A lull in any conversation is to be avoided at all costs—even if it means talking about the latest viral cat video or celebrity breakup.
Since they follow quite a bit of international news, the have strong opinions about events, so you can find yourself engrossed in stimulating debates if the opportunity presents itself.
Location: Northern Europe, Scandinavia, bordering Norway 729 km, Sweden 586 km, Russia 1,313 km Capital: Helsinki Climate: cold temperate; potentially subarctic but comparatively mild because of moderating influence of the North Atlantic Current, Baltic Sea, and more than 60,000 lakes Population: 5,268,799 (2014 est.) Ethnic Make-up: Finn 93%, Swede 6%, Sami 0.11%, Roma 0.12%, Tatar 0.02% Religions: Evangelical Lutheran 89%, Russian Orthodox 1%, none 9%, other 1% Government: republic Of the two official languages of Finland, Finnish is the first language spoken by 93% of the country's 5 million inhabitants.
Photo: College Degrees360 A YEAR AGO, I moved to Helsinki with my Finnish wife Johanna and our one-year-old son.
I had a feeling that moving to Finland would change me. Like you, many of my habits have been shaped by my culture of origin.
I was convinced that my American friend would fall in love with the Finnish sauna culture, savoring the searing heat and the refreshing dip in chilly seawater. Clutching his towel around his waist, he growled “no way” indignantly.
Unfazed by my friend’s reluctance, I hung up my own towel and strolled into the sauna Finnish-style.They had just finished critiquing one of my habits, and they could see that I was on the defensive. According to them, I’m too generous with my hellos.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.Finnish, unlike Scandinavian languages, is not Germanic but in a class of its own.Theoretically, it is related to Hungarian but in practice the two are not mutually comprehensible.On a recent school day, as I dug into a lunch of fish sticks and steamed potatoes at the teachers’ table in the cafeteria, I was joined by a Finnish colleague.