Let’s talk about Finland.

The time has come. It’s time to talk about that Scandinavian country I barely knew before my cousin was an exchange student there.
Yes, Finland. Where the days last forever in the summer and the Sun barely comes out in the winter.
A few things I did know about the country before going there was simply that it was absurdly cold and I think I had heard some people say it was Santa Claus’s land. That’s about it, I’m very ashamed to admit. OH, AND VODKA, yeah, the Vodka, how could I forget about that?? ANYWAYS….

But then in the middle of 2009, my cousin Lucas went to Finland, through Rotary. I was living in Cali at the time, but we’d eventually Skype and he’d tell me this crazy things about the Finnish people, the language, their traditions, how cold it was… He was always going to the Sauna, and parties IN a sauna and people were naked and I was just ”wow, that’s pretty wild and weird….sounds awesome, cous.”
It did sound awesome.

What sounded NOT so awesome, and more…well, hard as f*** was FINNISH. I was so impressed by my cousin’s determination to learn the language. Sometimes when we were on Skype, I’d hear him talk to his host family or a friend and I was just amazed. The Finnish language is not like any other language. I mean, that’s what Lucas had told me. He had learned basic French, our family is German and he went to a Swiss school, so he knew German, he knows English, and the basic Spanish….and he said Finnish had nothing to do with ANY of those. Nor Russian, Swedish, etc etc etc.
But the cool thing is: Almost ALL Fins I met, or even just saw on the street, stores, restaurants etc, SPEAK ENGLISH. And not just average, basic, ”kinda good” English. Very well spoken English. And that includes kids, teens, adults, elderly…. It really is a first world country. I’m saying this as a girl who was born and raised in a developing country. Most people in Brazil don’t speak English, even though its taught in schools. This is changing, yes, but we’re far from being like Finland.

So when I went there I wasn’t all that worried about the language. But I had no idea I wouldn’t have ANY problems with it at all. Everyone understood me perfectly, and it was all 100% fine. Pheww :)

I decided to go to Finland because of all the stories Lucas was constantly telling me.
What amazed me the most, though, was definitely some pictures I saw of him and his friends on someone’s rooftop, watching the Sun. At 11. PM. YES. 11 PM. And it was a beautiful, bright shiny Sun. I wanted that. i wanted to have a long-ass day with Sun almost 24 hours in.
And when I turned 20, my grandma gave me some money…first thing I thought was ”I’m gonna go travel”. Then I talked to my cousin and the idea came up. That was it, I was going to Finland (and Paris…).


This is what I packed for my Finnish trip:

  • Jackets
  • Sweaters
  • Sweatpants
  • Uggs

Then I got to the Helsinki airport, went outside and SURPRISE, the sun was shining, the weather was deliciously WARM, and my cousin was there, waiting for me…with shorts and sunglasses. His plans were: ”Hey Luah, let’s go to the beach.”

”THE BEACH?? OH DAMN…” Worse part (not that the beach is bad, at all…)? My luggage had not arrived from Paris, where my lay over was. So I was wearing Victoria’s Secrets sweatpants, warm uggs, a sweater…and had no change of clothes.
We had to go to a cheap store to buy shorts and flip flops and a t-shirt. Except, we found shorts and a t-shirt (a Jimi Hendrix one, may I just add…) but NO flip flops my size. So yes, there I was, in a first world fancy country, at the richest city, with the most beautiful people….wearing cheap clothes and no shoes, like a bum. Hahaha.

And you know what? I didn’t care. I was tired, yes, but I knew my cousin wouldn’t wanna waste all day, especially when it was hot and beautiful like that, for me to rest…We went to the beach, no ”buts”…

A Finnish BEACH! :)


Me, my uggs, my Jimi Hendrix shirt...and no shoes. Perfect.


YES, this is going to HAVE to be a part 1, part 2, maybe even part 3 kinda post because Finland and I had some great moments together.

For now, I’m going to let you with this two pics and the beginning of my story :)


Talk to you later, my fellow travelers! :)