Tuesday, June 12, 2012

You start becoming a Finn when...

I've started noticing some disturbing behavior. Notably some disturbing behavior within myself. Disturbingly Finn Behavior (DFB).

I've been thinking about it these past few weeks, and I've discovered that even though I've only been here for a little over two months (realistically about two and a half), I've started to acclimate quite drastically in the Finnish direction. My observations:

  1. I feel no need to smile randomly at people in public anymore. I have started to become an emotionless robot towards the public and as far as I am concerned people I don't know are just people I don't know. It's weird, it's like I have...no emotions. O_O
  2. I have started to eat faster than I ever have before. Those of you who have ever eaten with me know that I eat with horrendous slowness. To the point of detriment (professionally and otherwise). Usually I have to take things home with me in doggy bags because people get to the point where they say, "Look, I have a meeting, I really need to get going," even though I'm still eating. So instead of making them stay behind, I politely pretend like I'll eat it later and pack it up to go. This doesn't happen very often anymore. I can actually eat a lunch in 20-25 minutes now. Without it hurting. That much.
  3. I consider 16 degrees C/65 degrees F appropriate sunbathing temperature. This actually happened last weekend. It was sunny and my girlfriends and I went to the park and sunbathed on a blanket, in tank tops. It was 16 degrees C/65 degrees F. In California this would be considered crazy and/or stupid. Certainly asking for illness, at least.
  4. I don't balk at the fact that stores close at 6pm on Saturday. This has become an expected thing instead and in fact it's become so innate to my schedule that it doesn't even occur to me to shop on Saturdays anymore. Apparently my brain naturally blocked that day out as "useless" and I shop either in the mornings or on Sundays (luckily Finland deviated away from the rest of Europe on that account).
  5. I consider something 5-10% off actually on sale. This is actually true, at least in grocery stores. I'm still too cheap to buy other items (i.e. clothing, household items, etc.) here, but when it comes to groceries and I see something that is "on sale," I actually say to myself, "wow, that's not bad." Compared to the States where things are half off or buy one get one free, this is stupidly not on sale.
  6. I am so green about my recycling and trash it hurts. There are literally about 10 different recycling categories here. That's no lie. And I follow them as hardcore as I can. I save every bag and tie and thing that I can possibly reuse for anything else because everything is so ridiculously expensive here. I was a bag lady before, but this just takes it to a whole new level.
  7. I don't turn on my lights until it's way past dark in my apartment. This is sort of null because it's the summertime (therefore it's never dark until you close your curtains and blinds), but I used to wonder if I really had neighbors because no one turned on their lights ever. Now I understand - they just sit in the semi-darkness to acclimate themselves to the season. It's weird, but it does actually make some sort of weird sense. I'm pretty sure I'm ruining my eyesight (this goes hand-in-hand with my theory of extreme cold+naked eye = damage), but, oddly it feels right after awhile.
  8. I can sleep just fine even though the sun is still out. And will be out. Yes I've installed the most amazing blackout curtains and cardboard to block out every available peep of sunlight in my apartment, but sometimes I just forget to close them. And yet I still sleep like the dead. Disturbing.
And these are just the trends I've noticed. I've also started automatically saying greetings in Finnish and understanding enough words in Finnish to know what people are asking me (simple questions), but of course that's just immersion (i.e. understandable). What will be next?!? Will I insist upon going to my summer cabin (mökki, pronounced "mook-kee") even though every Finn I've talked to about it has admitted that it's always been a horrible experience?? (This is actually hilariously true, they all tell me it's cold and never pleasant because most cabins don't have electricity and the weather is never consistently good so quite often it's raining...so you're trapped in a small cabin with no electricity, while it's raining...with lots of bugs...sounds swell).

Will it soon be the Finned spreckled hen?!? O_O

Progress will be recorded...


  1. the sleeping despite the sun thing is quite disturbing. i need complete darkness or i'm wide awake. Oh you funny Finn! ;)

  2. Funny thing is 16C is actually around 60.8F, so even colder ;) haha