Une chose trop oubliée
Trip Start Jun 10, 2008
16Trip End Ongoing
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With a few exceptions, people seem to be always surprised that I wanted to come to Finland, and that I want to settle down here for a while. Brazilian people are surprised, as they usually think there is nothing worth anybody's time here, even though they don't commonly know anything about this country beyond "it's far, and it's cold". European people in general seem to be surprised too, most of them, or of those I met, want to spend their time somewhere else, where they think there is better weather, better sights, better landscapes. But most surprised of all are the Finnish people.
So people ask me all the time: why Finland? And then those who know it start listing its flaws, in comparison to other supposedly more agreeable countries: it is too cold, too dark, people are lonely, rude and seasonally depressed, and there is nothing really interesting enough to make up for that. I will never forget the Swedish girl I met in Rio who reacted to my preference for Finland with a "But it is common knowledge that Sweden is much better than Finland!". Then I explain that yes, those flaws might be applicable and yes, maybe there is nothing really that amazing in this country, but for some reason I still love it, and the people all think that I am lying, or hiding something, that there has to be a deeper reason for that, and most unimaginatively assume that it must be some mysterious Finnish girl. Alright, now hear this:
I find it rather sad that so often people seem to forget what establishing links really means. Yeah, yeah, so Finland has all these flaws and some others, and I could say that the darkness and cold sound really interesting to me (though I haven't seen them yet) and that people are just people and that there are all kinds of them everywhere, but stressing that would be kind of missing the point, so I will just say something else instead: Loving something has absolutely nothing to do with how close to perfection it is - not with the amount or severity of flaws, not with the presence or absence of awesome qualities - it has to do with how much you understand it, or with how much effort
you are willing to put into understanding it, c'est le temps que tu as perdu pour ta rose. The reason I like Finland so much is that I chose to lean over it and try to see it from a different perspective, to see how good and bad points are coherently weaved into the same picture; that I chose to set it as the main goal for my other trip, and spend more time traveling around here than in all other countries; that I chose to drop my expectations before coming here, to accept it as it is and to allow it to creep in. It was all a matter of choice, really, and ultimately all these choices stem from the first one I made two years ago, when I coincidentally stumbled upon some weird Finnish music, thought "what a curious language!" and decided to learn it.