I think I've come across Finnish people probably about a dozen times in the eight years I've lived in Switzerland. Probably the most memorable time was when Mrs. TBF and I were in an art museum in Florence, Italy (Why can't we just call it Firenze?) and I eavesdropped on a Finnish tour guide explaining to a group of Finns that a particular painting of Jesus showed him "...in an effeminate pose not unlike that of a ballerina."!!!!
...Don't think the Italians would have appreciated that one.
Then, there is also the half-Swiss, half-Finnish girl who works the counter at "the" Basel Burger King. Ordering my Burger King meal in Finnish? Fun!!! Whopper comes out pretty much as VOPP-perrrri, and I tell her to "...heitä vähän juustoa ja pekoni siihen pääle" (throw a little cheese and bacon on it)!
However, probably my greatest random encounter with Finns, and the only one ever captured on film, occurred in November, 1997 when Mrs. TBF and I were in Hawai'i celebrating our tenth wedding anniversary.
Mrs. TBF and I decided to get all athletic one day by hiking up to the top of Diamond Head. After huffing and puffing our way to the top (we were both carrying a lot of extra weight back then), Mrs. TBF went to the very highest observation point to take some panoramic photos. While I stood there, enjoying the breeze and the scenery, I heard a familiar sound. I looked over and saw a mother and father speaking in Finnish with their daughter who was wearing a Finlandia vodka hat. Imagine their shock when I asked them in Finnish if they would like me to take a photo of them together. After talking to them for a minute, Mrs. TBF came down the stairs, heard me talking, and said:
"You've gotta be kidding me!"
She couldn't believe it, but she had to believe it because...it was true!
When you least expect it, EXPECT IT!!! Finns are lurking everywhere!
wow - what a great story. I have heard quite a few swiss this summer all over bc since I've been traveling back and forth from the Island.
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