Last week, I flew back to my home country Finland. Since I have been staying abroad a long time already, during the trip to my home town Jyväskylä, I realized and understood many things of Finland that foreigners have told me that surprised them.
The surroundings, habits, and lots of other invisible things of a culture make a place or life feel home. For a visitor it is all different. Sometimes a shock.
This time I took a place of a foreigner and tried to see Finland with their eyes. How do they see Finland? What will surprise them?
Since I have been dealing a lot with people from south of Europe, let’s take one pair of those eyes. Here are some thoughts, I have heard that have amazed or surprised those foreigners, and that I confirmed during my visit.
Wow, it is actually warm here!
Yes, the summer exists in Nordic countries as well. It might be different but it is summer. Temperature was +24 and the sun was shining when I stepped out of the plane.
The trees are so small.
In southern Europe as well as central Europe the trees seem mammoth size next to these little ones.. Road trip view.
What did the bus driver say??!
The Finnish language belongs to Uralic languages (sometimes heard Finno-Ugric languages). It is completely different from bigger groups for example in Europe and Americas, that also have influenced each other. An example, an English word ‘centrum’:
Centro = Spanish
Centro = Italian
центр (Tsentr) = Russian
Centre = French
Zentrum = German
Centrum = Swedish
Keskusta = Finnish
A little village Nokia close to Tampere (the 3rd biggest city in Finland) is much more known in the world probably than Finland itself. Even a road sign ‘Nokia 9km’ could be a funny touristic sight for a foreigner.
Does anyone live in this country?
During the bus trip, the view was much just nature, nature and nature. Forest, thousands of lakes and some forest again. A house or two every once in a while. There are only about 5,2 million inhabitants in the whole country, so there is some space for the nature as well.
22.00 and the sun is still up?
Up north (as well as down in the very south) for half a year, there’s light. North of Finland enjoys the nightless night in the end of June, also a little bit more southern the sun stays up almost all night.
Because Finland is my home, I am used to certain things. When you go far, you see close. I’ve been around and now I see so many beautiful and special things of my original home, and I appreciate them a lot more. Go far and learn to respect your roots!