What comes first to my mind when I think of Finland and finnishness? Space.
Only five million people living inside 338 440,83 square kilometers means that there’s some space to breath – and space for our beautiful nature. If you want peace, there won’t be too many kilometers to walk until you find some!
Space came to my mind in other aspect too. We Finns have our own, special personal space around us, and we feel totally comfortable alone! Walking on the streets we avoid eye contact, and if someone dares to come too close, we will get stressed and annoyed. Overall we do not want to bother other people either, when doing grocery shopping we go through the cashier as fast as possible to avoid anyone behind waiting, and if we ever cause someone some extra waiting, we will be sorry and ashamed!
We do not want too much attention to be paid towards us – especially if it is something negative and to be shamed of. However being in the spotlight even in a good light is not something everyone of us enjoys. Better not to be seen at all! However we are very keen on praising on each other and love to point out good sides in we wee en other people, while criticizing something in ourselves in the same time.
This relates highly to the fact that we feel totally comfortable also alone. Then there’s no chance to get yourself into awkward situations!
Ok, this all can sound a bit harsh, there is a lot of truth in those facts, but a part of the truth is also that the Finns are a very welcoming folk – we love to tell about our country and we are proud of it. And we love to welcome people to visit us – the table will be full of food and you can be sure there’s nothing left of shyness as we get over the rust in the beginning. We’ll even invite you in our sauna – the relaxing spot you can find in almost all Finnish houses – and there the rest of the shyness is gone since all of us will be naked. Do not worry, after a couple of beers, “saunakalja”, you do not even notice it, we’ll end up so talkative you don’t have time to think your appearance.
So, there were some facts about Finnishness that came first to my mind – there are so many aspects in us Finns that one post would be too long to write! We have some serious attitude and weird loner habits, and we might seem a bit grumpy too, but we have the ways to relax too and we’ll always make our guests feel a warm welcome!