Despite of Finland’s frustrated political atmosphere and social issues that I read about in the newspapers and the Facebook feeds of my politically active friends, I still love visiting home. Although it terrifies me how racism seems to be the new black, hatred the new trend and negativity seems to be growing all around in Finland. While living in Helsinki last summer, I could really see the way the atmosphere was loaded with protests happening every week and the greedy politicians making uproar causing mistakes one after another. There was anger all around and it doesn’t seem like this year is going to be any different.
Now that I’ve taken a step back and gotten adjusted to another country’ ways, I’ve been faced with the oddest culture shock: the kind of negativity I’m used to in Finland is not normal everywhere else. And like Finns in general, I have been focusing on the negatives way too much. So as I spent a weekend in Finland, I wanted to take a moment to really appreciate all the good things of my northern home.
My number 1 favourite things about Finland are the nature, lakes and small population. Need some peace and quiet? There’s plenty in Finland. Gathering a small group of your closest friends and heading out to a (usually very near-by) lake for a spontaneous picnic is one a the best ways to spend a Saturday night, if you ask me. And since the country is so high up in north, the days are getting longer and longer until, during midsummer, the sun won’t set at all. That’s something I always tell my foreign friends they must experience, if they ever plan to visit Finland: a nightless night. (Dayless day is also a thing, but I wouldn’t recommend that.)
Summer also brings out a lot more positive vibe in Finns. People setting up their bbq grills, having a beer with friends on the outside terrace and being active with many music festivals and events. Summer in Finland is an especially beautiful thing, because Finns have to go through the opposite of it, harsh winter. The contrast between the seasons is wonderful thing, if you have what it takes. Finnish word “sisu” means the ability to go through the toughest of situations with determination and perseverance, and that is what most Finns say gets them through winter.
There’s two things I miss the most when I’m in England: bathrooms (yes, really, and showers especially) and traffic (or more like the lack of it). There are small things that I notice everyday, things that I used to take for granted. I could be a real Finn and make a list of all those things… But not right now.
I hope your enjoying May, wherever you are!