Home » Culture & society

It’s all so very relative . . .

Written By: mustikka on October 25, 2007 No Comment

October 9, 2007 It’s all so very relative . . .

So, what’s so relative? Many things. I think I’ll tackle the concept of cleaning first.

The Finnish proverb, Puhtaus on puoli ruokaa = Cleanliness is worth half a dinner is definitely taken seriously here. When I asked my friend and culture consultant, Tuija, how often I should clean the house, she just laughed at me. But I was serious. Everyone’s house is immaculately clean. In California, most people I know are pretty relaxed about house cleaning. In my apartment building, there’s a special balcony on every floor where you can take your rag rugs to ‘beat’ them with a flat, rattan whip, called a rug whip, mattopiiska. Alternatively, there’s also a metal structure outside, a little ways up the small slope from each entrance where you can do the same. I did just that before my visitors arrived, and I vacuumed and wiped the laminate floors. After I had finished, I went for a walk to pick lingonberry branches to fill my Alvar Aalto vase. The apartment looked so clean. Maybe there’s something to be learned from weekly cleaning!

Another incident that made me think of relativity:

I ordered my husband’s favorite rye bread from my mom. It’s baked in Kajaani, near my hometown, Paltamo, in Northern Finland, in Pekka Heikkinen’s very old bakery. My husband, Robert, likes it so much that a few years ago he convinced the bakery’s current owners (grandchildren of Pekka) to allow him to come to witness how the bread is made. Now all we need is a wood-burning baking oven in our Berkeley Victorian! So my mom arrived with two loaves: one for Robert and one for me. The smell is intoxicating! Such simple – but delicious – bread!

Yesterday, before I went to the post office to mail the loaf of Pekka Heikkisen puu-uunilimppu, Robert’s birthday present, I booked a flight to Riga, Latvia in December. A Ryanair flight cost 19.99 euros each way. Pretty ridiculous! I bought it online and rushed to the post office to send the bread. It cost me 26.50 euros to send the loaf to Berkeley. I shook my head. It’s all relative! I can fly to Latvia for less than to send a loaf of bread to California. It’s kind of ridiculous.

Digg this!Add to del.icio.us!Stumble this!Add to Techorati!Share on Facebook!Seed Newsvine!Reddit!

Leave a Reply:

You must be logged in to post a comment.

  Copyright ©2009 Found in Translation, All rights reserved.| Powered by WordPress| WPElegance2Col theme by Techblissonline.com