Monday, August 13, 2007

Finnish Ways

1. Introducing POLTTIAINEN or the Burning Bug!!!

When we (me, hubby, and father-in-law) went out to pick strawberries last Saturday, I felt a burning/pricking sensation on my scalp a few times (it felt a bit sharper than the sensation of being sucked by a mosquito). Gladly I was wearing my summer hooded jacket, so I pulled on the hood as I thought they were mosquitoes trying to suck my blood. While picking the strawberries, I didn't feel anything else as I was focusing on finding the ripe ones among the thick leaves. Once I got inside the house with my bucket of strawberries, however, I felt that both my hands (uncovered by anything while picking the berries) felt SO ITCHY. The itchy parts were ALL OVER the back of my hands. I thought to myself that it couldn't have been caused by mosquitoes. It felt more like the itchy/prickly sensation of having touched a kind of caterpillar. The sensation was sharper than that of mosquito bites and definitely closer together as I felt it all over the back of my hands.

Then my hubby came inside while I was vigorously scratching my hands. I told him that I hadn't felt that way the first time we picked berries the week before. He said that the burning bugs made me feel that way. He also felt their stinging/burning sensation. They are called polttiainen.

I've tried to find an English explanation of the bug, but there is none. I also have no picture of them as they're SO small. Let me try to translate polttiainen from one of the Finnish website (of course using a dictionary HE HE HE HE HE).

Polttiainen is a small slender insect (around 1-2 mm), oftentimes winged and spotted. Generally they appear in Central and Northern Finland from late summer up to early autumn. They suck the blood of humans and animals and cause stinging sensation on the skin.

2. My hubby read one of my earlier posts and he corrected me on something. Turns out that reindeer are tame animals. Their ears are marked, so only their owners can "kill" them. The licensed hunters are allowed to hunt moose as they're wild animals. The reindeer owners would gather the reindeer and then "kill" the weakest one to get the meat. Gee, I didn't know that! My hubby says that reindeer are like sheep (weird as it might sound). I thought they were wild as they could roam about everywhere and they even cross the roads every now and then.

3. Summer in Finland SEEMS only to begin full force in August. It's been sunny and pretty warm starting this month. My hubby chuckled when I told him that. He said, "But summer's almost over." Oh well...

4. Since during summer here the sun didn't set at all until a few weeks ago, the other night when I stayed up late due to coffee, I was surprised when I looked out of the window and realized how dark it was (at around 2 am). Then a wave of realization came over me and I said to myself, "Of course, silly! It's only normal that it's dark 'coz it's already SO late at night." OH YEAAAHHHH!!! I FORGOT that!!! LOL!!! ^_________________________^ That's what experiencing Midnight Sun here did to brain started to operate weirdly, expecting the sun to still hover in mid-sky at night HI HI HI HI HI...

5. I have to add one more beautiful thing that happened last night. Hubby went into our bedroom first. It was SO dark already. When I entered the room, I couldn't see a thing. Then all of a sudden from the side of the doorway, he SPOOKED ME. And I SCREAMED!!! I was thinking he'd be already curled up in bed, prepared to sleep (as he usually did when he got into the bedroom first).

I'm telling you, I'm NO screamer!!! I never scream even though I love suspense, thriller, and horror movies. But HE made me SCREAM!!! Boy, I was ready to bite him or something when he confessed that he was also surprised due to my scream. LOL!!! So it was "karma" HA HA HA HA HA...

Btw, I wonder what our neighbours thought when they heard the scream. Probably they thought that somebody murdered somebody in our apartment HI HI HI HI...LOL!!! We ended up laughing together, thinking what our neighbours thought of that scream (we live on the 3rd floor). ;-D All's well that ends well. MMMMM...

6. I'm SO excited about this weekend again. It seems that my mother-in-law wants us all to go to a forest. She and I will be picking wild berries grown in the forest whereas Arttu'll be cutting down some trees to get firewood. Don't worry, there're PLENTY of forests and trees here, unlike in Indo he he he...I'd better prepare my digicam again as I've never been to the aforementioned forest. YIIIIPPPPIIIIIIIIEEEEEEE!!! BERRIIIEEESSSS!!!

Btw, in the city centre for the past few weeks, there have been stands where some people are willing to buy berries from you. INTERESTING!!! I thought there would only be stands where people sell their own berries, but I was wrong.



  1. That's funny him spooking you like that. In that situation I would have screamed too. Enjoy your berries. Hope your hands are feeling better. Best, F

  2. Hi, Fish!

    Forgot to add that the itch only lasted for about 10-15 minutes afterwards he he...

    Yep, I shall enjoy the berries indeed! ;-D

  3. Oh yeah, my hubby loves teasing me SO MUCH and I LOVE giving him "payback". Never thought marriage would be this FUN! *grin* Hope we'll stay childlike in a way he he he...;-D

  4. LOL The neighbours thought that maybe you two were in a prelude to loooveeee lol :)! at least that's what I would've thought lol lol!

    That was a lovely weekend, sorry about the bug *yikes*! Me, I have a problem with bugs that sting...*nodding*!


  5. Max: LOL!!! A prelude to love? Actually it was HA HA HA...*blush*

    No worries about the bugs. I just LOVED the strawberries. ;-D

  6. THose bugs sound awful!

    #3 same here! WE had a cool wet summer and it has only started feeling warm this last week.

    #4 me too! :-D It's amazing how quickly you get used to the fact it is light so long in summer. Last night I woke up at 2:30 am and it was dark and I thought "WOW! it's staying dark so late now."

    In Africa I would have thought this was crazy, but now I really love the long summer sunlight. I even like the long dark winters. It can get depressing, but mostly it feels "right". Like nature is swinging in this huge balanced way that is good and natural. Plus the glow of snow by starlight makes up for the sun setting early. :-)

  7. Hi, M!

    HA HA HA...yeah, the bugs are nasty indeed! ;-D

    YES!!! I also can't believe that I was SO used to the light here that I "forgot" that it was supposed to be dark at nights he he he...I haven't really experienced winter yet so it's gonna be interesting to see how I feel or think about it. I'll sure report it in my blog. I LOVE the way you portray it:

    "mostly it feels *right* nature is swinging in this huge balanced way that is good and natural."

    I'll REMEMBER your words as I want to stay positive in summer. ;-D

  8. Never heard of that bug and good to know, btw, how are the hands now?

  9. Mother Hen: Oh, my hands are fine, THANKS VERY MUCH. The itch only lasted for about 10-15 minutes he he he...GLADLY!!! But I was scratching my hands furiously then hi hi hi...LOL!!!

  10. polttiainen = midge

  11. Anonymous, whoever you are, THANKS SO MUCH for the info!!!! ;-D