It’s really easy to take forests and lakes for granted when you are living in Finland. Wherever you are, there is always nature near you. Even if you are living in some of the biggest and most crowded cities in Finland, there is always a forest or a lake nearby. For me that is one of my favorite things about Finland, because nature makes me feel so at ease. It is really hard for me to imagine not having nature close by since I have lived my whole life swimming in clean lakes and running in forests. In Finland air is fresh, lakes are mostly very clean and there is trees as far as the eye can see. And not to forget about Lapland which is one of the most magical places on Earth with its northern lights, snow and majestic landscape.
I feel like there is always some kind of a holiday going on in Finland. Even though we don’t celebrate Thanksgiving, and Valentine’s day and Halloween aren’t such a big deal in Finland, we have our beloved holidays, that we celebrate with all our passion. May Day with Sima (special lemonade made from lemons, brown sugar and yeast), balloons, picnics and students in their coveralls. Gathering in a summer cottage with your friends and family on Midsummer, swimming in a lake, barbecue food and (most likely) some alcohol. And as the land of Santa Claus, Christmas is obviously a big deal in Finland. There are some Christmas-crazy people (like me) that start impatiently waiting for that magical holiday in October. Christmas carols, advent calendars, cookies and chocolate.. Best time of the year!
Feeling of safety
In this crazy world I can’t help but be thankful for being born in Finland, which was recently named as the safest country in the world. Here we can walk outside when it is dark without feeling scared, here children can walk home alone after school and people can get cash from the cash machines without the fear of getting robbed. Of course there is awful things happening here also, but the criminal rate is very low in comparison to other countries. It is a luxury to feel this safe in today’s world, and we should appreciate that.
First of all, Finnish people are honest and that is what I appreciate the most. If you ask us how we are doing, you are going to actually hear how things are going in our lives, not any lame cliché answer just to keep small talk going. Also Finns are modest, kind and reliable but they speak only when spoken to which I don´t like even though I´m just like that myself… When making acquaintance with a Finn, they may first seem sullen and stony-faced but after a while they melt and become talkative.
Few things to know about Finns way of act.
If you sit on the bus and the person next to you wants to leave and you notice it. Don´t wait him or she to talk up, just move! And don´t start a conversation.
Drinking is limited. Remember to check when the sale of alcohol stops and there is only one store where is sold only alcohol. Alcohol policy is quite strict in Finland.
Finland is cold and dark place most of the year. That´s one of the negative sides of Finland. On the other hand it´s wonderful to have four seasons. Of course I prefer summer but a white winter has its charm.
The worst thing is that in Finland we don’t celebrate Halloween or thanksgiving. Yes we have Halloween parties and that kind of stuff but it´s not so big deal in Finland what it is in US. October and November are the depressed months and it would be wonderful to have something to celebrate. Of course there is Christmas but it´s so far away.
Ice-hockey is everything! The whole nation is watching when lions play in world championships. Racing might be the second popular sport. If you are an individual athletic you have to do very well to have even a little bit of credit.
The land of a thousand lakes in a nutshell
But of course Finland is a great place! Healthcare works well and it´s free and there is no corruption and the education is one of the best! Economy is doing actually pretty well. Who cares about some loan cause it’s not that big and who hasn’t? Okey China hasn’t. Poverty is small and everyone gets social support if needed but still Finninsh people compline.
Finnishness could be found so easily as a foreigner in Finland, since I have lived in Finland for 2 years so far. And I found out that Japanese have so many points to correspond with Finnishness. One example could be broader personal space. Finnish people needs to have this personal space unlike French where they hug and kiss to the first time meeting person. It is really similar to my Japanese culture where we even do not hand shake for the first time meeting. (Hand shake is normally used for business meeting.)
In addition, Finnish people doesn’t answer clearly with Yes/No. Their answer is often described with longer sentences without conclusion. We Japanese also prefer not to state Yes/No to keep the conversation very flat with each other. Discussion is rarely occurred during casual meeting with friends.
Finnish finds more culture in their lifestyle and from nature. Such as Sauna, Nordic designs , Fabrics, and social welfare. For example, marimekko’s fabric design is always inspired by Finnish nature. Work-life balance is concerned so importantly by having more rights to choose what the employees wishing, thus Family can spend more time together. I think it comes from the severe and long Finnish winter when people have to spend most of the time indoor. And they have to collaborate each other effectively so that they will not die in long winter.
Finnish lifestyle became role model for some countries like Japan, and lots of Japanese people are fascinated by its effectiveness and comfortableness. I was also helped by this life style throughout my Uni life. I have never had extreme stressful time because the nature was always close to refresh my mind, and school gives student always chance to recover our studies by the great system of student councillor and retake.
And this is what i like about Finland but at the same time, makes me wanting more to see arts and architectures in cultural city by traveling another countries.
Entrepreneurship is always a hot topic in Finland. Slush Helsinki, and Tokyo is getting bigger, where investors and start-ups gather together to network and create new business contract. And students are always encouraged to involve to these startup events for free as volunteers. The reason why Slush was founded is quite interesting to find Finnishness in the business side perspective. « Slush » means the wet snow which Finland experience in November, and the event is held around this time to boost Finnish and world entrepreneurs to come up with great business ideas. The message here make people come out from there home to this chilly and wet weather. And it has been a big success, that the event is now held in Japan and China, two of the biggest business market in the world.
Anyways, Finnishness is attractive enough to make anybody comfortable being in Finland. Especially for Japanese there are not so much difference EXCEPT for the weather 😛