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.
Have you got your bags packed with warm clothes? We are ready to visit the Finnish land through a handpicked collection of books set in Finland and / or by Finnish authors. So what are we waiting for let us get on with it.
1) New Finnish Grammar By Diego Marani
During the turmoil of World War II a wounded soldier with no memory or language is found near the dock Trieste, Italy. A German ship’s doctor provides him not only medical assistance but also finds the name tag ‘Sampo Karjalainen’ on him and recognizes it as of Finnish origin.
The doctor himself is from Finland takes it upon him to teach the soldier his language and helps him find who he is. When ‘Sampo’ reaches his country Finland he tries to find his lost identity once again. Did Sampo gain his memory and was he Finnish at all forms the rest of the thriller.
This book originally written in Italian has won three literary awards in Italy and took theworld by storm when it was translated into English in 2011.
What you can expect:
Learn about the Fins as Sampo does. Will make you wonder how much a man’s identity depends on his society, rather than him, as a person.
2) Troll: A Love Story by Johanna Sinisalo
The troll is a fantasy novel that is based on the Finnish folkore about troll. Mikael a gay photographer, nicknamed Angel meets a wounded troll behind the bushes takes him in on a whim. What Angel doesn’t recognize immediately is its aphrodisiac powers that the troll has over him and the people who came near them. Be prepared for the unexpected twist at the end.
What you can expect:
A short fantasy novel based on Finnish folklore that fits your LGBT card on the Reading Bingo.
3) The Core of the Sun by Johanna Sinisalo
Johanna Sinisalo is one of the bestselling as well as an awarding author that I can’t help but add another book of hers in the list. Set in the future where a sub species of docile and submissive women (called eloi) has been produced mainly for procreation and sex (like the Handmaid’s tale) and the defective set of women, ie the independent and intelligent women are assigned to do menial work.
When Vanna, an eloi who is secretly intelligent, realizes that she needs money to find her missing sister, she starts smuggling ‘Core of the sun’ a chilli pepper that the Health Authorities have banned as they are considered extremely dangerous. Will Vann find her sister or her addiction to ‘Core of the Sun’ prove more dangerous?
What you can expect:
This dystopian novel is to be added on your feminism shelf right away. Also will make you wonder about ‘Finnish weirdness’.
4) Seven Brothers by Aleksis Kivi
Considered as the national writer Aleksis Kivi, wrote out just one novel and it took him ten years – result The Seven Brothers. Set in the past when the seven Jukola brothers lived in the rural farm depending on agriculture and hunting.
The brothers are a rowdy lot and usually found bickering among themselves over binge drinking when they are not struggling to be self sufficient and be accepted by their society.
What you can expect:
While the Seven brothers is hilarious it is definitely not your average beach read. It is considered literature for a reason but it will make it worthwhile in learning about Finland and the Finns.
5) The Year of the Hare by Arto Paasilinna
Published in 1975 The Year of the Hare is a fable about series of accidents and a midlife crisis (to put it in plain). Kaarlo Vatanen, a journalist, and his photographer colleague meet with an accident and injure a hare. Vatanen wanders into the wood chasing the injured hare and returns a new man with the hare. He decides to walk off into the oblivion leaving behind his job, his wife, and his life.
What follows is an episodic tale of his adventure and outdoorsy life which he shares with the silent hare.
What you can expect:
Read about Finnish country life and the beautiful landscapes.
6) As Red as Blood by Salla Simukka
Finally a Young Adult fiction on the list. I can breath now.
Lumikki Andersson, a loner art student finds thousands of Euros washed and hung to dry in her school’s dark room. And three of her friends’ hands are covered in blood literally (hence the title). The bad guys want the money back and it is upto Lumikki and her classmates to try and make it out alive off this mess.
What you can expect:
A YA mystery trilogy set in Finland. That is pretty much it.
7) The True Deceiver by Tove Jansson
Noted as the creator of the Moomintroll fantasy novel series, Tove Jansson was one of the best selling writer and artist. The true deceiver is a thriller fleshing out the passionate battle between Anna, a gentle illustrator for comics and Katri who is a social outcast who cares only about her shy and slow brother. Determined to provide for her brother and to secure a fishing boat for him, she slowly takes over Anna an her life, only to find nothing is just simple as it seems.
What you can expect:
Prepare to be taken aback by her amazing prose and the darkness of human mind.
I hope these books from Finland and about Fins will keep you busy until my post where one of the Finnish blogger will be making a guest post. I can’t be more excited than I am to post already.
Have you read any of these books? Or do you have any other Finnish literature or beach read you wanna suggest? Which of these books interests you? Have you visited Finland? Let me know. Let’s talk more.
Have your bags packed and ready to go on a trip around the globe on our weekly feature on ‘Flyaway Friday‘? Last month we took a trip to France and we returned safely, didn’t we? As you all know I am obsessed with snow and ice these days following my trip to Georgia, so I decided to pick up a country that would help me continue to do just that. And here it is – we are traveling to Finland this month.
Finland, offically called the Republic of Finland, is one of the north European countries. I am sure you would know that, but let us learn a little bit more about Finland before we take the trip. Shall we get on with it?
Some more facts about the country to begin with:
Here are a few things you can learn right away to impress your friends and family.
Did someone say I am nerdy?
1) Finland shares the border with Russia to the east, Norway to the north and Sweden to the northwest.
Photo Credit: peabodylibrary
2) You can see the northern lights or the Aurora Borealis from the northern Finland for most part of the year.
3) Oh how could I forget to mention that the Santa Claus village is in Finland where one can see the real Santa Claus? All you have to visit Rovaniemi, the capital of Lapland, Finland. The small town receives about 300,000 annual visitors every year.
Photo Credit: visitrovaniemi
4) You can celebrate new year twice in 24 hours in Finland. Finland is two hours behind GMT and Sweden is just one hour behind GMT which means you can celebrate New Year’s Eve in Finland and then cross over the Karesuando outpost (specially marked for this purpose) to regain the lost 60 minutes and celebrate NYE again.
5) Though called the land of thousand lakes, there are about 188000 lakes in Finland which have the cleanest water in the world.
Photo Credit: spawellbeing
6) Finland just celebrated its 100th anniversary of independence on December 6, 2017. Everything that you see Finns winning in today’s world has been achieved in the past 100 years, which seems a mighty success to me.
7) James Bond’s favorite globe chair was designed in Finland by Eero Aarnio. It is just one example of the sleek, minimal and functional Finnish designs that have become a fashion statement.
Photo Credit: inspirationfeed
8) Finns are generally said to be silent and introverted people. At least that is how they are portrayed in the Finnish Nightmares and other blogs. (I am mentally filing away that question to ask our Finnish guest blogger who will be writing on one of these Fridays)