From the first step into the country, the difference between American and Sweden is gloated on, the subtle, fundamental difference hammered home—American and Dutch flight attendants both wear blue uniforms… but even here it is scene what separates the two worlds: the stuffy deferential navy of the American's melts away before the cerulean blast emanating from the Dutch dress. The gaudy, the exclamatory, the joyous pomp of the entire nation is then seen sprawling from this one insight.
There is something distinct, fundamentally different between the Dutch and American countenance, a difference that can be summed up in one word: light. In the modern American city-dweller's psyche, it is abhorred unless artificial, unless controlled and angled and strangled into submission, into another precise measurement or physical decoration, to be placed tastefully aside somewhere, much as a restroom or a trash receptacle is. And, when one is taken from the world where light is mere chattel to one where light still reigns supreme as Ra, as Sirius, as Mother Earth… the change is nothing less than a paradigm shift.
The buildings array themselves as if they were not only living creatures, but fish thrashing about not for water but light and life itself. The huge, glass walls curve tripping backwards over themselves to catch each last ray of light, the ceiling contour like a child catching rain droplets, and everywhere inside their buildings is open and hollow, so that the light can bellow free throughout the room laughing merrily as it rolls and tumbles for sheer joy of existence, before finally, as with a tender filet mignon, it eases down into one's soul and satisfies perfectly some exquisite taste of all mankind.
Everywhere, it is light, light, glorious light—reflected in their clothing, their culture, and even in the breezy language that recalls green fields dancing under the eternal rays. Light is the fundamental ingredient that charges every facet of the nation, perhaps it is the one impenetrable barrier that serves to deflect the torrents of American homogenization that pound wearily at its doorsteps.