Finland

What is up after half a year in Finland

After 6 months in Finland I’ve been through a lot of new experiences:

  • Language, OMG, what a fight every day to remember some of the simple basics. And one of the things that doesn’t help is all the people in Helsinki speak understandable English.
  • Small talks, yes! basically it’s about the weather, – winter is gone, it was not even winter- (HAHAHA I almost couldn’t survive this last season) ; -Such a nice weather today, is sunny- ( 7º , it is sunny, but DAMN that still cold).
  • IMPRESSED by the buses or meeting punctuality, this is like Swiss watches. Half of my life I have been living in Tenerife, where the time perception is pretty much different. And punctuality, idk if there is even a definition for that in their dictionary.
  • QUALITY of wines, here they have some sort of people who try all the alcoholic drinks that are sold in their stores (well, the only store that sells wines and stuff). It means that you’ll never buy a distasteful wine. Of course there is a price, and most common situation is that the cheapest/inexpensive bottle of wine costs 10€.
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  • MYSTERIOUS gap between what people think of Finnish people and what they really are. Even I’m still very rocky on Finnish society and ways of getting to know people. So far, I have had some clicks with them. Most common scenario, I started a conversation a bit afraid of being rejected for some kind of previous knowledge of Finnish stereotype (reserved, non-talkative). However, what you really find when you try with a Finnish is slow but really nice conversation which can develop into deep thoughts and polite argumentation.
  • Kids playgrounds are usually full of toys who they themselves leave there, and all other kids can play with those.
  • SAUNA & ICE SWIMMING. During the winter, I was able to go to avanto (a hole in the ice in which you can go swimming) in Vaasa where people go to sea water and then to sauna. Translated into other words, they go to the ice and then to the hot. This phenomena is practiced for adult people in general but also for a lot of young and even kids. This is very healthy (even though it doesn’t seem like it) and it has a lot a benefits. Practitioners of such adventure define it as an amazing hobby. The real sessions consist in going to the water at least 3 times, which means: cold water (5 degrees if you’re lucky), sauna (80 degrees, if you don’t have a classic old man who never stops throwing water to the rocks), cold water, sauna, cold water, and sauna. I have to admit that at the beginning it sounds irrational and senseless, all of this of going to ice swimming and the to very hot sauna. But then, eventually, I reached to love it, and today in the middle of the summer I confess I miss it. /PRO TIP: it is better to leave after cold water, but it should be very fast, i mean just wash your body and leave/

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There are more experiences, and I will let you know as soon as next post comes up.

– David

Saturday Excursion – Lauantairetki

Yesterday the weather was perfect and a friend was visiting Vaasa with a car – what a luxury! There are a lot of really nice nature places around Vaasa, but sometimes they are a bit tricky to reach without a car.

Vaasassa ja lähiseuduilla on niin paljon ihania luontokohteita, mutta autottomana (ja erityisesti kesäsesongin ulkopuolella) on välillä hankala päästä niihin. Eilen Onni kuitenkin tuli Vaasaan autolla, ja me pääsimme retkeilemään.

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We visited Söderfjärden, an actual meteorite crater. An asteroid hit the Earth here some 520 million years ago.

Lähellä Vaasaa on Sjöderfjärden, meteoriittikraateri. Se on muutaman kilometrin kokoinen pyöreä tasanko, jonne osui asteroidi noin 520 miljoonaa vuotta sitten.

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There you also have a model of the solar system in scale. That white ball on a pole in the background of the picture above is the Sun, and inside the magnifying glass kind of thing is Mercury. Neptune is located 2 km from there.

Siellä on myös malli aurinkokunnasta oikeassa mittakaavassa. Ylläolevassa kuvassa taka-alalla oleva valkoinen pallo tolpan päässä on aurinko. Suurennuslasin näköisessä jutussa oleva pikkupallero on Merkurius. Neptunus löytyy kahden kilsan päästä.

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Jupiter was the size of a tennis ball : )

Jupiter, tennispallon kokoluokkaa.

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Our excursion day was effective, we also visited Risö birdwatching tower.

Tehokkaaseen retkeilypäiväämme mahtui myös Risön lintutorni.

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Satu came back from her exchange in Chile just a while ago. So nice that they can speak Spanish with David!

Satu palasi juuri vaihdosta Chilestä. Mahtavaa – Davidille espanjanpuhumisseuraa!

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Such a nice day! ❤ Ihana päivä!

– Tia

Observations

Isn’t north a synonym for progression?

Surprisingly Finland is not one of the Scandinavian countries, although it has an easy geographical connection with the Nordic area of Europe. All of the countries in that zone are destinations that most of the people would like to go and experience by themselves how life is in this part of the world.

Now it has been over three months here already. I have realized that Finnish language is logical but full of exceptions and whatever you want to work with you need a permission for it. As Argentinian you can simply set a fire in a barbacue in the street and start to sell choripan with chimichurri any day you want; as Spanish you are conscious that nepotism is stronger than degrees. It is normal to see  an engineer working as cashier and the son of politician as chief in a good brand. But here, you are a democratic individual with a CV.

Finnish people and culture are careful and precise in everything they do, they make mistakes of course but it’s not a matter of luck because all the possible situations have been studied, it is more like scientific error.

Yesterday watching 1st episode of Young Pope, the main character said something that my mind related immediately with Finnish way of building relations: They don’t make friendly relationships because they know that those kinds carry misunderstanding and anxiety; they prefer a forever formal relation which will be there constantly.

It might be a prompt opinion that Finnish motifs of being so careful of their reputation are based on the fact that they hate shameful situations. Through Finland’s history it seems to be possible to find so few cases of corruption, it may be due to the fear of being pointed out publicly as cheater. And not only they are concerned about being in the spotlight of bad behavior, but in the spotlight in general. For example it would be easy to to find a person who is able to speak really good Spanish and consider their language skills poor. It is fun for me who grew up in two Latin countries where the population have so high self esteem and yet everyone would be able to see that the academic level isn’t as high as in Finland.

Low profiles and stay in average may be the hidden Finnish slogan


 

¿Es el Norte un sinónimo de progreso?

Es una sorpresa que Finlandia no pertenezca a los países escandinavos, aunque sería muy fácil conectarlo con el área nórdica de Europa. A La gran mayoría de personas les gustaría viajar y experimentar como es la vida en esta parte del mundo

Ahora mismo llevo tres meses meses acá. Me dí cuenta de que el lenguaje tiene su lógica pero lleno de excepciones y también de que en cualquier tipo de empleo necesitas algún determinado tipo de permiso. Como argentino podes prender un fuego en una parrilla en la calle y empezar a vender choripa con chimi cualquier día que se te cante; como español eres consciente de que el nepotismo es mas fuerte que los diplomas. Es normal ver a un ingeniero o un graduado trabajando como cajero, como también ver al hijo de aquel político como jefe de una marca reconocida. Pero aquí, sos/eres un individuo democrático con un CV.

La gente y cultura finlandesa es cuidadosa y precisa en todo lo que hacen, se equivocan por supuesto pero no es por suerte sino mas bien se podría considerar un error cientifico ya que todas las situaciones han sido estudiadas.

Ayer estaba mirando el primer episodio de la serie Young Pope (muy recomendable), el personaje principal dijo algo que mi mente relaciono de inmediato con el método de los finlandeses para construir relaciones: ellos no son amigables porque este tipo trae malentendidos y ansiedad; lo que prefieren es una relación formal que siempre este ahí, constantemente.

Podría llegar a ser una pronta impresión que el motivo de los finlandeses sean tan cuidadosos con su reputación se base en el hecho de que ellos odiarían situaciones vergonzosas. En la historia de Finlandia es difícil encontrar casos de corrupción, en gran parte es debido al miedo de ser acusado como estafador en público. No solo están preocupados por llamar la atención por mal comportamiento, pero llamar la atención en general. Sería muy fácil conocer una persona que es bastante buena hablando inglés y considerar sus habilidades como pobres. Es divertido para mi, que he crecido en dos países latinos donde la población tiene altos niveles de autoestima y aún así todos son capaces de ver que no somos tan bien formados como los fineses.

Perfiles bajos y mantenerse en el promedio es el eslogan escondido finés.

Frozen

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This was my first time walking on the ice, it felt very enjoyable and relaxing but also a bit dangerous. You are conscious that there wouldn’t be people walking along if the ice wasn’t strong enough to stand you. Although, the sensation of walking above cold water and this fear that it might crack any time just makes it exciting. I mean, it’s just super relaxing and each step forward makes you lighter, but at the same time it’s scary. Lately, there are just few cases of people falling into an ice break, so this description could be a bit irrational. It’s just way the feeling developed while we were walking.

It has been a long and cold winter for me, when I arrived in Finland everything was pretty much new and different. You know, this easy feeling of just getting into bus or buying something in the store or even the structure of small talks. Everything was new and plus, it was christmas time so you’re fully occupied.

Then January, we came back to Vaasa after being in Helsinki for almost a month. We enrolled in Bachata, I started a Finnish course, we got gym-swimming passes, so life started to be a bit more normal. Life became unusually slow.

Then on February, well, adapted to the Monday-Sunday routine. One of those medical technical terms: Cultural shock, began to became true. It wasn’t like I realize “oh I am having this, of course, is cultural shock”. No, no. One of the strongest symptoms was just after having my 26th birthday, when I realized that I’m the hell old. Ye, ye, ok, I’m not old, ok. But it is not easy to not feel overwhelmed when you compare yourself with your parents’ life. I mean, when my father and mother were 26 they got a car  + a house + 2 beautiful children (my sisters, Mariela y Silvia). Yes, this is not cultural shock, but we are going there. Just a moment.

March, beautiful and bloody march. I used to hate March when I lived in Argentina, it was the beginning of the classes, the end of summer. In Tenerife, well it’s winter, but not. Most of my friends or family are publishing on face or insta “Calufote” (colloquial word for very hot), “Pa’ la playa” (to the beach). Which doesn’t really help with the development of my adaptation. Tia and Musta zokeri (me) went to Helsinki just for a couple of days. During those days my feeling of misunderstanding and losing control of myself started to grow so fast. Like, What’s all of this about? Do I miss my family? Do I miss speaking in Spanish? Where are the people when you are getting older? Where do you go and make a new friend? Why do I feel so much social pressure if nobody knows me? Should I say Tia that we should move to Tenerife? Where are we going? Who am I?

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-David

Congelado

Esta es la primera vez que camino sobre el hielo, muy copado y relajante  pero también peligroso. Sos/eres consciente de que no estaría la gente caminando si el hielo no fuera lo suficientemente duro para sostenerlos.  La sensación de que en cualquier momento se raja el suelo y te caes es excitante. Me refiero a que es re relajante y cada paso que haces te sentís más liviano, pero simultáneamente aterrador. Últimamente han habido unos pocos casos de personas que se les rompe el hielo, por ello esta descripción puede ser basada en un sentimiento irracional. Es más bien como se desarrollo este sentimiento mientras caminábamos.

Este ha sido un frío y largo invierno, cuando llegué a Finlandia todo era nuevo y diferente. Sabes, esta movida de que todo lo que haces esta re bueno: subir a la wawa (bondi; bus), ir a comprar al super, o incluso las conversaciones triviales con gente random. Todo tenia otra color, otra forma y además estábamos en pleno periodo navideño, lo que significa estar todo el día corriendo.

Cuando cayó enero y volvimos a Vaasa después de haber estado en Helsinki casi un mes. Nos apuntamos en Bachata, empecé un curso de Finlandes, también conseguimos unos pases para el gym y la piscina, la vida comenzó a ser mas normal. Era como si todo fuera mas despacio.

En febrero, ya adaptado a la rutina de lunes a domingo. Uno de esos términos médicos: Shock Cultural , se convertía en realidad. No fue en plan “tengo algo, a claro, es un shock cultural”. No, no fue así.  Uno de los síntomas mas fuertes fue justo después de cumplir 26, cuando me dí cuenta de que me estaba poniendo viejo. Okey, no soy un viejo, 26, okey. Sin embargo no hay forma de evitar sentirte saturado cuando te comparas con tus viejos a tu edad. Cuando ellos tenían 26 se habían comprado un auto + una casa + 2 hermosas nenas (mis hermanas, Mariela y Silvia). Si, esta bien, esto no es un shock cultural, pero ahí vamos llegando, banca un second.

Marzo, hermoso y molesto. Cuando vivía en Argentina, recuerdo que odiaba marzo: finalizaba el verano y empezaban las clases. En Tenerife, bueno, es invierno, pero no. La familia y los amigos están constantemente publicando en face o instagram “Calufote” o “pa’ la playa”. Lo cual no ayuda para nada con mi adaptación. Tia y azucar negra (musta zokeri; yo) fuimos a Helsinki unos días la última semana. Durante nuestra estancia florecieron muy rapido sentimientos de incomprensión e incertidumbre. ¿de que se trata todo esto? ¿Extraño a mi familia? ¿Extraño hablar español? ¿a donde va la gente cuando se pone vieja? ¿Por que siento tanta presión social si nadie tiene ni idea quien soy? ¿Debería convencer a Tia de que nos mudemos a Tenerife? ¿A donde vamos? ¿Quién soy?

  • -David