“Finland, Finland, Finland. The country where I quite want to be”
When mentioned Finland to foreigners, you either get “where’s that?” Or “would love to visit but it’s cold there” Some think it’s so far from everything or that it’s part of Russia. It is far from a lot of places, that’s true but nothing is too far these day. Part of Russia? No, that’s decades ago. Also a lot of people think it’s cold all the time. We do have 4 season. Which is part of the charm. You never know what kind of weather you get. It can get very hot in the summer or a little colder. It just depends on the year. We also have mild winters with no snow. If you want snow, North of Finland is the place. But even there, winters can be mild.
Other things that Finland is known for is the drinking culture. It is true that people drink here a lot. Not just drink, get really drunk. But not everyone is like that. I can’t stand the taste of that stuff. They also drink a lot in other Nordic countries so Finland is not the only. People here usually drink a lot on May Day Eve and Midsummer Eve. It seems that they can’t have fun without getting drunk. The saddest thing is that kids drink alcohol too. It makes you wonder, what do their parents think. Do they think at all. The legal age here is 18 but still underaged try to buy beer. There are parents who buy their kids alcohol. What’s the hurry? I’ve never understood that. Since when has alcohol become so important in people’s minds. You can’t blame it on the war, that happened decades ago. The bad habit seems to go through every generation. They say the use of alcohol between young adults has decreased. But I don’t see it. The same with smoking, I think that bad habit (not to mention disgusting) has increased. Not the other way around.
The Finns are also seen as honest but reserved. In another word, introvert. In a way that’s true. The most introverts live in South of Finland. They only talk to people they know. Even a “Hi” to strangers seems difficult. If there’s an empty seat beside you in a bus. Do you think they sit down? No, they rather stand. If you start talking to them, they just give you the look “are you talking to me?” Maybe if you ask them a question, you just get a short answer. Even if they’re not introverts they still act like one. But give them alcohol, they won’t stop talking. Especially the men.
The most extroverts live in the East of Finland. There they are more talkative and more friendly. Maybe because they’re closer to the border to Russia and are used to different people. And probably more curious.
Being an introvert in an introvert country is hard. You have difficulties to find friends. They won’t come to you, you must go to them. It takes a lot of courage to start a conversation with them. There’s a lot of positive said about the Finns but the truth is, you won’t become friends after you talked to them a while. It might never happen. You probably have to go to the same school or job to even get close to friendship. They won’t become your friend if you only meet them on the street. Finns only talk to stranger if they only have to. Ask directions, you might get help. But friendship? Not that easy. A lot of Finns are selfish and only become friends if you dress like them or act like them.
Finns are also jealous of other people’s successes. They kick you when you’re down but when you’re up, you get a pat on the back. Honest Finns? Only honest if there’s something for them. They might promise you the world but in the end, they just a bunch of liars.
And don’t get me started on the weather. Winter and Autumn/Fall is the worst. People walk on the street like zombies. No one smiles and if you do, they think you’re drunk. Finns don’t like darkness either. A lot of them looks like they’ve eaten lemons. But God forbid when spring and summer comes, they won’t shut up. As soon as the sun comes out, they get all extroverts for a while. It’s the alcohol talking. Again. It seems some Finns don’t know how to behave after the dark season so they’re all over the place. If they smiled despite the weather, maybe they wouldn’t be such jerks.
Finns love compliments as long as they’re positive. But if you say negative things, they won’t like it. Because they can’t laugh at themselves. They take themselves too seriously. I guess they can’t handle the truth.
“You can’t handle the truth!” – A few good men
Sometimes I wonder why I stay in this country in the first place. But not all is that bad. There are positive things too. But that post is for another day.