Finland, Finland, Finland…

18 03 2012

So it’s almost a year since I last visited Finland. It’s a curious country. Very West European and Scandinavian in many obvious ways… but a bit Russian, and then again itself in others. The buildings in the Helsinki suburb we were staying in felt like communist tenements… but with more pleasant pastel colours. As with every country I visit, I learnt how to say “thank-you”, and in Finland it is Kiitos (or “key toss” if you prefer).

That, plus knowing how to ask for beer (which at least phonetically tends to conveniently be a close variant of “beer” – this alone shows to me the true brotherhood of Man) is pretty much all one typically needs to get through a business trip in most foreign countries – or even Canada actually.

So anyway, the slightly-out-of-focus reason for this particular posting is the Moomintrolls.

Wikipedia: The Moomins

Apart from the whole WWII/Russia thing, Finland isn’t particularly well known internationally beyond Nokia and the Moomins. It’s been overshadowed by its neighbour’s better colour scheme and wooden furniture (that’d be IKEA for the hard of thinking), and the export of its better ice hockey players to places like Canada and, well, no, just Canada.

The Moomins were presented to the world in the books by Tove Jansson from the late 40’s onwards, and made familiar to me as a kid in the UK via TV adaptations some decades later. I think the look of quiet surprise, like they’ve just been goosed in public, is one of their most endearing qualities… That plus Little My‘s “don’t mess with me or mine” glower.

Wikipedia: The Moomins. From left to right, Sniff, Moominmamma, Moominpappa, Moomintroll (Moomin) and Little My.

Oh – and for finishers (sorry – it slipped out) here’s Monty Python‘s take on Finland, as sung by Michael Palin (who is from Yorkshire. Just sayin’.)

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11 responses

18 03 2012
lanceleuven

Hah! I always found the look in their eyes to be quite spooky and freakish when I watched it as a kid, still I watched though so I guess it didn’t bother me that much.

Finland is the one Scandinavian country I have yet to visit, but it’s on my radar!

18 03 2012
Quieter Elephant

Oh I’d definitely recommend going. Anywhere you’ve not been yet, in fact. The opinions of others are just that…

20 03 2012
lanceleuven

Well me and a few friends are hatching a plan to try and see the Northern Lights next year. So I’m going to push for Finalnd as the destination at which to do it in order to kill two birds with one stone. 🙂

20 03 2012
Quieter Elephant

A bit more interesting than Scotland, I’d agree. Canada’s another option. Just sayin’…

18 03 2012
Tony Bateman

Haha this page made me laugh. Finland is quite like everything you said. But don’t tell the Finns they take it very serious! Although I don’t understand the beer comment, in Finnish beer is Olut, what were you saying in Finnish that sounded like Beer? Maybe it was a brand? Cheered me up a bit reading this, thanks, Tony

18 03 2012
misfits' miscellany

My brother and his Finnish girlfriend, now X, brought me back a Moomin mug. That’s all I have to say.

18 03 2012
Sartenada

????

19 03 2012
Quieter Elephant

Don’t take things so seriously. Life’s too short.

24 04 2013
sheriji

Almost as creepy as the Teletubbies. Not quite; but almost.

And I love the Canada references, although I think US hockey teams benefit approximately equally from Finland hockey expats. Of course I don’t have any actual statistics or anything to back up that claim — you of course know that 87% of statistics are made up, anyway.

25 04 2013
Quieter Elephant

I follow some guy calling himself “Stats Canada” on Twitter. 100% of theirs are made up. Much more interesting…

12 07 2013
Thank-you and goodnight | Quieter Elephant

[…] since I first got to travel for work, I made it a habit to learn how to say “thank-you” in the local language. I firmly believe that if you make an attempt to show gratitude then you can get away with a lot […]

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