97 years ago today the Finnish senate declared its independence, which was ratified by the newly formed Bolshevik government of Russia. We Finns don’t like to boast about ourselves and Independence Day in Finland is mostly spent indoors watching television, be it military parades or “Linnan juhlat” which is basically an Independence Day ball held by the President. Well I say fuck that! Finland is completely awesome and we should celebrate it!
There aren’t enough lists in the world!
Buzzfeed has shown love to Finland many, many times over the years: 24 Delicious Finnish Dishes Everyone Should Learn To Cook, 22 Ways Finland Wins Christmas, 56 Reasons You Should Move To Finland Immediately, 12 Surprising Things In Which Finland Is The Best In The World, 42 Traditional Finnish Foods That You Desperately Need In Your Life, 28 Ways Finland Wins At Summer and so on. In 2010 Newsweek thought Finland was the best country in the world while Business Insider talked up our education system. Then there are some cool time lapse videos around Finland. Anthony Bourdain came here for a morbid time. Even Monty Python knows how amazing Finland is. In other words there aren’t enough ways to say just how awesome it is. Which makes this list kind of a moot point. But I shall venture on regardless!
One pronoun rule them all!
I’ve noticed lately that when I get tired, I start dropping or confusing pronouns. At some point it dawned on me that this was because Finnish only comes with one pronoun for all; hän (pronounced like hand without the d). Or in the Helsinki dialect “se” which actually literally translates to “it”. My father-in-law keeps reminding me that “se” sleeps outside and “hän” sleeps in a bed. Whatever the pronoun, everyone is equal. Which is also a recurring theme in Finnish society; everyone is equal. We’ve had Universal suffrage since before we were officially a country. Of course it’s not quite that simple and we still have problems with those kinds of things but it’s not a bad place to start.
Paid overtime and vacation
Every Saturday I get together with my writer friends via Google Hangouts where we write for a while and talk for a while. During the past year I discovered something that I’ve always taken for granted in my own life: I work for 8 hours and I get paid for 8 hours, I work for 10 hours I either get paid for 10 hours or I get paid for 8 and get 2 hours paid time off at some other date. If I reply to a work email during a weekend that’s at least a half hour of working time with weekend bonuses. Our free time is actually ours, even with smart phones constantly chained to our sides. It was quite a shock to me when I discovered that this wasn’t the case everywhere. I’m still not quite over it. I mean… you do a job, you get paid. That’s how it’s supposed to work, right?
Our water tastes great. There’s no two ways about it. In 2003 UNESCO rated Finnish tap water the best water in the world. One of the things I always miss the most when I travel is having tap water that tastes good.
Everyone gets paid!
Something that I will probably never get used to while traveling is tipping. We don’t tip. It goes along with that whole, you do a job you get paid -mentality. People in the service industry don’t have a phenomenal salary, of course, but they get enough to live on. Around here the only people to tip are either the people trying to be flashy about how rich they are or the people trying to garner extra special favors from the service staff. Both are considered somewhat uncouth behaviors. See that whole everyone is equal thing again.
All in all, Finland is a pretty amazing place to live. Happy Independence day to Finland!