I am supposed to be going through my withdrawal phase. The initial euphoria of a new experience when over is supposed to lead to the feeling of disappointment and irritation, you can see more wrong than right and generally feel low. It is also the dark, dreary, grey time of the year – long nights, dark mornings, a greyish light (if you must call it that) for a few hours in the middle of the day. That compounded with the fact that I grew up in a place where there is bright sunshine for 10-12 hours a day, so a dark 9 am is really shocking for me. I can really wallow in self pity right now…psychology (or something like that) allows me to!
But I am not. I am not sad or low or disappointed. I am more amazed by the day. The more I know about Finland, the more I grow to like & respect the place. I am happy to be here and learn from an amazingly egalitarian people.
The harsh climate could have been an excuse to be selfish and crabby. It’s not. They say the hard conditions teach them to value one another & help those in need. I find the Finns more accepting, helpful, polite and genuine than any other set I have met so far.
The efficiency is to be seen to be believed. It’s a splash of ice cold water on the faces (my ex face probably included) who think that just the hours given to work are measures of commitment & effectiveness. When the Finns agree to some work, then genuinely ‘agree’ and put in their best without excuses or cribs.
All services actually work. Bank cards reach you in a day; taxis accept credit cards and provide warm noise free service (at a price ofcourse); store workers are polite & attentive… I could just go on and on.
It probably takes a long, long time to go from a customary ‘Moi’ if eye contact is made to a point where there is real conversation & friendship with a Finn. But it is also really uncommon for Finns to backbite or sharp elbow someone. This appeals to me far more than a culture where you are friends the day you meet but you also think it is okay to hurt or harm that friend.
The default mode is to trust. Saves so much time & energy it's unbelievable.
Egalitarian, equal, humble, fair, honest. I value my new home enough to feel an affinity to that blue & white flag when I travel outside this idealistic world.
Genuine. That is the word. Genuine in work and friendship. Genuine in the initial shyness, genuine when they become your friends. Genuine no’s, genuine yeses. That is what I genuinely respect. So my self named friend, I finally found the right place to knock my chest and say ‘Rezpekt!’
I get closer to knowing a country I never thought I will know. The honeymoon maybe over, but the love affair continues….