I’ve noticed that folks here tend to be pretty even-keeled. There have been several instances in which I expected that folks to be disappointed or angry or resistant but instead they appeared indifferent. This was most striking when we moved the kids from to their new school. I was dreading letting people know because they had been so friendly and accomodating when we first arrived. I thought they might take it personally and I didn’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings.
We decided to move Jie-jie first. When I finally got up the courage to tell everyone they were completely fine with and dispassionate about the move. Her teacher said something like, “We will miss Jie-jie but I understand you need to do what works for your family.” She said it in a very friendly manner, too. I was glad that I hadn’t upset anyone but I thought it was odd and wondered if perhaps they didn’t like us and were glad to be rid of us.
Once Jie-jie was moving, Mei-mei decided she wanted to move as well. Her teachers were immigrants from Brazil and Uruguay. They have been in Sweden for many years. They looked devasted when we told them. When I came to pick up Mei-mei on the last day the teachers looked like they had been crying all day – red-faced, tears rolling down their cheeks, sniffling into tissues. The teacher from Brazil actually apologized to me. “I am sorry to be crying,” she said “I’m not Swedish. I am from Brazil so you can see how I feel.”
Although the tears were more than I would expect in the U.S., I was not surprised by the emotionality. In fact, it was reassuring.