Friday, March 27, 2009

A city with great potential

577 928 people live in Helsinki which makes the city the largest (populous) in Finland by a wide margin. What I love the most about the city is the fact that there is nothing that beats a free day on the town, just walking around, running errands. The people of Helsinki are well known for their friendliness for a reason. I know some Finns, coming from outside Helsinki, find the people of Helsinki snobbish or self-centered, but seeing as I was born here and I’ve been to many larger cities, I disagree. The people of Helsinki are by far the friendliest and most helpful. We have great services in places like the public library and pharmacies. I actually never stress about knowing what to get for e.g. a flu while going to the pharmacy. In Helsinki it is completely normal to ask for help from a pharmacist.

The weather in Helsinki this year has been completely off balance. I recently heard on the radio that we had a couple of years ago already 17 degrees during this period, even though we now struggle with minus degrees during nighttime and some couple of degrees during the day. But even concerning this, the people of Helsinki put a smile upon my face. When I took the bus from the library to the center, I saw people with sunglasses, leather jackets, converse all stars and even other summer shoes. That’s what I love about us. As soon as the sun comes out, we know how to appreciate it. It’s genuinely cute.

Walking around the center, I couldn’t help seeing some foreigners, probably tourists. They were so cute, all bundled up with thick winter jackets and hats. Ironically they didn’t really fit into the street sight; the Finns with their spring clothes and then two tourists dressed for cold winter. I had to smile.

Helsinki is a city with great potential, seeing as most of the people working in the city, actually live just outside the capital. They enter the city only for work or to do some shopping. Funnily enough, when I took the bus today, it was almost completely full and the driver got a fit from me wanting to get on it. He shouted “the bus is full!” and I had to reply that seeing as some people just got off the bus, there has to be room for a couple of more persons. Even though the driver probably was foreign-born, I couldn’t help myself thinking that this is seriously one of Helsinki’s problems. We are not used to crowds and rush hours. The moment a bus seems to be a little bit crowded, people get hysterical. For somebody who has lived in Milan, where rush hours tend to get really crazy, Helsinki’s crowded hours seem lame -nothing to worry about. I wish that all who live here would realize that it’s a good thing.

The growth and development of Helsinki is something that is happening by itself. We don’t need to stop it, just adjust to it. I get so annoyed at the people wanting to work in Helsinki, but not wanting to live here. You can’t eat the cake and still have it.

Either you realize that Helsinki is the provider of work for you and therefore you owe some respect for it too, or then you move somewhere else. I mean, we’re talking about Finland. There is quite enough space in this country for everyone. But Helsinki is the only city in the country where you can experience true city life.

You can take everything from a girl, but not her city. When I think about myself and who I am, my city pops up in my mind quite quickly, probably because I am used to promote the place where I come from. When I represent myself, I am not merely a Finn. I come from Helsinki and I’m damn proud of it.

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