Category Archives: Uncategorized

“Yksi, kaksi, kolme”, “Vittu Saatana” and “Kippis”

This blog post comes a bit late. I should have written it before my exchange but I had some problems with the website.

I am doing a exchange training at Holbæk hospital, Denmark. The exchange takes in total 2 months which I am going to spend in Holbæk. My goal is to learn to speak Danish and brush up my Swedish and English skills.

The topic for today is Finnishness. To be honest I am not that thrilled to write about this because it feels like I should bring up awkward stereotypes like example Finns being shy heavy metal-lovers that only come talk to you when being drunk etc. Who the hell are these people? Not me nor my Finnish friends at least.

Now when I am already in Denmark I think it is more interesting to talk about differences and similarities I have come across these past days. Danish culture is pretty much based on hyggeism and design. One cannot simple find a ugly coffeeshop around here. “Hygge” is danish way of thinking, living and especially coping  during the winter. Roughly it translates to cozyness. They say that Danes are the most happiest people on the planet. The gallops also show that the Danes use more alcohol compared to other Scandinavian countries.

Danish people usually mention metal music, freezing cold weather, ice hockey (and they usually remember to mention Finland’s shameful  scoring in football) and saunas. Some locals can count to tree with a cute danish accent, they never forget to mention some Finnish swore words and usually end the whole sentence cheering “Kippis”, the Finnish cheering when drinking.

Finns are seen as a modern day vikings who can deal the cold weather sweating and bleeding on a ice hockey rink when heavy metal echos in a background. I think that both of the cultures have their own way to prepare themselves when the winter hits hard on the face. Danes temp to “hygge” inside their minimalist design houses taking pictures of their cocoa cups behind their snugly blankets. Finns, on the other hand, have a total different point of view: “kalsarikänni”. Helsingin sanomat, Finnish newspaper wrote an article about the topic: Forget hygge! Here comes kalsarikänni! It is a Finnish way of living, where netflix and kalsarikänni = drinking beer with your underwear at your home with no intention to going out. The word is not translated in any other language, only Finns have invented a meaning for it. These days kalsarikänni is going viral in social media.

Maybe there is a small piece of cultural truth behind kalsarikänni. It is a honest way of living when one does not have a interest of being a snob. In a weird way there is still a hint of “sisu” behind it, another Finnish word that has no perfect translation. “Sisu” is determination regardless of the cost and persistence that is still living strong in Finnish culture heritage. Probably it was part of a Finnish war propaganda at first. These days “sisu” is still known globally.

In the end does it really matter do you hygge or kalsarikänni? The main key is to embrace differences equally.

 

Resource: https://www.hs.fi/nyt/art-2000005092923.html

The happiest country in the world

Hello there, dear reader!

As you may have heard, Finland was recently chosen as the happiest country in the world. According to the UN report, the other Nordic countries didn’t perform bad either. For instance, Norway placed second after a tight competition. In addition to happiness, the study took a gaze to aspects such as migration. You can read the whole study here.

The Finnish people embraced the results with great joy and proud. After all, we are quite competitive as a nation (mention sports like ice hockey and cross-country skiing at a get-together and you can be sure to find an unofficial expert to tell you all about our success in such sports for the last decade.)

As a native Finn, I feel like we often forget to appreciate the things that we already have. The things that we take for granted. You know, as the saying goes, the grass is greener on the other side. Elements like free educational, free healthcare, a democratic political system and equal right to vote, social support, fresh air, clean water and overall safety we’re not built on a day. I sure have my moments of ungratefulness, too. You soon forget about all the nice things when the temperature drops below zero and sunlight feels like a distant memory.

I am positive, that it’s the coldness and darkness of our winters, that has evolved our sense of humor dark and sarcastic. It requires a certain state of mind to understand the cheekiness behind comments like “Why would you want to live in Finland, we are depresses as heck!” that were posted on the articles celebrating Finland’s new position as the happiest country. To us, happiness doesn’t stand for overflowing joy and non-stop smiling. To us, happiness is more about the warmth of a home, the fact that you don’t have to hate your job but the nation actually supports your never ending thirst of knowledge and different aspirations. Happiness is about cracking up a cold one with the boys after sauna and avanto (a hole in ice where you go did yourself. Sounds crazy, yes.)

When you live in a country, where it seems to be cold and dark for 10 months out of 12, you tend to dream about “something better.” As if you need a reminder from time to time so that you can once again remember the best qualities of your home country. I sure do.

Because all in all, happiness is about knowing that after every dark and freezing winter, there will be spring.

My second home

Don’t be so surprised if I told you in my 20, Finland is the very first time ever I had been abroad. It had been a whole new world and the biggest change to me back then.

Throwing back to the first snow, It’s more than words could describe. Not only because It was the first time I was really exposed to snow. It marked the biggest move in my life so far. I was no more living in a tropical country.

Beautiful but a bit sad it is I have to say.

The first winter came so fast and lasted so long. However, Finland has its own ways to cheer up its people. Sauna has become a part of the culture. Nothing is better a hot sauna in freezing weather. Together with it, walking on the frozen lake, trying ice fishing are also an interesting way to entertain during the coldest time of the year. Skating and skiing are also winter’s favorite treats.

 

 

And Finnish summer comes charmingly and splendidly which absolutely worths the wait. I enjoyed watching the transformation of the ground after months of snow and ice. In contrast with winter, summer is full of colors from a variety of flowers, lively green of forests and glimmering lakes.  The things that I like the most in summer are eating ice cream in the sun, riding a bicycle and jogging through the forest and last but not least, swimming in natural lakes.

Finnish people are quite closed and shy. However, they are very nice neighbors and decent company when you get to know them more.  Life in Finland is simple and peaceful, freedom yet private.  I have gone through many places in Europe and Asia, however, Finland is always my best shelter after all.

Technology- pros and cons

There are many things I am satisfied with Finland but one very noticeable in everyday life is its advanced technology.  That is also the feedback I get also from foreigners.  Everything is nowadays possible to complete by online, with computer, automatic systems, phones, phone applications, credit cards – the list is endless. It has eased our everyday life and we can rely on those machines because they are much more stabile and clever than human minds.  I am of course very thankful for all the technical  development in medicine which allows us to live longer and healthier. The list of  benefits that the improving technology offers us becomes longer every day.

However, we should always think carefully what should we change and how much and what should be preserved in the way the nature intended it to be.  Of course it depends a lot on what kind of field do you work or study. Since I study and work on a field of arts I will always appreciate the natural handprint, sound and movement . That is the area that technology has taken it too far from natural.  When I first saw this task to write a blog I got really frustrated. I get awful headaches from writing on a computer, my wrist,  shoulders  and low back are hurting after ten minutes. So I have to make breaks often and at that time my thoughts get disturbed. So what should I do? Wear wrist warmers, sit on a special chair, take 600 mg of ibuprofen? I admit, in a way it is faster and easier to write a long text on the computer but a blog like this should be suggested to made  in a way that is suitable and improves each student in his/hers own study field. Of course computer skills are extreme crucial in Finland because many duties are easier to do online.  Anyway,  there should be also an other chance to complete some tasks.

I would benefit and enjoy more this blog if I could speak or perform it. And honestly, I would enjoy also others blogs more if they were performed in other ways, even handwritten.

While traveling abroad I have remarked that the children in Finland are extremely advanced in using newest technology and smartphones.  That is of course a positive thing in many ways but alarming is how the technology has taken too big part of the learning methods at school.  I can’t understand why children have to study for example mathematics or languages by using tablets?! They have their whole hands and fingers that they should use and not only the tip of the finger. Handwriting activates much more your brains  than staring at the screen. Or students could go outside to study mathematics  by for example counting trees or stones.  We could stay more healthy without doing some ergonomic exercises and instead doing everyday task with more old fashion way.

I am very thankful for the opportunity of studying abroad, learn about new cultures and spread information about Finland but at the same time I want  seriously to concentrate on and put all my energy and time into my studies and learn the language. At this point I would prefer to do these writings in other ways – the ways that would be worth for my artistic development. In the Finnish education I have unfortunately faced too many pointless and just for my profession unnecessary tasks that take precious time from the tasks that are worth for my profession. If I have special interest or need a skill to write a blog in my profession I would benefit from writing this blog.  Hopefully someday I can see some advances of completing these tasks.

My bubble is bigger than yours!

Hi everyone!

This will be my fourth exchange, if you count them all. New cultures and people are kind of my thing. To be honest, through my times of travelling and being on exchanges, I have learned to see so many good things about Finland and Finnishness, but I’ve absorbed even more from other countries. When I left Finland the first time I had blue glasses on, now I’ve put so many colorful glasses on top, I don’t even recognize the color now. There are many things that I love about Finland: lakes, cottages, seasons, snow!, nature. But my tags for this task are bread, bubble and people!

I’ve learned to love food in a very traditional way, eating everything I see! I love the spices, smells, colors and tastes. One dish can bring so much pleasure and teach you a ton about cooking. I’m still not a good cook but practice makes perfect, right? However, there is something magical about this Finnish bread that seems to boggle everyone outside of Scandinavia. It’s the black bread we call rye bread, the love of my life ruisleipä.  If you talk with a nutritionist, too much bread is never good for you. Nevertheless, with rye bread I think it’s as close as you can get to healthy over-eating.

Rye bread is almost like a national food to Finns. If they don’t eat it, they know the bread for sure! If you move outside of Scandinavia, rye bread is a new acquaintance. “Bread can’t be that dark!”, they say. “How can you digest that?!”, they say. Especially here in the south  Europe where I’m on my exchange, white bread is more than common. Multi grain or whole wheat is the closest you can get to rye bread here, and I tell you, it still has not given me any consolation. I miss rye bread so much that I can almost taste it in my mouth…two more months to go…

“My personal bubble is bigger than yours”

Another Finnish thing is this unspoken rule in public places. Everyone knows it! Finns are big on personal space, at least 1 meter in every direction. It has become an international joke how much space we need around us to feel comfortable. A few  examples:

  1. A public bus, people sit on the widow seat usually and if the window seats are taken    –> you stand. You want to avoid sitting next to a stranger, and God forbid if they talk to you!
  2. Bus stop. If there is no room for you and your personal bubble under the roof of the stop, you would rather get wet in the rain than squeeze next to strangers.
  3. Standing in line at a super market. Someone right in front of us and right behind.
  4. Going to a new place. We will not ask for directions to avoid contact with strangers.

The personal bubble is something that I don’t quite understand. I believe that all my travelling has made my bubble smaller. However, after leaving Finland it surprised me a little bit once again, how different cultures are. Here in Malta, there is no personal bubble, and mine isn’t totally gone.

“The grumps vs. bubbly people”

Finns are most very shy and don’t like to make a fuss about themselves. We don’t like to cause hassle, and if we are unhappy about our food or service, we keep it to ourselves.  One of the jokes about Finns is, that we get upset about everything but never say anything! Compared to people abroad, they are loud and express their feelings loud and clear. Everyone is ready help you but everyone is up to everyone’s business as well 😀

 

I’m sorry I don’t have any pictures for you!

 

With the kindest regards,

Joanna

 

My home country, Finland

I think Finland is a very good place to live. Maybe it is because I am used to live there, but I also think it is great how everything works here. For example we have a high quality of education.

Even though the world is getting crazier every day, I feel Finland is quite safety and peaceful place to live. We don’t have massive earthquakes or some other natural catastrophes here.

We have a beautiful nature there, which is one of the most important things for me here. Finland is a land of thousand lakes and forests. I live now almost in the middle of the city, but I can still see trees and plants on my window.

Climate here is a very  variable. In winter we usually have snow on the ground and almost minus twenty degrees. In spring, summer and autumn it might be hot weather, or rain or snowing or anything at all.

Last but not least, I would like to also say few things about people who live there. Finnish people are often called shy and quiet. We don’t talk with strangers on the bus stop or sit next to someone you don’t know in the bus, if there are any free places left.  I am Finnish so I do those things for myself too, because it is maybe part of our culture and behavior. Silence doesn’t mean that someone is rude, of course we speak if someone ask something. In my opinion, that is not a bad thing, because we have some other important features like honesty and punctilious.

-Maria

Jogging with the cows and dancing in the forest

What it means to me to be a Finn? Shortly, when I think about Finnishness, I think of sauna, fields, forests, pride, traditions and relationships. Since I’m from as countryside as anyone can be, all these things have become important to me.

Ever since I was little, I have enjoyed the nature. We have a forest right behind our home, and it’s owned by my dad. It’s our tradition to go and get a Christmas tree every year. Dad has already looked it up on fall and on Christmas we make time to get it together. It’s one of our family traditions that I cherish. The forest behind our home is so peaceful and quiet, so I think it’s the best way to relax and to ease all the stress that I might have. And it’s absolutely the best when I listen to some music and dance in the midst of mosses and sunshine.

Especially since I’ve moved to Tampere, in the middle of a busy city, I’ve started to appreciate the quiet and peace a lot more. And since I’m a traditional Finn, sometimes I need some quality time with my self, away with all the people and traffic. So, I strongly recommend going out and explore the forests! (Even though bears are one of my worst nightmares and I’m afraid I’ll encounter one someday…) The flat fields (in Southern Ostrobothnia, where I come from) are really beautiful, especially in the summer. If you go jogging, you might see a herd of cows on the both sides of the road. They really make a good company while jogging.

Finnish people has their own traditions compared to the other world. And especially in Southern Ostrobothnia. In the Easter, we gather up a bonfire to scare away all the witches. If you go for a drive in the evening, you can spot the bonfires almost everywhere. Usually the neighbours gather up at the bonfire, and maybe grill some sausages in the fire. I’ve always felt a special atmosphere at the bonfires. In other parts of Finland, the bonfire is gathered up in the midsummer. I’ve never been to a midsummer bonfire, but I bet that the atmosphere feels just as magical as in the easter. Because in general, I feel that me midsummer is one of the most magical nights in a year. When it’s basically bright all night, you stand in the middle of a field or sit in a rowing boat in the middle of a lake and you can’t hear a thing. No sign of any traffic, just the nature and you. That’s why I enjoy more spending midsummers at home or at someones cottage  than at a festivals.

I come from this very small village. There we have a summer theatre every year. I’ve been a part of the play twice, and I absolutely love it. Other times I’ve been helping at the kiosk, and I have to go and see the play every year. I feel good when people come to see the play, some might even come from other side of Finland. I’m very proud that our village has something that special, and that it draws people to come by. I think that the play and our village is a good example of Finnish community; tight, warm, accepting and kind. Even if we might seem as introverts when abroad.

All in all, I’m more than proud to tell people in the world that I’m Finnish. We have achieved so much and are a good example to the world. It’s safe to live here and I wouldn’t want to live anywhere else.

All of the photos in this post are taken by me, and all of them are taken from my home. 🙂

Love,

Emmi-Kaisa xx

 

 

Finnishness to me.

Finland and Finnishness are so many things that it’s hard to put them in to one blog text, but I’ll write about the things that matter the most for me personally. And that is our nature. Almost everyone else has also brought this up but it’s simply because it’s our greatest and purest thing. For now, at least. The most important things about our nature are big forest and field areas, and of course our lakes. I’m originally from the countryside and I believe that it has a big influence in my love for nature. Even if I live in the city of Tampere right now, I must walk less than a kilometer to get in the forest. And I just love that.

This foto is from Tampere near my home.

Like I mentioned, with that great nature comes water and that water we have plenty. And it is clean. When you have travelled a lot of different places, you notice that not in very many countries can you drink the water that comes in to our homes and houses. Of course, that is because our water cleaning system is ahead of some others. Main point is still a water you can drink without dying, and after that, the fact that our country is advanced for example in things like water cleaning.

This foto is from our summercottage in the island of Attu.

Many people bring up how Finnish people are shy and kinda awkward, at least at first you try to get to know them, but I don’t like bringing that up so much.  I think that our “silence” culture is getting little bit old and we are going towards more social and talking kind of culture. I’m afraid that many foreigners don’t have the courage to approach us because they might believe that we are not interested or something like that. But it’s not true. We are kind and trustworthy people and you should definitely get to know us 😊

I think that also our school system, healthcare and social services deserve own little chapter. Of course, there is always something to do better and could be cheaper and stuff like that. But fact is still that you cannot get these kinds of services almost anywhere in the rest of the world in this way that we have them. There is little something I hope that will change. Peoples appreciation towards our services.

Like I said at the beginning, there is so much to write about but now I’m gonna end it here. I hope that my writing is readable, thank you for reading and all the pictures are taken by me.

This is also from our summer cottage in the island of Attu. There is suppose to be couple of deer but I think that they melt in that picture. Or can you see them? 😉 

 

Finland, my homeland

There are four things that are important to me in Finland and those are security, nature, technology and quality of education. These things are also held in high regard in the Finnish culture.

Finland is known for the low corruption rates in the leadership and public sector and there is a high trust for law enforcement.

The quality of education in Finland is known across the globe.

The beautiful Finnish nature brings in tourists from all corners of the world during all seasons, especially to Lapland.

Four seasons.

With the Finnish economy slowly growing, more and more start-ups are popping up, mostly within the technological fields. New and innovative ideas are being born in Finland every year.

 

What to do in Finland? I mostly enjoy the summer time. We have a lot of outdoor activities like festivals and sports, if the weather is good (it usually isn’t).

During summers I spend some time at my cottage on the coast near Vaasa, enjoying the beautiful archipelago.

 

Vaasa archipelago. Photo: Jaakko J Salo.

 

During the proper winter (Jan-Mar) we will have a lot of snow and sub-zero degrees centigrade.

There’s a lot of sport activities that can be done during this time as well as walk on the frozen lakes.

Excuse me but I´m Finnish.

Things I got first in mind when talking about Finland:

Usually midsummer is rainy. No matter what. Even when the forecast tells you to get your bikinis, tan lotion and cold beverages ready – it is definitely going to rain. There is always a possibility to have a rainy midsummer.

For finns, the summer is warm when temperature raises above 20 degrees. I´m from west coast of Finland and it is always windy. The lack of mountains or even hills further enhances the effect of wind. But when the sun shines, it really shines. Still, the temperature rarely goes above 27 degrees.

Finland is a long land and when theres sunny in the north, there could be a blizzard in the east and on west there might be raining. You can never trust the forecast if you are travelling along Finland. There´s always a chance to get disapointed.Finnish nature is breathtaking. Nature is like big beatuful painting which is changing in every day and in every season. The colours are so bright, the lakes, rivers or the sea are very blue when the sun shines. In wintertime the outdoor living maybe is not so desirable, but the feeling after you were out and did some exercis

ing or just were walking around in the nature and then get inside to warm up or even in sauna it is definetly something that should be seen or tried when there are visitors from other countries in Finland.

What being a finn actually means to me is that there is always available good, healhty and fresh food, e.g. I love Carelian pies, Mämmi (porridge based on rye that is both bitter and sweet), different kind of porriges like oatmeal for breakfast. I usually bake during weekends when I have time to put my heart into it. I like to bake sweet buns with eyes of butter and sugar in the middle of them.

In the Autumns I usually go with my parents to the woods to harvest berries. We harvest mostly blueberries and cowberries. We also keep our eyes peeled for mushrooms, especially for chanterelles. It´s normal to have a large freezer which is full of garden berries and harvested berries from forests. Jams made of fruits like apple, strawberries and pears or plums are also very popular cause it includes the taste of summer even in the middle of snowy and cold winter.  Nothing beats hot oatmeal with fresh berries sprinkled on top of it. It really makes the day.

all the pictures are mine

p.s. All the pictures are mine.

With very finnish regards: Moikka

Alli