I threw my hands up and snapped, “You’re accusing me of being too friendly? ” “Well, when I greet a colleague, I keep track,” she retorted, “so I don’t greet them again during the day! When I told them I would do my best to greet them just once every day, they told me not to change my ways. But the thing is, now that I’ve viewed myself from their perspective, I’m not sure I want to remain the same. And since moving to Finland two years ago, I’ve kicked a few bad American habits.1. I have yet to meet an American who doesn’t dread the awkward silence.
Following the recession of the Scandinavian ice sheet, which covered most of northern Europe, from Great Britain to Moscow, around 8000 BC, people began arriving in what is today Finland, presumably mainly from the south and east although recent archaeological finds reveal a presence of the north-western Komsa culture in north Finland equally old to the earliest finds on the Norwegian coast.
To prevent you from innocently stepping on some Finnish toes, here are a few social no-goes to be aware of. At first glance, the Finnish locals might appear almost hostile, but do not be deceived by appearances.
The seemingly serious Finns have a dry but sharp and sarcastic sense of humor.
In Finland, I’m navigating across a different cultural landscape and I’m watching several of my American habits slip away.
In the land of 3.3 million saunas, it is inevitable that you will eventually find yourself naked with people you don’t know. I didn’t realize that I had reached this level of Finnishness until last month.