A Guide to Finland
Table of Contents
- Introduction : Or, uh, does this point need explaining?
- Ice : Or the majesty of ice ages, and the nonhuman prehistory of Finland
- Origins : Or the origins of the Finnish language and the Finnish people
- History 1 / Pagans (from the dawn of ages ot the 12th century) : Or the old Finnish culture, the old gods and the old ways, and Väinämöinen, the greatest, bearded-est singer-folk hero of all time
- History 2 / Lalli (a tale of the 12th century) : Or Lalli, the berserker priest-killer, the 14th greatest Finn of all time
- History 3 / Sweden (from the 12th century to 1809) : Or the time when Finland was a province of Sweden, and when Finns gained a bit of a reputation as scary, witchy kill-riders
- History 4 / Russia (1809 — 1918), the first half and
- History 4 / Russia (1809 — 1918), the second half : Or the surprisingly good times under the rule of Imperial Russia and the end of those good times, one gun-toting assassin and the eventual independence and civil war
- History 5 / Between wars (1918 — 1939) : Or two tales, one royal, the other fascist, from the two quiet decades of the fledgling republic of Finland between the two Great Wars.
- History 6 / The Second World War, the first half (1939–1941) and
- History 6 / The Second World War, the second half (1941–1945) : Or the Finnish portion of the Second World War, being the Winter War against Soviet Union, the presciently named Interim Peace, and the imaginatively named Continuation War against the same, this time with German co-belligerents, and the results of the unnamable hitting the fan in Stalingrad.
- History 7+ (1945 — ) : The times after the war, with some proverbs about not stepping on the tail of the giant angry bear next to you.
- Present : Or what is Finland like now? Are there axes? Penguins? Felt boots? Mobile phones? What does Finland have, and what it hasn’t?
- No-Talk : Or why small talk won’t work in Finland, and why there’s still hope for a foreigner that wants to talk to Finns
- Sauna : Or the greatest Finnish invention (it’s ours! ours! all ours!), and the fine art and pleasure of relaxing when the air’s humid and the temperature is over 100 C / 200 F, and the joys of birch whips and naked snow swims
- Pastimes : Or the ways of amusing oneself that get invented when the winters are much too long: tossing boots, carrying wives, and things like that
- Language : Or why learning Finnish is the project of a lifetime… or several lifetimes
- Mindset : Or still more on the ways Finns think and plan and act, and why silence is a virtue
- Drink : Or the ways Finns drink, axes and alcohol and all, and the results of those ways, and plenty of educationary and cautionary observations
- Kaamos : Or the Finnish word for lightless days and deep depression — and what counterbalances it, if anything does, or even can
- Yötön yö : Or the Finnish word for nightless nights, and all the folly, revelry and sleeplessness that causes
- Flora & fauna : Or moose, bears, wolves and the probability of seeing them, and the total lack of penguins and polar bears (and the presence of Santa Claus!)
- Small things : Or tango, heavy metal, coffee, things Finns feel stressful and those they don’t care about, and other little details not explained elsewhere
- Final clues : Or a concordance of the previous chapters, and some final thoughts
- Disclaimers : Or explaining that my qualifications for writing this all are just that I’m a Finn; and though I wouldn’t ever lie to you, you still shouldn’t trust a random bozo whose Internet lair you just happened to find
All these are chapters that, given enough time, I will write; there are a few that aren’t on the list (“Don’t do these” and “Travel tips”) that I feel a bit uncertain about.
And, of course, if a sudden observation seems good enough, there will be chapters not listed here now.