My experience of Finnishness

 Winter

Winter – A very special season with its good and bad effects

Finland is a country of a thousand lakes but also a land of ice and snow. Our winter can last for 6 months and be very dark. I think Finnish people love the fact that we have so many different seasons but the darkness during the winter time is still very hard, especially mentally. Luckily snow brings a lot of light to the darkness and especially in February and March the weather can be so beautiful when the sun shines and it’s all light and white. The hard part is in December and January. I also think that it has something to do with the famous silent and shy Finnish people: if it’s cold and dark outside, people tend to be more tired and stay at home instead of going out. Just like the famous Finnish author Tove Jansson’s Moomin-characters actually sleep all over the winter…

 

 

Shy but honest?

The Finnish Nightmares -cartoons are very famous and funny for a reason: they are so true! Finnish people in general want a lot of “own space”.  They usually don’t even say “hi” to strangers in the hallway. I think they don’t want to be rude but it’s just a matter of being shy and as long as we don’t have that small-talk culture, we don’t know what to say. It can also be hard with the closest friends or family to tell about our real feelings. Personally I’d love that culture to change a bit in the fact that it would be easier to tell each other about what’s bothering us or how we feel. The famous Finnish “sisu”, which means strength and not giving up, is a great thing so that Finns really want to cope with their lives and make their dreams come true. But I wish that Finnish people could also tell a little earlier, if they need help with something, instead of keeping their problems as secrets inside.

Some foreign friends of mine told me that it’s a little more difficult to get to talk with Finns but once you do, it’s a chance to make up a good, reliable friendship. In general Finland is also told to be a very safe country.

 

Wow, here comes the sun!

After a long, long winter the summer is like a dream! The sun is up also during the night and people enjoy that in many different ways: there are a lot of festivals and outdoor restaurants. In that picture in the middle, there’s a sauna that is floating on the water like a boat. Sauna is an important thing all over year – it’s a place to relax and actually talk about everything.

Summer, sauna, summer cottage…

Many Finns have a summer cottage somewhere in the middle of the nature with a lake nearby. There they usually also have a sauna, en electric or wooden, so that they can stay in the sauna for hours and swim in-between. Like I mentioned earlier about the own space that Finns want to have, the summer cottage is a place to be away from all the stress and noise and be in touch with the nature. There it’s a good time also to make some barbecue and pick up berries in the forest…

 

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