get in to the universities, where one can study to become a teacher.