I am an Italian guy who moved to Finland alone at 19 years old to get new experiences and change the atmosphere from the chaotic Italian one. I arrived without even knowing where Finland was located on the map, speaking only fluent Italian and just with motivation and willingness in putting myself in this game called life.
I had the chance to visit shortly Helsinki for a week before moving to it after a few months. Once arrived, I started straight to appreciate something that usually in Finland is not: the weather. It might appear like an unpopular opinion, but I do appreciate both, the long and cold winter – besides the darkness – and also the bright and chill summer. I landed at 3 o’clock in the morning of a day in May and there was a sun shining like at noon in Italy!
Coming to the core part of this post, being a foreigner living in Finland, I decided to give my idea of “Finnishness”. I am living here for 5, almost 6 years and one thing is clear: Finnish people do not like to improvise, I have the feeling they do appreciate routine and well-organized plans, if possible with as much advance as possible, sticking properly to it. Concerning this, I was completely the opposite because I was used to deciding hour by hour my day, so once the first interactions with Finnish people started I encountered some cultural differences.
In my own vision, Finnish people like and appreciate small gestures or signs from the people close to them. They are initially removed quite naturally but if you manage to get a closer relationship, they can become warm and friendly. The exception that confirms the rule is when you decide to embrace the “Finnishness” and start to visit public saunas or public grill spots in the forests. In these kinds of circumstances, Finnish people can be very friendly even if they do not really know you, offering help if needed or just poking around asking questions about why you moved to Finland.
This is my idea of “Finnishness”, a good blend of respect, curiosity, and individualism everything served with a large cofee.