I still have a bunch of photos to share, but I have decided to finally provide some text. It has been a long time!
Since there’s no actual traveling abroad happening any soon, I want to write about cultural differences. Today’s topic is related to the comparison of Russian and Finnish neighbors.
I begin with Russia. This is the environment I grew up in. Who are neighbors? To make it very straightforward, they are the people you have love-hate relationship with. They can be your friends or enemies, or both at the same time. Sounds complicated, right? But nothing is ever easy in Russia.
Neighbors are the people you can borrow salt, flour, eggs from. They can buy something for you, since they are on the way to the shop anyway. They can give you a drive or even borrow money. You can go and visit them for a tea or something stronger than tea. Fantastic, isn’t it? So what’s the downside of it?
The downside is that very often they simply cannot mind their own business. They want to know everything about you, your life, your boyfriend, your job, your income. Very often, behind the care of these questions is the worry you can be possibly happier or more successful than they are. They will notice any flaws you might have and shoot it to you under the source of care. No, there are indeed genuine people as well, but we speak about majority. You are expected to engage in a conversation even if you don’t feel like. If you just say hi and don’t reply how you are doing, you gonna be claimed the one with bad manners. More than that, this label will spread all over the staircase. In the end, you will share something with one neighbor, be sure, the others have received the news, too.
Finnish neighbors – perfect neighbors 😁
I remember I lived in my first apartment. Yes, there were few apartments in the staircase. Yet, it took me almost half a year to actually catch someone. Yes, catch is the right word. My neighbors were invisible. No noise. No visibility. Once I got to know the culture better, I realized that they wait till there’s no one in the staircase. Then, they leave apartment. This is what I heard from a couple of locals. Can imagine how strange it was for me after coming from the love-hate community?
In the end, I want to claim that the integration has gone smoothly. This means that I never leave my apartment till I’m sure that there’s no one in the staircase 😁 and I love this habit!