Monday, 16 November 2020

FINLAND for FOREIGNERS: an OUTSIDER'S VIEW

An aerial view from Eagle's Rock towards Juniper Ridge, Ferry Island, Helsinki, Finland


GLAMOUR-GIRL GOVERNMENT: 
Prime Minster, SANNA MARIN has the looks of an A-list movie-star and brains to boot. When she and her four young female ministers came to power, Covid 19  was dumped in their laps. They got it under control better than most other countries. Today life isn't exactly normal, but Finland's caseload is low - at this writing, 22 new cases per 100,00.  Sanna delighted most Finns when she did a sexy glamour shoot for TRENDI magazine. All except the stuffy right-wing wags, who went berserk. 

Sanna Marin / TRENDI / Credit: Jonas Lundqvist/A-Lehdet Oy

FINLAND
has two main official  LANGUAGES: FINNISH (SUOMI) and SWEDISH (SVENSKA). SAAMI is spoken in Lapland. When I told my husband I was stuck when I want to take a taxi home because I couldn't say the name of our street, He took a bunch of white copy paper and wrote the word  - one syllable on each page: KA-TA-JA-HAR-JUN-TIE.  And taped them to the wall. I practiced for a couple of days. Got into a taxi and said, "Minna haluaisin KATJAHARIJINTIA" (sic.). The driver looked around and said,  "Oh, you want to go to Juniper Ridge Road". I thought, why the hell am I learning this language.  But ended up in an excellent FINNISH for FOREIGNERS. class. Suomi is a FENNO-UGRIC language spoken by three countries: Finland, Estonia, Karelia (part of Russia). Its roots are 7,000 to 10,000 years old.

SVENSKA: approx. 230,00 natives are Swedish Speaking Finns*.  Finland has  Swedish TV,  radio, and newspapers.

ENGLISH: Finnish kids start learning English when they're seven. Little margie productions for the Finnish Broadcasting Co (YLE) are in English. YLE has English speaking news on the radio. Bookstores have big collections in English, as well as newspapers and magazines. So do newsstands. Most Finns, especially in the cities,  speak English. Tourists love to visit because it's so easy to navigate. TV programs and movies are shown in the original version, with subtitles Finnish and Swedish,

PUBL/PRIVATE:  A man I met in L.A. when he heard I lived in Finland said,
"you've got socialized healthcare".  Finland has Universal HC, but you've got a choice. Go to your local Healthcare center., take a number and wait to see a doctor. You'll get excellent care and it's free. Or call one of the private clinics and make an appointment. They are not over-the-moon expensive. For serious health problems, for example, a body-part transplant you have to go public (e.g. MEILAHTI - the university hospital). AAVA and  EIRA are good private options.

*A large part of FINLAND  was part of Sweden for approx. 750 year. In the early 19th C Sweden ceded it to Russia and it was a Russian Duchy. Finland declared independence in 1917.

Next week: TRUMPTY-DUMPTY had a GREAT FALL


Note:  I really like our current government - especially after the previous one, which attempted to run the country as if it was a company. That is NOT a good idea.

Finnish is spoken in mainly just in Finland - Estonians speak Estonian, which is close to Finnish, but not the same. We share many words, but the differences are large enough that when visiting Estonia, i revert to English rather than try to decipher Estonian.

I was about to correct the claim that Finns start learning English at 7 years old - when i was at school, we didn't strat English until 3rd grade. But starting 2020, on other words this year, the first foreign language indeed starts in the first grade, and for most Finns, it's English (it's an individual choice, other languages are available too).

CU
--
Eki

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