Monthly Archives: December 2017

The Wonderland

Finland, the Wonderland

Finland is a country where the most beautiful people live. It is also a country of high education and equality. Finns are known of their honesty, loyalty and shyness. They say that if you make friends with a Finn, it lasts for a lifetime. These are well known facts, but what else is Finland?

Finland is also a lot more. Finland is an amazing Wonderland. People living and visiting in this Wonderland can enjoy the pureness of the nature and the characters found only there.

Amazing characters of the Wonderland

Joulupukki, Santa Clause

Up north in Korvatunturi, Rovaniemi, you can meet the one and only Santa Claus all year round. Santa Claus lives there and you can meet him personally. Children and why not adults, can visit Santa Claus and give their wish list for Christmas. It is a magical place where all the childhood dreams can come true!

Muumit, Moomins

But wait, what are those white little creatures? They must be the Moomins. You can’t miss Moomins if you visit Finland. They are all around. These loved characters you can meet for real in Naantali, where is the Moomin World. There is also a museum in Tampere for Moomins.

Angry Birds

Have you ever met an Angry Bird? Finns have created this worldwide known game for everyone to enjoy. We also have theme parks to get the real experience. You can imagine yourself inside of the game and survive from one obstacle to another. The best part is that there are many theme parks around Finland. You can just choose easily where to step into that Angry Bird adventure.

Breathtaking nature of the Wonderland

Okay we have the amazing characters all around Finland. But that alone doesn’t make Finland a real Wonderland yet. Finnish nature is something amazing. Just a right place to live if you are a magical character like the ones above. Finland’s four seasons takes breath away. Spring is the time when the nature starts to gloom after long winter. Summer will please you with flowers, endless amount of lakes, berries and animals. Autumn will amaze you with a great wide of colors. Winter has a secret source of light, and it is the Northern Lights. Finns secret weapon against dark winter. Northern Lights are mysterious, because they appear many times during winter, but you might miss them if you want to see them too much.

Being a Finn

Being a Finn, I am proud and thankful of this Wonderland. There is nothing better than to visit Santa Claus during Christmas time and see the magical Northern Lights at the same trip. Or enjoy summertime with a book of Moomins adventures while birds are singing and blueberries waiting for me to eat them.

Finnish Seasons

Finland is land of beautiful forest and clean waters. Finns love to go to their cottages during their summer break and many of us enjoy our beautiful nature.

Henkilön Helena Kapanen kuva.

In Finland we have four different seasons, spring, summer, autumn, and winter. Every of those seasons have their own effects to Finns, we are like two different people during summer, when there hardly is dark nights at all, and during winter when it is always dark.

When it is summer, Finns go to concerts and festivals, we will have good time and drink beer. Summer is the time for living, it is the time for joy!

Henkilön Helena Kapanen kuva.

When autumn comes, it is time to go to the forest and collect mushrooms and berries, Finland’s forest offers best and most healthy treats there can be.

Henkilön Helena Kapanen kuva.

During winter you should put on your woolen socks, it is common that Finns have even made them themselves from Novita’s yarn. Those self-made socks will chase away depression of the cold and dark winter.

Henkilön Helena Kapanen kuva.

And when the spring comes, it is time to go out again to see the sun.

 

Finn Food

The easiest way to experience a culture is to try its food. This methodology applies for Finland, too. You don’t have to go to specific local grocery store like how they recommend you to have a “live like a Parisian” experience, in Finland, you just need to go to any supermarket to have an image of what Finn food is like.  Having been here for two years, I have not tried lots of hearty traditional Finnish dishes prepared by the locals, but I can still taste the “Finnishness”  through the seasonal food.

Autumn 

I first came to Finland in Autumn. Some of the first memories of the “finnishness” is the Tampere Fish Fair in Keskustori. At this fair I’ve got the chance to try fried vendance, crispy fried fish with creamy garlic sauce.  Autumn is also the best season for mushroom picking and root vegetables.

Fried vendance
Winter

Winter in Finland is dark and cold. The best thing you can have on a cold winter day is a bowl of salmon soup. Winter coming means that the Christmas is near, and it’s time to drink Glögi. Glögi is a spiced mulled wine, served hot with sliced almonds and raisins.

Glögi – Suomenlinna Toy Museum
Spring

It’s not clear to me when the spring begins in Finland, maybe it starts from late March-early April and lasts shortly till the end of May. But there are two noticeable events in this season, Easter and Vappu. Easter is not only the time for eggs and bunnies but also the time to eat mämmiMämmi is a baked dessert made from water, rye flour, powdered malted rye, Seville orange zest and salt. Mämmi is naturally sweet as it is gone through a slow natural sweetening process before being baked. Vappu is celebrated on 1st May. In addition to many interesting activities, it’s good to celebrate it with Sima – yeasted alcoholic drink and munkkiFinnish donut. Munkki is also one of my favorite Finn food.

Munnki and carrot cake – My all time favorite dessert
Summer

Summer in Finland is quite unpredictable. It can be cold and wet sometimes, but nothing can stop people from picking berries. You can see small stalls selling fresh strawberry and many types of berry in summer. In late summer, you can collect wild herb and edible flower, too. It sounds cool to make your own rosehip tea, doesn’t it?

Summer – Flower season

My Experiences of Finnishness

For me, being Finnish means berry-picking trips in the middle of North-Karelian mosquito-filled woods in my grandmother’s century-old jacket, and afterwards, the scent of a freshly baked blueberry pie. Being Finnish is filling a crossword puzzle in the morning at our summer cottage’s patio with a blanket wrapped around my shoulders. It is celebrating the mid summer and watching a flaming bonfire. Being Finnish is  sensing the crisp, cold Nordic air in the wintertime (meaning freezing your butt off), waiting for a bus, which is always late from schedule due to heavy snow.

When I think about the Finnish way of life, I just imagine an all-round basic and simple everyday life. For me, being Finnish is not about being beautiful and polished, it is being pure, bare and honest, which I love. We as whole don’t crave for spectacles, we strive from tradition and harmonic life of honest labor and steady, safe family lives. The stereotypical Finn works a 9 to 5 job for the  most of the year, escapes to his summer cottage for the summer, and returns to the workplace with a messy hair and an uneven summer tan. Steady, safe and familiar, routine-filled life is what I grew up with, and what I respect.

One of my favorite things about Finland is the nature. We have such a beautiful nature surrounding us, which we often seem to take for granted. Although the summer may be wet and cloudy some times, the beautiful view of a lake landscape or the green forests is without a doubt humbling. When other countries may suffer from drought or overpopulation, our small country is full of nature, space, and places to explore. The wintertime is so beautiful, when every place is packed with fresh, white, untouched snow.

Only recently have I woken up to the fact that I love being a normal Finn. I’m glad we have free education, good healthcare and a broad knowledge of different things. Whether I’m staying at home or exploring the town, I feel safe and not afraid. I grew up knowing that I can trust others, and do what I wish. We have freedom of speech and equality.

Being Finnish is knowing the lyrics or the evergreen iskelmä-songs. Being Finnish is stuffing ketchup in every single meal, no matter if the flavor serves any meaning to the food itself.  Being Finnish is dark humor, sarcasm and bad puns. Being Finnish is coffee, Fazer-chocolate, rye bread and sausage. Being Finnish is being Me! 🙂

my experience of Finnishness

  •  

    I’m not originally from Finland, although I carry a Finnish citizenship, however, during the 8 years I’ve lived in Finland, I can say that my experience in Finnishness in the following two points.

    • being in Nature: I enjoy taking a walk in a forest, or spend some time in a summer cottage and enjoy the peaceful nature that Finland has to offer.
    • Quietness: is something I really condemned when I first came to Finland, but soon enough I have realized that being quiet is actually healthy and expand your creative mind. you don’t have to be mouth and talkative all the time –  maybe I am becoming a Finn! 🙂

Things about Finnishness

There are so many things in Finnishness that are important to me. I try to name few of the most important ones here.

NATURE

Nature is very important to me and in Finland it’s very beautiful. At least most of the time. We have fours seasons and all of them have their own amazing parts. Spring is probably my favorite, because of all the light and colors that come up after the long and dark winter. For a person who loves a little peace and quiet sometimes, a Finnish forest is a perfect place to go for a walk and relax a little. Many Finnish people spend a lot if time in nature. For example they have summer cottages in beautiful places.

                                    

 

                                     

 

SAUNA

Sauna is this super warm room that has banches to sit on and sauna stove that gives the heat to the room. People spend time there to relax and clean themselves. When I spend a lot of time abroad I always start to miss sauna. Many Finns have sauna at their own house.

 

COFFEE

Finnish coffee is very good. Most famous Finnish coffee brand is Paulig, and it has many different coffee tastes. If I go abroad for a long period of time I usually take some Finnish coffee with me.