Friday, August 18, 2006

Cultural Differences

I forgot how big the cultural differences could be between the US and Sweden. Two examples...

1) Critter Fest at the Science Spectrum - a big event, with tons of people, real tigers, snakes and other live things. Of course, with one adult and three kids, somebody was bound to get lost, and this time it was Christopher. I knew he was fine because we were in the basement level, and he wouldn't venture up stairs without me. After five minutes of "lost time", I saw a small crowd gathering behind the door to one of the exhibit halls - no exhibit, so a most unusual place to gather - and I knew Christopher was found.

A couple of days later, we were back at the Science Spectrum (minus critters) and I mentioned how Christopher had been lost in the crowd. Their response was a worried, "Well, we really need to have a policy about lost children - a total lockdown of all exits until the child can be found and returned." I was amazed by the paranoia. My response was that it would be useful to provide a sticky nametag with the parents' cell phone number to put on the kid's back so that somebody could call if they find them. Everyone was amazed when I wrote my cell phone number on each kid's arm... not exactly high tech, but it does wear off after a few days...

2) The Junk Food - We couldn't belive the amount of junk food, EVERYWHERE. Parents who had open drawers full of candy, shelves of cookes at kid level, chips and cokes, amusement parks that don't serve milk as an option... and the most disgusting of all, a hot-dog on a stick, wrapped in a chocolate chip pancake (which calls into question the appropriate condiment - mustard or syrup?) It is so nice to be back to our limited-selection grocery, something I never thought I would say!

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