keskiviikko 23. tammikuuta 2013

The Survival of the Fittest

Tuire Ranta-Meyer

In my last blog (Dec 3, 2012) I mentioned that the most wide-spread presumption of Finland is it being a country with a very severe climate. That’s why I was amused to read the Helsingin Sanomat columnist Cristopher Sloan, originally a Frenchman, writing about the same topic two weeks later (Dec 17) under the title Surviving in the Cold .

Sloan told how impressed he was by the Finns when moving to Finland. They seemed all, without an exception, to be extremely well equipped for the winter season. It would be hard, he said, to convince a Frenchman to wear a woollen stocking cap as he wouldn’t take any risk of looking silly. The Finns, in opposition, would have no difficulty to  dress in a full winter outfit: a warm beanie, gloves, a scarf, pullover, a thermo baselayer, a waterproof  parka, a windstopper pant, woollen socks - and a reflector to help the drivers to see you in the traffic.

My German parents in law always used to say that they have never experienced anywhere else such warm houses and apartments as in Finland. For them it was very exotic to see us being barefoot at home with 20 degrees below zero outsides. Sloan has excactly the same notion: “The truth is that it is much warmer for me here in Finland than it was in France in the winter. In France, the radiators were often out of order and the windows couldn’t be closed properly.” In Finland you have three-layered window glasses, an extra door behind the frontdoor to keep the warmth inside and maximum temperature in the radiators even if nobody would use the room.

There are, still, some similarities between Finns and Frenchmen. According to Sloan, when it is freezing cold in France, people tend to say again and again to themselves that the suffering will be over in a couple of weeks. Here in Finland I use to think likewise, but in months: “After two months the snow is going to melt, after one month there will be considerebly more daylight, in a three months time I can start biking to my working place again etc.”

I’m pretty sure that the ability to dream of better times has been the most important factor in the survival of the fittest.  

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