so, after living in Finland for some time, i’ve come to notice that there are actually some similarities between my husband’s heritage and mine. how this is possible, i have no idea. did Finnish people actually travel much further back then than they have always thought and somehow ended up in Java island and exchanged some words and cultures with the natives?
these are probably not strictly Javanese and Finnish traits, but still i find it quite amusing that there could be similarities between two cultures that seem otherwise unconnected to each other.
1. when we say goodbye, we actually mean we’ll keep talking to you until at least another half an hour. (usually it means another hour.)
–> when i was still living in my hometown, this was what we did whenever we went to some family gathering or get-together with friends. when we got up to bid our goodbyes, the host would walk with us, s-l-o-w-l-y, to the front door, while keeping us talking etc. then just before the door, we would stay to talk some more, and then finally the host would open the door for us, let’s say after 15 minutes. we would step out the door, and the host would follow, sometimes only to the gate, other times to our car or the road where we would then go home from, all the while still talking about this and that. after another 15 minutes, if we’re lucky, we would FINALLY say our real goodbyes and depart. even if the gathering was at some other venue than someone’s house, this happened as well. as we went around telling everyone that we were off, the person we were saying goodbye to would then talk to us for another 10 minutes, so if there were 8 people altogether, it would mean we would actually leave the venue 80 minutes after we first said to everyone that we were off. PHEW!
i know that there are many different cultures & customs in Jakarta alone, but i can safely say that my experience has always been mostly with my Javanese family members and friends. for example, with my mum’s side of the family (which aren’t Javanese), this almost never happened. but my dad’s side: almost always, LOL.
–> in here, this happens again every time i go to my husband’s family gatherings. okay, maybe not as long as we did in my hometown (since they say Finns are people of very few words), but the similarity is uncanny! i felt immediately at home after the first time i experienced this here. 😀 and apparently my husband’s big family also think of this as something common.
2. something bad happens to you? don’t worry, we’ll tell you the silver lining.
–> rumour has it that for whatever bad thing that happens to you, the Javanese people will always say, “well, but luckily you… (fill in the blank with some positive thought)”. yeah, we’re pretty famous for seeing the silver lining, no matter how dim the situation might seem.
–> imagine my surprise the first time i heard a Finn telling me my silver lining after i told a story of a mishap that happened to me earlier. again, i guess you could say that pointing out the silver lining isn’t strictly Javanese or Finnish, but based on my experience with people from other backgrounds, those who always come up with the silver linings (before saying anything else to comment on my story) are either Javanese or Finnish, LOL!
if you’re still not convinced yet, then number 3 is probably going to.
3. we have the same names.
–> even before i moved here, i already knew some from my husband. for example, his name is actually a popular Javanese women’s name (spelled with 1 different letter). in Finnish, there’s the name Helmi for girls, which is commonly used for men’s name in Indonesia (not limited to Javanese).
–> then i got to know that the name Ari is common in Finnish culture, which is also widely used in Java for either women or men. there’s Samuli in Finnish, similar to Javanese word “ngemuli” or “muli” or “mulih” (so many options, all different meanings!).
–> and the latest one that i found was quite a revelation: Putro is used as surname in Finland (and NOT for someone who has a root in Javanese or Indonesian ancestor, by the way), and it’s a very VERY common name Javanese name for men (we don’t have surnames in Indonesia, so we use it as the first name or one of the first names). it means “son” in Javanese, so of course it’s a very common name.
so i mean, seriously???? how many other countries in this world actually uses Putro as a name? and the thing is, Finnish words and Indonesian (or Javanese) words are pronounced the exact same way, so that makes it even more eerie.
i wonder if there is any world history/culture expert out there who would care to give me some insight?? i would really like to know how this happened (most especially about no. 3)! :p