Tag Archives: forest

General opinion of Finnish people?

I’m trying to wrap my head around the general opinion of Finnish people. If I think about it from an “outsiders” point of view, I see a nation that is doing quite well, people who might be a little bit reserved but who are still very helpful, kind and are open minded.

When talking to people who are not from Finland and asking, “What is your opinion of a Finnish person?” sometimes the answer is that we are shy and quiet and sometimes that we are loud and talkative (this one usually happens if you drink alcohol).

Some have a language barrier with foreign people, maybe their English is not so good, so they seem shy and quiet, even though maybe they would like to get to know the person.

Something that I’ve been wondering a lot is why do the Finns need so much space, where does it come from? Even when we talk to each other we keep our distance. For me, it’s funny, it’s just how we are. A funny example of the need for personal space you can see in this picture where Finnish people are waiting for the bus.

 

I also recommend visiting a blog called Finnish Nightmares. It is one of the funniest pages ever! There is so much truth in the posts, but it really is just funny!

Kuvahaun tulos haulle finnish nightmares

I will end my post with telling you my favorite thing about Finland.

So for me it really is the summer, going to the cottage with my family, going to sauna and going for a swim in the lake. I can’t experience this often since I usually have been away the summers, so when I get to go, it makes me so happy. The forrest surrounds me and it really feels like you can just forget about all your problems, they seem so far when you are so relaxed.

/Katariina

My kind of Finnishness

I started this assignment by thinking what I understand by the term “Finnishness”. To me, it’s all the things that make me feel like myself the most. Places where I can be me, food I love to eat and hobbies I absolutely love to fill my spare time with. Things that give me a deep sense of satisfaction and peace of mind.

Forests

Nature in general is still very near to Finnish people, even in the cities. Lakes, forests, fells in Lapland… They are all places people seem to gravitate to. I grew up in the eastern part of Finland where there is an abundance of woods. Even today forests are places where I go to relax and quieten, to ground myself in a sense. I especially like to hike in the woods with my dogs.

Scenery from a forest, flavored with my doggie. (Image copyright is to me, do not copy.)

Karjalanpaisti

Nothing says Finnish food to me more than Karjalanpaisti (Karelian stew or hot pot in English). The stew has its roots in Karelia, the eastern region of Finland. It contains meat, usually pork, beef or lamb. I personally love the combination of lamb and beef. Root vegetables such as carrots and onions are added to the meat. The stew is seasoned with whole black peppercorns, allspice berries or bay leaf.

The meat is first seared and then placed in a big pot with the other ingredients. The pot is then filled with water and placed in an oven to braise. The cooking takes several hours in a low heat. The best oven for cooking is the traditional masonry oven, but not many have those these days.

I absolutely love this stew, it’s so yummy and perfect in its simplicity. I don’t have an image to add to this post, since the stew is always eaten before I manage to take pictures of it. It’s that good.

Crafts

Finland has quite long traditions in crafts. Even though I haven’t had the opportunity to learn the really old traditions, I still love different kinds of crafts. Especially knitting and crocheting are some of my favorite ways to relax and concentrate. My mother and both my grandmothers all knit and crochet, so it makes me feel close to them as well.

At the moment I am participating in an event called Kalevala CAL. CAL is an abbreviation of the words “Crochet Along”. Basically a CAL is a project where a lot of people are taking part and crocheting the same pattern. This particular CAL is a lovely tribute to Finnish culture and traditions, because it draws inspiration from the Finnish national epic Kalevala. The end product will be a large blanket where each square is inspired by different stories and characters from Kalevala. I couldn’t imagine a better way to celebrate Finnishness than this crafts project.

If you’re interested in the Kalevala CAL project, you can find more information here: http://www.arteeni.fi/kalevalacal-en

Some of my crocheting from Kalevala CAL.
(Image copyright is to me, do not copy.)

All in all, Finnishness to me is not one or two separate things. Rather it’s a variety of things which define me as a Finnish individual. In addition to these three subjects, there are a bunch more I find dear to me.

 

Balance between nature and urban city life

I have lived my whole life in Finland, in the bigger cities and also on the countryside, almost half and half. While I’m in Tampere I feel like a proper city girl, all urban and fancy. And then I go to the countryside or to the nearest forest and find my inner eräjorma (there is no translation for this word, but I feel ranger would be the closest alternative, someone who can survive in the “wild”).  And I love it! I love that I can feel fancy or down to earth whenever I want. I live relatively close to the city center and yet the closest forest is less than 2 kilometers away.

To me this is the strength of Finland and in particular the strength of Tampere. The nature is everywhere. I was devastated when some of the trees on the main street, Hämeenkatu, were cut down because of the building of the tram, that damn tram. Those trees had been there for decades, and where a big part of why I loved Tampere. I get why they had to go but still *insert crying emoji*. Thankfully there are still parks near the center and it hasn’t yet become a total concrete jungle.

SEE THOSE TREES?! THEY ARE GOOONE!!

 

And now quick before you think I’m a crazy treehugger I’ll jump into one of my favorite topics, fashion and design. Finland is the Mecca of simplistic design, among the other Nordic countries. Especially the current theme in all designing is simplicity, eco-friendliness and nature. For example, the clothing and fabric company Marimekko is well known for their nature inspired and/or simplistic patterns.And the glass and tableware company Iittala is most known for their modern design.  To me this speaks very loudly of us finns. We like simple things, we love the nature and we let it show.

*The factuality of these statements is unknown

 

In conclusion to me Finnishness is taking care of the nature, enjoying the simple things in life, like being able to go to the forest and listen to the silence and breathe in the clean air.(Funny story; I was at a concert a while ago and the singer said that the first thing they noticed in Finland was how clean the air is! Haha so funny..) Finnishness is also not liking the God damn tram worksite, which is making me crazier by the hour. Finnishness is being crazy, too!  Most of us are more or less crazy.

WTF, Welcome to Finland.

 

My experiences of Finnishness

In this text I want to tell some things that mean “Finnishness” to me.

1)      Summer and summer cottages

I absolutely love summer in Finland. Going to festivals, having picnic outside, jogging in forest, having breakfast on the terrace, coming home during the light night, eating strawberries at the market etc.

Summer is (too) short in Finland but people really enjoy it. During the summer it’s very light. The more north you go the lighter it is.

Many people have their own summer cottage. My family’s summer cottage is in Northern Finland. It takes many hours to drive there but it’s worth it. There is for example “smoke sauna”. And after going to sauna you can swim in the lake.

Turku Ruisrock 09-11.07 2010

www.festarit. org

2)      Food

There are some delicious typical Finnish foods and goodies. I love chocolate called “Fazer’s blue chocolate”. Blueberry pie is also very Finnish thing.  Many people go to the forest during summer and pick up blueberries and to make a blueberry pie. Then is also bread cheese, whipped lingonberry porridge, salmon soup, cabbage rolls, gingerbread cookies, rice pies, cinnamon buns, meat balls, rye bread…

fazer_sininen-levy_rgb_1600x600

www.fazer.fi    

3) Nature

Nature in Finland is really beautiful. I love to go to forest for a run or walk. And it’s said that Finland is the most forested country in Europe. 70 % of the land is covered with threes.

There are also many lakes in Finland. Some people say that Finland is “the land of thousand lakes”. Because there are lots of lakes there is also fish.

Nature is important for many Finnish people. We go there to relax and enjoy the silence.

Suomi

www.rantapallo.fi

Capercaillies and solitude

DSC_0733

This fellow here is a capercaillie. I worked at a Finnish National park this summer and heard one or two times a month how the bird tried to jump on people walking the trails. Since the bird became quite popular among the staff and customers of the National park, I started to introduce him when telling about the surroundings to foreign hikers and tourists. Every time when talking to Americans, Japanese people or anyone from a different continent, I faced the same problem: nobody knew what a capercaillie was even though I tried to describe it through “the famous Finnish painting where two of these are fighting”. The closest I got was the white grouse, probably thanks to the liquor named after it.

That is why I decided the capercaillie and Finnish nature and forests were even more Finnish than the sauna or the awkward silence between Finnish people in the situations that call for small talk. I think the relationship we have to the nature tells a lot about Finnish people. We don’t have fancy lions or rhinos wondering in our forests and our trees are quite small and boring. Nevertheless, we have a unique right to pick berries and mushrooms, camp temporarily and hike in someone else’s land. In Finland, almost 80 % of the country consists of forests and we are basically allowed to walk in any of them.

IMG-20160907-WA0004                                           IMG-20160907-WA0005

Every man’s rights are nothing special to Finnish people. We go for a walk in a forest to find a bit peace and calm and to enjoy the nature. And for Finnish people, it is important to be alone in that walk. If we go hiking with our family or boyfriend, we would like to encounter the fewest people possible. It is a catastrophe if someone is already at the lean-to-shelter we have picked and we have to camp with strangers. No wonder the wilderness in Lapland is the most popular area to hike.

Even though Finnish people do like their peace and calm and solitude, we are friendly and social in our own way. We just take a bit more time to warm up.