1. We’re VERY honest.
I once had a bank clerk phoning me: “Hey, someone found your credit card in the metro station. Do I send it to your home?” You can leave anything from your Fazer chocolate bar to your wallet or grandma in the middle of Helsinki (or any other place in Finland) and, when you go back, you will find a worried passer-by wondering where your belongings should be taken. Reader’s Digest actually tested this and they found 11 wallets out of the 12 they had left in different places around Helsinki. These things don’t happen in Sweden.
2. We’ve got Sisu.
There is no equivalent word for sisu in English, but freely translated it means “Whatever happens I will not give up for any reason and will not whine about the consequences”. It’s a Finnish spirit that makes you do the things you have started no matter how difficult it gets. With sisu we face our work, friendships, and winter. Sisu is the reason why a pitching competition held in an ice hole on a frozen lake was invented by the Finns.
3. We’re cool with nudity.
Thanks to sauna, we see our friends, colleagues, as well as random strangers naked at least at some point in our lives. As a result we don’t take nudity too seriously. Really, what’s all the fuss about naked bodies? Especially if that naked person is of the same gender, there shouldn’t be anything you haven’t seen before.
4. We’re good students.
Have you heard about how great Finnish schools are? Besides the fact that our school system is free, the food served there is healthy, and the teaching is of very good quality, we are great students. We do our homework if we said we would, we don’t cheat on tests, and we are able to sit in silence. We like rules and are determined to obey them.
5. We love mothers.
There are few things missing from the free maternity package sent by the state as a gift to all new mothers. The package includes bodysuits, a sleeping bag, outdoor gear, bathing products for the baby, bedding, a small mattress (allowing the box to be used as a crib), a hooded bath towel, nail scissors, hairbrush, toothbrush, wash cloth, muslin squares, a picture book, teething toy, one set of reusable nappies, 10 sanitary towels, bra pads, nipple cream, and 6 condoms. The state-governed Kela (Social Insurance Institution) has sent a package for Prince williams and Kate Middleton’s baby, too. We love moms and babies that much!
6. We don’t like bullshit.
When you ask us “what’s up?”, we will tell you exactly what’s going on. We don’t like talking about things neither relevant nor interesting to us and there is nothing we dislike more than dishonesty. If you want to find an employee confessing a hangover, or a friend telling you that you look like a crow with your new haircut, give us a shout. We don’t even have a direct translation for “chit-chat”, but we most often call it “chewing shit” (jauhaa paskaa). That’s about how much we enjoy it.
7. We’re unbelievably quiet.
We can sit for hours with our friends, enjoying a sunny day exchanging only the most necessary sentences, such as: “could you pass me a beer?” It’s not easy to make us understand that silent moments between you and us is uncomfortable. If you don’t have anything to say, and I don’t have anything to say, why would we use energy in talking?
8. We’re down-to-earth.
Our President shopping at Ikea or a lotto millionaire flying economy class? Yeah, why not. We just happen to think that modesty is cool. Among Finns, experts tell you that they “know something about the subject”, the most skilled people say they “are may be able to do it”, and answers like “it was nice” are used to describe one’s own wedding. If a Finn tells you that “the food was excellent” you can be pretty sure that it was one of the most delicious things they have ever eaten in their life.
Featured photo: Juho Holmi