Finnish Culture

The Finnish language

There are a lot of things we learned about the Finnish culture during our stay in Finland. But what we are absolutely sure of, is that the Finnish language doesn’t sound like any other language we ever heard before. It doesn’t sound like Swedish. It doesn’t sound like Russian. We don’t know what it sounds like. Sometimes it sounds like a language of a fantasy story. For example the difference between some words in Finland, compared to that from other countries:

Falsi Fout Falsk Falsoequateursystem

The words ’false’, ‘system’ and ‘equator’ in different languages.

Do you see the difference compared to Finland?

Not only is it a very rare language, it is also a hard language to learn. While our stay in Finland we talked about the language a lot. For example, some Finnish girls learned us about the two word sentence ‘Kuusi palaa’. But what is so special about these words? Well, a lot. This two word sentence has nine different meanings. NINE! It means the following things:

  1. the spruce is on fire
  2. the spruce is returning
  3. the number six is on fire
  4. the number six is returning
  5. six of them are on fire
  6. six of them are returning
  7. your moon is on fire
  8. your moon is returning
  9. six pieces

Crazy right?

Not only are there a lot of Finnish words who have more meanings. There are also a lot of really long Finnish words. For example the word: Lentokonesuihkuturbiinimoottoriapumekaanikkoaliupseerioppilas, what means: “airplane jet turbine engine auxiliary mechanic non-commissioned officer student”. Good luck remembering that!

Another remarkable thing about the Finnish language is the tongue twister “ Kokoo kokoon koko kokko! Koko kokkoko? Koko kokko”. You would think it is never possible that these two sentences are having a real meaning. But it really has: “Gather up a full bonfire! A full bonfire? A full bonfire”. Welcome to the finnish language

Good luck trying to differentiate everything….

But enough about the remarkable things the Finnish language has. Time for a short English lesson! We will learn you some words we used and heard the most while our stay.

Hello Moi
Thank you Kiitos
You’re welcome Ole hyvä
Good morning Hyvää huomenta
Good day Hyvää päivää
Good evening Hyvää iltaa
Good night Hyvää yötä
Beer Olut

These are probably the most important words to learn when you want to visit in Finland. Of course you can learn more, but we can tell you, it is really hard to remember everything.

Conclusion of the Finnish language from us: we have gotten a lot of respect for the Finnish speaking population while our stay here, that’s for sure.

The Finnish food
 

The pea soup!

I was doing my dishes in the communal kitchen when a Finnish girl was coming in.

She took a cant and emptied the content in a saucepan. When we saw the colour of the soup, we both agreed…. “It looks like no good”! It’s one of the reasons why children don’t like it! But the girl loves this traditional Finnish food. She put mustard on the top and it was ready to eat! In fact, in Finland it’s not common to make this soup. The reason why the Finnish people buy this soup directly, and not make it themselves, is not because of a lot of ingredients… It’s only water and peas! But some people add jam on the top!

During the Finnish wars, the army ate this soup. The military could make and eat it easier than another food!

Enjoy your soup!

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Karjalanpiirakka!

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What is this food?! Each supermarket sells it… I have seen a Finnish student girl get it out of the oven… It looked like a base with cheese inside. But we couldn’t smell the cheese. It was very interesting but I was too shy to ask if I could try some. So I have asked questions about this mysterious food that Finnish people don’t propose to share! :p

It’s a traditional pastry from Eastern Finland. It’s composed by raze and not cheese!… It’s amazing because inside this Finnish speciality there is rice, but in Finland we can’t grow this cereal… “What is the fuck!?”

This food is for all moments of the day! If you are hungry before going to a party .. Eat Karjalanpiirakka! If you come back at three o’clock in the morning and you are hungry…. Eat Karjalanpiirakka!

There is some variance to replace the rice. For instance you can make a Karjalanpiirakka with potatoes or carrots. You can also transform it in a real treat. In fact, if you agree with yourself to prepare your summer body later, you can add butter or eggs on the top!

Ingredients Nutrition

Servings 16 Units US

Directions

  1. For the Filling:.
  2. In a saucepan combine the water and rice. Bring to a boil.
  3. Stir, cover, and cook over low heat for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  4. Add the milk, cover, and continue cooking until the milk is completely absorbed and the rice is soft and creamy.
  5. Preheat oven to 450°F
  6. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  7. For the Pastry:
  8. In a medium-sized bowl, combine the water, salt, and rye and white flours to make a stiff dough.
  9. Shape the dough into a log and cut into 16 portions and shape each into a round.
  10. On a lightly floured board, roll out each round into a 6-inch circle.
  11. Spread about 3 tablespoons of filling evenly on each round.
  12. Fold two opposite edges of the pastry over the filling and crimp the edges of the dough toward the center to make an oval-shaped pastry, allowing about 1/2-inch of the crust to overlay the filling and leaving the center of the filling exposed.
  13. Place on the prepared baking sheet.
  14. In a small bowl, stir together the melted butter and hot milk and brush on the pastries.
  15. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes, brushing once during baking, until the pastries are golden on the edges.
  16. Remove from the oven and brush again.
  17. For the Egg Butter:.
  18. In a small bowl, cream the butter. Stir in the eggs.
  19. Season with the white pepper and ground ginger, if desired.
  20. Yield: 1 cup.
  21. Cool the pastries and serve with the egg butter at room temperature.

 

Be careful when you choice your pizza!!

I was on my computer when my French friend, Arnaud, said to me: “Alex, with the Finnish and Belgium girls, we will eat pizza! If you want, you can choose your pizza with the girls in the living room!” It was interesting…. No need to do the dishes afterwards.. Only wait on your sofa for the delivery man. So, I went to the living room where the girls were choosing their pizza. I took the document to read the options.

All the ingredients were written in Finnish… Good luck! So…. I asked Finnish girl if there is pizza with kebab meat. It’s one of my favourites. She said to me yes! So, I trusted her and I ordered this one…

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But I didn’t get all the right information! The pizza was full of hot peppers…. Enjoy your pizza! So, I had to separate the hot peppers from the pizza because after I ate half, my mouth was on fire!

A few weeks after, we went eating in a Pizzeria in Helsinki. I wanted to find a nice Pizza Kebab! So, I asked the guy of the restaurant whether he knows if the pizza with kebab meat is hot. His answer was “no”. Perfect! I ordered this one! Finally, it was also with hot pepper!!!

menu pizza

So last time, before ordering, I took my best friend “Google translation” to find my perfect pizza. And surprise! I found the hot pizza!

And the hot thing on the pizza turned out to be ‘Jalapeno’s’. My advice to you is: if you don’t like spicy food, never order something with jalapeno’s!

 

menu pizza with jalapeno

 

Going out

When I think of Erasmus I think of drinking, partying and meeting everyday new people. The thing is going out while living in Kiljava campus is difficult! We live in the middle of nowhere…

 

However, every Wednesday they organise a karaoke evening. This already ends at 00.30! Still, this can be nice. Maybe someone has a hidden singing talent 😉 the not so nice part of karaoke is that a lot of old people come over. They drink a lot and only sing old Finnish songs…

 

Another thing that makes going out difficult is the price of alcohol. This is really expensive. For a good beer you pay around 10€. You can’t just buy alcohol in a normal store. Here you’ll only find beer with low percentage and non-alcoholic wine. For the real alcohol you have to go to an Alko and again this is not so close to our campus.

 

This all sound pretty depressing so why are we still happy?

We went to Tallinn! We stayed in an amazing party hostel. Going out in Estonia is really cheap especially after living in Finland 😉 even the Finnish people go to Tallinn to buy their alcohol and that’s what we did. Now we can just make our own party’s at the campus. And if you’re in good company live is always a party 😉

 

If you want to go out in Helsinki I would recommend an Irish pub. You can party here all night long (or until 2.15 because the last bus to the campus is at 2.30). They have live bands and in the pub itself they play different music styles so it’s a place for everyone.

 

Last but not least you can always ask the Finnish students for some good places. If you’re lucky they even have extra space in their car. Then they love to bring you to some clubs 🙂