A little about Finland…
HELSINKI-Though I’ve been based in Finland for the past 9 months for some reason I haven’t written much about the country.
My attention has been much more focused on Ukraine, Latvia, Estonia…and also finishing the book I began while traveling around the world as a university student. The majority of my new work has all had to do with countries that border Russia I suppose.
This is a category Finland belongs in. The Finns are proud not to have been incorporated into the Soviet Union. That they did so while allied with Nazi Germany is overlooked. Even today discussion on Finland’s “Winter War” with Russia is hard to avoid, even if you try.
Next month I have an article coming out in Welcome to Finland on the relationship between the Finnish and Russian Orthodox Churches. I’ll save the Finland-Russia relationship till then, but in searching for something to say solely about Finland…I really have to think…
Helsinki was recently named #6 in the Huffington Post’s list of the World’s Most Livable Cities. When I saw this I wanted to say “seriously?’ But if you are consistently earning local rates and have a decent job (I’m a freelance journalist, I stay inside on a laptop all day) the city is pretty comfortable. Heating, food, and a party are never lacking in Helsinki. Finns seem to live in a perpetual world of celebratory “eves” and well wishing events meant to get them through the dark winters and take advantage of the brief light during the summers.
Depression caused by the winter blackness is real and nearly unavoidable here. There is a high suicide rate and no one manages to really ever get used to it. The snow is fun, but in Finland winters are also something to survive. The arrival of summer makes you feel like a new person.
I’ll try to update this blog more. I’m trying to shoot for 1 post everyday during May. Might as well start now. I may be preparing to re-base myself in Istanbul, but in the meantime there’s a lot more to be said about Finland.