Monthly Archives: March 2015

Large country, small people

by Joonas Sandman, degree student in Environmental Engineering

A stone and ice melting around it.

Believe: There is warmth inside to melt an ice cover!

It’s normal to get an awkward mumble as a response to a hello from a stranger and if you try to strike up a conversation with a fellow bus traveler you often might as well be talking to a brick wall. It’s not that they hate you, necessarily. It’s that Finns need their space.

Finland is a nation of space, after all, and by space I mean surface area. We have a huge amount of square kilometers for each Finn it might as well be a product of good (or bad, depending on situation) luck we see any other person during the day. This abundance of area combined with the cold and somewhat hostile climate has had its effect on the Finnish mind set making us a naturally private people.

This conditioning to guard ourselves against people as if they were the forces of nature does not mean that Finns are an emotionally cold people. On the contrary, Finns care deeply about the quality of their friendships and show seemingly unlimited warmth and good-will to a person they consider a friend. That word is not thrown around lightly. If you succeed in getting through a Finns thick outer shell and into the gooey warm goodness that lies within then you have made a loyal friend, potentially for life.

The thing about Finns is authenticity. The respect of a Finnish person may not be easily claimed with pretending to be happy in the long dark winter and it’s ok not to be. In fact it is a common source of humor, ironically.

Beauties of Lapland

by Sasu Kirvesmäki, degree student in Environmental Engineering

People walking in a queue a fell in the background

Hiking is fun together!

I bet you have already seen lots of beautiful places in Finland: its many lakes, forrests and fields. Maybe some old architecture in our old cities. But you haven’t seen all of the beauty before you visit Lapland!

A streaming brook in Lapland

Refreshment for hikers.

In the summer you can experience nature of the tundra. There are many national parks with marked hiking routes. Along the routes you will find fells, beatiful marshes full of cloud berries, reindeer running freely in the tundra, wonderful lakes, raging rapids and breathtaking views. Everyone is free to wonder in the national parks. Just remember to respect the nature and follow the rules of the specific park. In the autumn the nature blooms in red, orange and yellow. This season is called ’ruska’ in Finnish and it’s especially beatiful in Lapland.

Sunset at a small Lappish lake.

It is time to rest in the evening.

Winters in Lapland are usually cold and snowy. In winter time you can enjoy the ski resorts of the fells. If you want to experience the nature of tundra in winter you can for example go to a snowmobile safari. During winter you might also see northern lights lighting up the skies of Lapland. Winter in Lapland is long and dark. There is a time called ’kaamos’ when the sun doesn’t rise at all in Lapland. But any way there is bright snow there!

If you haven’t been in Lapland yet I highly recommend you to go. It doesn’t matter when you go there, there is always something to do and see!

A bus etiquette in Finland

A drawing with simple signs how to sit in a bus In Finland.

This is the way in Finland…you understand?

by Tero Lahtinen, degree student in Environmental Engineering

In Finland going to a bus is not some messy bazaar where people do whatever they want to. It is a very delicate and sophisticated situation where you have to know what to do. Otherwise you might ruin the day and maybe the whole month of some innocent person.

Two smiling girls sitting in a bus, at a window

Quite fun in a bus anyway! Picture: Heidi Mattila.

In the picture above you can see one person example of non-written areas around this person: a hazardous-, a semi-hazardous-, a danger- and a safe zone. In the hazardous zone awkward level is approximately 75 but if you start to talk to the person awkward level will increase to 100/100 (there is no existing data of entering awkward level 100). So the hazardous zone is a no go zone! In the semi-hazardous (awkward level 50) zone the person in the bus most likely will avoid you in the future thinking ‘’ that’s the person who sat near to me even there was plenty of space in the bus!’’ In danger zone (level 25) you have a fifty-fifty chance that person will not remember you in the future and you will be able to make contacts with him/her (in some other place than a bus!).

Lowering of the hazard-, semi-hazard- and danger zone will occur in case if the bus is so full that you don’t have any other option but to sit in some of these areas (stand to play it for sure). Lowering of the awkward level is always -25 units of awkward level.