Tag Archives: nature

Finnishness for me

When I think about Finland, first thing that comes to mind is the beautiful nature we have here. Along with nature comes the peacefulness that you can find almost everywhere if you just walk into the nearest forest even during the busy times in your daily life. When I’ve been abroad, especially in big cities, it’s always the nature and the peace that I miss the most. During the summer, being able to just go swimming in the lakes is such a privilege. Also during winter being able to go skiing in the forest is such a pleasure and when I tell about it to my friends who live in abroad where that is not possible, they say it sounds like a thing you could only do when you travel somewhere for a holiday. Nature in Finland brings so much joy into my life here.

 

The second thing I love is the people. I love the way respect each other and especially respect each other’s privacy. I also don’t like talking much a lot with random people, especially small talk feels like such a waste of time, so I love that we don’t really need to do that here.

 

And I can’t forget about sauna. In addition to nature, it’s the thing I always seem to miss the most when I’m abroad. Especially when I used to live in a house where I had my own sauna, it was amazing that I could just go there every day if I wanted to. And even when I don’t have my own sauna in my house, I love that most buildings in Finland have a sauna that all the residents can use, which is also something my friends abroad are always surprised about. During winter, there’s no better feeling than going outside from sauna to cold weather and then back into the warmth of the sauna.

And one more thing, I really love cooking and grocery shopping in Finland. There are such big markets with such a big variety of different food products and also items from all over the world, so I love how easy it is to buy groceries and make your own food. Rather than having a culture where people eat outside often, I like that we don’t have that here because I enjoy making my own food the way I want to and I can invite people over to share it. When I’ve been abroad we mostly just eat outside with my friends, which is nice too, but I just can’t help but always miss my own kitchen and grocery store items when I’m abroad.

Finnishness

When I’m thinking about Finland and Finnishness, first things that comes to my mind is the beautiful nature of Finland and four seasons we have here. Finland is known by thousands of lakes, clean forests and fresh air. Finnish people like to go for a walk in the woods, camping and picking up some berries and mushroom from the forest in the autumn. I think that finnish people really respect and enjoy the nature but we’re also very happy to live in safe country where the education system usually works very well.

In winter we can enjoy snowy views and do wintersports like skating, skiing and snowboarding. The classic winter hobby is swimming in ice hole, which might sound grazy to someone non-Finnish. If you’re lucky, you can have a chance to see some northern lights especially in Lapland. 

Even though we have pretty long and dark winter here in Finland, the summer here is super nice, bright and sometimes also very hot. In summer Finnish people are used to enjoy cottage life, which usually includes sauna and swimming in lake. Many Finnish people love sunbathing and they really take full advantage of short summer. In midsummer the sun doesn’t go down the entire night and that is something quite magical. 

Finnishness

When I think about Finland and finnishness, first thing that comes to mind is winter, snow and nature. I’m originally from Lapland (hometown of Santa Claus) and I really like the real winter with lots of snow. Winter sports like ice hockey (especially when we beat Swedish), skiing and downhill skiing are important to Finnish people.  In Lapland, the nature is the most beautiful thing and many foreigners come to Finland to experience the Finnish nature. I’m happy and proud to grew up in Finland. Also sauna is a big part of Finnish culture and when I moved to Tampere, I didn’t have my own sauna and I really miss it. I completely understand why sauna is so important to Finnish people.

Finns are known as quiet and honest people who value their privacy. We are also hard-working, friendly and there is this thing called ‘sisu’ which means determination regardless of the cost and persistence.

All things considered, I’m proud to be a Finn.

Finnishness

Sauna, icehockey, Marimekko, lakes, forests, the first of May, midsummer, independence day… There are many words that comes to my mind when I think about Finland and Finnishness.

There are no right or wrong answers to the question “What is Finnishness?”. There are a lot of stereotypes about Finland and Finnish people but for me it’s all about family, nature and history. We have a long history and i I think we should be really proud of it as a nation.

Our nature is beautiful, clean and versatile, we should always take good care of it. I know family is an important value in many cultures but for me it may be the most important thing in Finnishness. I am very interested in my own family history and roots. In addition, one of the greatest things in Finland is our free and high-quality education.

I own the rights to every picture.

Finnishness

Finnishness means many things to me. The first thing that comes to my mind is the Finnish Independence Day on the 6th of December. All Finns gather to celebrate and honor the independence our grandparents fought for. I believe this day is the heart of all Finnishness.

The nature in Finland is clean and beautiful with its four seasons. I have been living in Northern Finland for my whole childhood before moving to Tampere.  In winter it can get extremely cold and in summer the sun is shining around the clock. Finland is also known for its northern lights, which people around the world come to see.

Finns are described as quiet, calm and humble people, which is often true. At first, Finns are not very open people but when you get to know them better, they can be very friendly and easy going. It can take a little longer to get to know them but the friendships are strong and will most likely last for a lifetime. The easiest way to understand and make friends with Finns is to go to the sauna with them. Most people in Finland have their own sauna and this is a very important tradition for us.

Finland is one of the safest and most equal countries in the whole world. Also, the education and healthcare systems are top-notch. It is great to live in a free country where everyone has the same opportunities. I’m proud to be Finnish.

My experiences of Finnishness

I am originally from Germany and moved to Finland almost four years ago. For two and half years l lived with a Finnish host family. This time, as well as my Finnish friends whom I met while studying majorly, account for my experiences of Finnishness.

I had never really been aware of my own culture. It was only when I moved to Finland that I noticed differences in peoples’ behaviours and thought patterns. In the following I will go through few elements of Finnishness that were particularly remarkable to me when I first came:

Finns find joy in calmness, appreciate their personal space, take time for themself, are pretty straightforward about most things while being humble or modest people. This shows in many everyday situations. Let’s take travelling by bus as an example – the picture below tell more than words (and as communicating with as few words as possible is part of Finnishness, I will adapt 😉)

Finnishness in free-time activities is basically divided into three different yet somehow connected major themes:

  • Drinking: longdrinks or the famous karhu beer in combination with a visit to a karaoke bar or drinking lots of black coffee eventually in combination with ice cream or a munkki)
  • Nature: Finns are very sportive and active people and also I have learned to enjoy spending my free time taking a walk in the forest or spending the weekend at the cottage (as far away from others as possible😉)

  • Sauna: warning: the above-mentioned need for personal space and privacy does not apply here! Sitting naked and sweating in a tiny hot room packed with people is an important part of Finnishness. Going afterwards for the mandatory swim in a close-by lake (regardless of the outside temperature) defiantly requires (at least for me) Finnish perseverance or so-called sisu.

 

When moving abroad and starting to recognize differences in culture, behaviour, attitudes, etc. it is easy to stick to one’s own culture yet it is especially then important to remember to stay open to and observe the culture while then picking the best parts of the culture and adapting pits and pieces to make it your own.

My thoughts on Finnishness

Typical Finnish people are quiet, humble and very reserved. Most of us don’t want to be in the center of attention or getting any public credit. We just want to do our own thing without drawing any attention towards ourselves. Finns are usually very quiet and don’t bother to do any small talk and the worst thing one could do is to be too loud in the morning bus. It is the respectful thing towards others that everyone just sits  there looking grumpy and tired. However, once you get to know to them better you’ll see that Finns are actually very fun and warm people. We are also really proud of our culture and history, especially the “guts” (sisu) we showed in the war against soviets, sauna, our pure nature and our success in winter sports. In Finland we have all four seasons and we always try to get best out of them. In summertime many Finns like to spend much time in their summerhouses and in winter to do winter sports like skiing or snowmobiling.

Brown Wooden Dock on Body of Water          Green Pine Tree Covered With Snow

In Finland everything is too good nowadays. Things are so good that people don’t appreciate anything anymore, especially younger generation, and everything good is taken for granted. In Finland everyone can become a doctor, for example, no matter what their socioeconomic background is. We get paid for studying here, and still many students are angry when some of their financial aid is cut by couple of euros! Sometimes too much negativity is very tiring and we should focus more on good things and value our great country and opportunities it offers for everyone equally. I am proud to be a Finn.

 

The most authentic part in Finnishness

One of the most authentic experiences I love about Finland and Finnishness is a proper cottage experience. The best Finnish cottage is kind a rough and simple cottage in the middle of nowhere on the shore of lake or sea. You should not be able to see your neighbors to be fully relaxed.

The best moments about being on the cottage are the evenings and nights on the warm summer nights when the sun does not set at all. You can sit on the porch with your friends and family all night and complain about mosquitos and how those creatures are the most useless things in the whole world. You can also just sit there quietly and sip your drinks and just listen the sounds of the nature. It is almost enchanting to do that, the longer you do are quiet the more sounds of nature you will hear.

 

To have a full Finnish cottage experience, sauna and grilling must be included in equation. After sweating in wood cottage sauna, a freshening dip into lake is on point. And again, the porch is playing major role also in sauna experience. You will come out, sit on some bench, and have a conversation like this; “Phew, the wood sauna is something else”. After that you put fire in the grill and grill sausages or something else easy to eat.

For me, these cottage experiences are must haves at least couple times in summer. It brings me to origin Finnishness, own peace, the most important people around you, surrounded by nature and calmness in your heart and soul.

Experience “Finnishness” as a Russian

My experience with “Finnishness” began somewhere in my childhood. Often, in the winter my family would go to Finland for downhill skiing when I was a kid. Other times we would visit our family friends, live in a wooden cottage far away from the closest town and I would build tree houses from branches in the deep forests somewhere in the north with my friend. I remember the smell of woods, coziness of the fireplace in the winter, the feeling of freedom when looking at the snowy hills and my skis and some sense of unity with nature – these were my first memories of Finland.

I was born in Petrozavodsk (Petroskoi), Karelia, in the north-west of Russia. Karelian culture is very similar to Finnish and both of the languages share lots of similarities. However Karelian is not an actively used language anymore. Starting from food (Karelian pies with potatoes or millet), folklore, musical instruments, nature and landscapes – Karelia and Finland have a lot in common. As a person who lived in such mix of Karelian-Russian culture for most of my life, Finland was and is still close to my heart. Many of my friends from Petrozavodsk have started studying Finnish at schools or even earlier – kindergartens, then moved to Helsinki or Joensuu to get a degree or simply were grocery shopping in Finland from time to time. “Finnishness” was and is considered something dear for many of us.

Finland as a destination choice to get a degree was something comforting for me, that place where I could feel like at home but at the same time challenge myself with studies, to make friends with people from around the world and experience “Finnishness” in a slightly different and more authentic way. And I think I did get a lot of new ideas and thoughts about the term since then.

I love that “Finnishness” means caring about each other and society in general, providing lots of opportunities for studying and growing personally and professionally for everyone, even to the ones from abroad like me. I appreciate that “Finnishness” means taking care of nature and its inhabitants by recycling, reusing and simply taking responsibility for actions. “Finnishness” also means being with nature, spending time outdoors and showing the right way to treat things around us in general.

 

My experience with “Finnishness” and Finland was very educating, inspiring, breathtaking and I know that this is not the end and I am happy to be able to explore and understand “Finnishness” in my own way now and share it with you.

 

 

Proud of my Finnishness

When talking about Finland and Finnish things probably the first thing that comes to mind is the gorgeous nature with thousands of lakes and forests. You can enjoy those things no matter what time of the year it is or wherever you live. I’ve had the privilege to be able to visit our family’s cottage. The property was bought when I was six so I have a lot of incredible memories from there. Picture a quiet summer evening, warm sauna and refreshing water in the lake. That is perfection if you ask from me.

               

I’m extremely proud of saying that I’m from Finland. There is no shame behind that word. Finland is mostly a safe place to live and some researches say that we are the happiest people on Earth. It’s a huge privilege to be born and raised in Finland. I think I got a childhood and a life in general that many people from all around the world doesn’t get and only dream about. I’m so grateful of my Finnishness and I feel that sometimes we Finns take things for granted but we should appreciate everything Finland has given us as our homeland.