Monday, 31 October 2011

Reasons I’m proud to be Finnish

Although I live in London I was born and raised (for the most part) in Finland. It is a major part of my identity and something I take pride in. Finland is a small country and merely being from this country makes me stand out from the crowd here in London and a great icebreaker in conversation. People are always interested to learn more about Finland. To teach and educate people about Finland brings me great pleasure. When I started my relationship with Skywalker, our first trip to Finland together was memorable since he helped me see my country through new eyes. Here's a list of things that make me especially proud.

I am proud of the equality there is among Finnish men and women. Finnish women are not afraid to be strong and opinionated. The current president is a woman. Women still earn slightly less than men for the same work which needs to addresses but comparing to many countries in the world Finnish women are doing well. I have always been encouraged to be proud of myself and not feel inferior to men.

In the Finnish language we have a word "Sisu" that can't be easily translated into English. I would explain as perseverance and having guts. It is sustained effort against all odds and never giving up in your efforts and your dreams. In my career there has been so many times I have wanted to throw in the towel, back my bags and return home with my tail between my legs and admitting defeat but every time something stops me. It is not just pride but my sisu which makes me grit my teeth and try time and again. Sisu is something all finnish people possess, an integral part of our cultural personality.  

Great Education System
I have had the privilege to study in not just one or two but three countries and throughout my studies my pride of the finnish education keeps on growing year after year. Education is free and accessible to all and the standard of teaching is considered internationally high. Every year Finland ranks in the top three in the world in overall reading, writing and maths skills. Every finn has to study at least 3 languages: Finnish, English and Swedish and has the opportunity to study additional languages. I gave French a try while some of my class mates chose Spanish and Latin.


Honesty is valued over other personality traits. I have been told I can come across as straightforward, blunt or even rude but this is only my finnish honesty rearing its head. Finnish people do not give compliments if they do not mean them or even smile or laugh much out of politeness. Whatever we do we mean it. You know where you stand with a Finn.

The value of modesty as a personality trait ties in closely with honesty. We are a modest people and are brought up not to boast about our successes. Take pride in your work and believe that your due will come your way. I personally think we sometimes take this too far but still in a time of increasing narcissism there is definitely room for some modesty in the world. We have a high value of work in our culture and anyone who works hard deserves to feel proud.

Natural beauty 
Finland is a beautiful country with a lot of untouched wilderness. We are blessed to enjoy the whole range of seasons from warm and even hot summers to cold snow filled winters. We have an abundance of lakes and forests. I feel at peace and closer to nature in Finland. 

Here is a snowy view a stone's throw away from my parents house in Espoo, Finland.

Finland is the home to many talented artists but Tove Jansson, the creator of Moomins, must be the most well known. I know my opinion may be biased but I still think the Moomins is one of the best children's programs ever made. What other show has such a wide range of different characters and addresses so many important feelings and issues for children to explore. 

 If you have not visited Finland you should go. I have taken Skywalker there twice now and he was mesmerized. He even asked why in the world I came to London. The answer is short and simple in search of an international acting career. I have a dream of owning a vacation home in Finland if I can ever afford it and visiting much more often as it hold such a special place in my heart.  

                                                    Skywalker on his first trip to Finland

All this has made me crave some finnish Fazer chocolate! If you have any memories or experiences of Finland please share. 

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