Monthly Archives: January 2017

Finglish English

British in Finland.

As an Englishman I have tried to embrace the Finnish culture as much as I can. Granted I am absolutely terrible at speaking the language, but I do see similarities in how I behave and how Finns behave. For me this makes my world go hand in hand in a wonderful little package with Suomi whilst I have been living here.

What Finland means to me.

I got my introduction to the country in ways most foreign visitors do not get to encounter. My girlfriend lived in a little town called Viiala, around 20 minutes by train from Tampere. The City of Akaa was founded in 2007 when the city of Toijala and the town of Viiala merged to become one city. It is new as a city but has a long tradition as a community. Not many tourists would choose or maybe not have heard of coming to a place like that, but I was fortunate enough to have lived there. In Viiala, it is very common that the majority of the inhabitants all know each other, this made me stick out like a sore thumb when I lived there. This was such a stark contrast to my homeland where a lot of the people living there would look out just for themselves. However here in Viiala the people felt friendly, helpful and I felt safe. I once saw a school yard littered with unchained bikes, I was complexed to how none of them had been stolen. The town is clean and beautiful, with a river running through it.

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Lakes, beaches, and happiness.

I was surprised to hear how common saunas are here in Finland compared to England. “There is a sauna in the majority of every home!?” I used to shout, but these days I enjoy telling and boasting about these stories to my friends back in England. Nothing beats a Friday evening sauna with beer and perhaps a few sausages. Finland is surrounded by beautiful lakes, also especially the case for Akaa. It’s a great feeling to know you only have to drive (or walk) just down the road to reach the closest beach. Enjoy some sunshine (yes it does get hot during the summer, another stereotype broken) and then jump into the lake. An even better feeling when you’re at a summer cottage, and you can quickly go from hot to cold.

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How to be Finn?

Being a Finn isn’t really that big of a deal. There really is only a couple of key principles that you should follow in order to be alike. Here are top seven things that I think differs me and people around me from foreigners:

  1. Respect of personal space.
    – If there is really no need to, leave at least 2 meters, one seat etc. distance between you and other people around you. Why you might ask? Well why not, we have much room to share in here.
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  2. Valuation for studying and knowledge.
    – Although ignorance is bliss sometimes, for most of the times it really helps to know thing or two.
  3. Go straight to the point.
    – If you have something to say, say it. No need for that extra small talk every time you want to ask or say something. Makes things more easier and you save time for you and for others.
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  4. Silence ain’t that bad always.
    – Just relax. No need to be always speaking or making up that small talk for no reason. Silence is not too common nowadays anyways.
  5. Relaxing at Sauna.
    – You like hot tub right? Everybody likes hot tub. Well Sauna is pretty much the same, but much more hotter and relaxing. Try it couple of times and when you get used to the heat, you just can’t get enough of it. And don’t pay attention to the nudity and it won’t bother you.
    sauna
  6. Anything you want to do, do it with “sisu”.
    – If there really is something you want to get done or accomplish, just do it with pride, give it all you got and do not give up. Finish the job, even if barely. Do that and you got what is called “sisu”.
  7. Be one as a nation.
    – If one succeeds, you also succeeds. Be proud of that, go brag with that succession to other nation people(especially to nearest neighbor nation(Sweden!)) and do not forget to go to the nearest central market right after.tori

What are Finns like?

Most of the people, even Finns, think that we are a introvert population. But really we are kind, hospitable, we enjoy other peoples company and laugh together.  http://www.visitfinland.com/article/what-are-the-finns-like/

But also, every now and then, we Finns need our own space and some alone-time. We might be shy people who don’t like or know how to “small talk”, at least some of us. I think the Finnish Nightmares -comic sums up the finnish mentality pretty accurately.  http://finnishnightmares.blogspot.fi/

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One thing is for sure that Finns love our home country and we are very proud of it. For example, the main thing we are proud of is nature. We have four seasons: spring, summer, autumn and winter (at least we used to have (thanks to global warming)).. http://www.visitfinland.com/article/greatest-things-about-finland/

And then there is the finnish traditional food, many different options, so good! http://www.visitfinland.com/article/iconic-finnish-foods-of-all-time/ Looks delicious, doesn’t it?!

One more thing I believe everyone links to Finland is the sauna. Ask any Finn, one best thing’s we know in Finland is a warm and bright summernight, calm lake, a cold beer or a soda and a warm sauna. And talking about shyness, for Finns being naked side by side each other in the sauna is a very normal thing, meanwhile for foreigners that might be the weirdest thing ever.

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FINNISHNESS

FINNISHNESS

Finland is an amazing country. I have traveled a lot through my whole life, spent 6 months as an exchange student in USA and backpacked two months in Asia (Thailand and Vietnam). Those experiences have taught me a lot and made me appreciate my home country. I love travelling and getting to know other cultures and people but it feels always good to come back to Finland! Anyway, now is a time for another adventure and this time I’m heading to Slovenia for 4 months!

As I have dug up all the information about Slovenia and their culture it is now (before the take-off) important to think about everything about Finland and Finnish people. Finland is a small country in northern Europe between Sweden and Russia. Even though it is small, it surely isn’t a bad thing. 2017 Finland has been 100 years independent and nowadays Finland is often among the top countries next to other Nordic countries.

Here are some examples where Finland has succeed:

Finland is the most stable country in the world.
The Fund for Peace, Fragile States Index 2016

Finland is the safest country in the world.
World Economic Forum, Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Report 2015: Finland

Finland has the best governance in the world.
Legatum Institute, the Legatum Prosperity Index 2016: Finland

Finland has the least organized crime in the world.
World Economic Forum, The Global Competitiveness Report 2016–2017: Organized crime

Finland’s judicial system is the most independent in the world.
World Economic Forum, The Global Competitiveness Report 2016–2017: Judicial independence

Finland has the best press freedom in the world.
Reporters Without Borders, 2016 World Press Freedom Index

Next to Denmark, Finland is the best country in protecting fundamental human rights in the world.
The World Justice Project, Rule of Law Index 2016

Finns’ trust in other people is the second highest in Europe.
Eurostat, Average rating of trust

Finland is the second most gender equal country in the world.
World Economic Forum, Global Gender Gap Index 2016

Finland has the most human capital in the world.
World Economic Forum, The Human Capital Report: Human Capital Index 2016

Finland is the most literate country in the world
1.W. Miller and M. C. McKenna, World’s Most Literate Nations: Rank Breakdown

Finland is the second best country to be a girl in the world.
Save the Children, Every last girl: Girl’s opportunity index

Mothers’ and children’s well-being in Finland is the second best in the world.
Save the Children, State of the World´s Mothers 2015, 16th annual report

Finns drink most coffee per person in the world.
International Coffee Organization, Coffee Trade Statistics

Finnish adults’ English skills are the fifth best in a comparison of 72 countries.
Education First (EF), The world’s largest ranking of countries by English skills

Finland is the third best travel destination in the world in 2017.
Lonely Planet, Best in Travel 2017: Top Countries

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Well enough of those statics now, I’ll now tell more about Finnish people and their habits. Finnish people are known for 3 S-letters. Sisu, sauna and Sibelius.
SISU

To the Finnish people, sisu has a mystical, almost magical meaning. It is a Finnish word which loosely means stoic determination, grit, bravery, resilience, and hardiness and is held by Finns themselves to express their national character. Sisu is the quality that lets Finns to pick themselves up, move on, and learn something from previous failures.

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SAUNA

Sauna plays a big part in Finnish culture. It is estimated that there are two million saunas in Finland, for a population of 5.3 million. It is little room heated to almost 100 Cº, where you will sit, naked, with others for a while and sweat. Almost every household has a sauna and there is also many public ones. When you go to sauna in winter time it is common to go outside  and jump (still naked) through a small hole in the ice on a lake, the sea or whatever and refresh yourselves in the freezing water – or roll in the snow instead.

 

Here is a video about Avanto= Hole in the ice

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JQJ4LGOMAVs

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  JEAN SIBELIUS

Sibelius is a Finnish composer (Finland’s pride and joy, for good reason) who was born in Hämeenlinna in the 8 of December in 1865 and died the 20 of September in 1957 in Järvenpää. He is the most known and appreciated Finnish composer of all time. His music has had a great impact in Finnish culture. He did 7 symphonies, 150 piano compositions, 60 orchestral work, an opera, over 130 songs and a lot more! His most famous compositions are Finlandia and Karelia suite.

Here you can listen the song called Finlandia.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F5zg_af9b8c

 

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FINNISH NATURE

 The land of lakes and forests.

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BPAN Metsa joki556

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apital city Helsinki.

To understand a Finn

A couple of years ago I spent a lot of my time travelling alone. I love meeting people from different cultures, since all cultures have their own way of thinking. Of course, Finns understand each other the best through the history, language and culture. Especially culture, like the Finnish sense of humour, can easily go over foreigner’s head. During my travels in Iceland I met another Finn. Our Icelandic friend invited us to her house, and together with some Spanish and Japanese travellers we one night sat down to watch a classic Icelandic movie (can’t remember the name). It was exactly like the Uuno Turhapuro movies we have here in Finland and the absurdity of the movie was funny. The Spanish and Japanese travellers didn’t quite understand it, so I think it tells something about the mentality us Northern Europeans have.

nobody in their right mind

The Finnish sense of humour is dark, dry, subtle and often sarcastic. Even though we won’tmaybe admit it, we enjoy the horrible weather our country has. It gives us something worth complaining every day! It even gives us a reason to talk to each other. Oh, the numerous times I’ve stood in a bus stop and an elderly people has started a small talk about how beautiful/horrible the weather is. Same goes with public saunas. I’ve never sat in a public sauna where everyone has been quiet. I wonder if that’s a situation only a Finn can experience and properly appreciate, since the Sauna Chat ™ is usually in Finnish.

The Finns are often described to be serious and cold, but when you live in a country where most of the year it’s raining either water, snow or wet snow, it should be understandable. I wonder why Mediterranean people are usually described to be lively and friendly? 😉

Finnish language is notoriously difficult for foreigners since it’s in a small Finno-Ugric language family, which also includes Estonian. Many Finnish jokes are wordplay or puns. Many Finnish words have multiple meanings, depending on the context. One of the best examples is the word “kuusi”, which can mean either a pine tree, a number or “your moon”. It can be a cause of headache for foreigners who want to learn Finnish. However, learning Finnish lets you in on a wonderfully weird sense of humour.

So, in conclusion, to me Finnishness is a way of thinking. Our country is beautiful and people seem to be born with an appreciation of the nature, but in the end it’s more what’s inside our heads that make us Finnish.

Pure Silence – Thoughts About Finnishness

Urban lifestyle versus nature

Nowadays most of the people, also in Finland, live in modern houses and work present-day jobs. Luckily in Finland people haven’t forgotten the nature and it’s also very near. In Finland you can reach forest in couple of minutes. That is possible because in Finland over 70 percent of the area is forest.

Forest

Finnish people appreciate silence. That is one reason why there are over half million summer cottages in Finland. It is the place of relaxing. At least a part of the summer holidays is spent in these cottages.

Cottage

 

Personal space

Somebody has told an apt joke about Finnish personal space. It is one meter front, one meter left and right and two meters back. If you break those lines, a Finn will either move away or feel very uncomfortable. Maybe the area is not that big but it tells something about Finns. Kisses and hugs with strange people are not the most familiar things in Finnish culture.

Space

 

Social – In a Way 

Finnish people are honest and punctual. We trust  what somebody says. Finns easily complain for example about trains and busses being late because those should be in time here. But never to the driver or somebody who is responsible person! We don’t want to bother people. If Finns complain, they do it afterwards and to their friends.

 

CustomerFinnish invention which allows you give feedback and run out the door. No words needed.

 

All in all, most of Finns are quite proud of their home country. But remember, never be arrogant! That is not appreciated in Finland.

My Finnish roots

I have lived in three different countries and travelled in few more during my life, and now I’m starting my journey to live in the fourth country. Because of those experiences I have told about Finland and its culture quite many times. So what comes to mind first when thought about Finland?

The lovely nature with thousands of lakes and four totally different season

Nature is one of the top reasons why people travel to Finland. Snowy and cold winter days are quite exotic to those who live in a warmer climate. Also our beautiful summer days and “yötön yö”, a night when sun doesn’t set, attract tourists.

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Sauna (that hot room where every Finnish goes to sweat to at least every Saturday )

I have read somewhere that there are more than three million saunas in Finland. That is more than one sauna to every other Finnish. That is quite many saunas for such a small country in my opinion.

sauna

Weird foods only Finnish eat like mämmi and salmiakki

Mämmi and salmiakki are things that I have tried to make all my foreign friends eat, and only few have even tried and even fewer have liked. Can’t figure out why…

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Lots and lots of coffee

Almost every adult in Finland likes coffee. You might get weird looks, if you say you dislike coffee. One of the reasons why Finnish people drinks so much coffee might be the darkness. If it’s dark when you go to work and dark when you leave, you might need something to keep you up, when the sun isn’t there to do so.

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And of course, the one and only Santa Claus.

Christmas is an important holiday for me. After I spent one Christmas in Spain and realized how different it can be, I have cherished Finnish Christmas and our traditions. White Christmas, being with your family and Finnish Christmas foods are what makes it so special.

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My experiences of Finnishness

2140I want to tell you something about Finland and Finnishness. I tell the things what is important for me and what is the main things being finnish.

FINLAND – My home country

Finland is country where  is lot of trees and lakes. We are little country between Sweden and Russia. Also our close country is Norway. We are very good at winter sports like skiing and ice hockey. Finland is beautiful country for my eyes at least. I love that we have good education here and our civilization is very high level. I think. We can speak many languages and we actually nice people. Even though many people seems to think we are shy and angry all the time but we are not. We just need more time to get know new people. And when we have had enough time we are very nice people. For this moment i need to say that i am very social person and i love to get to know new people. It’s not an difficult for me. 🙂 We have short summer and long winter. Which is not nice for me because i love the warm weather and sunshine. And i think that also the other Finnish people agree with me on this one. We would love to have longer summer here. Our nature is beautiful and especially in the summer i love to walk in the woods and just smell the nature. Here is fresh air and we can breathe good.

SAUNA – The one place i totally love

So we have Sauna here and finnish people totally love to go to Sauna. It is warm place where you can sit down and enjoy the warmth. There you can also throw water to the sauna stones what makes the warm in the sauna. You can also put some scent in the water what you throw to the sauna stones. It gets nice smell there. Sauna can be big or small and usually there is lot of people at the same time but you can also go there alone if you want. In the sauna we are naked. It’s a normal thing for us. But i have notice that people outside the Finland is not so easy to go to Sauna naked. And it is okey, we have just use to it. In the sauna you can also use bath whisk what has made in tree branches. First it hurts a little not so much but when you have do that few times it feels very good. And it also gives smell in the sauna. Most common temperature in sauna is like 80 degrees. Which is warm but nice. If the temperature goes higher than that it’s not nice to be in the sauna. I like when the temperature is between 70 to 80 degrees. Then it is nice. And also we can have sauna in our own apartment here. But then it is higher rent if you have own sauna in your apartment. I would love to have sauna in my apartment.

CULTURE – lot of things what we have

Okey so when somebody asks me something about our culture i’m not sure what to answer because we have lot of things our culture what we do. So now i decide that i write here few things about our culture.

We love to spend Christmas with our families and it is big thing for us and Finnish people always wait the Christmas to come. In Christmas eve we go to the cemetery and put the candles our loved ones graves. It is the way to remember those who are not here anWinter wonderlandymore. We also eat lot off food in Christmas time and open the presents. Our Christmas eve is 24th of December.

Then we have Independence Day here, what means a lot of Finnish people. In that day we watch on TV where comes Presidential celebration reception. There is lot of celebrities but also people who are important to Finnish people like the people who had have in the war. And they also eat and dance there and reporters interview some people there. It is actually nice to watch. The people who goes there have nice dresses and suits and it is funny to criticize those outfits with your friends.

We eat here salmiakki, what is black little salted candy. And it is very good. But the people who are outside of Finland don’t like this candy so much. I like it but don’t eat so often. We have here also rye bread which is very good and healthy. Rye bread is the most common thing what Finnish people asks to bring if they live somewhere else than Finland because they have use to eat this bread when they are lived in Finland. salmiakki

And we don’t have Thanksgiving day here. And also the Halloween is not so big thing for us here. What it is some other countries.

Okey, so lot of people think that we drink lot of alcohol here in Finland. Yes we do but actually not so much than any other country. It is our way to celebrate for example someone’s birthday. And when we drink alcohol we are not so shy anymore and may do the stupid things. But i don’t want that people knows about Finnish people only for that thing because we are nice and smart people. And we have nice country. Here in Finland we can speak different languages because of good education and these things i want to people know us. And also that we are good at sports.

And we don’t have one specific cultural food here. We have lot of different foods what we eat in different times. Like Christmas we have different foods than we have “normal” life.

LANGUAGE – My mother language

Our language is hard to learn and understand for those who’s not born here or lived here very long time. We have so many words what means the same thing and i think that is the most difficult thing to learn and also the pronunciation is difficult to learn. Some word are difficult for Finnish people also and we lived here our hole life. Our language is second hard language in the world, i think. I have tried to teach Finnish some of my friends who are outside of Finland. And i have notice that it is hard for them. We have also letters Ä,Ö here which are difficult for many people because there is lot of languages where is not those letters.

I want to believe that here in Finland we can speak English and Swedish very well. Because we learn those languages in the school. And for me the English is more easier than the Swedish even though it supposed to be my second language. I feel like English is more my second language than Swedish. And i love to speak English a lot.

Here is my topics to Finland and Finnishness. Hope this gives some idea who we are and what kind of is our country. It was hard to write only few things because there is lot of things i would like to tell/write. But i’m happy for this what i have written.

Finnish nature in Tampere

Finnishness through seasons

I consider myself as a pretty ordinary Finnish person. We are a small, yet significant group of people. Nature is close to us in many ways, since it’s always near. I’m going to present our culture trough the four seasons Finland has.

In the fall we love to curl up in blankets and sit next to an open fire reading a good book. And of course as Finns, we do this all alone. Or maybe with someone close, but definitely not in a crowded coffee house.

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In the winter I as many others whine about the cold weather, but then again, when the sun is shining and I’m skiing at Ruka, there couldn’t be a better place to be. Finnish people are often referred as cold and somewhat depressed, but I don’t see us that way. I mean sure the long dark months make many of us a little tired and in someones eyes it might seem like sadness. But I think that the less we get sunlight and the colder it gets, the more we have to do work to stay energetic and happy. And it’s totally okay to spend more time at home with the ones you love and live a little quiet for a while.

Spring lights up people, we go out and have picnics and hang around outside in our t-shirts even though it’s still pretty cold. But the sun, oh the sun that has come to light up our lives after the long and dark winter!

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I think the thing that defines us Finnish folks the best is summer. We’re no more busy ghosts trying to get trough winter. We gather around with our friends and families to play games, barbecue and enjoy the never ending bright nights. At summer we might even talk to strangers and make new friends. We Finnish people might be a little suspicious about new things and cultures, but in the end, I think we’re interested in that stuff, we just need a little bit more time and knowledge before we jump into something new.

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Finnish people are caring and hard-working people with courage. We are proud of our country and even though travelling is awesome, home is the best place in the world. We don’t like strangers in our space and while walking around the town, we keep the contact in minimum. But when there’s a safe place to do something crazy, we most certainly do love to dance in the rain!

Little something about Finland

I am happy for being a Finn, and living in this country for the first 20-something years of my life. I do love the country, and it’ll always be my home country. However, nowadays there’s a lot of political matters going on which I dislike. I have also always dreamt of living abroad for a longer period of time.

I’m briefly going to list some key points that comes to my mind about Finns and our country and culture.

PEOPLE

Finns are a small group of people which are typically addressed as honest, quiet, reserved but persistent. I mean I guess it could be true in some cases, but then again there’s a lot of Finns who do not fall into this categorization. Finns are punctual, and many of us have some sort of connections to nature, or we tend to like spending time in the nature – at least from time to time. Most of Finns also value personal space. A lot.

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FINLAND

A country where nature is present almost everywhere. A country which is unbelievably cold during winter, and sometimes relatively OK during summer. A country with extremely good air quality. A country up in the north of which no-one knows hardly anything except for Nokia and the polar bears strolling on the streets.

Finland as a country is quite alright, though I don’t feel like we have too much to see here compared to many other European countries. Perhaps in Lapland there’s more to see, and I should definitely visit there. We have four seasons; three of which aren’t too nice and the last one being too short. Could be worse.

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CULTURE

In summer Finns like to:

  • Sit at terrace, and drink beer
  • Go to beach/park/public place to enjoy the weather, and drink beer
  • Go to summer cottage, and drink beer
  • Eat sausages, and drink beer
  • Go to sauna, and drink sauna-beer

In winter Finns like to:

  • Do downhill skiing, and drink beer at the after-ski
  • Watch ice hockey, and drink beer
  • Go to sauna, roll naked in the snow, and drink sauna-beer
  • Sit inside drinking beer, and dreaming of being able to sit outside drinking beer

 

Finnish culture is great and diverse.