So in case you didn’t know… I am half Finnish. My father was born and raised in Finland, and moved to America when he was 18 to play basketball for BYU. We were going to learn Finnish growing up, but then my brother was born with Down syndrome. I understand why they decided to focus on English, but we are all a little bitter to this day that we can’t speak much Finnish.
I had the opportunity to visit Finland this summer. While the occasion was sad, the death of my grandfather, it is an experience I will be forever grateful for. I will treasure the time we had to be there for my grandmother, Mummo, and to honor my grandfather, Pentti’s life.
It’s hard to explain the feelings I felt while I was in Finland. Sad that Pentti had passed on to the next life, happy that I got to see my family, but I wasn’t expecting the deep love & connection I felt for my Mummo. I am constantly thousands of miles away from here, we don’t speak the same primary language, I’ve been able to see her much less than my grandma in the states due to proximity, and yet I feel so close to her. I tear up as I write this because Isaiah said it best, “The hearts of the children will turn to their father.” And it was so special to have Nick there with me. To share my heritage with him and share those tender feelings together.
Okay, so besides my sweet family, which is all that matters, here are some…
Things to know about Finland
- If you have a home, you have a sauna, too.
- They usually sauna naked.
- If you throw water on the rocks in the sauna, you better be able to stand the heat.
- Spicy mustard is a billion times better than our mustard.
- Finnish chocolate is in a different league than ours.
- Helsinki is right in the ocean.
- Finland has some of the highest taxes in all of Europe, so don’t expect things to be cheap.
- In July, it may be light all night.
- In December, you might see the sun for a couple hours tops.
- Santa lives in Finland.
- The Finnish language isn’t for the faint of tongue, but luckily most people speak English…. and a few other languages at that.
- Terve means hello. 🙂
- The main religion is Lutheran.
- Public transportation is super clean and VERY quiet. Kinda nice actually.
- H&M is on every corner. ?
- Helsinki has cobblestone streets, beautiful architecture, and is easily accessible to be able to tour in a day or two.
- Bakeries are everywhere.
- Estonia is a cheap ferry ride away for a fun day trip.
- Finland is home to Marimekko.
- The Finns are truly amazing people.