Finland is celebrating it’s 100th birthday and independence today (6.12.),
and inspired by that, I wanted to write a few posts about Finland and being Finnish.
Even I’m not the most patriotic person in the world, I do love my home country and the people there. My relationship with Finland is like the relationship most people have with their siblings. You hate them occasionally and you talk crap about them, but if someone else DARES TO HURT THEM SO HELP ME GOD I WILL SMASH THEIR FACES.
On this post I’m telling you a little bit about the magic that happens when two (or more) random Finns run into each other out there in the wild, far away from our little bird’s nest.
I love meeting new people while I’m living abroad or traveling.
And occasionally (or everyday in Rhodes actually) I pop into some other Finns.
These little encounters usually go well, but I’ve noticed that there are certain patterns on how these meetings occur….
ALRIGHT KIDS! Let’s start out list, are you ready? No?
1. THE “OH….YOU’RE FROM (INSERT A PART OF FINLAND HERE) LOL” – TYPE
There is this unwritten rule in Finland, where the people from the Southern Finland (Helsinki and surrounding areas) are smart and cultured and everyone else from anywhere else is nothing but a hick (Yes I’m not joking).
This particular behavior between Finns is super interesting, it’s like playing a sport, where nothing else matters, except your accent. And the one’s with Helsinki accent are the winners
Once these amazing godlike humans from the noble capital of Finland hear my thick North-Savonian accent, they usually can’t do anything but laugh. After a little laugh-cry they almost always without a doubt say one or more of these three things:
1. Ha! I guess you’re not from Helsinki! (NO! REALLY??!)
2. AWW WHAT A CUTE ACCENT! You must be from ________ (insert a wrong guess here)
3. I’m sorry I can’t take you seriously, your accent is just so funny!
(Bonus: 4. Are you even a native Finnish speaker?)
Most of the time these situations happen while I’m at work and I have to play nice.
I just laugh with them and continue speaking with an even thicker accent. You know, just to entertain them.
And they laugh with me.
And we have become friends. Friends who despise each other.
More about my accent rage: HERE
2. THE “I’M ABROAD, I’M NOT GONNA WASTE MY TIME BY TALKING TO ANOTHER FINN”
“I’m from Finland, I don’t do small talk”
“Oh you’re also from Finland? Cool cool. I gotta go now, nice meeting you bye!”
2+ THE AWKWARDNESS
I don’t know if there is another nation as awkward as the Finns and if there is, boy are they screwed. Sometimes we might start a new encounter with positive energy and good attitude but after the mandatory “How are you?” “Fine”-part,
the so brightly started convo starts to slowly die and the participants are looking around helplessly with hands on their pockets thinking about how to escape the situation.
“Soo….it was nice meeting you”
3. THE FINLAND-SWEDISH “WE REFUSE TO SPEAK FINNISH TO YOU EVEN THOUGH WE SPEAK IT PERFECTLY”
FINE, IDIOT. I’M NOT INTERESTED IN YOUR STUPID-ASS STORIES ANYWAY.
This behavior comes usually only from some super snobby older females though, and they probably wouldn’t talk to me anyway.
I know I know, I’m also the one to blame here because I can’t speak Swedish, EVEN THOUGH I HAVE TRIED, but what’s the point on hating me for that! TELL ME!
I guess it’s better that me and the Finn-Swede Ladies just accept each other’s existence and just carry on with our lives. Maybe we can even nod and flash a smile to one another when we pass each other on the streets.
4. PLEASE BE OUR TOUR GUIDE / TRANSLATOR PLEASE!!!
This usually happens right after situations 1, 2 or 3.
Suddenly the random Finnish girl you all despised is YOUR SAVIOR IN THE TIME OF NEED. Has this ever happened to other season workers out there?
First your landmates (new word) refuse to communicate with you on a humanly manner, but once they need your help you become a shining star in their eyes.
We Finns are surprisingly shy when it comes to speaking in other languages.
I’m sure 90% of Finnish people UNDERSTAND English, but when it comes to speaking it – suddenly everyone’s a Mute Muterson. We think too much. We think about the grammar and right use of words…who cares? We’re not diplomats here, the only thing that matters is that you get your message through. Good grief people, start talking more!
When other Finns turn to me for some translation or tourism advice, I sometimes tend to get a little annoyed by it. Usually I LOVE helping people with these things but for some reason NOTHING IS EVER GOOD ENOUGH for the FINNS. WHY GOD WHY!
BUT, because I’m an extremely nice person I ALWAYS help them.
Sometimes I’m tempted to give them false information or “alternative facts” (as the trend is these days) but USUALLY I manage to behave like the wonderful demigod that I am.
“We want to go shopping”
“Well, there happens to be a wonderful shopping mall just a 15 minute bus ride from here!”
“We don’t want to use a bus.”
“Well in that case you can take a taxi or go to the harbor and visit the beautiful boutiques over there”
“Taxis are a little dangerous here right? And boutiques are expensive. How do you even say to the taxi driver where you want to go!!! They’ll rob you”
“I know, I guess you must just stay here in the hotel then”
5. THE “OMG YOU’RE ALSO FROM FINLAND? LET’S BE FRIENDS FOREVER” – TYPE
Ah! This is my favorite part. This is how Finns should behave when they meet each other, all the time!
I’ve witnessed this behavior especially among the Dutch. They are so proud of their country, culture and people that it seems like they all are best friends with each other and all the Dutchie bars I’ve ever been to are packed with happy people and positive energy. What IS THAT? (Or could it just be….you know…)
SOMETIMES. SOMETIMES a little magic happens between Finns.
Imagine a nice bar. You’re sitting outside on the terrace with your group.
Two other groups appear. They’re all Finnish.
All the groups sit on separate tables, but after some shots and few long drinks….the miracle happens.
“HEY!” Someone screams from one of the tables, “We heard you guys are Finnish too! Come and join us! Let’s party together”
Murmuring. Should we go, should we just stay here with our own group…
“WE JUST ASKED THE DJ TO PLAY SOME HORRIBLE FINNISH SONGS FOR US AND WE ORDERED 100 SHOTS”
….Suddenly everyone’s sitting around the same table.
They drink, they talk, they have fun.
They are from every part of Finland, they have nothing in common except the language.
And the love for alcohol.
They’re best friends for the night, they maybe even add each other on Facebook.
Next day they delete each other.
But sometimes, just sometimes,
these people stick in your life – and suddenly you realize you live with them in the same apartment.
What about you?
Is it difficult for YOU to communicate with people from your country?
Or are Finns the only ones who need a little help with socializing?
Stay tuned, on the next post I’m telling you what people from other countries think about the Finns.
xx Miss Fancypants