Sunday, February 2, 2014

Finns and the weather

Snowstorm, pounding rain, sleet, frigid cold temperatures... There is really no such thing as weather that would prevent the Finns from doing what they want to do.  I am not saying that they enjoy the freezing cold days, but that they will always continue on with their outdoor activities no matter what the barometer might read.  There is a definite distinction as to how the weather affects outdoor activities in Finland versus where I came from in the USA.

For example, if one of my children is playing soccer and the games are scheduled to be played, they will never be cancelled based on weather conditions.  The games will go on no matter how cold or rainy the field of play might be (yes, I have been at the side of a soccer field in rain and in 37 F temps as well).  The spectators and players will dress appropriately and just go do it.  In the US there is the fear that a wet and muddy field might lead to someone tripping and getting hurt and perhaps some parent suing the city where the game was played.  In Finland there is no such fear of lawsuit (because the Finnish legal system does not allow punitive damages like US allows) and there is not the same worry about the children falling and getting hurt.  The other difference is that kids are taught to tough it out at earlier ages and living in a harsher climate leaves no other options.  Where we lived e.g with the soccer league there was a "weather hot-line" that we could call several hours before games to confirm if they were cancelled or not. Here, my daughter has played numerous day-long soccer tournaments with continuous rain all day long.  We would sit with our raincoats on and the kids would continue to play unfazed throughout the day.  Since the weather is quite moody and unpredictable in Finland there is no real way to plan around it, one just needs to deal with it.

The other night my son had his school's 100 day celebration scheduled for outside.  The teachers were planning on grilling sausages, drinking warm drinks and doing a scavenger hunts.  Well, it was quite chilly that evening (-15C, +5 F), but the show must go on.  The celebration proceeded as planned and lasted 1.5 hours.  I wore 3 layers under my coat and a hat, but little did I know that it really doesn't matter how one dresses, if you are just standing around in -15, it is still quite difficult to keep warm.  I noticed the other parents, but no one seemed to be as cold as me or being Finns they just keep their pride and didn't show it.

The funny thing about the weather is that while Finns go on in any weather and do not seem to let it interfere with their activities, this does not mean that they would not constantly talk about it. The weather, it seems, is a constant topic throughout the year in Finland.  Seems that not one day goes by when I don't end up chatting with one co-worker or another in regards to the current weather.  Too cold in the summer, too hot in the summer, too rainy, too humid, too icy, too freezing, too dark, too light.  Regardless of the weather, the Finns will talk and most likely complain about it.  There honestly never seems to be a perfect weather scenario for the Finns - but they will go on in any weather regardless.  Since Finland is such a high Northern country, the weather is ever so changing and hard to forecast, so one must deal with the card they were given and stop trying worry about it.  In the past 2 years that I have lived here I guess I have stopped trying to worry about the day to day weather and just accept it for what it is.

Photo credit: Getty images.

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