But people are the same here!

Drove 10 hours down to Germany to pick up WiseKid, fresh from youth camp in Poland, and Twenny (a young woman of almost 21 who for complicated reasons also sort of belongs to our family). Twenny has just recently obtained a living and working permit in Germany, she came with her family to Germany as asylum seekers when she was two.

Asylum seekers are not allowed to leave the town limits if the town they apply for asylum in, even if it takes 18 years for them to process the papers. Sure, she's sneaked out to visit a few places, but never dared do something as drastic as visit another country.

We packed her into the car, and she was soooooo excited! She had never seen the Baltic Sea, never been on a boat before in her life. She didn't really like the boat rocking in the waves, but she was a good trouper. Upon landing in Denmark she was a bit disappointed - except for the road signs it looked just like Germany.

After about half an hour we reached a small town where real people were walking along the street. Again, disappointment - gee, she said, I thought they would all be dressed, I dunno, kind of all different, in their own style. This could be Berlin!

Okay, Berlin is home to all sorts of weirdos, so it is pretty much a superset of how people dress the world over. But I did find it interesting, the expectation of how the "others" dress. TV often dishes up people in strange costumes that are from "other countries".

Crossing over to Sweden on the bridge she did not understand - this was a boarder? Just a sign? Where are the police that make you get out of the car and show your passport? I explained Schengen to her as we came down the bridge. At the toll booth she kind of froze - there were people in uniform. But they were only bored customs inspectors, and they weren't in our lane. We made it into a second country without having to prove who we were. Darn, now that she has this nice stamp in her passport she wanted to put to use.

The first store we went into in Sweden, she immediately identified a person from the ethnic group she belongs to. The second store there was a black woman shopping - unbelievable to find black people in Sweden, where people are all supposed to be blond. There are, however, quite a number, and they get very tired of people saying: Oh, you speak such good Swedish (and the answer is: Yes, I *am* Swedish.

Pretty much the only difference you see in Sweden is many more handicapped people out in the streets, because in Sweden they have people whose jobs it is to make sure that everything is handicapped accessible.

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