Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Clash of Cultures

We witnessed first hand a most beautiful clash of cultures. This time it was the Italian culture and the Danish culture. I know I have already written of the Italian wariness of temperatures, which causes them to bundle children until they resemble marshmallows and to refrain from taking them out in any sort of inclement weather, such as a 60-degree day or slight sprinkles from a sunny sky. Well, it turns out that Danes believe with equal tenacity that fresh air strengthens children and is necessary for their development. All children take at least one nap outside each day, sleeping in their very plush and oversized "strollers," which are really just small beds on wheels. The exception is if the weather is minus 10 degrees Celsius or lower (14 degrees Fahrenheit), then they concede that the weather might harm even their hearty Nordic children. Our neighbors, being Danish to the core, take their son for a walk everyday, during which he falls asleep, and then they bring him back to the apartment and push him out on the terrace where he will sleep for two or three hours.

We went to their house for Vilhelm's second birthday party, and he was still sleeping peacefully on the terrace, although you could not see much of him under his down comforter. The other guests began to arrive as well, including their Italian friend, Marco. Marco is probably thirty and is neither married nor has children. We saw Vilhelm outside and, knowing their custom, laughed and asked when would Vilhelm wake up. Marco, upon seeing the stroller outside with poor Vilhelm in it, exclaimed, "But it's cold outside! He'll catch a cold! Do you always do this?" When they told him yes, he does this every day, unless it is below -10 degrees, Maro just shook his head in shock. It was beautiful to behold.

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