Old News or Some Such Crap:
There are certain things in this country (Finland. Because that's where I am right now. Weathering the amazingly hot [Come on people! It is barely over 30 degrees celsius. Let's not be such weirdo snow-castle dwellers for once. Everyone stop fainting because of heat-exhaustion asap. Drink some water instead. And please, whatever you do, stop drowning in it. Take it in a glass instead!] weather and watching the bears run free on the streets [I kid you not, more on that below]) that make me, surprisingly and not, proud to be a Finn (that's the correct noun, learn it now). And then there are certain things that make me (yes, even me) cringe more than any average person would, watching Paris and/or Perez Hilton put on... try on... say... wear... carry... well, do anything really.
Behold, I shall now give you the highlights (complete randomness and jabbering. Go ahead and ignore the word 'highlights' and replace it with drunken and you're miles closer to the core) of such pride as well as said cringing. Because I want to. Not that anyone asked. And, you know, too much time has passed for me to acknowledge that I haven't blogged for a long time, so I'll just plunge in head first and pretend like my last post was yesterday.
I am proud to be a Finn when I can read the newspaper and see how some poor journalist has found yet another new and surprising way of making strawberries, and their 'sudden' appearance on our farms (it has only been happening for centuries, once every year) front page news. It shows we are inventive. I bet this is how we came up with Nokia too. Although that might have been an idea someone had in the shower, a place where you seldom ponder about strawberries, but might actually be thinking "man, what I wouldn't give for a chance to be telling my bff how frikken bored I am while I'm lying on my bed at home and my mom's yelling for me to get up because grandma's coming and if i want her money I should not still be in bed." Assuming, of course, that the inventor was a teenage girl. As one does.
I'm proud to be a Finn when I realize that my Finnish (the correct adjective, learn it) society is such a high-tech society that my parents, who cohabit a medium-size house, can without any sort of hassle, although I imagine they were both in the living room/ kitchen area at the time, call me separately yet almost simultaneously - my father to tell me that a bear running around close to downtown was a "complete city center away" and not to worry about stepping out, and my mother to tell me that "there is a bear around your way" who might just decide it would like some African-spiced meat in the form of a wine-marinated, blond, mohawked piece of flesh (not my mother's exact words), cross a few highways, and emerge from the forest (it's a park with a statue) next door to eat me. As to how the king of the woods would cross the highways, it would "walk of course" (my mother's exact words).
I'm proud to be a Finn when I realize that there are still live animals in the woods in Finland. Not just the zoos. And that they are fierce. And might just cross highways to get to me.
I am proud to be a Finn when my best friend tells me completely honestly that she thinks that I am just "so utterly strange" while I still feel the love. Apparently it's strange to love the Finnish schlager-tradition, have spiky hair as well as a giant belt with a metallic head of a tiger on it, and argue with a clothes-store employee about why she is not doing her job and returning clothes to their assigned racks after people have tried them on (I won and scared her witless, but will now forever boycott a certain store due to their unethical production methods or some such thing). Still, I personally think all of my quirks are simply delightful and spice up the general thing of living, and although "so utterly strange" could be construed as a negative, it's not, and my bff loves me regardless. (Yey!) The Viking husband of mine just tells me that I'm "special."
I'm proud to be a Finn when the local health food store (the one in Kauppahalli) owner notices the milk thistle having reached its sell-by date a month previous and thus gives it to me for free, because "it's still usable for six months, I just shouldn't sell it." And then I walk away, real quick like, because it's too good to be true and I suspect I'm on one of those horrid candid camera shows. Or being Punk'd by Ashton Kutcher himself. Totally. This is void-of-service Finland after all. And maybe Ashton's into bear-scares?
I'm proud to be a Finn when I can read in the newspaper about the heat wave. Every single morning, every single newspaper. Finland (and my mother right along with the nation. In a real bad way too. Like totally creepers) has a fixation on, nay, a weather fetish. And something about never being happy with the state of it, rain or shine. But at least that must mean that there really aren't that many actual news around, right? (Yes, because the other two headlines are about a puppy being saved by a helicopter and a guy biking across our glorious Funland "just for kicks.")
Wait! Am I still being proud, or have I already started with the cringeworthy stuff?
Agh. Who knows. All I'm certain about is that I will continue in list form. Before I pass out because of the 'heat'. Because everything other than that would just be disrespectfully un-Finnish. Yup.
I'm proud to be a Finn when... Golf. I'm not sure the sport has anything to do with being proud to be Finnish, but the 'heat' might just be getting to me and I wanted to declare my undying love to the playing of golf before I do that passing out thing, right here in my bedroom, possibly onto my bed. Which seems to be the thing to do. No, it's not called sleeping in! I'm frikken passing out because of the 'heat'. What drunken stupor? Screw you haters, it's the 'heat' that's making the nation wonky! Not in any way the season that we Finns refer to as the 'terrace season' - a season during which bars have tables outside so wearing one's sunglasses while drinking one's beer/ cider doesn't seem so out of place.
How did I go from golf to drinking beer on a plastic chair outside? The 'heat' must be getting to me. But apropos of getting drunk.
It makes me very much NOT proud to be a Finn when I go to a restaurant, order two glasses of dry, Chilean Sauvignon Blanc, and then, from the corner of my very own beady eye, witness the waiter fill up the glass that comes up short with an Italian Chardonnay. In Teatterikahvila, where they're supposed to have class.
It doesn't make me proud to be a Finn when I go anywhere expecting any kind of service from the lovely folks of Finland in the service industry (not euphemistic, really referring to waiters, clerks, cashiers, stewardesses, and the odd bus chauffeur). Apparently the term service does not exist in Finnish (the correct name of the language, learn it). Those of you who know Finnish (You there, yes, you!) and would like to suggest to me that the direct translation is palvelu, I would like to remind you that although it perhaps used to be as easy as that, nowadays the term rather signifies getting the client do your work for you, ignoring the client, gossiping with your friends on the telephone or over the counter while several clients are giving you the stare, and pissing the client off with inanities and/ or pure unadulterated lack of intelligence.
Yes, I'm pointing at you girls at Gina Tricot (Why was I even there? The clientele is teenagers for walking cane's sakes!), the oddly confrontational Paunu bus chauffeur, and the sorry excuse for a waiter at Teatterikahvila!
Read my revenge!
Cue Punch line.
What? There isn't one? What were you going to do? Just taper off to nowhere?
Oh. Post a picture...
Because, clearly, me in a blond wig in an overexposed photo is what this post needs. What else?
Pay here for inclusion I
1 year ago