How is your weekend coming along and do you have plans for travels? No? Don’t worry join me in my trip to Finland under the Flyaway Friday feature. Wondering what this is about? We are taking armchair travel to another level, by learning about a country, reading books that talk about the country and now we have a guest blogger from the country to tell us more about their Finnish native.
I have Jenny, better known as Tecsie, from Finland to share us about her country and their Finnish ways of life. I know her from our common Discord groups and then her blog Tecsielity;. She is a book worm, designer, video gamer and of course a blogger. Here is her bio that she shared with me:
Jenny (or Tecsie, either way is fine) is a 25-year-old Finnish lover of books and video games so she blogs about both of them. She’s currently obsessed with the Outlander series and also enjoys napping a lot because it’s cold outside.
Jenny takes over from here:
The common stereotype of Finnish people is that we are silent people who possibly drink a lot of alcohol, listen to metal and of course enjoy the sauna. Most Finns probably won’t deny these.
Small talk is not a big part of our culture and people are very comfortable with silence but don’t worry, we also have some chattier people among us. We may warm up to strangers a little slowly, but once you get to know us you may find that we’re actually very friendly people. And yes, we do love our saunas!
You can pretty much expect to find a sauna in every Finnish house, they’re that important. Yes, we go in there naked and yes, it’s very hot. The temperatures can be anything from 60C to 120C, but personally I think 60-70 is the most comfortable. It may sound way too hot if you’ve never been in one, but it’s actually very comfortable and especially lovely in winter.
A fun sauna tradition is gathering a bunch of leafy birch branches (vihta) and hitting your back with them (it’s supposed to be relaxing for the muscles and it also makes the sauna smell really good).
All the snow
Another thing you can of course expect to find in Finland is snow. Since it snows everywhere in the country it doesn’t affect the life much, we don’t close schools etc. for any weather and buses and trains will run unless something actually breaks down. I have unhappily walked to school in -30C weather quite a few times in my life.
Winters have become a lot milder these past few years though, especially in the southern Finland and even my area had surprisingly little snow last year despite being pretty north. Lapland still gets the harsher winter no matter what, and that’s probably part of the reason majority of the population lives in the south. North is the way to go if you wish to see the northern lights though! I know many tourists come here just to see those.
Our traditional foods probably won’t sound very fancy compared to many countries, but I’ll introduce a few examples anyway. My personal favorite are Karelian pasties which are basically rise wrapped in a rye crust and they’re so good! It’s common to put egg butter on them, but I prefer just normal butter. Karelian stew is also very good (it’s usually beef or pork stew). Some holiday related things would be mämmi (rye pudding) on Easter, and star shaped Christmas tarts (joulutorttu) that usually have plum or apple-cinnamon jam in the middle.
Don’t be alarmed if a Finn offers you salmiakki, it’s just salty liquorice. I’m personally not a fan, but it’s a very popular candy here it may be slightly hilarious to offer it to people who have never tried it. We also have a weird love for tar flavored things because for example tar flavored soda is a thing.
Finland in media
Finland does not come up a lot in fictional media (or elsewhere, I mean there’s a conspiracy theory that Finland doesn’t exist) which is why Finns are always very excited if something has Finnish characters in it or someone even just mentions us! You may see the phrase “Suomi mainittu! Torille!” on the Internet a lot if we’re actually included somewhere. It means “Finland mentioned! To the marketplace!”.
Some examples of Finnish fictional characters: M.K. (aka Veera Suominen) in Orphan Black and Ritva Tuomivaara in the game Wolfenstein II. Vikings has also had two Finnish actors (Jasper Pääkkönen and Peter Franzén) in major roles in the newer seasons.
Since I already taught you one great Finnish phrase, let’s continue with a few more of those:
- Moi/Terve/Hei = Hello
- Mitä kuuluu? = How are you?
- Terveydeksi = Bless you
If you’re learning Finnish it’s also important to know that there are a lot of different dialects in different areas, so if you end up coming to Finland it probably won’t hurt to research a little bit how people talk in the particular area you’re going to so you won’t be completely lost. (Most Finns are pretty okay at English though.)
You’ll notice the difference even in such simple words as I or you. I can come up with at least five different ways to say each of those.
You = sinä, sää, sä, sie, nää
One of my favorite very local words is “pahki”, which basically means bumping into something or someone. If you tried to use that in southern Finland people most likely would have no idea what you’re talking about unless they’ve happened to hear it before!
Thanks Jenny for your time and sharing with us a glimpse of your Finnish life. You can contact here through her blog and social accounts.
That brings us to the end of our travel, the Finland edition. I will meet you next month with another country with its books, author and bloggers and whatever I can think of.
Do the Finns live up to your stereotypes? Do you have any friends from the Finland? What other countries do you wanna travel next? Let me know in your comments.