The Silent Nordic Type
My first year here, I became very good friends with a girl we'll call Pia. Pia looks about as Scandinavian as they come, with fine white blond hair and bright blue eyes, but much to the dismay of my male friends from North America, no artic fox fur bikini. Among my group of friends, who were for the most part international students on the Erasmus or other exchange programs, contact with a real Swede was some sort of a rarity. As Erasmus circles can be somewhat insular, "Swede spotting" became a kind of sport at at international parties (which occurred every Wednesday at Allhuset at the University and nearly every weekend at Lappis, the student residences nearest the university).
"You saw one? Where?"
"Damn, you just missed it!"
What a shock! To actually meet a Swede in Sweden? Never.
But Pia isn't actually Swedish. She's Finnish. And at least as far as cultural stereotypes go, it seems that compared to the Finns, residents of Norrland are actually quite gregarious.
But Pia is far from the epitome of the stony, silent Finn. Put nicely, she is quite bubbly. Put not so nicely, she never shuts up.
We were sitting in the computer lab at Stockholm University and Pia was chatting on and on about some such thing, and another American friend, Kevin, was sitting behind us. Suddenly, my phone beeped, and Kevin had sent me an sms that read "My god! What a talkative Swede! Where did you find her?"
I sent the simple reply, "Actually, in Finland."
"You're kidding, right? Even more surprising." came his answer.
So much for cultural stereotypes. For every rule, it seems there is an exception.