I recall one occasion when I was travelling by train from Helsinki to Joensuu. I met a lady Lutheran priest who had recently returned to Finland with her family having spent two years in Tenerife. We talked for a long while and she described to me how she was seeing the Finns through Spanish eyes, realising how much she and her family had changed their behaviour in the time they had been away.
She said the things she most noticed were:
- An increase in the use of mobile phones.
- Everyone was drinking beer.
- Fewer people were drinking vodka, and wine was now very popular.
- At first they were very noisy in restaurants, until they noticed that no one else was!
- As a family they have had to learn to be quiet again.
- The Finns don’t smile.
- They seemed not to be happy in comparison with the Spanish.
- The Finns are impatient and have to get things done quickly.
- The Finns are impatient in restaurants. They don’t want to wait for good food to be cooked. They expect their meal quickly.
- The stillness, the silence and the calm.