During my travels outside Finland I’ve observed foreigners reactions and behavior against Finns. When I’ve introduced myself as a Finn, the reactions have been positive every time. From this you can conclude that certain characteristics unite us Finns. I’ve noticed that Finns have a reputation of being trustworthy above all. One Yank I met didn’t even know exactly where Finland is, but still he had heard only good from us, and most importantly knew we weren’t Swedes.
Me and few of my friends put the Finnish reputation to the test during our road trip in Jordania when we agreed that at the first military checkpoint we speak English and don’t mention our nationality. The result was a full vehicle and passport check. At the next checkpoint me as driver shouted from the car window, in arabic, “Hello, we are from Finland” and without a doubt the soldier greeted with a smile and a thumbs up and let us be on our way without any further questions. At that time I really understood how superior our reputation is around the world, even in a poor city at middle of Jordanian desert.
Of course, Finnishness is much about preconceptions which are true in far too many occasions. For you who wants’ to get familiar with Finnish culture and blend in, here’s a small to-do list just for you:
– Learn to hide you feelings. Work your poker face daily.
– Get to know Finnish traditional delicacies like mämmi and salty liquorice. After that, offer them to any foreigner and laugh at their reactions.
– Watch highlight videos from Youtube of ice hockey World Championships from 1995 and 2011. Learn who Timo Jutila is and what “6-1” means.
– Learn to hate Swedes. Hate their language, friendliness and their trendy clothes. Hate also Finnish Swedes, they are almost as bad as Swedes. Or maybe even worse with their boats and accent.
– Never ever talk to a stranger if they don’t start the conversations. Just don’t. That’s definitely not Finnish.
– Be proud of everything related to Finland. But don’t show it to anyone.
So here was a quick glance at Finnishness and what it means to be a Finn. Hope you enjoyed!