Monday, July 6, 2009

Sauna life

I hope everybody had a nice wknd. I sure did, but I am paying the price for it today (dark, blue circles under my puffy eyes). One of my childhood friends from Sweden came to visit me so we’ve been doing things non-stop since she got here on Friday afternoon until she left, 5am this morning. Great fun, but it sure makes you tired. I’d like a wknd to rest up from the wknd, hehe.

One of the best moments was probably the one spent in the sauna. I’m not sure you all know about this, but sauna is a BIG thing here in Finland. Almost every single flat has got one sauna in the bathroom. Take where I am living now for instance. The flat is something like 32 square meters, and there’s STILL a sauna big enough for 3-4 people (or you can even be 5 in there, depends how close you want to sit to each other). I remember when I got a job here in 2005 and the company was helping me to look for a flat. One morning they called me and told me they found something really good and quite central, but….

-But what? I said.

-Yeah well… It could have been perfect. But there is this thing. It doesn’t have a private sauna.

-A what?! A shower?

-No, of course there’s a shower. But there is no sauna. Well, at least not inside the flat. I don’t know if you’re OK with that. I mean, there’s a big one in the basement and according to your contract you can book it anytime you like twice a week, but I don’t know if that’s good enough for you. I mean, I know most people prefer to have their own sauna in their flat.

-A sauna in their flat. As in…. my own, sauna?


-Like. A shower, and then a sauna too?



-So what do you think? Can you manage without having one in your flat?

-Eh… well, I’ll give it my best try…

I managed about 2 weeks in Finland before someone at work heard about my ‘sauna less’ life, took pity on me and took me to a public sauna (there are both kinds, the ones that are mixed, in which you wear your bathers, and then there are females/males separated ones, where you sit naked). I cannot say that I instantly liked it. I felt kind of weird sitting naked in a really hot room sweating with a bunch of strangers?! But then came winter and I had my first dip in a frozen lake (they had made a hole) followed by a sauna, and then I understood what it was all about. The feeling afterwards... It feels as if someone cleaned you from inside out!

However, it wasn’t until I eventually moved in with my boyfriend that my sauna life took off. Sauna in a 32 square meter flat, sauna in the summer cottage… We used to go for evening runs (easy when it’s still bright at 11pm), have a dip in the lake and then rush home and warm up in the sauna. You sleep like a baby afterwards. It’s really relaxing.

So, this wknd it was my Swedish childhood friend who was introduced to this whole new thing.. and judging of how highly she spoke of it afterwards (“I feel so clean, and so relaxed! It’s amazing!”) I think I might as well have found a new, potential sauna addict.

Hm…. I’ve got to have another one tonight before bed….

All mine... !


mantse said...

Sauna is great.
but should not stay too long as may risk of dizzy there.

Brad Farless said...

Now that's fabulous! Just goes to show how what some cultures consider luxury, others consider a matter of course. I'd be shocked if I found saunas to be a standard feature in a home or apartment!

Glad to hear you're doing well there in Finland Jonna. I somehow think you're not going to be so excited to go back to China after this. You'll miss all the luxuries again! ^_^

Tarja said...

In Shanghai in our compound there is a sauna and it's really good. Finnish people who live in the same compound use it a lot! Allso chinese people use it but I'm not sure why. They sit allmost at the floor level, so there is no heat. Maybe they want to get rid of their fluids, I don't know. I sit at the highest seat and throw water on the stones as finns do it. Chinese ladies run out the door after one minute I arrive at sauna...

One time this one mother used the sauna as a dressing room for her daughters. They left the door open ja let the heat out. I was so mad and told them to get out.

Sauna is holy thing for finns. Glad you allso like it. I'm surprised swedes don't have saunas, I tought you have it allso!

Anonymous said...

Wow! I didn't know that! I have to move to Finland! :D

Pete In Syracuse said...

Oh yeah! I vote yes to sauna's

scribbling sassy said...

now that's something new to me about Finland.That's Cool! err... I mean, HOT, that's HOT! enjoy!

******************** Shanghai MiFeng said...

Jonna , come to think of it ... I really don't need one where I live . Southern Calif in the Summer at 100 to 115 degree's F ( near 40 to 45 C ) is hot enough for me . In colder weather I love my Spa though , that I can handle .

Anonymous said...

I have to admit I've never liked saunas. Sometimes I even get headaches from sitting in such a hot environment.

Maybe I'm just weird.


ps: Are there many Finn's in China? Maybe you could makea killing by having genuine saunas.

Jonna Wibelius said...

mantse -just have to remember to stay hydrated and drink a lot of water afterwards!

Tales -I sure am going to miss sauna when I leave, especially during winter... but... can't have it all!

Tarja -yeah it's funny this thing w saunas.. In Sweden we have them in swimming complexes but they r not as hot or as popular as here in FI... But when I went to Korea I tried some different kinds of saunas. Over there it's a big thing too. And their saunas are hot, hot, hot!

Kanmuri -u have to go here and try! Funny, you'd think a country like Canada (with a quite similar climate to Finland) would also have a lot of saunas.

Pete -they are quite nice yeah!

Sassy -it's hot indeed!!! Yeah, most people don't know about the sauna culture over here... (that includes me some 4 years ago!)

Mifeng -I hear you, although a sauna is a bit different than living at a hot place.. having said that however, I am not sure I would like to have a sauna in Suzhou where it's already so hot. It's the best during a late, chilly night or during winter.

Adrian -there are a few Finns in China, especially in Suzhou.. but not that amount that u could turn it into a whole business. Seeing that there are 5 something million Finns in total we aren't really talking about a huge number here.... Maybe u haven't tried the right kind of sauna yet. It is really nice, especially after a cold dip or a work out!

TitansFan said...

That looks pretty nice! I decided to get an Infrared Sauna. It was a health reason and my insurance company paid for part of it. It has helped immensely for my back pain.