For me Finland and ”Finnishness” can be summarized in three words: Family, Nature and Sauna. I love traveling, but these three things make Finland my home. They are the things that I miss and the things I return back for (plus to stack up on some salmiakki of course).
Most of my family lives in Finland. We have long history here all the way from up north to down south. Especially my grandparents remind me of why Finland, the country their parents fought for, is important. They also help me to see the things we have only in here like quietness of lakeside and forest full of berries and such. Finnish language, and my family’s way of speaking it, has words I would never manage to translate in English and subjects that others would not understand. This makes my time with my family speaking Finnish special.
Nature is very big part of my life both in Finland and everywhere I go. Whether it be hiking, wandering, berry or mushroom picking or just hanging out by the lake or barbequing sausages in forest, it’s where I want to be – and luckily in Finland it’s possible. Everyman’s rights provide us with all the forest has to offer.
One just simply can’t talk about “Finnishness” without mentioning sauna. It’s such an important part of Finns that it has created its own culture; Using “vihta” aka birch whisk, pouring beer to sauna stove (please if you are in the Finland for the first time don’t do this without sauna owner’s permission, not appreciated everywhere), sauna elves, telling your deepest secrets or staying quiet and simply enjoying. What better to do than constant swimming and sauna in summer and ice swimming and sauna in winter? Sauna has also made nakedness sort of normal for Finns, which makes it no special to go skinny dipping as it’s normal on cottages.
For me something that departures us Finnish people from other in the world is our personality and culture that you can’t find anywhere else in the world. Even compered to our close neighbours Sweden and Russia, we have our own thing going on. I thought that I would write more about a couple of things that I like and can relate to about us Finnish people and our characteristics.
The respect for silence
I love the fact that Finnish people don’t have to talk all the time when being in interaction with people. We don’t do small talk that good, which can be a problem when we are with other people from abroad that like to keep the conversation going. That’s why we Finnish people can be considered rude sometimes although we don’t mean to be. I like the fact that you can sometimes be silent with a friend and it’s not awkward. It’s nice to
The Finnish resilience
I think Finnish people are strong and persistent. We don’t give up easily. Our Finnish resilience, also called “sisu”, means a certain kind of courage that can be seen at moments and situations where success has come against odds. In the history of Finland, we have shown our “sisu” in different sporting events and in the winter war. I think “sisu” is seen in every Finn in a daily basis in our lives. Just the mentality that we have for things that we are passionate about.
This is also something I really like about Finnish people. We are almost always on time and if are late we are very sorry about it. I’m the kind of person that is rather early that late and that’s why I appreciate that Finnish people respect the schedules and plans that have been made. I think this is something at foreigners appreciate about us Finnish people. We are reliable in business and in personal life.
Being a Finn isn’t really that big of a deal. There really is only a couple of key principles that you should follow in order to be alike. Here are top seven things that I think differs me and people around me from foreigners:
Respect of personal space.
– If there is really no need to, leave at least 2 meters, one seat etc. distance between you and other people around you. Why you might ask? Well why not, we have much room to share in here.
Valuation for studying and knowledge.
– Although ignorance is bliss sometimes, for most of the times it really helps to know thing or two.
Go straight to the point.
– If you have something to say, say it. No need for that extra small talk every time you want to ask or say something. Makes things more easier and you save time for you and for others.
Silence ain’t that bad always.
– Just relax. No need to be always speaking or making up that small talk for no reason. Silence is not too common nowadays anyways.
Relaxing at Sauna.
– You like hot tub right? Everybody likes hot tub. Well Sauna is pretty much the same, but much more hotter and relaxing. Try it couple of times and when you get used to the heat, you just can’t get enough of it. And don’t pay attention to the nudity and it won’t bother you.
Anything you want to do, do it with “sisu”.
– If there really is something you want to get done or accomplish, just do it with pride, give it all you got and do not give up. Finish the job, even if barely. Do that and you got what is called “sisu”.
Be one as a nation.
– If one succeeds, you also succeeds. Be proud of that, go brag with that succession to other nation people(especially to nearest neighbor nation(Sweden!)) and do not forget to go to the nearest central market right after.