What Makes Me a Finn?

What makes me a Finn? This question is challenging for someone like me, who believes that a world without borders between 'us' and 'others' would be preferable. Nevertheless, I have discovered certain aspects that perhaps make me slightly more Finnish than, let's say, Swedish. Read on, and you'll find out what they are!

I have never considered myself to be primarily a Finn – one reason for that might be the fact that I was born in Sweden and moved to Finland when I was 10. Perhaps an even bigger reason is that I feel uncomfortable when speaking about nationalities. You might think I am naive (at the age of 53) when I still believe that everything would be so much easier if we could just live as John Lennon wrote in his lyrics in “Imagine.” Why do we need borders between us and our neighbors?

Okay, back to the topic! The borders are there, and of course, being a Finn or a Swede is much more than just the borders and the language we speak. I will tell you some of the things I love about living in this northern country.

The Finnish nature is healing

My element is water. I love to swim, be it summer or winter. There is nothing better than going into a sauna that is full of people of all ages, whether they are small or tall, talkative or silent, with or without sauna caps. First, you get so hot that you don’t know what to do, and after that, you walk into ice-cold water and take a swim. Oh my! The euphoria is something you just can’t explain; you must experience it. I like to measure things, and the longest time I stayed in the ice-cold water was 5 minutes. In fact, you can stay much longer; it doesn’t really feel cold anymore. However, afterward, you might have difficulty getting warm again. So, I really don’t know if it’s wise to turn a relaxing hobby into a self-made competition…

These pictures are from our cottage in Ylöjärvi (summer) and Nokia, Alinenjärvi.

Äitee, Marja-Liisa, Mika, Musti, and Iivo

How do we overcome the dark and cold winters? The recipe is easy: Winter sports, especially cross-country skiing, make my day! There is nothing better than sitting in front of a TV on weekends and hoping to see a Finn win a tough race. Mostly, you get disappointed as the Norwegians take it all, but still, there might be an Iivo (or Kerttu) Niskanen who surprises everyone. The second-best thing is putting on your own skis and heading to the woods. The good side is that your physical health improves, but on the other hand, it can be quite exhausting, and you’ll probably end up sweaty.

It’s crazy. It’s party.

Well, we Finns come in a lovely package of rally-English and odd taste. This spring in 2023 has been crazy and green in Finland, and I’m happy to say, across Europe. Our little Käärijä has done something no one has ever done before in Finland. Anyone following the Eurovision Song Contest knows what I am talking about. Although the song “Cha-cha-cha” came second, many think that Käärijä was the true winner. I don’t think that winning was the most important thing this time. The dude managed to win our hearts by being spontaneous, cheerful, positive, and crazy. I think this is just what we need right now in our world.

Here is the YLE-video from UMK23 -song contest. Enjoy!



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