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July 21, 2010 6:44 AM   Subscribe

You Know You Have Been In Finland Too Long, When...
posted by infini (50 comments total) 9 users marked this as a favorite

 
Starbucks still have not made landfall here, and the chances are they won't.

You lucky, lucky bastards.
posted by blucevalo at 6:50 AM on July 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


Finland, Finland, Finland.
Finland has it all.
posted by Faint of Butt at 6:52 AM on July 21, 2010 [3 favorites]


*strums guitar, gently*
posted by sciurus at 6:54 AM on July 21, 2010


You associate pea soup with Thursday.

Several hundred years ago, when Finland was still a part of Sweden and taxes were levied for the King, money was scarce and peas were used for payment. However, since peas had hitherto mostly been used as pig food, something had to be done to raise their status. The population was thus encouraged to eat pea soup. Soldiers got a weekly portion of pea soup, sometimes strengthened with pig's trotters and the fatty parts of pork. After the meal the bones were used for magic


What on earth does that last sentence mean?

the British habit - the poor devils often only have that one sink and the silly two taps - of not rinsing plates before they put them to dry makes me gag,

I have seen this with my own (astonished) eyes. It's a wonder you (Brits) all aren't running around with diarrhea.

You no longer look at sports pants as casual wear, but recognize them as almost formal wear.

That's pretty much a world-wide phenomena now.

On the day after Midsummer (see above), they say "Well, it's all downhill from now on" and prepare feverishly for winter

Oh! That's just like me-- only in my case it starts April 1 and I start preparing for the hell of a Southern summer.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 6:58 AM on July 21, 2010


You don't think twice about putting the wet dishes away in the cupboard to dry.

MY PEOPLE!
posted by DU at 6:59 AM on July 21, 2010 [2 favorites]


I've never even been to Finland, and I read this why?

There was a similar list I've read about Iceland - I read it before I went there for the first time and one of the items on the list was "You know you've been Iceland too long when... the hot water doesn't smell funny to you." I thought huh? How can hot water smell funny?

Well, it does. It smells like sulfur. You get out of the shower smelling like an omlette.

I had lived in Iceland for seven months when my parents came for a short visit and commented "Wow, the hot water really DOES smell funny" and I realized that I didn't notice it at all. And I realized that yes, I had been there too long.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 7:00 AM on July 21, 2010 [4 favorites]


*phew*
posted by infini at 7:08 AM on July 21, 2010


After the meal the bones were used for magic

What on earth does that last sentence mean?


That some Scandinavians performed divinations or some other semi-pagan or occult practices in the olden days?

Oh! That's just like me-- only in my case it starts April 1 and I start preparing for the hell of a Southern summer.

Except this year it was more like March 15. Damn, I want summer to be over NOW. My Swedish blood rebels.
posted by blucevalo at 7:17 AM on July 21, 2010


who hit the pause button on the time capsule vaults?
posted by infini at 7:19 AM on July 21, 2010


Damn, I want summer to be over NOW. My Swedish blood rebels.

I usually prefer summer to winter as I'm always cold and being "hot" is a novelty to me. Not this summer. My ethnically Swedish blood is protesting with every single Scandinavian cell that this is just totally unnatural and no one was meant to live like this.

(My Swedish blood also means that while I *am* cold, I'm one of the last people you'll hear complain about winter because what the fuck else are you going to do? Freezing to death is a FACT OF LIFE.)
posted by grapefruitmoon at 7:21 AM on July 21, 2010


It's a wonder you (Brits) all aren't running around with diarrhea.

Yeah, and we also don't have a shower when we get out of the bath.
posted by ninebelow at 7:39 AM on July 21, 2010 [3 favorites]


For those with Swedish blood and not currently in Sweden: it's been bloody hot here too the last.. 3-4 weeks or so. My parents who have been living in Africa (Namibia was their last stop) for the last 12 years moved back here in March and even they're becoming Swedified and complain more about the heat than I do. People ask them "geese, aren't you used to heat by now?" and they reply: you don't get used to heat - you just find ways of coping.
posted by pyrex at 7:42 AM on July 21, 2010


Geese? Sheesh. Heat. Brain. Overheat.
posted by pyrex at 7:43 AM on July 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


I have seen this with my own (astonished) eyes. It's a wonder you (Brits) all aren't running around with diarrhea.

This comes up a fair but on US vs UK customs discussions on MeFi. Essentially, as far as I'm aware, washing up liquid (the soap you use to clean your dishes) is made of different stuff in the US and UK. If you ingest some of the US stuff you apparently get ill, hence dishes religiously rinsed every time. If you ingest some of the UK stuff you won't notice, apart from maybe a slight soapy taste if you'd put a really huge amount of washing up liquid in the sink, so some people rinse (more so you don't get unattractive dried soap scum on dishes and glasses, but that's just me) but a lot don't.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 7:47 AM on July 21, 2010


For most dining in the UK, a little washing up liquid tends to improve the taste of the food. And of course it makes your poo smell lemony fresh.
posted by chavenet at 7:51 AM on July 21, 2010 [2 favorites]


Oh chavenet, your people would be so proud of ye, boy
posted by infini at 7:53 AM on July 21, 2010


Essentially, as far as I'm aware, washing up liquid (the soap you use to clean your dishes) is made of different stuff in the US and UK. If you ingest some of the US stuff you apparently get ill, hence dishes religiously rinsed every time.
That's urban legend. Its the same stuff different bottles. For example - Fairy Data Sheet - do not ingest (Pdf)
posted by JPD at 8:04 AM on July 21, 2010


Fucking soupbones, how do they work?
posted by Inspector.Gadget at 8:09 AM on July 21, 2010 [4 favorites]


I have seen this with my own (astonished) eyes. It's a wonder you (Brits) all aren't running around with diarrhea.

Well, I rinse my dishes, cos my mum taught me to. I was totally unaware this was not common practice in this sceptred isle until this thread.

Still, this list makes me want to go and check out Helsinki. Is it as ruinously expensive to visit as the other Scandinavian capitals?
posted by Happy Dave at 8:10 AM on July 21, 2010


take a pinch of ash of pigeon feathers, one thread from a red horse's tail, three obligatory for audience credibility building eyes of newt and perhaps someone's fingernails or eyelash

add soupbones, a pinch of sesame oil, some carrots, peans beans and corn mix

salt and pepper to taste
posted by infini at 8:12 AM on July 21, 2010


not really and unlike the other scandinavian capitals it feels like a cosomopolitan village after a few days and familiar faces nodding at you

don't believe a word they tell you at the embassy, come anyway
posted by infini at 8:13 AM on July 21, 2010


In Scandinavian Finland jokes make you.
posted by special-k at 8:22 AM on July 21, 2010 [3 favorites]


My big brother had a Finnish girlfriend when I was a wee bairn and all I can say is man, was she beautiful! (She never cooked pea soup or tried to serve me any variation of herring, either.)
posted by emhutchinson at 8:23 AM on July 21, 2010


that's Nordic, not Scandinavian

Finland is not in Scandinavia
posted by infini at 8:41 AM on July 21, 2010 [4 favorites]


the bloody Helsingin Sanomat has taken the month of July off (they're the leading newspaper) and here's what they say on their website:

While the world will continue to turn, and news will doubtless be made, we hope that on the Finnish front at least it will be possible to enjoy the short Finnish summer in peace, eat lots of strawberries, leap into lakes from cottage saunas, and to return refreshed in early August.


This.
posted by infini at 8:45 AM on July 21, 2010 [6 favorites]


that's Nordic, not Scandinavian

Finland is not in Scandinavia


In common usage Finland is sometimes referred to as Scandinavia.
posted by special-k at 8:49 AM on July 21, 2010


Much like one takes prophylaxis medicine when traveling to areas with a high incidence of malaria, I advise a hearty dose of vitamin D supplements and SSRI medication when visiting Scandinavia (and our beloved Finnish brethren) during winter.
posted by pyrex at 8:49 AM on July 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


Finland is not in Scandinavia

Likewise, Iceland is not in Scandinavia, but is referred to often as a Scandinavian country. Doing this in the wrong bar in Iceland may or may not lead to fisticuffs.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 8:51 AM on July 21, 2010


I advise a hearty dose of vitamin D supplements and SSRI medication when visiting Scandinavia (and our beloved Finnish brethren) during winter.

Or vodka. For the natives, vodka has been (for better or worse) a staple in winter coping mechanisms long before SSRIs.

I also advise taking as many opportunities to visit hot-tubs outdoors in a blizzard as you possibly can. The absurdity of it helps cut the darkness a bit.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 8:53 AM on July 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


oh come now, its all in good social friendly fun
posted by infini at 8:54 AM on July 21, 2010


You guys upthread are crazy, the heatwave we're having right now is teh ossom. Mmmm, I could go for some pea-soup.
posted by dabitch at 8:55 AM on July 21, 2010


I'm liking the heatwave too, just the right temperature between Singapore and Helsinki
posted by infini at 9:00 AM on July 21, 2010


Finland represent! Or, in my case, Finnish-expats who you will undoubtedly find in every corner of the world, represent! There aren't many of us, but we make sure to have emissaries everywhere.

After the meal the bones were used for magic

What on earth does that last sentence mean?


Wouldn't you like to know. Muahahahhaaa.
posted by slimepuppy at 9:16 AM on July 21, 2010


When you

- know which global fast food company X has never made profit in the country, and has finished its business alltogether in a town in Eastern Finland (called Y).

- are familiar with term Z that should be used instead of Scandinavia, when talking about Finland in geographical sense.

- decide to have another beer, when people start pondering whether Finland is part of Scandinavia.

- can easily choose the right choices of the seemingly similar choices, when filling official forms (schools, health care)

- can fluently use partitive (or accusative) ending to indicate object of the sentence when speaking Finnish

- have strong opinions on icehole swimming, vihta, VR, vappu, local beer brands, and the length of the Christmas holiday.

- finally realize that you have gotten rid off your issue with "nakedness" that you did not know you had before arriving Finland.

- know precisely how many beers or how much of the hard liquor bottle you can drink so that you pass out but still can walk!

- can indicate to the point what is the difference between "Finnish summer" and "summer"

- know the appropriate number of stars printed on your "jaloviina" bottle.

- know THE right answer, when the locals ask, "how do you like Finland?"

- . . .
posted by Doggiebreath at 9:27 AM on July 21, 2010 [4 favorites]


...AND the most important...

- know what dessert always goes with pea soup on Thursdays!!!

DB
posted by Doggiebreath at 9:31 AM on July 21, 2010


Meanwhile, in Finland...
posted by blueberry at 9:32 AM on July 21, 2010


finally realize that you have gotten rid off your issue with "nakedness" that you did not know you had before arriving Finland.

Hoo boy, yes. I had the, um, interesting experience of sharing a dorm in a Budapest hostel with a trio of Finnish girls (and a bunch of other folks) who got naked constantly without the slightest hint of embarrassment, shame or secrecy. As a shy, geeky, pasty-skinned Scottish 18 year old chap, I genuinely did not know where to look.
posted by Happy Dave at 9:41 AM on July 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


At least I am so myopic and glasses fog up in the sauna...
posted by infini at 9:44 AM on July 21, 2010


My husband is half Finnish and half Albanian. I think they cancel each other out. He does like a good sauna, though. But silent, he is not.
posted by desjardins at 10:08 AM on July 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


I recently left Helsinki for London after living there for almost three years. I miss it, especially this time of year. I am having a hard time getting used to saying good morning when I arrive at the office, and I have actually spoken to some of my neighbors. When I feel nostalgic for the sauna, I ride the Barkerloo line (fully clothed, of course).
posted by incster at 10:47 AM on July 21, 2010


When I lived in Prague I became addicted to a certain type of Finnish deodorant (don't laugh, it was awesome). Now that none of my friends live there anymore, I've been cut off and had to switch to the closest US equivalent (Tom's of Maine). Oh, Herbina, I miss you so...

p.s. while we're on the Swedish-blood-rebelling -- mine HATES summer, I am not built for this! You can always put on another sweater in winter, but when it's this stupid-hot you can't take off any more clothing without getting arrested. I've started sleeping with ice packs, and this is in an airconditioned house!
posted by bitter-girl.com at 10:47 AM on July 21, 2010


finally realize that you have gotten rid off your issue with "nakedness" that you did not know you had before arriving Finland.

I studied abroad an innocent American and made loads of Finnish friends, perhaps sextupling the number of people who have seen me completely naked. I loved the Finnish saunas though- ultra hot and couldn't see much anyway.
posted by melissam at 10:48 AM on July 21, 2010


I've been cut off and had to switch to the closest US equivalent (Tom's of Maine)

You do know that Tom of Finland does not make toothpaste and deodorant, don't you? Don't you?

Oh, dear....
posted by GenjiandProust at 10:51 AM on July 21, 2010 [4 favorites]


The Finns are not big in the body-language department. It's that "polite reserve" thing again.

Kimi Raikkonen apparently didn't get the memo.

Also, you know you've been in Finland too long when you forget how to round a corner on a dirt road without going into a power slide.
posted by The World Famous at 10:52 AM on July 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


You do know that Tom of Finland does not make toothpaste and deodorant, don't you? Don't you?

But if he did...well, imagine the size of the tubes!
posted by malocchio at 11:37 AM on July 21, 2010 [3 favorites]


As Descartes said: "Cogito ergo dimsum" - I think, therefore I eat takeaway.

Oh, those poor Finns, having no idea what proper dim sum is! (Hint: it involves sitting in a restaurant.)
posted by kittyprecious at 11:53 AM on July 21, 2010


Reading this made me realize that even though I've known lots of Norwegian and Swedish people, and thus know a lot about those two countries, everything I think I know about Finland was derived from that section in the Cryptonomicon where Shaftoe is hiding out there and pursuing a love/hate relationship with the fisherman's daughter.

So ... now I know more? I'm not really sure.
posted by mannequito at 12:11 PM on July 21, 2010


This was very many good! (oikein paljon hyvää) I very many enjoyed reading it! Living in Helsingin keskus (Helsinki city center, I was in Meilahti) is a warm memory, despite it getting down to -40C the second winter I was there. They joked about an elderly Norwegian woman (you get used to jokes about Swedes, Norwegians and Danes in Finland) who lived high in the north and was checked on by during the bad weather. "Ma'am, it's -60C, are you all right?" "What do you mean, -60? My thermometer says -45C." "Really, ma'am? Because we're quite sure it's -60C outside." "Oh, outside! No worries dears, it's -45C inside my house, I'm fine." Apparently it was a true story, but my memory is vague, I'm pretty sure I heard it on the news during the cold snap. That and their bit on throwing a cup of boiling water out a ground floor window. It froze before it hit the ground.

I rode the Helsinki-Stockholm ferry several times and hoo boy does it ever live up to its reputation. The worst trip was when a storm rolled through on the Stockholm-Helsinki return. Finns so drunk they can't stand (which means a LOT of alcohol) + a large ferry bobbing up and down, back and forth unpredictably = well, take a wild guess. It was not pretty. Nor did it smell good.
posted by fraula at 12:36 PM on July 21, 2010


Tom of Finland does not make toothpaste

ORLY?
posted by grapefruitmoon at 12:42 PM on July 21, 2010 [2 favorites]


"Oh, outside! No worries dears, it's -45C inside my house, I'm fine."

Oldemor, I thought you were dead!
posted by elsietheeel at 7:55 PM on July 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


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