No I’m not talking about the Finnish Kebabs…even though their deliciousness does warrant their own post! This is a list of things I’m taking away from Finland…
1. Many new found friendships (some surrogate Finnish families of my own)
2. A strong addiction to coffee
3. Some Finnish and Swedish words and phrases
4. Permanent goose bumps from Ice Swimming adventures
5. The smell of a wood fired sauna
6. A Finnish food baby (which I have affectionately named Pettri)
...but most importantly
7. The Finnish perspective on life and people as a whole
I have never met a group of people so inherently content and humble. Acceptance and equality are around every turn. Everyone seems to be on the exact same playing field no matter if you are an educated, accomplished and respected physician, or employed as a simple factory worker. Wearing designer clothes or generic…differences and putting people in a box or a class seems to not exist. Comparing themselves to others…simply not done. No one thinks they are better, more accomplished, or more deserving than anyone else.
Also they think of this complicated life we lead with all its problems with such simplicity. I can’t say how many times I heard a Finnish citizen say something to the effect of, “Yes it was a great tragedy…but such is life!” They address it, but shrug, smile, and move on! Nothing to be justified, explained, or over analyzed. Pointing a finger is just not important.
Please keep in mind…I’m speaking generally and I don’t mean to be misunderstood; I’ve certainly met/know people in the U.S. who have this attitude as well. But I think it left a greater impression on me in Finland because this attitude seems to be a national truth. (or perhaps the accent makes it hold more water! Haha)
The Finnish kindness and simplicity is natural and effortless it has left a wonderfully positive impression on this 25 year old American. I packed this attitude up in my head, along with many memories and experiences. I’ve taken away with me a better understanding of life and the people in it.