So for all of you who question the feminine wardrobe choices of my rough and tumble, mud puddle, truck, dinosaur and tool loving son, you might be amused to know that every time you buy my daughter something cute and girly, you are inadvertently encouraging him to make girly clothes choices. The reason being that my sweet boy wants to match his sister, so if she's wearing strawberries, I need to find him something with strawberries on it. If she has butterflies, he needs to wear lady bugs, etc etc, today they are both wearing stripes. So I guess they're going to take turns having Tom Boy and Nancy Girl days.
I don't have pictures, but Walter went on two playdates within the last week. One was to his friend whose parents are are Syrian refugees and the other to his friend who is an Eritrean refugee, They actually live in the same apartment block, just one stair case over from each other. The contrast was remarkable. His Syrian friend's parents have lived here six years. They're in 12th grade, which is a bit different here, as you graduate from high school at 15 and then have three years of either college prep or technical training. His mom is going on to university and his dad is just finishing up chef training. He's the oldest, his parents speak good Danish and the house looks very Danish. They're Kurds, which I'm starting to get the impression have a lot in common with Jews, so were stateless in Syria and the mom doesn't wear a hijab. They came from Damascus and when the civil war broke out, Walt's friend's grandparents walked across the boarder, hopped a ride to Greece and then made their way up to Denmark to apply for asylum, then flew in all the kids. The food (his mom brought out two new matching platters every 20 minutes) was a mixture of Danish and Syrian snacks. The Syrian snacks reminded me strongly of Jewish food. The whole ceremony felt vaguely familiar. Walt and his buddy went through the kid dance of being all shy in the beginning (his friend, not Wally) and playing together by the end.
In contrast, Walt's Eritrean friend has been here for the same length of time as us. Wally's friend must have started at børnehave just a month before him. She is the youngest of five. The parents are 38. A love match, the dad married very young by Eritrean standards. (Walt's Kurdish friend had an arranged marriage) The dad works at the Kvickly grocery store and the mom will be starting language lessons soon. Back in Africa they were sustenance farmers, or rather the mother was with the extended family, while the dad got drafted into 11 years of military service and pretty much as soon as he got out, he walked to Sudan, drove to Libya, took a boat to Italy and trains up to Denmark where he had to work for three years, before he could send for his family. In contrast to the Kurdish household, which was very secular, everyone here was wearing crosses and the walls were festooned with religious art akin to Russian icons and scripture in some Arabic alphabet. The apartment was devoid of toys and the living room centered on a TV hooked to a computer blasting Eritrean music videos. I'd brought baby clothes for the last play date, since Wally's Kurdish friend will soon have a little sister, this time I'd brought spicy ginger cookies. We were served juice and popcorn and the mom did this complicated coffee ceremony involving roasting beans on a hot plate, grinding them, moving them from one vessel to another and then pouring them over sugar in tiny cups. We also ate a whole meal, mind you this is like 2 in the afternoon...spongy African bread in a bowl with spicy stewed meats of two kinds and more bread to use as a sort of spoon. The whole experience was very exotic and very foreign. It was truly like traveling to a different culture.