By Thomas Riggs
Well, here is a response from an American who has joined the Finland Center and also volunteers to help promote advertisement in their newsletter/web page – which is a lot of fun.
My association with Finland/Finns/Finnish Americans goes back to my childhood, as some of my neighbours in Gloucester, MA were of Finnish descent. I was exposed to some of the traditional foodstuffs and of course sauna. I used to look at a magazine ‘Suomen Silta’ and would marvel at the pictures of the country – what a great looking place (I do have a fondness for forests). My late neighbor, Armas, worked in the granite quarries of Gloucester and Rockport, along with other Finns, who were a significant ethnic group in that trade.
Years ago I was the ‘house man’ for a former Finnish ambassador to the UN (a job gotten through my Finnish girlfriend at the time) and later worked for the Finnish-American Chamber of Commerce in NY. My first time in Finland was a real ‘culture shock’ as so many aspects of the country and the environment really are close to my heart. Through the years I have always put forward a good word about Finland and have gotten others to visit the country. Although, I realize that Finland is not a country for everyone as it’s not a place of excitement and the people are reserved but that is refreshing when you compare it to the hustle and bustle of a city like New York. It was rather interesting to see so many people not talking in public. Once in a restaurant, I noticed a couple come in and say practically nothing to each other except when ordering. But I must say, Finns don’t talk nonsense and they are straightforward, which I like. To me Finland is like a very special place tucked away in the north.
A few months ago I noticed a copy of the Finland Center newsletter and decided to become active with the Finnish community, so I joined and volunteered to help out. Having the previously mentioned experience with the Finnish American Chamber of Commerce, it was decided I help with corporate involvement, which is what I do.
So, if there are any other Americans out there reading this blog and have any interest in Finland and the 3 C’s of The Finland Center (commerce, culture and community), don’t waste any time and join!