differences between finland and america

Fun Facts About Finland

royal palm seeds

Royal palm seeds at Marriott Resort at Waikoloa

Hawaii is probably the last place in the world you would expect to run into a biomaterials professor from Finland, of all places. As I mentioned to my new-found friend, Pekka Vallittu, a former intern I once trained was a Finn, and I’ve never met another; he is my second, EVER. Pekka was contagiously enthusiastic about technology that he is presenting for some sort of biomaterials conference at the Marriott Resort in Waikoloa. He developed a new product for hearing aids made from fiberglass, to take the place of metal to conduct sound. Hey, don’t scoff, we could all have a need for this someday. The is a groundbreaking discovery.

Did you know that two official languages are spoken in Finland? That was news to me but actually just about anything concerning Finland is news to me. Finland seems like such a nice, quiet country filled with polite and proper people who always do the right thing no matter what. They speak Swedish or Finnish or both. Well, although we may have one language in the United States, the way some Southerners speak English, sometimes I can’t understand half of what they say and probably vice versa.

People of Finland also have to try to be nice to Putin because of trade relations and close proximity to Russia. There is some animosity now and trade probably won’t be fully restored for another 5 years or more. It’s probably not so difficult to be nice to the country on the other side, which is Sweden. Pippi Longstocking, Abba, Ikea. I suppose we are lucky that only Alaska has to be nice to Russia: not eat all of their fish nor park in front of its border. Also, Finland has had a president who is a woman, just like the United States may finally do.

Pekka Vallittu from finland

Professor Pekka Vallittu from Finland and Elizabeth Weintraub at Marriott Resort Waikoloa.

By now I had started on Glenfiddich Scotch. Water back. The dangerous stuff, Pekka observed. The bartender and I introduced him to an IPA, several. The scotch is not really dangerous though, I pointed out, since I had dumped the contents of my cabernet sauvignon on top of my lobster. We talked for about 3 hours, mostly about politics, world affairs, and the differences between our countries. I can’t recall the last time I had a 3-hour conversation with a complete stranger. It was refreshing.

He was one of the most interesting persons I have ever met. Even if his name is pronounced the same as our cat, Pica. I hope he was OK the next day to present his new fiberglass hearing aid design. IPAs have fairly high alcohol content. I don’t want to be accused of being a bad influence on a person from Finland, much less this treasure. I wonder if I will ever hear from him again. I hope so.

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