Monthly Archives: August 2018

Finnish way of life

Finnish stubbornness

Finnish people love their privacy and are pretty much famous for it. Most Finns will go to extreme lengths before asking for help or to evade small talk with strangers. We are strong independent people whose DNA has been coded for the survival instinct and not depending on others. Although in the end we are still depending on other human contact to keep our mental health in order. It is easy to seclude oneself in Finland because of the harsh and rapidly changing weather conditions and that’s where friends and loved ones come to the picture. We Finns love to suffer in groups and share the pain because it makes it much easier to handle. Finnish people might be hard to approach but when you get through the hard surface it usually leads to a strong bond that lasts. We don’t need to keep contact with each other all the time to keep the friendship alive. Things continue right where we left them when we see each other even if it has been years since we last met our friends.

Weather conditions

Finnish people know how to take everything out of certain situations for example the weather. When the cold winter hits we know how to get comfy in the safeness of our homes or we put on our Siberian conditions outerwear and go skiing or building a snow man etc. When summer comes we don’t waste a single ray of the sun and take all the light and warmth in with open arms. The weather may change drastically over the year but the people stay the same: we spend time with our friends having a beer or sweating in the sauna or even swimming in the icy waters. Seasons may change but we always know how to adapt.

No bulls**t

One of my personal favorite is the Finnish straight forwardness. We don’t whitewash thing we give it to you straight. No time wasting small talk or futile white lies. If something is bothering us we are going to bring it up. There are very few taboos and we curry favor no one. You just got to love that straight forward attitude.

 

Exotic home country

Did you know, that Finland is the 64th biggest country in the world when it comes to area but only 115th biggest measured with population? According to Wikipedia, Finland’s population density is only 16,3 /km². I would lie if I told you I didn’t notice this feature when travelling around Finland this summer – so many kilometers and just a few people.

Finland is a country of thousands of lakes, but I would say that most of the landscape is covered with woods. This is not a bad thing. Finland’s nature is truly amazingly beautiful and pure. Many tourists from another countries hardly believe that this kind of place does exist and they have never breath air this fresh.

View from Puijon torni, Kuopio

This summer I decided to be tourist as well and take a road trip to my precious home country. My company was my boyfriend and our stops were: Lapua, Kauhava, Kalajoki, Kuopio, Joroinen, Savonlinna and Punkaharju. Then we came back home to Tampere.

Since we traveled basically in western and in eastern Finland I couldn’t help at noticing the cultural differences between these two areas. I have always lived in the west, so eastern nature and people seemed different than I’ve got used to.

Eastern people are very peaceful and laid-back compared to western people. A Finnish word called “lupsakka” describes eastern people perfectly, but I think there isn’t an English word for that. The nature, for it’s part, had a lot more hills and water, different kind of trees and believe it or not animals, too! We were truly scared of some kind of noisy grasshoppers in Savonlinna.

Olavinlinna castle in Savonlinna

 

What I’m trying to say here, is that there really are different kind of cultures inside this huge country and you can be surprised even when exploring inside your own country’s borders!

– Niina –

Four months behind, four more ahead!

I came to London to work as an intern (Lab Technician) for Analytical Services International (ASI) in Tooting. Here in the ‘CSI Tooting’  we analyse drug levels in samples that we receive from hospitals (therapeutic drug monitoring) and mortuaries (toxicology). I find it very interesting and I’m planning on searching for a similar job once I return to Finland. My internship ends on April 15th and from that day on I will be a paid employee for ASI until end of August. In other words, I’m staying over the summer.

I live alone in a studio flat in Tooting Bec, a 30 minute walk from work. I haven’t made any friends over here yet besides the ones at work, but all of my best friends from Finland and my closest family members are scheduled to visit me here.

In February I was introduced to indoor climbing and I immediately fell in love with it. I used to go to the gym and do some heavy lifting 3 times a week. But now that I’m on a budget I can’t afford to pay for both the gym and bouldering memberships, so I had to pick one. Obviously I picked climbing, and I’ve been going bouldering 3-6 times per week since February. I love it, and I’ve made so much progress in such a short time, it’s amazing.

I decided that the Finnish midsummer is the thing I’m not planning to miss, so I’m taking my annual leave from work in June and coming over to Finland for 10 days.

This is Finland

THIS IS FINLAND

Is the anything better than relaxing at your own lakeside sauna?

Well, that’s an easy one.

Because no, there is not.

This is Finland #1

This summer has been an amazing one and especially weather-wise maybe even the best one I have ever ever experienced in Finland. It’s been steady 25+ degrees and full sunshine all day and night. And I can assure you that I have spent almost all my freetime at our family’s lakeside sauna cottage.

A sauna and a lake, name a more iconic duo I’ll wait.

For me the whole concept of a sauna cottage on the shore of one of the thousands of lakes in Finland represents Finnishness at it’s purest form.

This is Finland #2

Lakeside sauna cottage or rantasauna, as we call it, is for me a place where I can go to relax and focus. It’s a carefree place. A silent, but yet so alive. There I can really charge my batteries. I can go there alone just to take my mind off everything else or with my family just to be together or hang around there with a bunch of my friends listening to good music and barbecuing .

This is Finland #3

This is Finland and this is one the reasons why I love it.

 

– Sampsa

Things that make Finland a good place

When I think about Finland and Finnishness following words come to my mind; honesty, trustworthy and safe.

Finns are almost always described being honest. Honesty is greatly valued in Finland and it is expected from everyone. Finns are taught since childhood that lying is bad and being honest in any situation is the best way to go. Honesty is highly valued in any relationships, whether it is between friends or business partners. This makes Finns ideal to work with.

Being honest, makes Finns also trustworthy. If a Finn promises something, they will keep their promise. For example, if something needs to be delivered within two days, Finn will deliver it within two days. Finns expect that they can trust a person the same way the person can trust them. Trusting people is so common in Finland that we sometimes forget how lucky we are that we can trust other people’s promises.

Safety is a word that is associated a lot with Finland. Finland is known for being safe country to live in and Finns are proud of that. For example, in smaller towns people leave their front doors unlocked and trust that nobody tries to come inside. There are barely any situations where I did not feel safe in Finland. The importance of safety can also be seen in things like safety during plane or train rides, in amusement parks and during festivals or concerts. It might seem that Finland has strict regulations and rules but they are there to make sure that Finland stays safe.

Finnishness

I remember reading an article a while back,  about peach and coconut cultures. I thought that this idea rather nicely summarizes the cultural differences between human interactions. Essentially, a peach culture is more open to strangers and individuals that classify as peach, will more openly discuss with strangers and acquaintances. A peach culture is seen as initially more friendly but once you start advancing to deeper relationship you will hit the stone inside the peach. The true personality is protected by this hard stone and the initial friendliness was just the soft part of the peach.

We Finns are more like coconuts. We have a hard shell that protects our true personality, we don’t open up and interact as freely with strangers. However, inside this hard shell lies the true person – you just need to get past the hard shell protecting it. Also, we Finns like to complain often and thus may come across as a bit grumpy, but once you do get to know a Finn you will see the genuineness and hospitality shine through this grumpy façade and hard shell.

One more thing I truly appreciate about Finns and Finland is honesty. I have never had to be afraid of my stuff getting stolen despite leaving them out of my line of sight. I have even had complete strangers asking me to take care of their stuff while they need to do something elsewhere.

Having visited my exchange destination already this summer and having seen the multicultural environment, I’m sure I will blend in just fine with my Finnish mentality and habits! What I will definitely miss though, is the sauna during the winter time!

Getting to know Finns

Finnishness – what does that bring to your mind? What are those special characteristics of our culture that separate us from other nations?

Often Finns are described as a bit shy and reserved. That is the feeling you get at least when you meet many of us for the first time. We like to have our own space and be friends with our close circle of people. Add the lack and will for small talk so how do you build relationships with Finns? I believe if you show genuine interest to the other person and are willing to get to know them, they will be likely to open up and even speak deep things about him and the world. You need to cut the small talk to minimum and ask real questions. You will get some real answers in return. That’s right, Finns tend to speak honestly and tell about relevant issues. They are efficient with their words and save energy for the issues that matter. Small talk does not matter, for Finns at least.

Has the coldness something to do with saving that energy? I do not know but coincidentally or not, the hot sauna is the place where Finns might be willing to open up a bit more even for strangers. You might notice even some small talk if you pay careful attention. It is possible. Add some energizing winter swimming to the mix and it seems you’ve entered a whole new culture. People are greeting and chit chatting with strangers while having a big smile on their faces.

As said before, many of us Finns like to keep some distance to others and appreciate being alone at times. Even though, as humans, we have a need to connect and be part of groups. During the dark and quiet winter time, the public saunas are a great opportunity for that. Typical for Finland, they are usually surrounded by beautiful forests so not only will you feel connected to people but also to the nature.

 

Sweet, sweet Funland

Hello! I am a finn named Kati “Kaz” Nieminen. Nice to meet you!

I have never really thought about how fun it is to live in Finland, as I have lived here from the very beginning. In my opinion, in Finland you have multiple choices how to live your life without having to live in fear, loneliness or emptiness. It is really your own choice – and I know how cliché it sounds.

 Of course I can only speak for myself but majority of the people living in Tampere doesn’t really give a toodles what you are – so you may express yourself freely. Surely, you may attract some glares if you look different than the others, but some of the glares are actually admiring – and what if they’re not? Who cares?

(My speciality is shooting pictures of animal butts, enjoy. I don’t take my life too seriously)

Here are some pictures of Tampere’s finest cafés – A bunny café and ”Purnauskis, The Cat café”. I really adore all the different cafés they have in Japan, so having these fluffy encounters in Finland with a cup of ice tea makes me really happy. I’m not particuraly disappointed in common Finland cafés, finnish cafés are usually very delicate, clean and make sweet, pure and stunning dishes, but part of Finnishness is trying everything new and refreshing.

Here is a picture from a moving bus which I took on my way home from my night shift. I like having many trees in the city centre. You can see one of the greatest landmarks and membered finnish structure in the foliage – Särkänniemi’s Näsinneula (Näsi’s needle? Is there an english word to it?). Finland’s summer is somewhat hot and it is supposed to spend in homeland, whether you spend it in amusement park like Särkänniemi or grill some sausages on a cottage. The taste of freedom can be experienced in both.

To me, I’d describe finnishness with single words or phrases:

pure, tough, one with the nature, trustworthy, good and fair sportsmanship

tough winter, lovely summer, freedom, sisu, patriotic, funny traditions

work hard, play harder, never give up, peace of mind, forests

 

That’s all for now what I have in mind about being a finn and all in all in finnishness. In one week I’m taking a flight to Jinan, China and I am going to live there for half a year. Quite a shocking experiment as I have not traveled anywhere in the world (Estonia doesn’t count, they are like our little brother).

See you next time!

 

~ Kati “Kaz” Nieminen

Finnish land

Country of endless forests, black winters, thousand lakes, silent neighbours and many more weird things. In Finland it’s totally normal to sit next to someone and be quiet for a three hour bus trip, and I love it. Of course it’s nice to have a little chat with someone and make new friends but just being in silence is gold when you are tired or having a bad day. So if a Finnish person doesn’t start a conversation with you don’t worry, he or she is not being impolite, propably just in the mood for not talking. Feel free to ask anything from us, after all we are pretty social and we like to help people.

Nature in Finland is pretty amazing. In winter you can do skiing in the moonlight or jump naked into -20 degree snow and go to +80 degree sauna after that, sounds healthy right? Good thing about long winters are that when the summer arrives it feels extraordinary! Usually summer lasts about two weeks and everyone are just smiling becouse the sun is shining at last. Lakes in Finland are one of my favorite things. Best thing in the Finnish summer is to spend a day at the beach with friends and get drunk. Yes in Finland we don’t drink, we get drunk.

Finland is a safe country to live and you don’t have to worry about bad things when you are walking home in the evening. Of course crimes happen here and if you are getting a late night snack 4 am in the morning, you might get yourself into a fight if you really beg for it. In general Finland is one of the safest places in the world.

Most Finnish people are also pretty sarcastic and has own kind of humour, so you shouldn’t take things too seriously when you live here. Welcome to our country and I hope you enjoy your stay!

What I love about Finland

Even though I often find myself only mocking Finland and its culture, it is not hard for me to recognize the parts that I truly adore in being a Finn and living in Finland. Maybe that too is one of the fundamental parts of being Finnish, not giving credit for yourself or for your country, being too negative.

Anyhow, first thing I need to bring to the table is the nature. I think Finland has quite an unique nature and there is a lot of it too. I´m pretty sure that there are not many places in the world that have such pure air and waters and so many clean lakes and forests as Finland does. It is quite amazing too that in Finland everybody is allowed to roam around the nature freely, no matter who happens to own the forest or field. For myself this huge resource of nature means relaxing, which I think it is for many other Finns too. It gives a great balance after a busy week at the city to go on a hike to a forest on the weekend and enjoy some campfire food. Then of course the nature in Lapland is even more unique than in the rest of the Finland. Almost once a year a get this urge to visit Lapland and to enjoy the peace of its winter.

Being a Finn there is one thing you simply have to say when speaking about Finland. It is the Sauna. Sauna is the place where otherwise shy and bit reserved Finns share their stories and emotions. In the sauna we Finns can be our true selves and there is no need for any disguises. Going to the sauna is also a perfect way to relax. It helps to relax both your body and soul. Moving to abroad, sauna will definitely be one of the things I’ll be missing the most.

Apart from the clichés I love how in Finnish culture it is totally ok to be silent even when you’re spending time with someone else. It is not awkward, and you don’t have to quickly come up with something to say. Quite the contrary, I think that Finns take it as a sign of true friendship when you can be with someone silently and it doesn’t feel weird at all. This said I don’t mean that I and neither Finns would like to be silent all the time.

Another trait that I just love about Finns is that they are truly trustworthy. When you agree on something with Finnish people you can be sure that they act by it. If a meeting starts at nine o’clock it will start at nine o’clock. And if you have agreed that someone will for example come and repair your TV they will come and repair your TV. Also you can be pretty carefree in Finland, since there aren’t a lot of robberies or other small crimes like that.