All posts by Jenna Yli-Ketola

Thoughts about Finnishness

In normal daily life we as Finns, might not think that much about our own culture with its own special features but when going abroad you will notice those things about our special way easier.  For a start, wherever you go, and you start talking in Finnish, people will turn around and look at you and wonder. What is that language? The Finnish language is something special on its own, super weird but also cool at the same time! People who doesn’t speak Finnish doesn’t understand anything what we say, it’s like a super skill that we have. When abroad you can speak all the things that you want, also in a very public place. No one has an idea what you are talking about, unless there is a Finn next to you! Well, depending on the topic, sometimes those situations might be very interesting and also a bit embarrassing…

If you have a conversation with foreign people and you mention that you are from Finland, mostly people’s reaction is something like this: “Wow, really? Oh, that’s pretty amazing. I have heard Finland is such a beautiful place!”

So, 1) they are extremely amazed that you really are from Finland because people say and think “it’s so far away!” (yeah but so far away from where?) but yeah, it depends on what you compare that with… AND 2) they have never visited Finland. That also depends on where they are from. If they are Scandinavian or from eastern Europe for example they might have been to Finland already but most people that I have talked with are from Spain, Italy etc. and they have not yet visited Finland, but they say they really would love to visit or they will visit someday.

Thus, we come to the second topic of Finland and Finnishness that I’d like to highlight: we have super pretty country with its amazingly beautiful nature! Finland has thousands of lakes and a lot of greenness with plentiful forests and fields. In the summer Finland shows its most beautiful side, with the blooming of the different flowers, trees and berries ripening. During winter there will be a lot of snow (unfortunately these days we have to say: there MIGHT be a lot of snow) which is beautiful too, only a little cooler. Not to mention the Northern lights that people almost always ask if we can see or not. Yes, we are able to see it but not everywhere and at all times. So, it depends on the location and the timing.

Also, there are questions about saunas and snow angles. Do we REALLY spend hours sitting in an extremely hot and damp room and when it gets too hot go outside and jump naked in the lake or in the snow and start doing snow angels? Yes, we do!

Okay for the second part, I’m personally not used to do but have heard about it, haha. How crazy as it sounds, Finnish people really do love going to sauna (some people, including me, many days a week!).  Plus, it has many health benefits and it’s super relaxing.

So those were some of my thoughts about Finnishness with some points that I am really happy about. And I’m even more happy and pleased if people from abroad would know some of those things custom to Finns and Finland when talking with them.