Well, in a very exciting move for people who like things that are EXCITING, our resident Science Fellow, Andreas, is up and moving his family to a WHOLE NEW COUNTRY next month. Aren’t you totally the most excited about this? He seems to be under the impression that probably most of the internet doesn’t find this in the least bit interesting. I BEG TO DIFFER, ANDREAS. Moving? To a new COUNTRY? That is TOTALLY exciting! I mean, it’s not like you’re moving into your mom’s BASEMENT across TOWN because you got laid OFF because you showed up at work HIGH or something. That wouldn’t be exciting. I wouldn’t have the least bit of interest in THAT. But this! THIS is exciting!
Oh, shit, we probably need his graphic. I keep forgetting that.
OK, so since this is TOTALLY the MOST EXCITING, I thought we should probably do a little background into this, so we can all get the most pumped with Andreas. Oh, don’t get me wrong. ANDREAS is TOTALLY pumped. But I think we ALL should be pumped. MOVING TO A NEW COUNTRYYYYYY! Come on, that’s really noteworthy, you guys.
So! Currently, Andreas lives HERE.
Does anyone notice the thing on this map that made me laugh so hard I totally spit lemonade on my computer desk?
THERE IS A CITY ON THE ISLAND WHERE ANDREAS CURRENTLY LIVES NAMED AFTER HIM.
I think he’s had a successful run there. I mean, they NAMED a damn CITY after him.
This is the Isle of Man. Do not call it England. People who live there do not like that. They also do not like to be called British. They are Manx. When Andreas told me that, I said, “Like the CATS?” and he said, “Yes. Just like the cats.” I like to imagine he said it with a long-suffering sigh. I think a lot of my friends receive my more bizarre conversational salvos with kind of a long-suffering “Oh, it’s AMY, what are you going to do, her brain’s wired a little differently than you’d expect.”
Andreas will be moving to:
Ta da ta DA! FINLAND! Which you all know I like to pronounce obnoxiously. Like Fin-LAYND. Andreas listened to my pronunciation a few weeks ago and said it was alright that I did that. I trust his judgement. He is Finnish, after all. Who else are you going to trust in these matters? So I’m kind of excited, because next month I can say, “My friend Andreas, who lives in FinLAYND” and it’s TRUE, unlike the months I was saying it and he actually didn’t even live there and it was a thing I’d made up in my head when I first knew him.
So then I thought, you know what would be awesome? I think we should probably compare and contrast some important things about the two places. That way, we can see what Andreas is leaving BEHIND and what he’s moving TO. And we can SCORE the two places. Won’t that be fun? Because I don’t know if it’s a good idea for Andreas to just willy-nilly move somewhere that can’t even win a simple compare-and-contrast competition on some weird chick’s blog. MAN do I hope FinLAYND wins, I really have my heart set on this.
Ready? Oh, isn’t this going to be the most fun? I’m pretty sure it is. I’m not sure if Andreas thinks it is. Luckily, as I type this, he is ASLEEP. Also, he kind of already gave me permission to geek out all over his move, and if I’m given permission I’m totally tracking mud all over your nice new carpet. It’s your own damn fault. Be more SELECTIVE next time.
First, let’s compare the flags of the two nations, which Jim helpfully pointed out a few weeks ago.
This is the Finnish flag. Isn’t that nice? It’s very restful. It makes me think the Finns know what they’re doing, and also would be calming about it.
This is the flag of the Isle of Man and I have to be honest, it scares the beejeebers out of me because it reminds me of THIS:
Right? It’s like one of those composite dolls the creepy neighbor future serial killer made in Toy Story. I don’t know what’s up with those legs and no head and such.
The internet tells me the flag of the Isle of Man is known as “three legs” and is based on a 13th century Manx coat of arms. It gives me the willies. I’d imagine that chasing me all around all the time.
Now: coats of arms.
Here is the coat of arms of Finland:
This is nice! There is a scary lion with his tongue sticking out all ruffian-like, and swords, I do so like swords. And I like the color scheme. Nice job, Finland.
And the coat of arms of the Isle of Man:
See, I would TOTALLY dig this one, if not for that creepy leg-monster! I like the FALCON and I like the RAVEN (which some random website tells me are named Dexter and Sinister, how kooky and fun is THAT?) and I like the fancy CROWN and I like the nice WORDS underneath it which the internet tells me means “whichever way you throw me, I will stand” (UGH! That totally refers to those CRAZY CREEPY LEGS! I mean, I like it, it’s really motivational, until you think about those LEGS being THROWN at you and they’re all STANDING and then HOPPING toward you. This is nightmarish.)
POINT: It’s a draw. I like falcons so very, very much. But those legs make me unable to give this win to the Isle of Man. And that lion with his crazy tongue make me laugh. NO ONE GETS POINTS AND NO ONE LOSES ANY.)
Now, the FUN stuff. Shit, who are we kidding, it’s all fun stuff.
The mythology of the Isle of Man:
- The island was ruled by a Celtic Sea God (sea gods are always awesome)
- There is a ghostly black dog called “Moddey Dhoo” who wanders through a castle (castles and ghost dogs? excellent)
- There is a fairy bridge that you have to wish the fairies good morning or good afternoon or whatever when you cross it or you will get bad luck
- Peel Castle, where the most excellent ghost dog lives, is supposedly the Arthurian Avalon. It is also a VIKING CASTLE you guys. And so pretty! Look!
So, what do you have, Finland, hmm? I hope you’re up to this challenge.
- its own WIKIPEDIA page about mythology. Oh, shit, Isle of Man, this isn’t looking good at all. You just had a little SECTION on another PAGE.
- A whole very exciting creation story about us all being formed out of an exploding waterfowl’s egg (BAM!)
- An awesomely-named God of Sky and Thunder – ready for this? Ukko. I’d totally worship a god named Ukko. A god named Ukko would GET SHIT TAKEN CARE OF.
- Some sort of strange bear-issue where “the bear was considered the most sacred of animals, only referred to by euphemisms.” (I included this specifically for Ken. He does enjoy a good euphemism. I’m sure he could come up with some ursine euphemisms, were he called upon to do so.)
- Ooh, check this, a “sampo,” which was a magical mill that made flour, salt and gold OUT OF THIN AIR. I could use that. I’d like something like that. “My soup is so bland!” “Wait, I HAVE SAMPO! Kachow! Zing!”
POINT: I have to give this to Finland. Only because they REALLY seemed to put a lot more thought into it. Come on, Isle of Man. Step it up.
Everyone’s favorite part of travel: FOOD.
The food of the Isle of Man – well, listen, I’m biased because I hate all the foods. But the national dish seems to be boiled potatoes and herring. I don’t…this sounds terrible. Just so bland and terrible.
They also enjoy chips, cheese, and gravy. I think this is poutine. ANDREAS. Do they enjoy POUTINE on the Isle of Man? I thought that was just a Canadian thing? I have nothing against poutine. It is DELICIOUS. It looks like hell but it’s very, very good.
Seafood is common. Because they are an ISLAND. I like that very much. I could live on seafood. They also like lamb a lot. I’ve never had lamb, because, aw, lambs. But one time I was trickily tricked into veal and it was delicious. So probably lamb is very good, too. Baby animals are unfortunately quite tasty, even though you want to also cuddle them. It’s quite a conundrum.
Ooh, they also make over 578 TONS of cheese a year. I would like all the seafood and cheese and poutine. Nice job, Isle of Man.
How about YOU, Finland?
Finland has many exotic berries. Here are some: bilberries, lingonberries, cloudberries. These all sound like things you would find at Willie Wonka’s factory, and make me want to try them all immediately. I want fairy-tale berries!
Finnish people love fish. LOVE LOVE LOVE. I can dig that, Finnish people. I ALSO love all the fish. They ALSO love herring. What’s with people in Andreas’s two lands loving herring? I don’t think I’ve ever eaten herring in my life, now all I read about all day is herring, herring, herring.
Also, Wikipedia seems to think the Finnish people pick berries, mushrooms and fish all day long. I think maybe they have jobs, Wikipedia, but it’s a nice mental image. Also, yum, mushrooms. Andreas, will you mail me some delicious Finnish mushrooms if Finland ends up winning this thing?
However, Finland does NOT win my love for the fact that everything I read says “blah blah blah THEY LOVE RYE BREAD” and I’d rather eat the lunchmeat off my hand-area than eat rye bread, so deep does my hatred of rye run. Also, I read this thing that says when times were tight, Finns made bread out of rye and pine bark, and it was not good or easy to slice, but some weirdo dirty hippies are making it again and saying “IT IS GOOD FOR YOU.” Of COURSE they are. Those damn hippies. Don’t eat trees. You are not a beetle.
“The Finnish breakfast traditionally includes a substantial portion of porridge,” says Wikipedia. I like this because of the “substantial” part, and because it makes me think they’re all like the Three Little Bears over there.
Also, if you live in Lapland, Wikipedia says one of the things you’ll be eating is sautéed reindeer. Andreas! Will you be in LAPLAND?
POINT: Shit, I have to say Finland. Mainly because they, again, seemed to try harder. I don’t think the Isle of Man is giving this competition their all, really. Also, look at this: this is a dessert that the internet tells me Finland has to offer.
This is laskiaispulla. Sometimes it has ALMOND filling. Finland, if you end up winning this, I would like a whole shipment of these adorable things, but NOT your pine tree rye bread, please.
Tourist attractions! Yes. Now, Andreas will NO DOUBT want to visit some exciting tourist attractions, and so I had the FORESIGHT to look some up for him.
Were you aware that Lapland – where, as you’ll remember, you will be eating sautéed reindeer, is the HOME of SANTA? It’s true. And you can VISIT his home! It is called Santa Park.
On this utterly confusing website, we find out many things.
Santa’s favorite food is apparently “Mrs Claus Christmas pudding!” (Google Chrome translated this page for me. In a…befuddling way.) “Porridge recipe is very secret, and none other than Mrs. Claus do not know it. The Wizard Elves are, however, revealed one of the secret ingredients of porridge: “What-I-sting-it?” Spice.”
“What-I-sting-it” is my new favorite thing, and I will be saying it on a regular basis. NO, I don’t know what it means. Does that matter? It is AWESOME.
We also learn way more than we want to about Santa:
“Korvatunturi is also home of Santa Claus: for this reason it is not the secret cavities can not Santa Claus in addition to other than Mrs. Claus and elves.”
SANTA’S SECRET CAVITIES EW EW EW.
Also, there are creepy photos like this one:
Yeah, that’s a taxidermied reindeer that Santa’s grinning about.
BUT, best of ALL, you can GET MARRIED THERE!
Look! A spectacular ICE WEDDING! With a CANDLE and also ICE! Andreas, this is really the opportunity of a lifetime. I bet if you got married here Santa and his taxidermied reindeer would come. Think of the photos in your wedding album! NO ONE would have photos like this!
OK, Isle of Man. Time to step it up. What’s your claim to fame?
Well, there is the Mann Cat Sanctuary, where you can see many Manx cats. I’d like that.
Ooh, and the Curraghs Wildlife Park. You KNOW I’m a sucker for animals.
And many fine historical and crafty places. Um. This isn’t looking good, Isle of Man. Finland has ICE WEDDINGS.
OK, let’s tally, shall we?
Isle of Man: Um. Zero. Shit, I am so sorry, Isle of Man.
Finland: ALL THE POINTS. Except the one that was a draw where no one got points because they were both fine.
ANDREAS! Congratulations! YOUR MOVE TO FINLAND IS A VERY GOOD CHOICE! Will you take photos of ice weddings and reindeer and fairytale berries for me?
Please note that Andreas is one of my favorite humans, and, subsequently, take very good care of him. The Isle of Man attempted to KILL HIM IN A FIRE recently. Well, I suppose that wasn’t the whole ISLAND’S fault, but I think it might have been a factor. Either way, I was utterly distraught at the idea of losing him and totally had the most nervous of nervous stomachs because he makes my life a happier and better place every day. So, Finland, please take the best care of Andreas and his family. OR I WILL COME MELT YOUR ICE WEDDING CHAPEL WITH A MERKAN BLOWTORCH. Then where will Santa keep his taxidermied creeptastic reindeer and secret cavities?
Please feel free to send me mushrooms and cakes with almond filling. Thanks ever so.