After almost three weeks of being back from the FCP, I was wondering how Finns are different from the people in rest of the world and came up with a checklist, ‘excess of things that make you Finnish’.
a) Coffee: I am almost a Finn by now in this sense. Go for an official meeting, conference, seminar, music concert, family dinner..whatever it might be coffee is a must. You have coffee for breakfast, you have coffee as starters and then you have coffee as desserts too, you will be a complete Finn if you manage to do so. Spend one month there and you will find yourself craving for coffee every now and then
b) Sauna: Wherever you get coffee at the above listed places, sauna follows everywhere. Yes, at the workplace too. “We make important political decisions while we are in sauna,” the Prime Minister told us when we met him. The professor teaching us the Finnish customs and culture during the programme was 100 percent right when he said, ” Sauna is one of the very few things about which Finns can talk for hours.”
And this fact about Finland is so popular worldwide that so far in three weeks the only questions I have been asked here about my trip is , ” Did you try Sauna?”
c) Design: A coffee mug, a notebook, a work station, an office building, roads…design is everywhere in Finland. The designs which redefine the existing definition of design in the world with the minutest details and finish. The fact behind Helsinki being the World Design Capital is widely visible as soon as you land at Helsinki-Vantaa airport.
d) Punctuality: Well, Finland is one of those countries where you will be suggested timings for appointments like 4:19 pm..!! I was surprised to believe that even a single minute is taken care of there, so if you are among those lazy souls who have tough time making it on time anywhere, catch your next flight to Finland, stay there for a month and all will be in order when you get back.
e) Smile: My colleagues in office are commenting sarcastically that ‘I had so much fun in Finland and now it’s my turn to slog’ and I am smiling back to them. My friends are accusing me not having met them for two months now and I am smiling back. I am getting scoldings from my boss and my mom for several reasons and I am still smiling. Well you will be bitten by the smiling bug if you have been to Finland or happen to stay there.