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When living in Finland: things to get used to

November 1, 2006
When one moves to Finland, he/she takes very simple things in life for granted. There were several things in daily life that took some getting used to here. When I head home to Canada to visit, it’s like turning a switch to remember how I did things over there… Anyways here’s a few tidbits of daily life that needed some adjustment when I moved here. None of these were a real pain, only a minor adjustment.
  • Everything is completely metric in Finland and things operate in both imperial and metric back home. The Mr. would die if we ever moved to live in Canada. Learning the imperial system is like learning another language.
  • The 24-hour clock
  • The darkness in the fall (okay, I have whined about this before, but seriously – I will NEVER get used to this!)
  • Using a comma instead of a decimal in expressing some units (like currency and working hours) – example -> EUR 100,00
  • The Finnish keyboard as compared to the North American keyboard. Operating with the North American keyboard is nightmare when I go home to visit and try to write e-mail… "Where the h*ll is the @ key?"
  • Using Word instead of Word Perfect. Now that I work in front of a computer every day, I am completely accustomed to Microsoft products. But up until I left Canada to come here, I used Corel’s Word Perfect to write all of my documents. It took a little getting used to.
  • When I started driving in Finland a few things caught me off guard: yielding for busses, stopping at a crosswalk when cars in the next lane do so (this one still gets me and I am terrified I will run someone over someday), no turning right on red lights (in Ontario you can – provided no one is coming…)
  • Getting paid once a month, rather than once every two weeks. I am used to this now and don’t have a problem stretching the money out until the end of the month.
  • 1 versus 7 debate – see the attached picture for an explanation.


9 Comments leave one →
  1. anon permalink
    February 6, 2012 4:33 pm

    “Using a comma instead of a decimal in expressing some units”

    That would be all units. Comma is the official decimal separator.

    Of course, working with computers, the I18N support is often lacking and a dot has to be used.
    (Sometimes this is a good thing.)

    • February 7, 2012 10:28 am

      The comma as a separator in currency was a bit of a surprise to me because in Canada we use decimals for everything…

      • Bombum permalink
        February 1, 2013 5:35 pm

        They’re still decimals, only separated with a comma instead of the dot.

  2. September 26, 2012 12:38 am

    I’m Canadian through and through, but I’ve always written my 7s like that. 🙂

  3. Madison Wharry permalink
    January 22, 2013 1:11 am

    What are some unique traditions in Finland? Any different from traditions in America?

    • January 28, 2013 10:37 am

      Oh Madison there are dozens of things that make Finland unique as far as traditions go. The most unique one?… The blanket respect for the dead when thousands and thousands of people across the country lay candles at the cemeteries during certain times of the year: Independence Day (December 6), Christmas Eve, All Saint’s Day (first weekend of November). I can say that is one tradition that does not exist where I come from in Canada.

      • Madison Wharry permalink
        February 6, 2013 6:50 am

        Wow that’s so amazing! I didn’t even know about that!

        I am doing a project on Finland, I hope it’s okay that I ask a couple of questions!

        So I know that Finland has a very prestigious educational system. Do you have any idea as to why? What is so different from their educational system oppose to Americas?

      • February 18, 2013 8:43 am

        Madison, a timely question your part. You might to listen to this, it was just broadcast in Canada in Sunday, February 17: For anyone out there wondering why Finland’s education is among the best in the world (with which I have to agree), take a look (and listen) here:

  4. June 9, 2014 4:51 am

    I dunno, I went to school here in the states (Houston, specifically) and I learned to write my sevens and ones in the Finnish way… but with serifs too!

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