Monthly Archives: April 2019

My Experiences of Finnishness

We finns are often described as shy and untalkative persons. Well, I do think it is true that it takes time for us finns to come to trust other people so that we can start to open up to them. I wouldn’t say however, that we are untalkative. Once we get to know other people we talk as much as anyone from any other country.

It is common though, that when finnish people are having a conversation, it is polite to wait until the coversation partner has ended their speech before the other one starts to talk. Some people might consider this being untalkative even though we only belive this to be the polite way to have a conversation.

What comes to the shy part, I think the common opinion of us is quite wrong. We are not shy at all. When having a night out, we often go to sauna. And in sauna, we are naked often men and women at the same time also. Now, I would imagine that this can not be considered shy nor should it be. Sauna is something we finns cherish, and something we are proud of. All the shyness there might be to us, fades away when it comes to sauna.

I would also say, that finnish people are quite dependable. We might not talk to strangers alot, nut when one becomes our friend we defend them and when ever necessary we help them in every way we can.

All in all I think the common opinion of us is quite wrong and we finns are worth getting to know to.

Thinking about Finnishness while living with a foreigner

Thinking about Finnish culture and habits isn’t so unusual to me especially around holidays. I’m married to a Vietnamese person so I’m reminded fairly often of things that seem self-evident to me but are clearly different in other countries. Experiencing Finland through his eyes has been a very interesting experience and is quite eye-opening at times.

Teaching him Finnish language has made me understand just how difficult and unique our language is compared to languages around the world. Many words and concepts don’t actually translate to English and while I’ve been explaining these things to him I’ve realised how differently Finns think about some topics.

There are several holidays that are really important to Finns like Christmas and The Midsummer celebrations. They have also been meaningful to me personally and I was surprised to find that Christmas really isn’t that big of a deal in his culture. I have since been introducing particularly Finnish traditions to him.

The weather is a huge difference between our two countries. We have four clearly distinct seasons in Finland and when you’re growing up you start thinking that is just how the weather is. You never really appreciate the variety and possibilities it offers us until you talk to people from other countries. Our winters are very beautiful with the snow and I like the cold weather too. We also get to enjoy warm sunny days in the summer so we really have it all.

Are you Finnished yet?

Finland? It’s somewhere up in the north, right? Isn’t it like really cold all the time? Quite typical questions to be said by foreigners after telling them where I come from. The world seems to be quite unaware as to where Finland is or what even is there. Of course, during the past few years, the most enthusiastic global citizens of the world seem to be slowly realizing the high potential of for example the Finnish nature and design.

Those people in the know of the wonderful things Finland has to offer, usually agree on how underappreciated Finland is. Overall people seem to have heard about Finland in terms of primary education, mobile games or the drinking culture. All true in their own nature, but they usually give rather lopsided image of Finnish people and the prominent characteristics. It is true that some Finnish people are very quiet and unsocial, some even rude as the quietest are often understood by foreigners. But definitely not all of Finland.

People in Finland might be more introverted than in many other places around the world, and people here are used to being quiet in a social situation. In my opinion Finnish people are quite composed and very rational in their decisions, and when something is said, it is actually meant. When foreigners casually ask, “how are you?” as a part of a greeting, Finnish people will likely start actually telling about their current mood instead of just automatically answering something they don’t really mean. While being rational Finnish people do still care deeply, and are very warm and welcoming. When you get to know Finnish people better on a personal level, prepare for in depth conversations about any topics.

There is definitely a Finnish mindset and mentality amongst Finnish people. It is actually scarily easy to spot another Finn in a crowd around the world, and with one look with them you can easily show how you are feeling then and there.

The vibrant yet serene nature, the innovative design, the technological expertise and much more should be broadcasted to the world, so Finland could be recognized as an overall interesting and diverse country.