1. Friends wonder if you’ll ever finish furnishing your house.
Finns like an uncluttered house. Others would call it half empty. A sofa is OK, but throw pillows? Those are clutter. Art books on the coffee table? More clutter. A coffee table? Definitely clutter.
2. Your house will never be clean.
It may be the cleanest house in town, but it will never be as clean as a Finnish house. You may scour the house for weeks before Finns come to visit, but not until they casually offer to clean up after dinner will your kitchen actually get clean.
3. You get used to silence.
You look back at your first car trip together and realize you spoke the whole way…from New York to Seattle.
4. You yoga breathe in the passenger’s seat.
On any car trip, in any country, your vehicle is the one passing all the other ones. Finnish car racers rank at the top of Formula One drivers in the world…and on the Interstate Highway System.
5. You appreciate humility.
Your husband was a nationally-ranked skier who coached skiing, captained his college ski team, and still bombs off cornices, but if someone asks him whether he likes to ski, he says, “Yes.” More detail than that would be boastful.
6. You get naked and sweaty as often as possible.
On a family vacation? Get naked and climb into a wooden hot box together. Seeing old friends? Invite them over to strip down, cook sausages on the rocks inside the sauna, and wash them down with cold beer.
7. You wonder if he and the rest of his family have an extra layer of skin.
Finns like to say there is no such thing as the wrong weather, just the wrong clothing. Yet kids in Finnish schools go outside several times a day, even when it’s 20 below — and they aren’t wearing arctic anoraks. They are probably nudging their genes into growing an additional protective layer.
8. Eye masks are your friend.
In your partner’s hometown on the Arctic Circle, the summer sun doesn’t set for a month. But window blinds are tacky, say Finns. Glaring sunlight on your pillow at 3:00 AM is to be welcomed. When visiting relatives, several pairs of eye masks are essential.
9. You know where you stand.
Yes means yes and no means no. Survival in early times in subzero temperatures evidently required blunt honesty. This is usually a very good thing. Just be sure you’re seeking an honest answer when you ask, “Do these jeans make me look fat?”
10. You drink licorice.
A Salmiakkikossu hangover is something only a Finn can appreciate.
11. You got wasted with Santa Claus.
Finns know how to do Christmas right: Santa comes over late on December 24th to distribute gifts to kids and to have a shot of vodka with the parents. This is one tradition we can all get behind.
12. You’ve got reindeer everything.
Your relatives give you reindeer-shaped candle holders, reindeer skin boots, and reindeer decoration for the holidays. If you can’t get to Finland to have reindeer stew, no problem. They’ve also given you cans of reindeer meat.