Never, ever plan
If anything, go with the flow. It’s pointless planning things out when there are more fun things to do all the time, anywhere, everywhere. You could be aiming for a night of rest and all of a sudden, you’re at some middle-of-nowhere pub doing shots with a bunch of Europeans with no idea when or how you’re going to get home. You will wake up the next day with smudged mascara, still wearing your clothes and with strange bruises on your legs. Go with the flow! Life can surprise you!
Growing up in a cold environment, the Nordics have perfected the art of taking care of yourself before others. There’s no catholic guilt there and no morals coming in the way of what you think you should do and how you feel about it. Yeah well no one said they’re perfect but when we worry about others too much, we’re limiting ourselves and not focusing on the most important aspects of our lives. It’s okay to be selfish in moderation.
Alone time is the best time
If you need to recharge your batteries to stay the hell away from people and your friends, then do it. We’re not sheep, we don’t have to follow our friends everywhere. They can do things independently for themselves without the need of having others involved. And if that means taking two weeks off to go in some cabin by the lake without speaking to anyone, then it’s all a-okay.
Cold like your soul
Let’s face it! They’re not the warmest people. Their hugs are like a slap in the face. Yep you read that right. I feel a little hurt when I get a hug from some of my Nordic friends. It’s like they’re taking the piss literally. They don’t wear their heart on their sleeve! If they get sad, you have to second guess through some of their actions. It’s quite a psychological game really. But when they do care, they won’t have to say or do anything. They will show you in their own peculiar way. Whether it’s a “Hey, what’s up?” Skype message popping up on your screen or sitting by your side drinking a beer on the beach without having to utter a word, that’s when you know you kind of have some place in their lives.
Silence is golden
Ah not just a good Simon and Garfunkel song! This I’ve learned from my Finnish “homies”. Ah the land of a thousand lakes! Not only has it produced some of the finest men but raised them into emotionally constipated folks with a dead look in their eyes. Somehow you swear, you’ve not seen them blink in ages and you’re questioning whether in fact, they’re still breathing as they pose with a beer in their hand and not moving. But away from the beautiful folk that are Finns….they know the fine art of sitting in silence without having to say anything. Small talk? Fuck that shit! Not happening! Unless you have something interesting to say, don’t say it at all. Oh and when they do say something… wait for it… wait for it… they’re blunt like a knife and straightforward like no other. If you’re a sensitive creature (such is my biggest weakness), the Finns will intimidate you to no end, never knowing when they’re going to twist that knife. Just like point number 4 though, they’re not big on words or emotional displays of affection or endearment. They will show you they care once in a while in their own way. And if that ever changes, they will let you know.
Loyalty, oh loyalty
You will find yourself mothering them and threatening to kick someone’s ass if they look at them in a funny way. You will also find yourself playing some ridiculous card game singing to the “Song of Madness” in Gozo at 5 a.m. with these folks and you know it’s totally fine. You become engrossed into each other’s lives and there’s no faffing around. The friendship becomes strong and loyalty even stronger.