One of the biggest differences between the Northern European and Latin cultures is the social aspect of life. Here people kiss, hug, touch, share things and comfort one another. The affection is noticeable. Even between two people who don’t know each other, a certain level of caring is shown.
Meeting a person a simple question “How are you?” is asked without a necessity to have a truthful answer. Not in Finland. If you ask someone there how he is doing, you will hear the entire story of the latest visit to the doctor or the problems finding a good sofa for the living room. If you ask something, you really want to get the truthful answer too. For me the casual “How are you?” abroad at first was almost offensive. The thoughts that passed my mind were “You don’t really care, do you? Hypocrite…”. Haha I’m more relaxed these days.
At work solidarity is very present. The one’s who have cars take the others to and back from work every day. Everybody leaves at the same time, nobody goes early or is left behind. I’ve taken the bus only a handful of times. When it comes to eating I belong to a group of 7 people. Every 7 days it’s my turn to cook for 7 people. The other days I eat the food of others. I simply love that system, it should definitely be incorporated into the international working culture. Also, I've gotten to introduce them some Finnish evryday dishes and I've eaten a variety of feasible main courses.
People share dinners and the mate-drink. They get together for the fun of it. People invite half strangers into their homes or to spend the weekend in the countryside. If someone has problems, that person will not be left alone. Maybe the government doesn’t provide them with everything, maybe care and guidance isn’t given free of charge. Nevertheless, a person in need has the support, the company, the aid and the affection of other people, be it family, friends, neighbors or colleagues. That is simply priceless.