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A few things about Finland

Cold, dark and lots of snow; these are the things that pop into most people’s heads when asked about Finland. To me, however, Finland has always been at its best during the summer. There are several jokes about the Finnish summer, like how short it is, but at least it doesn’t snow much, or how last year Finnish summer was on a Tuesday. Still, cold or warm, wet or dry, there’s nothing that compares to it, to me at least. Everyplace is green, and you can literally smell it in the air. Seriously, if you’ve ever wondered what the color green smells like, just come to Finland in the summer.

tampere kesä

 

Still, it is the light that has the biggest effect on people. Or that’s what I think anyway. See, most people remember Finland for how dark it is in the winter, but what they forget is how light it is in the summer. The sun just doesn’t seem to want to do down. It really is in the summer that the Finnish nature, and even more, the Finnish people, come alive. Or maybe that’s just me.

keskiyönaurinko

 

Despite the coldness of our winter – and sometimes the summer as well, there is one food that Finns enjoy more than any other country in Europe, and that’s ice cream. Even if you look at the whole world, we eat more ice cream per person than almost any country in the world, only Americans, Australians, and New Zealanders eat more. We eat approximately 12 liters of ice cream every year, and considering the ice cream “season” only lasts approximately from June to August that is a lot of ice cream to eat. Our ice cream consumption is only rivaled by our coffee consumption, where we are undisputed winners with 10kg per person per year. In Finland, ice cream and coffee are literally their own food groups and during the summer it feels like there isn’t a street corner where you can’t find a hot cup of coffee, and a cold ice cream cone.

vanilja_kenya

Finland is full of large forests and beautiful lakes, and many tourists come here to enjoy the gorgeous nature. Despite that, you shouldn’t ignore the city life in Finland. Our cities seem small to us compared to the metropolises of the rest of the world, but that doesn’t mean you can’t find things to do in Tampere or Helsinki. Finns, just like the rest of the world, are busy, city-dwelling people, not some mystic nation living in the forest, in igloos, communing with wild animals. That isn’t to say we don’t enjoy our beautiful nature and everything it has to offer but sometimes ordering takeout home without having to leave your couch is just as enjoyable.

helsinki

Small cities and big forests

Finland, population of 5,5 million people is sparsely populated and when ever talking to foreign people you usually get astounded looks on their faces and a sentence “oh, so the whole country has less people in it than there is in my home town”. Our big cities are microscopic compared to some of the world’s metropolises and we, as a nation, haven’t been living in the cities, where all the comKuvalähde: http://www.rantapallo.fi/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/Tampere-Nasinneula-Flickr-Tuomo-Lindfors.jpgmodities are close, for long.

Most of the population lived in the countryside still in the 1950’s and I think that it has had an affect in our culture and in our identities. We still have a good sense what is living in the countryside facing all the hardships in that way of living and not having everything in your access all the time. Maybe that’s why we have been raised to respect what we have and stay humble.

We also call common sense “maalaisjärki”, which directly translates to “country/rural sense”. That tells a lot about the appreciation for the countryside, basic reasoning and doing things yourself.kuvalähde: https://kasteluetaisyydella.files.wordpress.com/2014/07/p1040678.jpg

We also respect the nature a lot. Many of the Finns own a summer cottage by a lake where you can go and relax and enjoy the nature. And because our towns and cities are reasonably small, you are able to go to the nature basically in minutes. It doesn’t matter where you are, in a city center or at your home, there’s always lakes, rivers and forests close by which you can enjoy of.

I think these reasons, among other things, have molded us what we are as a nation and given us common sense and “sisu”, which we appreciate in ourselves. We are a rational nation with a will to work hard and we won’t give up even facing hardship.

This is what I’ve learned to appreciate in Finland and in Finnish culture and I can be proud of my Finnishness in all of the metropolises of the world.

kuvalähde: http://static-sls.smf.aws.sanomacloud.net/kodinkuvalehti.fi/s3fs-public/styles/medium_main_image/public/main_media/1381225038_original_forest_istock.jpg?itok=N6KbHHxn