I would describe my cultural profile as average and universal. The kind of history that I like makes me more western European than a Finn. Finland, my birth land, has gone through the normal stages of the world: Stone Age, Bronze Age, Iron Age, Middle Ages, the Black Death, Renaissance, Industrialization. But the history has been dictated by the Swedish and Russian rules. Only for one century have we been able to make our own history. That is why my love for history resides in ancient countries like Italy, France, England and Egypt.
One reason I’m drawn to the culture of western Europe is my other home overseas, the US, which has been largely influenced by France and England. My cultural profile has originated here.
Still Finland has had a large impact on the way I am. I am timid like a Finn, I respect other peoples’ privacy like a Finn. I am polite, I am punctual.
And again I am not. In the past years I have developed into my own, and I can be very direct and honest. I refuse to lie to anyone and I do not hide my opinion unless it has nothing constructive to add to the conversation. I am comfortable in my own.
Yet, I do not value most products of Finnish culture. I find most of the movies and music boring. I’m picky about the movies and series I like, these days I mostly follow British products almost exclusively. My music taste belongs to England and France. I love languages, and even though I used to not like Finnish or even Swedish much at all, that has changed. I have found a new appreciation for them. I am a writer, and can say more in Finnish than in English for the obvious reason I have lived in Finland since I was born. Still, the language is crude and boring. A violent, harsh language dominated with Ks and Rs.
Because of globalisation unified the pop culture in most western countries, I find myself to be very similar in matters of taste to Swedish, English, French, German and American youth. But still there is the personal touch that has come from living in the part of the world I’m living in.
I have learned to eat weird food that sounds weird to anybody else than a Finn: mämmi, maksalaatikko, talkkuna. Mämmi is basically malt and full of fiber. Maksalaatikko means literally liver box, and talkkuna is a flour of smoked oats mixed with sugar and buttermilk. Oh yes, and sour dough rye bread. Something I can’t live without.
And then again these days I feel more Swedish than anything else. I moved here in the August of 2013 and haven’t looked back since. It feels like a country felt at home in from the very get go. The people here are quite reserved, like Finns, yet still friendly and more outgoing. They will not be as reticent to social interaction as Finns.