Here’s a helpful guide to all those who have been living in Finland, and wondering if they have been living in Finland for too long. The original can be found at Helsinki Sanomat.
1. You rummage through your plastic bag collection to see which ones you should keep to take to the store and which can be sacrificed to garbage.
2. When a stranger on the street smiles at you:
a. you assume he is drunk
b. he is insane
c. he’s an American
3. You don’t think twice about putting the wet dishes away in the cupboard to dry.
4. A friend asks about your holiday plans and you answer: “Oh, I’m going to Europe!” meaning any other Western European country outside Scandinavia.
5. You see a student taking a front row seat and wonder “Who does he think he is!!??”
6. Silence is fun.
7. The reason you take the ferry to Stockholm or Tallinn is:
a. duty free vodka
b. duty free beer
c. to party heartily…no need to get off the boat in Stockholm or Tallinn, just turn around and do it again on the way back to Finland.
8. Your coffee consumption exceeds 6 cups a day and coffee is too weak if there is less than two spoonfuls per person.
9. You pass a grocery store and think: “Wow, it is open, I had better go in and buy something!”
10. Your native language has seriously deteriorated, now you begin to “eat medicine”, “open the television”, “close the lights off”, and tell someone: “you needn’t to!”. Expressions like “Don’t panic” creep into your everyday language.
11. You associate pea soup with Thursday.
12. Your idea of unforgivable behaviour now includes walking across the street when the light is red and there is no walk symbol, even though there are no cars in sight.
13. Your notion of street life is reduced to the few teenagers hanging out in front of the railway station on Friday nights.
14. Sundays no longer seem dull with all the stores closed, and begin to feel restful instead.
15. You finally stop asking your class “Are there any questions?”
16. Your old habit of being “Fashionably late” is no longer acceptable. You are always on time.
17. Hugging is reserved for sexual foreplay.
18. You refuse to wear a hat, even in -30°C weather.
19. You hear loud-talking passengers on the train. You immediately assume:
a. they are drunk
b. they are Swedish-speaking
c. they are Americans
d. all of the above.
20. You no longer look at sports pants as casual wear, but recognize them as almost formal wear.
21. You have undergone a transformation:
a. you accept mustamakkara (Black blood sausage) as food
b. you accept alcohol as food
c. you accept.
22. You understand why the Finnish language has no future tense.
23. You no longer have to search for the flushing mechanism.
24. You no longer see any problem wearing white socks with loafers.
25. You just love Jaffa.
26. You’ve come to expect Sunday morning sidewalk vomit dodging.
27. You know that “religious holiday” means “let’s get pissed.”
28. You enjoy salmiakki.
29. You know that “Gents” is another term for sidewalk.
30. You know that more than four channels means cable.
31. When you’re hungry you can peel a boiled potato like lightning.
32. You’ve become lactose intolerant.
33. You accept that 80°C in a sauna is chilly, but 20°C outside is freaking hot.
34. You know how to fix herring in 105 different ways.
35. You eat herring in 105 ways.
36. “No comment” becomes a conversation strategy.
37. You can’t understand why people live anywhere but in Finland.