A weird thing about cultural differences is that sometimes you don’t notice them until you go BACK somewhere. I would have agreed with you casually and anecdotally if you were to start telling me how Finns talk less and use fewer words but never is it thrown into deeper relief than when I leave Finland and spend some time somewhere in, say, the English-speaking world. In London, dear goodness, the sheer AMOUNT of words people used! It was a fantastic inside joke for Miriam and me - we kept looking at each other and giggling all throughout the trip. The best was on the flights to/from London, when the British flight attendant would get up and say 17,000 words (‘we have asserted our position in the takeoff line and should be departing from the gate in just a very few moments’ time from now’) and the Finnish one would say exactly three (‘we’re leaving soon’). It never stopped being amusing.
People in London not only talk, they WALK. I cannot believe how many people I saw walking around talking on various mobile phones and hands-free devices, usually while wearing a suit. It was so weird to hear snippets of everyone’s (literal) business. They were making money RIGHT NOW.
London: you need to sort out which side of the sidewalk everyone is going to be on. It was a hot mess when we were there - left, right, center, every person for herself!!!
I realize I was there while school was in session, but there were just not that many kids around central London! Especially compared to Turku, where small children are constantly wandering about and taking the bus (and it took me a year or so to NOT ask 7-year-olds on their own in the town center if they were lost). In London, there seemed to be a lot of teenagers in school uniforms getting sandwiches and chips at Pret a Manger on their own but no kids.
We took a boat ride down the Thames and happened to sit close enough to an American family that we could not help overhearing their conversation about how they had been at a playground the day before with their young children and ended up playing with George, Charlotte, and Louis!!! I was dying to interrupt and ask them all the details but Miriam was already mortified that we were listening in so I didn’t embarrass her any further.