Map of Finland, by Kaarina

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

I recently joined PostCrossing, a website for postcard swapping. I send postcards from London to random people, and random people send me postcards from their cities or countries. On my profile, I ask people to send me their country maps for my EuroGlobe map-of-Europe's-countries project.

To my delight, last week I received a map of Finland from Kaarina, who is 19, and lives in the town of Rauma.

Kaarina has drawn Finland and added her own touches, some of which had me searching for random facts about Finland. Along the base, she has drawn evergreen forests, which are an evocative image of Finland. She shows a Nokia phone: I never knew that there is town in Finland called Nokia. Along the side, there is wrapping from sweets called Salmiakki. These are a liquorice sweet, a Finnish delicacy.
Across the top, there is the wrapper from something which appears to be Gifu, but is in fact Sisu. Sisu are liquorice throat sweets, but also much more. Due to its cultural significance, sisu is a popular Finnish brand name. Sisu is a very Finnish concept, meaning 'to have balls'. Kaneli writes that "sisu means will and decisiveness to get the things done against impossible odds, or to succeed even when the chance is slim to make it." I can imagine why the Finnish have this mentality with their harsh weather. And, hey, they even won Eurovision this year after 45 years of entering - a victory for sisu!

This is an ace concept to bring to my project. I still have loads of countries to collect, but every time I see Kaarina's map of Finland, the spirit of sisu will inspire me to keep going.


orange anubis said...

I worked with a Finnish lady for a while, she had a reputation for being icy but she was one of the most charming and dedicated people I've ever met. I love the little horse on Kaneli's map!

Adrian said...

That's a reindeer! One of Santa's reindeer.

orange anubis said...

Oops! Well it's very cute :)

Jamie said...

I have known three finnish people in my life. All three were the warmest most beautiful people I have ever met.

They were particularly impressed by my rendition of CatCat's 'Bye Bye Baby' which is a forgotten finish Eurovision masterpiece.