I have been living in Finland for 13 years, but sometimes I still get stuck at the peculiarities of local life

I moved from St. Petersburg to Helsinki 13 years ago. There are less than 400 km between these cities, they have the same climate, but many differences. Finns are in no hurry to reveal their character and habits, but over the years I found friends here, got to know and fell in love with this country.

I want to share with  66outfit what pleasantly surprised and puzzled me in a country where you can easily meet a deer on the way to work in the morning.

Relationship to each other

  • You can drop your wallet in a crowded store and return to find it at the checkout. Once I forgot to close the front door of the apartment at night and woke up unharmed and without material loss. I’m already used to calling a plumber in my absence, because I know that nothing will be lost, and on the table there will be a note with a list of the work done. I will never forget the impression left by the Tractor Museum, where I did not meet a single caretaker, and the visit fee had to be put on a plate at the entrance.
  • In the first years of living in Finland, I was shocked that elderly people move to nursing homes, not counting on the help of their children. Here it is customary to take responsibility for oneself, and children, having reached adulthood, become completely independent.
  • Neighbors watch over the house and the adjacent territory, there is a headman in each house. One day, while driving to Russia for a weekend, I forgot one of my bags in the parking lot. For some time the headman of the house looked at the bag from the window, waiting for my return. And then he took the bag, found my phone number in the directory and told me that the bag could be taken from him. This kind of attention and care from the stranger was very pleasant.
  • It is customary to keep the word here. Once we got into a conversation with a client of the company where I worked, he turned out to be a writer. Jokingly, I asked if he could add me as a character in the next book. He agreed, and after 2 years I unexpectedly received a book with a dedication by mail. One of the heroines of the book was named after me.
  • One night I was returning home by bus and missed my stop because the routes of the night buses are different from those of the day. I went to the driver to clarify the place of the next stop. A stern middle-aged man looked at my high heels, asked where I needed to get out. He turned the bus around to drop me off closer to home and continued on his way.
  • When I moved to Finland and began to get to know the local traditions better, I was touched that February 14 is celebrated here not only Valentine’s Day, but also Friends Day, so that lonely people are also not deprived of attention.

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