I’m sitting on our terrace, enjoying the last beams of today’s sunshine, drinking tea. Coffee would probably be more Finnish but I just hate it (bad Finn). You can smell in the air that summer has slowly started turning into fall. I think today has been one of the last warm days of this summer, nights are already getting colder and darker.
Yesterday I was picking cloudberries in a nearby swamp and the day before chanterelles in the woods, that means that fall is definitely on its way.
I was born and raised in Ostrobothnia. I have always lived near nature and nature has played and will play a huge role in my life. Since I was a kid I’ve been playing in the forest, exploring, collecting berries and mushrooms, hunting and hiking. I have grown into it and it’s just a part of our normal life at my childhood home. Now when I’m a bit older I’ve started to respect all this. I have realized how special and unique Finland’s nature is and that is why I want to write about it. Our nature is the thing I’m most proud of and I think It should be cherished.
When I think about Finnishness, the first thing that comes to my mind is our beautiful nature. We have clean and fresh air, lakes, forests, four beautiful seasons, hills, rivers and the list goes on.
I also think that many aspects in our culture are bonded to nature. Many traditions and old sayings come from nature or are otherwise related to it. In the very old Finnish mythology there were own gods/spirits for the forest and water and so on. And there was also different kind of meanings for seeing some animals or hearing them. Nature was kind of worshipped in the old mythology, and some sayings from the old times are still alive. Like “Anna Ahti ahvenia”. Which is asking Ahti, the god of water in the old mythology to give the fishermen perch.
As an amateur photographer I don’t think that I’ll ever get tired of our views. I could probably write a novel about this subject so I’ll just stop now. You just have to come and visit to see our country with your own eyes.
Okay, now I have told you what I love the most in Finland and a small bit of what being Finnish is to me. So now let me tell you something about the people in this country.
Finns are quite hard to get to know first. We don’t open up straight away, and we definitely do not open up to strangers. We have our own personal space and we like to keep it personal. Chitchatting is awkward and there is no need to talk if there isn’t anything meaningful to say. Things are good the way they’ve always been, and if there’s something new to try, it better be very good to be accepted. Finns don’t talk in the buss, in the lift or in any other situations where you have to be with other people unless they must. We drink coffee and vodka, and eat karjalanpiirakka. Everybody skis in the winter and -30 degrees isn’t a problem. When it’s 15 degrees it’s bikini weather.
Soooooo, those might be the few things that come to mind when people think about Finns. The truth is that we’re not like that. Not all of us at least… We can seem a bit antisocial first but don’t let that scare you, we are nice people. If you want to play it safe meet a Finn in the sauna or while they’re drunk. Sauna is a place where everyone are friends and there isn’t a care in the world.
All in all Finland is an amazing country. The surroundings are great, the people are great and I haven’t even told you about our cities, design or technology or everything else that is Finnish.
Welcome to Finland!