So, our trip to Finland is drawing to a close and I thought that I would add some random thoughts about what its been like here, in other words, some more of the good and bad.
I mentioned previously that the toilets are clean and that still holds true most of the time. All of them are still cleaner than what you would find in Canada. However, a lot of them also cost money. I find this bothersome,especially since they only accept euro coins. What if I don't have money?
The smoking here bothers me too. I think that the new BC smoking laws have cut down on how much I am exposed to smoking and smokers in public places. Here, it seems to be rampant. A lot of the women here smoke, which I find especially repugnant.
The shoes. I am a bit of a shoe freak. It really irks me that the shoes here don't tell you where they are made and what they are made of. I have to know whether the shoes I am buying are leather or not and sometimes its really hard to tell.
Graveyards. People here have a strange fascination with visiting graves. Granted, they are really beautiful with manicured lawns and park benches, but I still find them creepy. People here visit graves and plant flowers and at Christmas they bring candles. I guess its really thoughtful to remember the dead, but I find it a bit weird.
Tuulipuvut. To my delight, the Finnish jogging suit syndrome is dying. We used to joke in Canada that the Finns would wear a jogging suit everywhere, even to a wedding. Anyway, I have only seen old people wearing jogging suits. Clearly the younger generation is much more fashion conscious (and sane). Thank goodness.
Dryers. People don't have them. Even people with kids don't have them. I find this insane. Do you know how long it takes for a pair of jeans to dry? Not only that, but once they are dry, you have to iron them because they are so crunchy that you can't move or sit down in them. Also, some clothes stretch out like crazy if you have to line dry them. I can't wait to see my dryer at home. I am actually excited to go home and do laundry. LOL.
The Finnish Eeyore attitude: Oh woe is me, I am nothing. I have a little bit of this syndrome myself, but boy is it annoying on a grand scale. Humility is one thing, but to be so overly proud of being ordinary is annoying. Saying something nice about someone is not going to ruin them. Giving someone a compliment is not supposed to be reserved for funerals. Being proud of your child for an achievement is not something that you need to whisper and apologize for mentioning in case its misinterpreted as braggery. This attitude is often coupled with thinking that all Canadians are boastful and arrogant. Canadians (and here I am talking mostly about Finnish Canadians) know how to enjoy and celebrate life. What's wrong with that? Life does not have to be all about trudgery and bleakness. Personally, I think this is why Finns love their cottages so much. They actually 'allow' themselves to enjoy life there. What a concept.
Finally, I have to say that I have been very pleasantly surprised at the friendliness of people here. I have been told that it is only in Eastern Finland that this is true, but I don't know. I have visited Eastern Finland before and I didn't find it so before. Anyway, this time around people have talked a lot to me (a stranger) and have just been really pleasant and conversational. I find it to be a welcome change.
So, I guess that's it. We fly home to Canada on Sunday and I am not looking forward to the 20 hour trip home with two kids in tow. But, I will be glad to sleep in my own bed, use my espresso machine and hug my dryer.