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Ten Random Things About Life in Helsinki

Apparently the post about the differences between Helsinki & Lyons redirected my attention, because I keep noticing other things I wanted to mention. These are totally random, but things I noticed that were perhaps unexpected:

  1. There are tons of lactose-intolerant people here, so their lactose-free milk and other dairy products are really superb. I’ve even had ice-cream from time to time in the past six months.
  2. The kids are picking up British accents because the English-speakers here (which is everyone) learned in Europe, so they learned English with a British accent. It’s totally cute.
  3. Native Finns have very thin, fine hair. The lady who cut my hair here over the winter mentioned that she didn’t think I needed to wear a hat due to my huge thick mop of curly hair. She also had no idea how to cut it, so I’m still in the market for a hairdresser!
  4. The traditional candy here is salty licorice flavored. It’s as yummy as it sounds.
  5. They have cottage cheese here (rae juusto), but it’s unsalted and a bit more rubbery than the American version. Yes, I salt it.
  6. They lay gravel over the snow all winter long, and have to send in crews to sweep up huge piles of it once the snow has melted.
  7. Everyone smokes here and the consider it perfectly OK to pitch a cigarette butt into the nearest snow bank. Ewww.
  8. A close corollary to the above is that many people have tiny dogs and consider it perfectly acceptable to let them shit as they please. And if you don’t pick it up, it lingers, frozen, until the next snow storm buries it. Then it reappears as turd slushy in April. Whee!
  9. The big department store here is called Stockmann and twice a year they have “Crazy Days.” During Crazy Days, there are different sales each day and people get a catalog in advance with all the deals in it, so they come stake out the store days before the sale begins. Helsinki is overrun with people carrying yellow Crazy Days bags during these sales. It’s really a community-wide event.
  10. Finnish children dress up and trick or treat on Palm Sunday instead of at Halloween. They typically dress up as witches and say a Finnish blessing/spell to you in exchange for a treat to go in their basket.

Oh, and the local newspaper has an even funnier list along the lines of “you know you’ve been in Finland too long if…” Definitely worth reading for a humorous look at what we have to look forward to.

2 Responses to Ten Random Things About Life in Helsinki

  1. Corrina

    This still doesn’t explain why MY kid has taken to using an English accent. And don’t say ‘whee’. 😉

  2. Scott Brown

    OK, though I thoroughly enjoyed this post, I now have the phrase “turd slushy” in my head.