Someone thinks you're pranking them with mämmi
June 6, 2016 12:55 PM   Subscribe

Finnish Nightmares — Comic about uncomfortable social situations, uncomfortable everything.

Also in atomic form. ("For Finns we recommend they would read this book behind closed doors. Bursting with laughter in public is so embarrassing").

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posted by Johnny Wallflower (87 comments total) 52 users marked this as a favorite
 
My nightmare too!
posted by looli at 12:58 PM on June 6, 2016 [1 favorite]


Mämmi sounds delicious.
posted by Faint of Butt at 1:01 PM on June 6, 2016 [2 favorites]


I feel like many MeFites are Finnish at heart.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 1:03 PM on June 6, 2016 [10 favorites]


Mämmi is sitting at the back of the fridge. A gift at Easter. *sigh*

I feel like many MeFites are Finnish at heart.

Yes, I am.
posted by infini at 1:06 PM on June 6, 2016 [1 favorite]




I have to say that the public transit and food ones really resonated with me. And the one about neighbors being noisy after 10pm. Sadly, my neighbors have a social life and sometimes spend time having fun with friends and sitting around in the backyard far into the night.
posted by Frowner at 1:07 PM on June 6, 2016 [1 favorite]


I know Matti, I am Matti, and I probably live next door to Matti. Being Matti is the real reason for choosing to retire here in this allegedly cold, dark, Nordic place full of madness.
posted by infini at 1:09 PM on June 6, 2016 [9 favorites]


Are these really the same people who drove out the Red Army with little more than hunting rifles and warm mittens?
posted by indubitable at 1:10 PM on June 6, 2016 [16 favorites]


Only a Finn would live in a small country next to Russia that had to fight the Winter War, yet feel that having to talk to another human being over coffee would be the most disastrous thing imaginable.
posted by C.A.S. at 1:11 PM on June 6, 2016 [23 favorites]


"You can't have milk to drink with dinner."

I think these are my people.
posted by Kabanos at 1:14 PM on June 6, 2016


Are these really the same people who drove out the Red Army with little more than hunting rifles and warm mittens?

Being introverted, considerate, sensitive, and silent has little to do with ability to defend home against the bear.
posted by infini at 1:14 PM on June 6, 2016 [14 favorites]


>My nightmare too!

The other side of the story. No-win situation.
posted by Kabanos at 1:18 PM on June 6, 2016


The Post Script on this one knocked me flat:
Unfortunately I can't remember who told me this but I heard that a Finnish guy got in a situation where people were talking to him and standing really close to him. And he said that he had to fight a thought that he should kiss them. Why? Because he had never been so close to a person without kissing them.
posted by jamjam at 1:20 PM on June 6, 2016 [28 favorites]


Are these really the same people who drove out the Red Army with little more than hunting rifles and warm mittens?

Never lived in Finland, eh. They used their knowledge of their homeland and their infinite patience to drive the Red Army mad, essentially. If you've ever lived there, you know exactly how that had to have happened.

I miss Finland for its sensibility and vastly embracing aloofness.
posted by fraula at 1:28 PM on June 6, 2016 [5 favorites]


I love this. These are my people.

The "first snow" one made me sad, because it will never snow where I live, now.
posted by sandettie light vessel automatic at 1:28 PM on June 6, 2016


I think Finland might be my spiritual home.
posted by soren_lorensen at 1:30 PM on June 6, 2016 [3 favorites]


Are these really the same people who drove out the Red Army with little more than hunting rifles and warm mittens?

Hunting rifles, warm mittens, and sisu.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 1:40 PM on June 6, 2016 [4 favorites]


Unfortunately I can't remember who told me this but I heard that a Finnish guy got in a situation where people were talking to him and standing really close to him. And he said that he had to fight a thought that he should kiss them. Why? Because he had never been so close to a person without kissing them.

Not only do I know that this happens to a number of Americans too, but I actually know someone who DID IT. SHE KISSED HER BOSS BY ACCIDENT. She (the boss) had been leaning over her, rubbing her shoulders, and just being overly physically close, and my friend, out of some weird impulse, gave her a little peck on the cheek, and became famous at work for that. Hell, look at me bragging about knowing her. She's famous to me for it too.

(I always thought that was an intrusive thought more than anything else, but I will consider the possibility that it's just a thing where that is a kissin' zone.)
posted by ernielundquist at 1:43 PM on June 6, 2016 [11 favorites]


Sounds like insecurity-and-over-politeness-wise, Finland = Canada²
posted by oneswellfoop at 1:45 PM on June 6, 2016 [2 favorites]


TIL I am Finnish
posted by phunniemee at 1:45 PM on June 6, 2016 [3 favorites]




Like seriously, I have stood and watched out my window for my next door neighbor to finish her cigarette and walk back inside just so I don't have to say hi as I walk by. The last time I talked to her I hugged her because she was too close to me and it seemed like the right thing to do. I'm not even 100% sure what her name is and I've lived next to her for five years. Help.
posted by phunniemee at 1:48 PM on June 6, 2016 [26 favorites]


yeah a lot of these work for Canadians, too
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 1:55 PM on June 6, 2016 [2 favorites]


Are these really the same people who drove out the Red Army with little more than hunting rifles and warm mittens?


Really, really excellent mittens.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 2:03 PM on June 6, 2016 [1 favorite]


So does everyone in Finland have an anxiety disorder?
posted by dilaudid at 2:05 PM on June 6, 2016 [3 favorites]


It's not a disorder if everybody has it.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 2:06 PM on June 6, 2016 [34 favorites]


I visited Turku and Helsinki in 2002 as part of a wedding. We kept seeing these little stores called "Kaarki Pussi" and one of our party- lets call him Justin- thought this was just the funniest thing ever. He was with his SO, whom he proposed to on the trip. So while we found out later what the stores were (candy, translating more or less as "candy bag") there was a moment late in the trip where we were all, mostly Americans and a few Finns, riding a little shuttle bus back to the hotel after a tiring day on a farm, very quiet, just road sounds, and my date pipes up with "HEY JUSTIN! Did you ever find out what Pussi is?"

We all just lost it, laughing so hard we were tearing up, trying to stammer out "Ask his fiancee!"
posted by vrakatar at 2:12 PM on June 6, 2016 [4 favorites]


It me! Can't work in the yard today, I guess. Neighbor's already out doing his. *shrug*
posted by ctmf at 2:15 PM on June 6, 2016 [2 favorites]


yeah a lot of these work for Canadians, too

Yeah. One of my old coworkers had an American friend who called the last slice of pizza "the Canadian slice" because whenever she went to parties in Canada, and there was only one slice of pizza left, everyone would politely ignore the slice because it'd feel too rude to take it for yourself.
posted by airmail at 2:20 PM on June 6, 2016 [13 favorites]


It's not a disorder if everybody has it.

Now that the weather has warmed up and there's sunshine, we're all out in our balconys. Neighbours have a glassed in one with a sliding door. They keep that open to let some air into their bedroom (the balcony door is from the bedroom). I smoke.

So does everyone in Finland have an anxiety disorder?

So I'm out there one evening when I hear the glass slide and door close, accompanied by a cough. It strikes me that I'd heard that a couple of time recently, and was it actually a signal? So I noisily closed my own door and went in. The next day, when I opened the door and then coughed in teh balcony, I could hear the glass gently slide close along with the door.

The point is we're learning to share the air, with delicate signals.

I don't see any of this as anxiety. Matti is a stereotype but recognizably so - its less of a disorder and more to do with saving face/fitting in and sharing space/shutting up the noise in your own head to read the signals.

Saves all that embarrassment over polluting their air, and how on earth would you set up a sharing schedule? With an app?
posted by infini at 2:22 PM on June 6, 2016 [16 favorites]


Are these really the same people who drove out the Red Army with little more than hunting rifles and warm mittens?

When someone invades your personal space, it's really uncomfortable. When a lot of Russian troops invade your person space, it's so uncomfortable that you have to get your mittens and rifles and do something about it. It's pretty simple, really. I am a Minnesotan at heart, and we all like our personal space. Just sayin'. Maybe there's some Finn in my background.
posted by GenjiandProust at 2:25 PM on June 6, 2016 [15 favorites]


One of my old coworkers had an American friend who called the last slice of pizza "the Canadian slice"

See also: Timbits
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 2:27 PM on June 6, 2016 [6 favorites]


In person, I very often seem to end up in these 'stopped at a garage sale, am entrusted with family secret from someone's childhood, end up parting with a giant bear-hug' interactions with people. Maybe it's my face, I dunno.

But. I agonize over being adequately reticent any time I'm in public, because for some reason I am hyper-vigilant about how badly I don't want to transgress the comfort zone of a Matti, and anyone might be a Matti.
posted by Fantods at 2:42 PM on June 6, 2016


I can identify with Just Browsing and The bus is ,"full”, and while this has never happened, when I lived in shared houses, I did at times wait for housemates to get out of the way before leaving my room to avoid having to make smalltalk.

And isn't strangers sitting next to you on public transport and trying to strike up conversations a nightmare and/or entirely unreasonable behaviour anywhere, or is this just in Finland and the London Underground?
posted by acb at 2:51 PM on June 6, 2016 [2 favorites]


Matti is a guesser, then?
posted by ardgedee at 2:52 PM on June 6, 2016 [1 favorite]


The American thought "How much I could get if I'd sell that elephant?"
The Frenchman thought: "What would that elephant taste like?"
And the Finn thought: "What does that elephant think of me?"


That jibes with Jón Gnarr's assertion that the Icelanders have a lot in common with the Finns (at least compared to the Scandinavians they get lumped in with). The various books about Icelandic culture one finds in shops in Reykjavík point out that the Icelanders have traditionally been quite concerned with what outsiders thought of Iceland (to the point of having a TV series where they asked foreigners about Iceland).

(This may well be less the case after the tourism boom in Iceland, and they may well not want to hear a foreigner mention elves ever again.)
posted by acb at 2:55 PM on June 6, 2016 [2 favorites]


These all seem like Minnesota Nightmares, too. Probably because of all the Finns here.
posted by heurtebise at 2:58 PM on June 6, 2016 [5 favorites]


More like Finnesota, amirite?
posted by Too-Ticky at 3:04 PM on June 6, 2016 [7 favorites]


I feel like many MeFites are Finnish at heart.

I feel like many Finns are MeFites at heart.
posted by Greg_Ace at 3:48 PM on June 6, 2016 [4 favorites]


I feel like many Finns are MeFites at heart.

I see a new site -- MeFinn.com....
posted by GenjiandProust at 3:49 PM on June 6, 2016 [3 favorites]


How many ways could cortex mispronounce that, I wonder?
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 3:53 PM on June 6, 2016 [3 favorites]


There's a typo on the first comic but I don't want to say anything because of this comic .
posted by cazoo at 4:02 PM on June 6, 2016 [1 favorite]


Re "Canadian Slice": in Spanish, this is "la de la vergüenza." I am a sinvergüenza, so you can imagine what happens at dinner parties. #not ashamed #malaeducación
posted by pleasant_confusion at 4:54 PM on June 6, 2016 [5 favorites]


Mämmi is sitting at the back of the fridge. A gift at Easter. *sigh*

If you need some inspiration, I posted some "what the heck do we do with this extra mämmi?" links in the big rye thread of 2014.
posted by effbot at 4:56 PM on June 6, 2016 [2 favorites]


(I'm sorry, finland, but 64.37 euro in postage to get the book shipped to me? is your postal service completely insane? a round-trip airplane ticket to helsinki from where I am costs 198 euro, and that includes food.)
posted by effbot at 5:21 PM on June 6, 2016 [1 favorite]


SHE KISSED HER BOSS BY ACCIDENT.

The man at the desk pushed the sheaf of papers away and stood, as if by instinct, to put space between him and the words on the page.

No, he tried to say, but his throat was dry. He cleared it and spoke. He had to hear the words aloud.

"No. Too far. That's... no."

He picked up his coffee, hesitated, then put it back down. He didn't want it any more. He didn't want it ever again.

Knocking on the open office door, the man's assistant poked his head in. "Mr Fuller?" he said. "Are you finished reading those spec scripts for Hannibal?"
posted by No-sword at 5:27 PM on June 6, 2016 [9 favorites]


Re "Canadian Slice": in Spanish, this is "la de la vergüenza." I am a sinvergüenza, so you can imagine what happens at dinner parties. #not ashamed #malaeducación
In Mexico, this happens for a slightly different reason with the topmost tortilla in the stack. People don't take it because it cools off faster, but everyone lifts it to get to the one below, which traditionally invites certain comparisons to prostitutes and/or loose women, who "are touched by everyone, but no one takes for their own".
posted by Joakim Ziegler at 5:30 PM on June 6, 2016 [2 favorites]


invites certain comparisons to prostitutes and/or loose women, who "are touched by everyone, but no one takes for their own"

Welp, that's depressing.

The majority of the sex workers I know are married or long-term partnered in a way that might as well be married, FTR.
posted by Frowner at 5:40 PM on June 6, 2016 [8 favorites]


An "easy" but less-authentic recipe for mämmi. There's a link to a more-authentic one in the comments. I like rice pudding and molasses; I expect I would be all over this stuff.
posted by Joe in Australia at 5:50 PM on June 6, 2016 [1 favorite]


or is this just in Finland and the London Underground?

Zurich commuter trains have most seats in a 2+2 configuration, and the proper seating protocol is that the first person takes the window seat in the train's direction, the second person asks if a seat is still free and takes the aisle seat in the opposite direction, and the third person goes somewhere else since that 4-seat group is now full. Talking to friends is ok if you keep your voice down, talking to strangers is totally out of the question.
posted by effbot at 5:55 PM on June 6, 2016 [6 favorites]


Ah, and that jives with a story that a professor colleague at U Tampere told me when I visited. (He himself is a Laplander, I think, and I'm not sure what impact that would have on the relish with which he told this.) Apparently the local bus service had switched to buses with a seating configuration where passengers had to face each other. This was met with a flurry of indignant letters to the local paper, with one writer saying "I don't want to have to look at my neighbor's ugly face!"
posted by gusandrews at 6:36 PM on June 6, 2016


I was just telling someone about my time in Finland. "It was amazing! No one tried to talk to me!"

I had no qualms leaving my flat just to wander around, sit outside or browse in a thrift store. A beautiful lack of eye contact. Moving away from a person (to give both of us more space) was considered polite.

At home, in the USA, I avoid going out because I can't deal with people. Maybe it's an anxiety thing, but it's more about wanting to conserve my social energy.

As for Canadians, I find them exhaustingly chatty. We had a man follow us for four blocks in downtown Winnipeg talking about everything from baseball to newspapers. Polite, but very chatty.
posted by tippy at 7:32 PM on June 6, 2016 [4 favorites]


indubitable: "Are these really the same people who drove out the Red Army with little more than hunting rifles and warm mittens?"

I dunno. I mean, from what I've inferred from these comics, a willingness to burn down your own house and move on rather than receive surprise/uninvited guests seems like both an aspect of the Finnish character and an effective way to halt the Russian advance.
posted by mhum at 7:49 PM on June 6, 2016 [2 favorites]


Living in Japan, I see a whole lot of these things at play here, too. There's even a saying to refer to the last piece of a food that everyone wants but nobody is willing to take (lit. "lump of restraint/reservation"). My (American) wife also notes that a whole lot of these are extremely relatable for her, too.

Overall: This is entirely delightful!
posted by DoctorFedora at 9:14 PM on June 6, 2016


I always eat the last slice to save everyone the pain. Its how I best contribute to society.
posted by dame at 9:59 PM on June 6, 2016 [13 favorites]


Yes, dame, I totally do that too. I used to feel bad about it but I realized whenever there's just one slice of something it causes all this tension and weird energy and once I go ahead and be the bad guy and eat it, everyone relaxes. I don't mind if someone thinks I'm selfish (guilty as charged) and I like feeling like I just spared everyone else a little bit of awkwardness.
posted by town of cats at 11:01 PM on June 6, 2016 [10 favorites]


I do that sometimes at parties, too.

It's like being a sin-eater, but with pizza.
posted by offalark at 11:08 PM on June 6, 2016 [7 favorites]


Win-win-win. The last win is for cake slices.
posted by dame at 11:15 PM on June 6, 2016


I'm sorry, finland, but 64.37 euro in postage to get the book shipped to me? is your postal service completely insane?

Yes. Yes it is. Even if you disregard the obviously cheaper prices of stuff from Chinese eBay merchants, it blows my mind that they can give me free delivery on large items for which I'd have to pay around 10 euros to have similar items delivered locally.
posted by jklaiho at 11:37 PM on June 6, 2016


Four years ago the wife and I bought my childhood home in rural Finland from my parents. It turns out that a high school classmate of mine that I was friendly enough with some 13 years before had just earlier moved into a neighboring house 250 meters away.

In those four years, neither of us has invited the other over for coffee or something ONCE. It's both awkward and hilarious, and every day it becomes harder for either one to act first.

This is probably atypical even for Finns, but I thought it worth mentioning.
posted by jklaiho at 11:55 PM on June 6, 2016 [8 favorites]


This reminds me of the time that I made up the story of a bunch of Lutherans who starved to death in a basement with a single oyster cracker in a bowl on a table that no one could bring themselves to eat. There was some complicated element of shared embarrassment that kept them from leaving said basement, but I can't remember that part.

SHE KISSED HER BOSS BY ACCIDENT.

I will file this in the sympathetic super-cringe category with the woman from a huge family who fell into an old habit of spitting on her food to keep her brothers from eating it... at a professional business lunch with her coworkers and boss.
posted by BrotherCaine at 12:29 AM on June 7, 2016 [7 favorites]


I managed to get through four years of dormitory living without sharing the communal shower once (I showered in the middle of the night). I also managed to avoid interacting with my dorm neighbors for entire semesters, sometimes by refraining from leaving my room simply because I could hear them in the hallway. These days I carefully check to make sure my neighbors aren't outside before going to the driveway--the small talk is just so awkward!

I am not a Finn, but have Scandinavian blood, and am relieved to learn that there are whole cultures based on social avoidance. I would go live in Finland but would have to do so in the quietest way possible so as not to draw attention.
posted by kinnakeet at 2:29 AM on June 7, 2016 [1 favorite]


I was just telling someone about my time in Finland. "It was amazing! No one tried to talk to me!"

I had no qualms leaving my flat just to wander around, sit outside or browse in a thrift store. A beautiful lack of eye contact. Moving away from a person (to give both of us more space) was considered polite.

How do you explain all this peace and quiet when you meet friends and acquaintances from your old life - *why* Finland?

The other reason, less known, is population density. Its just lovely.
posted by infini at 3:16 AM on June 7, 2016


The other reason, less known, is population density. Its just lovely.


Apparently the Norwegians are big on this sort of thing as well, to the point of using their oil largesse to prop up the sort of infrastructure that allows the population to be far more spread out than in other countries. (You can live in the middle of nowhere in Norway without sacrificing modern conveniences in the way you might elsewhere.) The Almost Nearly Perfect People suggests this is because the Norwegians, like the Finns, value their solitude.
posted by acb at 4:24 AM on June 7, 2016 [2 favorites]


to avoid having to make smalltalk

Thank you, acb, for putting your finger on it! I don't mind saying hello to people. But it's small talk that makes my skin crawl.

There's one coworker I'm very fond of, and she gets on the train when we're five minutes from our destination, and some days for that five minutes plus the 10 more it takes us to walk to the office, it's a challenge to find things to talk about. And that's with someone I like!

I'm fine with meeting coworkers during the course of the day. It's part of my job, and we mostly talk about job-related things. But at the end of the day I go out of my way to avoid meeting them in the halls. It's the small talk!
posted by oheso at 4:42 AM on June 7, 2016


Yeah. One of my old coworkers had an American friend who called the last slice of pizza "the Canadian slice" because whenever she went to parties in Canada, and there was only one slice of pizza left, everyone would politely ignore the slice because it'd feel too rude to take it for yourself.

And in contrast.. Not sure if it's a Canadian thing but it sure is common around here. You're at a BBQ, party or some event where food is put out. Everyone sits or stands around not wanting to be the first one at the food table. You can tell people want the food but no one goes.

I am now that person that goes first even if I don't really want the food because sometimes it's just painful. "Oh for heavens sake I'll go people!" And people actually laugh. Even been called a hero for doing it. Yep it's a sacrifice to the altar of politeness but someone has to do it.
posted by Jalliah at 4:54 AM on June 7, 2016 [5 favorites]


Not sure if it's a Canadian thing but it sure is common around here.

Also in Finland, of course: http://finnishnightmares.blogspot.fi/2015/11/how-long-you-have-to-wait-until-its-not.html
posted by effbot at 5:14 AM on June 7, 2016


This reminds me of nothing so much as an illustrated version of Very British Problems.
posted by tobascodagama at 5:48 AM on June 7, 2016 [1 favorite]


A few weeks ago I finally got up the nerve to ask for a new locker at the gym - one in the back, more private-seeming area of the locker room. Then last week I discovered they put me right next to my boss' boss. There's no way I'm going to ask to move again. The employee had to get her supervisor to help with the last transfer. I guess my best bet is some sort of remote-controlled lock, so I can open my locker from a distance, swoop past and grab my stuff, then go change somewhere else.
posted by ruemonkey at 6:15 AM on June 7, 2016 [1 favorite]


MetaFilter: It's the small talk!
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 6:36 AM on June 7, 2016 [3 favorites]



Yeah. One of my old coworkers had an American friend who called the last slice of pizza "the Canadian slice" because whenever she went to parties in Canada, and there was only one slice of pizza left, everyone would politely ignore the slice because it'd feel too rude to take it for yourself.


I'm visiting Canada right now and went to a bbq on Sunday night. There was all this amazing food that was getting eaten so fast I was worried at first that if I lingered to chat with someone when a plate came out, I'd miss out entirely. Then I realised that no one was ever eating the last piece of anything. So then it was great! I got one of everything I wanted to try without having to rush or wait in line. Lack of shame for the win!
posted by lollusc at 7:13 AM on June 7, 2016 [2 favorites]


This is one case where my innate gluttony wins out over my social awkwardness.
posted by tobascodagama at 7:51 AM on June 7, 2016


I think this is my daughter's ("I have the social capacity of a potato") people. I suppose it's one of those places where it's terribly difficult to make friends as a newcomer (I've heard this of Sweden--perhaps Finland is even more so?) but I think that would be just about be her ideal.
posted by drlith at 8:02 AM on June 7, 2016


I suppose it's one of those places where it's terribly difficult to make friends as a newcomer (I've heard this of Sweden--perhaps Finland is even more so?)

My understanding of Sweden is that it's not so much difficulty as a high surface tension; once you've made one friend, and broken through the barrier, they'll introduce you to their friends.
posted by acb at 8:05 AM on June 7, 2016 [1 favorite]


Yes, surface tension is a good way to describe it. And maybe you'll never have a big circle, but every one of your friends is an honest to god, I'll show up at 3am if you need it, type of friend.
posted by infini at 8:28 AM on June 7, 2016 [1 favorite]


I went through Helsinki last autumn and was sat on the metro from the airport alone in my bay on a bench seat that was 3 people across facing another bench. And an older man gets on, ignores the 2 seats closer to the aisle on either side and plonks himself down opposite me. I can only assume hostile intent (presumably anti-tourist sentiments, although I guess of all the countries in Europe, I look least ethnically Finnish). So that bewildered me. I liked my 8 hours in Finland a lot. But then I got the train to St Petersburg, and interactions with people felt more intuitive there, for this Brit.
posted by ambrosen at 9:49 AM on June 7, 2016


Fickr not ambrosen, I look a lot less finnish than you do. That's personal spacing and the window. Finnish public transport teaches you not to take anything personally. Not even "hostile" bus drivers.
posted by infini at 10:49 AM on June 7, 2016


Metafilter is making a disaster of me today. Not only am I all teary because of the rescue dog memorial post, but I also have the stupid Monty Python Finland song stuck in my head at the same time.
posted by Fantods at 11:38 AM on June 7, 2016


Besides the ridic drawn out quiet suffering of no one ever actually going for the last piece of cake (or serving of food - anything! - its even considered rude in some families to eat all the things! even if youre invited specifically over for that!) Finns are notorious for never going in first for that first piece of cake (or pulla).

They'll just mill around sheepishly until (usually a child or foreigner) just goes for it. and then an avalanche of happy hungry people emerge. Though i go right for it (not 100% finnski), have never had the patience to wait and see how long it would take for them to figure out how to actually get to it. My hub who moved here roughly two years ago loves and finds our quirks hilarious..He's become something of an anthropologist, relishing in all the awkwardness.
posted by speakeasy at 12:13 PM on June 7, 2016 [1 favorite]


As for Canadians, I find them exhaustingly chatty. We had a man follow us for four blocks in downtown Winnipeg talking about everything from baseball to newspapers. Polite, but very chatty.

I think it's a cultural leftover from basically being cooped inside with people all winter. If you don't find something to talk about, you seethe in resentment until springtime.

pulla

oh god yes please. An ex's mum was Finnish and he'd make pulla every so often and oh my god. We'd devour it. Also these little buckwheat crepes filled with rice pudding that get soaked in Too Much Butter. So good with tea.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 12:17 PM on June 7, 2016 [1 favorite]


Sultsinas? (oof now i'm getting hungry)
posted by speakeasy at 12:31 PM on June 7, 2016


yes! with lots of cardamom, no idea if that's standard or his mum/granmother's thing. Sunday afternoon in winter, big pot of tea, plate of those still warm from the oven. Yessssssssssssssss.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 12:35 PM on June 7, 2016 [2 favorites]


I think it's a cultural leftover from basically being cooped inside with people all winter. If you don't find something to talk about, you seethe in resentment until springtime.

Otoh the Finns end up with drinking problems and overflowing DV shelters at Christmastime
posted by infini at 1:59 PM on June 7, 2016 [1 favorite]


I spent the summer of 1991 in Helsinki on a student-work-abroad scheme. I was shy about only speaking English (and couldn't bring myself to take a Finnish-for-English-speakers class because language class reasons - je suis Canadienne). My library colleagues were older and presumably shy about their English. It was a very QUIET summer. I stayed in a hostel and hung out with Latvians and Poles. Every so often we would go out (tres expensive then!) and watch Finns drink too much and not be shy. But I really had to learn how to be on my own in my head that summer! I heart Finns.
posted by mollymillions at 6:57 PM on June 7, 2016


One thing I'm wondering is whether there are cultural differences between the Finno-Swedes (you know, Tove Jansson's and Linus Torvalds' people) and the Finnish-speaking Finns. The Swedish speakers tend to cluster in Swedish-speaking areas like Kokkola/Karleby and the island of Åland, so it's plausible that they have distinct cultural assumptions.
posted by acb at 3:55 AM on June 8, 2016


yes! with lots of cardamom, no idea if that's standard or his mum/granmother's thing.

Pretty standard. Source: paternal side of the family is Finnish. See also: korvapuusti

Are these really the same people who drove out the Red Army with little more than hunting rifles and warm mittens?"

Skis were also key to the whole thing.

Source: my grandfather was a sniper in the Winter War.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 6:47 AM on June 8, 2016 [7 favorites]


Will investigate these delightful sounding Finnish & Scandinavian baked goods. I make cardamom rolls (basically cinnamon rolls - cinnamon +cardamom) every Christmas for my in-laws. I've quadrupled the fresh ground cardamom called for in the recipe and I finally don't get "needs more cardamom!"
posted by BrotherCaine at 11:03 AM on June 9, 2016 [1 favorite]


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