For our fifth meeting we met at the skybar of Solo Sokos Hotel Torni. Beautiful view, really good hot chocolate (I recommend it!)
Ok, so on the first couple of days after I arrived in Finland, people kept telling me about Finnish Nightmares. So I wanted to get a deeper insight of personal Finnish do’s and don’ts by Heta and Veera. After introducing my home town and Austrian towns and landscape via ppt to them, we discussed different topics concerning what do to and what to avoid in Finland when interacting with people.
One thing I’ve learned so far is not to talk to strangers in public (if you don’t have a good reason). Finnish people consider this as invading their privacy. Apparently that’s only true in Western Finland because in Eastern Finland people do like to talk to strangers, especially on the bus. That was quite surprising for me because usually only a couple of people talk on the bus here in Tampere.
Which brings me to the next topic: don’t talk on the bus (or in public) on your cellphone! I’ve noticed myself that it can be pretty annoying when the whole bus is quiet (see above) and one person keeps blaring into the phone. It’s nice to know that Finnish people don’t like that either.
Also, everything that a Finn says has a meaning. That means that there is no small talk – they say what has to be said and that’s it. Sounds pretty clear and simple to me. Since I’m not good in doing small talk, Finland is the perfect country for me in that matter 🙂
The thing that got me most wondering was the custom of giving tips in restaurants, or I should put it as: “not giving tips”. In Austria you always give tips, waiters literally wait for you to give them tips and some get quite rude if they don’t get some. In Finland waiters get confused if you offer them more money than the bill. So if you really want to give a tip, clearly state that the extra money is a tip otherwise awkward moments occur and Finns hate awkward situations.
The craziest thing I’ve learned this meeting is not about Finnish do’s and don’ts but how parents treat their newborns. Did you know that Finnish people but their babies outside for napping? Which is ok, but: EVEN IN WINTER? I was clearly shocked and secretly was checking the date (no, it wasn’t April’s Fool Day). EVEN AT MINUS 10 DEGREES! It’s insane. I have no other words for that. But now I start to understand why Finns don’t mind the cold, they are literally being born with it. Minus ten degrees… wow.