All posts by Ada Högström

A few observations of Finnishness

Honesty is the best policy

Finnish people are very honest. Finland may not be the promised land of small talk, actually the majority of Finns are quite taciturn. We enjoy quietness here and even when hanging out with friends it’s not uncommon to have some silent moments. I believe that here it’s actually more appreciated that you speak when you have something even borderline meaningful to say rather than being babbling about virtually nothing for hours.

When Finnish people open their mouths, you will get the truth. If a Finn compliments your outfit, they must really like it. Otherwise they wouldn’t dare to say anything. In general, Finns don’t give compliments for free. So pat yourself on the back – you must have done something really great when you get praised here.

On the other hand, you will definitely know when a Finn is pissed off. You will either read it from their face or hear it from their mouth – and this applies to a number of customer service workers as well. Somehow It feels more acceptable over here than anywhere else in the world…

 

Kalsarikännit” and other peculiar expressions

I wouldn’t say that the Finnish language is very beautiful. However, I quite like it despite the angry sounding R’s and strong double consonants. Finnish also has many funny and weird expressions, such as “kalsarikännit” that some of you might already be familiar with – it basically means getting drunk at home in your underwear with no intention to go out. Even everyday expressions like “myötähäpeä” or “vahingonilo” are interesting and sometimes so difficult to explain to non-Finnish speaking people.

Another great thing about Finnish language is that it you may speak quite freely and carelessly when outside of Finland since the chances that someone understand you are quite slim. Maybe don’t tell all your secrets in public, however..

Check the video below for some more funny Finnish words and expressions!

 

Independence is a norm

Finnish children are brought up to be very independent from a young age. It’s not unusual to see even elementary schoolers walking a long way home from school or taking the bus by themselves. In Finland, children know how to make at least some kind of snack for themselves, women carry heavy items without the need for anyone and young men have at least some basic knowledge on sewing after their middle school studies.

Finns are often reluctant to ask for help, which makes it even more crucial to know how to manage on your own. I think it would be greatly beneficial for children in other countries to also be taught cooking and sewing skills like in Finland. I am still unable to sew myself!