Random thoughts from Finland, v. 3

Hubster and I went back to the States last week for my sister’s wedding, and it was lovely to see family and friends again (not to mention the beautiful weather!).  But in going back to the States, I noticed a couple of new things, more about the States than Finland.

Even while writing the last two “random thoughts” posts, I felt like they were a little negative, which I certainly didn’t mean them to be.  They weren’t meant to be negative or positive, simply different.  Different from what I’m used to, or different from what I expected, or different…for whatever reason – things I noticed that stood out.  That’s why it’s funny that I noticed some new things about Finland when I went back to the States – because the States were “different.”

  • Finland has these handshowers (link not necessarily SFW) – they’re kind of like the spray nozzle on the kitchen sink in the States, except they’re in the bathroom, and it’s basically the Finnish version of a bidet.  I guess because of that, the toilets are really high – I’m 5’2″, and I have to point my toes to touch the ground when I’m sitting on the toilet.  On top of that, there’s literally about 14-18 inches between your bottom and the water in the toilet.  One of the toilets at my parents house had maybe a 3″ clearance.  I couldn’t help thinking how freaking close the water was to my butt!
  • There really isn’t a lot of traffic around here.  I think drivers tend to police themselves, and they’re generally a lot more…cooperative, I guess is the word I would use, than in the States.  I haven’t seen a lot of “ME” type driving – it’s not “Me First!” so much as “let’s just all get there, who cares about the thirty seconds I wasted by letting that guy get in front of me.”  I mentioned the weird 4 way non-stops last time – as annoying as I find these, everyone just seems to get it and work together so there are no accidents.  Can you imagine an intersection in the States without signs?  Mayhem!!!
  • I mentioned the amount of litter on the streetlast time, but I also noticed the twenty or so people I saw around town this week picking up trash.  Now that everything has thawed and the city workers don’t have to clear snow every two hours, they get to work on city beautification.  Which is pretty much what I thought would happen, but it’s still nice to see.
  • I love the grocery stores here.  If you’ve been to an Aldi in the States, you have kind of an idea of how it is.  You pay for your grocery cart in the form of a deposit – you insert a coin, you get it back when you return the cart.  Not having carts strewn across the parking lots is so lovely, I can’t even tell you.  You also pay for your grocery bags – certainly an incentive to bring your own or reuse bags.  The produce department is generally DIY – you put your apples in a bag, put it on a scale, key in the produce code, and place a sticker on your bag to be scanned when you check out.  Added hassle, yes, but I like knowing what I’m going to pay beforehand.
  • Recycling isn’t as big here as I thought it would be.  Stephen lived in Germany for a while, and Finland certainly doesn’t recycle like Germany does.  There doesn’t seem to be a lot of policing of recycling here – although, from what I’ve seen, there isn’t an issue with people not recycling.  I just found it was a little difficult to find out information on how/what to do – whereas, I thought it would be a very succinct list of instructions.

That’s it for now.  I’ve been sick since we got back from the States, and I hope to be over this cold soon.  The weather is getting nice around here, and I’d like to be able to enjoy it!

Categories: Finland, Random | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

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2 thoughts on “Random thoughts from Finland, v. 3

  1. one of my favorite things about traveling abroad is going to the grocery store. it’s weird since i hate grocery shopping here. but in a foreign language it’s so exotic. ha ha. paris has the same practice of weighing your own produce and doing the scan thing. i only made the mistake of not doing that once when i got the evil eye from the cashier and the people behind me in line. 🙂
    welcome back!

  2. it took me a little while to get used to the weighing system. i love to cook so my favorite place to shop is the grocery stores and now that i know the lay outs of different ones i notice new things and products,etc.
    and like jen we hit the grocery stores when we travel. i spend way more time in the grocery store than any souvenir type stores! suitcases loaded with olive oils and cheap wine and spices.

    the police yourself intersections… still amaze me and yes mayhem!!! hahaha
    the traffic in helsinki on the ring roads, well not always so friendly and rival the states any day especially during rush hour. seen plenty of road rage here as i drive 10 over the posted speed limit and cars are up on me because that is not fast enough.

    recycling/littering. recycling i have found quite easy and the seem to make it pretty accessible in the city. thankfully.
    the littering… the blantent throwing gabage on the ground… i witnessed this many times a week. i do not litter, not in my own country, most certainly not here out of respect. the garbage and dog waste that is left behind come spring is seriously disgusting. glad spring is here and all is cleaned up.
    have a great weekend!

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