I thought I’d write a little today about the differences that I’ve noticed between *Canada/Calgary and -Finland/Helsinki. Canada is a great country and at most times similar to Finland but there are a few distinctions between the two.
* There are beautiful mountains right next to you! – Why don’t we have that!?
* Calgary is a very spread out city and pretty much every place you have to drive to or walk several hours to get to. – When I was living in the center of Helsinki I was always able to walk everywhere….and it didn’t take hours!
* Driving here can be quite the ordeal if you have to visit someone as they can be pretty far away. We drove to Zachs parents house and it took 10 hours and we didn’t even come close to going across the country. It would take about 60 hours to go from coast to coast. – It would take around 12 hours to go from one side of Finland to the other.
* The weather is similar to Finland but warmer in summer and colder in the winter. I’ve noticed now that in the winter the sun is shining all the time but it’s still cold! – During the winter in Finland the sun never shines….never!
* My boyfriend Zach often goes to the bank to pay his bills. He likes the old school way of doing things. – I think that is weird.
* Parking ﬁnes must be paid at the registry or the courthouse. – What?! Just pay them online.
* There are trucks everywhere here! – Finland not so much.
* Many of the services here have drive-thrus, almost all the fast food places, banks and even starbucks! You can start to feel lazy if you just use these and never get out of the car. – In Finland only a few hamburger places have drive-thrus.
* There are stop signs all over the place and you are supposed to come to a complete stop, something I was unaware of when I ﬁrst got here. It is annoying stopping all the time! You can also always turn right at an intersection even if the light is red!
* Every Canadian friend of mine always chooses the furthest parking spot from the door when we go to a store or restaurant. Jarna and I always laugh about this because she has noticed the same.
Hesinki pictures: www.pinterest.com
* Here you have to always ask ”how are you?” and talk with all the neighbors, clerks and even with strangers. – In Finland we don’t usually ask strangers ”how are you?” and if you do the answer you get may not be what you were expecting.
* Here you get to hear a lot of praise about the way you look and everything is always wonderful. – Finnish people will tell you the truth even if it’s not the nicest thing to say.
* Here most people know all of there neighbors and it is okay to knock on there door at any time and ask for something. – In Helsinki you may say hello to your neighbor but nothing else.
* Here people often use the words ”i love you”, for example you say that to your parents and siblings. – Finns are not as emotional.
* A big part of fashion here is the use of Lululemon yoga pants because they have a secret effect to get your butt to look good and your legs to look skinny. Also everyone wears Uggs.
* Decorating for Christmas is a big deal here and it is acceptable to put your whole yard full of ﬂashing big objects and even inside your house! Zach only put up half of his decorations this year and it was still too much for me to handle. – Finland it’s thought that less is more.
* Everything is a bit cheaper in Canada, especially the gas! – In Finland gas is really expensive, along with everything else.
I asked Zach if he saw any differences in me compared to Canadian girls. He responded Immediately ”yeah so many” but then he didn’t say much except ; ”You don’t like decorating for Christmas, you don’t want to talk to everybody and you always dress nicely, even if we just go to the grocery store”, Nice!
We also talked about what he knew of Finland before me and the only thing was the location and that we had saunas. Zachs parents have a sauna in the backyard which is a rare thing here. We went there once and used the sauna and he was sweating and dumping water on top of himself and I was just sitting there thinking that it’s not too hot and maybe we should throw some more wood on.
We are going together next summer to visit Finland, I think that it will be an interesting trip. We’ll see what he thinks about everyone going naked together in the sauna.
He has relatives there that his mom has told us to look up when we go there. I think we will but Zach has never talked to them before. He didn’t even know that he had Finnish heritage!