For me Finnishness is a lot about personality. Finnish people need their own personal space and peace, even in public. If you go in to an elevator with other people in Finland, you don`t get much eye contact, because all the other people are staring at their feet, ground, walls or the roof of the elevator. If you accidentally put out words like: “good morning” to a stranger in an elevator with you, you might just get odd looks like you would have escaped from a mental hospital or something. You can also see the need of a personal space in public transport like buses or trams. You can never sit beside a stranger, if there is even one empty pair of seats anywhere on the vehicle, because if you do, you probably get the same kind of look than in the elevator when you open your mouth.
Sauna, beer and sausage
Three words that fits in to any Finns mouth. No matter if its spring, summer, autumn or winter, this holy triangle is close to every Finns heart. Especially in summer, the beer and sausage part takes a big part of a native Finns life, because grilling is the thing you just have to do at summer, no matter if it rains or shines. More than just a few times i`ve grilled under umbrella, but it is worth it, because the sausage tastes even better when you have needed a bit of sisu while cooking it. Being a fanatic fan of ice hockey is also big part of Finnishess. That is why the holy triangle will be emphasized during ice hockey world championship games, and once in a blue moon when Finland makes it in to the finals or even wins the cup, the importance of these things go off the charts. These things walk hand in hand.
That is what being a true Finn is.
I have thought about Finnishness a lot. I find our culture and behavior peculiar and interesting: On the other hand I sometimes feel very annoyed with our country and the way we act but on the other hand I’m extremely proud of being born in the great North and I’m always eager to have a chat about Finland.
Okey so let’s dig in to my thoughts. These are not facts or proved knowledge. Only my experiences during these past 21 years of wandering around the globe.
People from Finland are cold. You can blame the weather and our inheritance for our behavior, but it’s a cold hard fact (see what I did there? 😀 ) that we Finns are as warm as the summer we have. We usually avoid unnecessary touching and showing affection.
I find it frustrating that in our country you have to give handshakes – not only to new acquaintances but sometimes you have to share this weird habit with relatives or even with some friends. I never thought handshaking is something natural to human beings and it always feels a bit forced – and the worst part is that it only makes you feel uncomfortable and the situation itself might become even more awkward. Unlike a kiss or a hug might release some tension and create a connection. But you know what’s even more awkward than a lousy handshake? No handshake whatsoever. Sometimes I find myself stuck to a situation where the other person doesn’t seem too interested in meeting you and even the small effort of touching the other person’s hand seems like too much to do.
But when you finally do get to know a Finnish person (even though the part where you meet and get to know to a Finn might be hard) you’d got yourself a life-long friend. Finnish people are so loyal and honest and they pretty much stick around, no matter what’s the situation.
Another thing you need to know about Finns is that we are very persistent. We even have a very special word to describe the typical Finnish persistence, sisu. It means being single-minded and relentless. Quitting is something that Finns find unsettling and the job has to be done almost perfectly. This quality is good and bad at the same time: Even I can see this feature in myself even though I’m not the most typical Finn to say the least. I basically never give up and maybe some times it would be better to just say “no” than force yourself to do something unpleasant.
And most importantly. The weather. It’s a really big deal to us. You’d think that we are fine with every type of weather but the reality is actually the exact opposite. We have a tendency to complain about the weather a lot. During summer is either too hot or too rainy. During winter it’s either too warm or too cold. When it’s spring, it’s snowing. And when it’s autumn, it’s dark. This is our circle of life and we should all appreciate it more. When you think about it.. not many countries have that much variety when it comes to weather….
I’m just kidding… The sleet is awful.
Okey, I just realized my list is not too positive. But you should all know Finland is still the greatest country to live in and there’s not enough slush in the world to change my opinion about it. Imagine, we have
- opintotuki aka study grants
- santa claus
- mustamakkara aka the black sausage
- summer houses
- thousands of lakes
- blonde guys and girls
- blue eyes
- rye bread
- basically no corruption
- Finnish Christmas
- Finnish summer and never ending sunlight
- Karelian pasty
- one of the best education systems in the whole wide world
- one of the happiest people in the world!!!! 🙂
Yes, we are amazing. Keep up the good work Finns!