Before coming to Finland, everyone would tell me: “Oh, it’s going to be so cold there, and you’re not used to it!” They were right, as I come from the south of Spain, but what they didn’t know is that the cold weather is not the only thing shocking from Finland…
On my second day in Turku I had a meeting with my coordinator at the university. By 11 a.m. the meeting was over, so she told me: “You can go to have lunch now”. I thought that it was a mistake. Maybe she meant a second breakfast, that moment of the day when you eat a piece of fruit or something small to help you wait for lunch. But then I went to the cafeteria and I realized that it was me the one who was wrong. They were having a big meal, the same I would have in Spain at 2 or 3 p.m.
But as I wasn’t in Spain anymore, I decided to join this “weird” Finnish people and have lunch their way. It probably took me longer than it should have choosing my salad, but I couldn’t find the olive oil or the salt anywhere, so I had to pour some sauce I hadn’t seen in my life before. And in the end, when I thought that nothing could surprise me anymore because all that I had to do was taking a glass of water, I saw how most of the people took two glasses instead of one, and one of them full of milk. Milk with lunch! I thought was for breakfast, coffee or tea, but apparently Finnish people have found another use for it.
Finally, I sat to have a relaxing meal. I guess that wasn’t a Finnish thing to do, because it only took Finnish people about 10 minutes to eat.
So, to sum up, on my second day by noon I had already felt the culture shock, and it was only food related. I couldn’t even imagine how many things I didn’t know about Finland yet!
Text and photo: Ana Lanseros Tenllado