Welcome to Finland

Since sooner or later exchange students will start to dribble to Finland, and maybe even a few tourists will get lost in Sweden and end up here, and then people will start googling for “finland why people so quiet” and “finland why how please no”, I hereby repost my odd, old overly poetic personal welcome to Finland.

Imagine this being solemnly intoned by someone stout with wrinkles around his eyes and too much facial hair to tell if he’s kidding or not. Preferably while he’s wearing a cloak of bearskin and brandishing a stick with a knob on it, standing tall and slightly nutter-like on the tarmac of Helsinki-Vantaa airport while people are climbing out of the plane.

Truth in advertising, and clarity through insane hand-waving, you know.

* * *

Hear me, foreign-folk! A Finn sings, badly and all too loudly!

Finland! The land where saying “Good day!” is rude — why can’t people leave me alone, the Finn thinks and glares angrily at the neighbor. The neighbor freezes, lowers his hand, and regrets this inexplicable outburst of cheeriness. The resulting depression will drive him to suicide a few years later.

Finland! The land of snow and snow! Half forests and half swamps, with an additional half of snow during the winter, and mosquitoes during the summer — puny humans and their transient works occupy a negligible percentage of the whole. The starlit land of eternal silence and unrelenting loneliness, where even cold-hardened shamans start hearing the hills talk after a few lonely weeks! “Go run around naked” they sing, and soon there will be one shaman less.

Finland! The land where success is a mortal insult to all others, and happiness a bottomless wellspring of loss-fear and uncertainty! Here all joy is transitory, and all grief permanent — here the land is stony, and the heart of the tax inspector stonier and colder still! Here live sad and blind pale creatures whose only contentment is unending bureaucracy! The dread taxmen of Finland!

Finland! The land of sisu — that special Finnish bloodymindedness which whispers, through the ethereal bloody lips of a thousand broken generations: “It’s beyond all hope and will never succeed, but will you let them say you quit?” — and only by pickling his brain in raw alcohol can he silence those voices — and soon the cold snow and colder still wind silence the sirens, the cries of his family, and his maniac laughter.

Finland! Finland, the roost of all inferiority complexes! Finland, the home of knifefights and sullen murderers! Finland, the land where everything is nothing, and nothing is enough! Finland, the stark land for which these words are a praise, and the truest allure for foreign folk!

Come and visit Finland, o foreigner, and rediscover the beauty of your own home.

* * *

If this wasn’t too much, I suggest the Guide. That should be much too much for anyone.

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