A Finn’s Eye View: Ten things that puzzled Finnish national Ida Väisänen on her first weeks after moving to Kendal to work as a reporter for The Westmorland Gazette.

1) So nice to see you!

When out and about, the close-knit community in Kendal guarantees that you are more likely to meet a friend.

I can’t emphasise enough that this is absolutely lovely, but a definite culture shock for someone coming from a country where people have mastered the art of not speaking to each other unless when absolutely necessary. A Finn only makes gestures when drowning.

People happily chatting to their friend, the cashier, is simply unheard of. I am used to my transaction events, all communication in fact, to be cold, clinical and no longer than they absolutely need to be.

As lovely as this chattiness is, I have had to hide my infuriation when I have been in a hurry and the person ahead of me in the queue is still going over their latest choices of interior design even though money or forms have exchanged hands a long time ago.

2) How have you been?

Still on the chattiness. Why do Kendalians, usually people who see each other every day anyway such as neighbours, seem to choose the narrowest gateway or pavement as the venue for their happy reunion so that it’s impossible to get past them?

I love the fact that you just happened to meet Janet next door when you popped to the shops, but could you please move a foot or so to the side so I don’t need to interrupt you?

3) Mumbrians

I have a hard time with the local accent at times. I’m sure people feel the same way when people hear my accent (or last name!) but, unexpectedly, Cumbrian has been the most challenging UK accent I have ever come across. I was next to a conversation which I assumed was in a foreign language until I heard the word ‘telly’. It was only two locals talking about the soaps.

4) ‘You all right?’

This phrase has been an essential part of my cultural integration. I spent three years in North Wales where ‘all right?’ was its own separate question and never replied to. At times you might have said ‘yeah, you?’ back, but usually not. It was very clean cut, very straightforward.

Then I moved to Newcastle. ‘All right’ became a part of a greeting. ‘Hey, you all right?’ No big response required. Different, but manageable. But then I came to Kendal, where this phrase had turned into a genuine general enquiry into the person in question’s well-being.

After the first foolish attempt to get past this question without a lengthy exchange I was sent back to my cultural drawing board to reassess this sentence.

5) Fashion capital

I spent about six months in Newcastle, where I would run into girls who were dressed fit to go a nightclub when picking up their first Gregg’s of the day. Then I came to Cumbria, a place where muddy boots appear to be a regularly featured piece of the evening wear collection. I also dare to claim that this is one of the few places in England where you can see a flat cap in a nightclub.

6) The ‘Lakes’

When I first came up to the Lake District, it was referred to as ‘the Lakes’ by everyone. Now I find out that there is only one actual lake. I feel betrayed.

7) Snow sports

Speaking of betrayal, I was very excited to hear that Kendal actually has its own skiing venue.

I am not really that into skiing but was excited about the possibility of keeping my rusty winter sport skills up to date. Then I walked past the snow sports club.

My crushing disappointment had nothing to do with the facilities themselves - which look superb - but the fact that it offers downhill skiing.

This, in any Finn's view, is a mindless activity of up-the-hill-down the-hill where you relax and spend time with your friends when every person in my country knows that skiing is not supposed to be enjoyable.

The noblest form of this sport is cross-country skiing in complete silence in the middle of nowhere with wolves lurking in the background and snot all over your face.

8) So outdoorsy!

I like sitting very still in my spare time, reading. This does not really fit my surroundings, as the Lake District is the outdoor activity oasis. Albeit gorgeous, but I managed three years surrounded by Snowdonia mountains without hiking a mile.

I’m happy to continue this challenge and admire the scenery from a Mountain Goat.

9) Tourists

Ah, this is where we differ. You see, Finns don’t actually mind if no-one ever visits Finland. Not that we oppose to it, we just don’t want to make it any easier for them.

That’s why we don’t bother translating websites or why we lose all of our English if asked directions.

All of this hospitality, friendliness and eagerness to give directions by Cumbrians is extremely welcoming and therefore unnerving to a reserved Nordic such as myself.

10) Sugar rush

Kendal, we have something in common. You are famous for candy some people love but others are not so keen on. My country is famous for candy that some people consider disgusting - salmiakki, which is basically a type of salty liquorice. And we are just as proud of it as you are of mint cake.

I think this is a beautiful possibility for us to come together. Let’s celebrate our sweet treats - the others don’t know what they’re missing!