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.

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