We went to the Finnish Embassy here in Cape Town the other day, on Friday to be specific, for the independence day celebrations. The actual day is only today, but regardless we had a very nice time. Nice food, swim and sauna. There was also Finnish music and even the old version of the classic Tuntematon Sotilas (Unknown Soldier) film. Three full on entertainment hours of black and white war story. It got me thinking first that it’s so long that I saw it last time, and immediately after, why did I see such a brutal violent traumatic film at such a young age? At school. And it was compulsory. It must have been a different zeitgeist.
I am not complaining about the film. Maybe I should revisit it actually. Watching films like this, and holding onto any other kind of signifiers of the land of my peoples is typically the thing you do to stay connected. Sometimes it's nice, although I do have other less obvious films and music to do that already.
The Embassy itself is posh. It is very grand indeed. It’s up towards the hill and overlooks the city. The view to the mountain, ocean and the skyline shaped by all the tall buildings is one of those Cape Town things. I never do this, but I actually, due to the lack of any proper equipment, took a photo with my phone. Or rather, I took a few photos and merged them into a small panorama just to give you an idea.
But nice afternoon with the Finns. Always nice to go and have a proper sauna and all in all good energy all around. It also reminded me, of course, that besides the language and certain cultural characteristics I share almost nothing with my fellow Finns, but the nice thing is that us Finns don’t care about that and even if we do, we’d never say it out loud. Difference doesn’t make things bad; only more interesting.