I am now happily at home in South Africa and have been doing a lot of reflecting on my time in Finland. Of course I learnt a lot in my courses but I was thinking of some of the other things I learnt during my time away. Here they are, for better or worse, in no particular order:
– You live a bit differently when you need to clean your own home.
– If you are cold (even at -25’C) it’s not the weather’s fault, it’s your fault for not dressing properly.
– You can survive on only one fruit a day.
– Don’t say hello to/look at/acknowledge strangers.
– Avoid drunk Finnish men at all costs, otherwise you are going to be caught in a very weird and long and slow conversation.
– Whoever gets to the door first goes through the door. Being a woman holds no sway in door politics.
– Eating dinner at 16:30 and then an evening snack before you go to bed is a great eating plan.
– Rain is not an excuse…ever
– Neither is darkness
– How to hibernate
– How to live cheaply: eating pea soup and eggs
– That when rye bread and salmon are cheap and education is tuition free, normal looks very different
– Bicycles are fantastic
– Knitting is cathartic
– Grannies (especially granny-bikers and granny-cross-country-skiers) are not to be underestimated.
– Cheap, fast, unlimited internet is great.
– Months of grey and cold and rain and dark is depressing, even if you are not prone to depression.
– How to appreciate friends and family, near and far.
– It’s ok to be bored. Not everything is awesome, amazing or fascinating.
– Life doesn’t have to be a crazy rush (I think this is my favorite one)
And here’s a little song that always made me laugh (it’s not Finnish, but the guy is Scandinavian)