My daughter is in some ways very un-Swedish.
For instance, she talks to strangers. In the US, this is easy, as anyone and everyone will smile and wave and say hello to a cute toddler.
Here, the landscape is more forbidding, all these stone-faced people who may or may not even acknowledge her existence.
It has been a great fear of mine, actually, that she would get discouraged by the rejection and start walking in her own tunnel, focused only on Mamma and Daddy and baby brother, and shut out the world.
But instead, she has adjusted, found the soft spots in stone, so to speak. For instance, she knows that old women and, to a lesser extent old men, are more likely to smile and gush. So every single old woman we pass gets a toddler rush of smiles and sentences and maybe even a song and dance. She even tried to hug one of them last week.
She still tries with younger women (a mother talked a lot to her on the train the other day but, surprise, she was half-American), and the occasional man, but in Sweden, these are lost causes (how can moms be lost causes!?!?).
And that is sad.
But I am happy NK remains undaunted, a little American maybe, or at least a little joyous in a Nordic chill.