SISU

Deutscher Text
One of those little backcountry roads in Finland

The father of my host family is a former rally driver. If you think of car racing, get away from Formula 1 and look at what Finland has to offer: rallies. Since I have no clue about cars, races and rallies, check out the following video from the BBC's Top Gear. Let me just add; I have found no evidence that what they say in this show, isn't 100% accurate:

B. once took me to pick up one of the cars from the workshop. At my request, he gave me a little rally taste and hunted along the narrow winding country road in, for him, moderate speed. To the right and left of the road were large fields and a piece of forest. There was snow and probably a little ice from time to time. However, nothing changed in his driving style. My body pressed into the seat, my breath became flat and my heartbeat faster. On the right and left, the darkness flew past us, the engine howling. I could hardly make out where the road was going. Speechless and grinning through my teeth, I set in the passenger seat. If a moose were to put its head out of the forest, we would be dead. It was one of those situations that give rise to the reputation of the "crazy Finns". Risk assessment is simply different in Finland than in Germany. It's because some Finns are put into motorised machines from before they are legally alloud to drive and do not estimate whether something is dangerous but usually know fairly well that it will be controllable. It explains why somebody who is flying along a dark and twisty country road with what felt like 200 kilometres an hour, refuses to ever skate on a frozen river. (For me the degree of calculability when driving on ice and snow.) The risk of breaking in and being pulled under the ice is much greater and deadlier for someone like that than driving into a tree. Do not get me wrong, it's not bigger in absolute terms, but for a Finn, who has been riding on icy and snowy country roads for years, it's simply calculable. The Finns have a word for this type of daredevil, courage or even strength: sisu. There is no one word to translate everything that this word embodies. Only one thing is sure; my host father has a lot of it.

At the same time, B. is not a car fanatic. In Germany, someone who spends most of his life with these machines is working in the automotive industry and has always put cars together or apart, usually is a fanatic. In Finland, however, not. Of course, B. can talk long and detailed about cars and motorcycles and the rally scene in the '70s, '80s and '90s. He has lived in this world for so long doing everything from driving rallies, driving taxis, to selling these machines, that he is full of great stories. For him, however, the machine stays a machine. In spite of everything, it's an object of use. It's not being pampered and polished every Sunday. This is a habit reserved for the German car fanatics.

I am incredibly grateful for the fact that I have accidentally entered a household that brings me closer to this differentiation. On my own, I would have never thought about car racing. It just isn't my world. I can imagine riding a rally and having fun (behind the wheel, for which I lack any skill), but standing at the edge of a rally and watching how other people test their "sisu"? I still lack a whole lot of Finnish lifestyle. Who knows, perhaps I'll come back after my journey around the world and test the Finnish summer? This thought comes back to me again and again. It's simply beautiful here. Really, really beautiful.

 

With this video, go to 00:43. Those guys running to the flying cars a spectators. It's a thing.

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