As I’m writing this, Sweden is about to play England in the World Cup. By the time it’s in print, we will know who won, but at the moment, anything seems possible and I’m being bombarded with messages from friends asking which team I will be supporting.

The answer is Sweden. Come Saturday, I’ll be in blue and yellow, while my husband will don red and white. I’m incredibly proud to call the UK my home and hope it will remain so. But deep down — apparently, as proven by the World Cup — remains the Swede, ready to scream at a TV screen while 22 men chase a small ball across it. I don’t think of it as disloyalty to England, more as the occasional awakening of something that’s so firmly attached to my soul that it can never be removed, despite what my mother says when she catches me eating Scotch eggs or coleslaw.

I think it’s possible to immerse yourself in your adopted culture, while retaining some of the original you at the core, existing as a happy hybrid. It brings to mind those childhood moments of abandonment, when I would wildly squish all the different shades of Play-Doh together, all the blues and yellows and reds and whites, despite knowing what would happen. Muddy brown-grey. That’s what happened. But I would stare at the lump in my hand, always reminding myself that muddy brown-grey is the best colour Play-Doh there is. It is all of everything, mixed together, until it is irreversibly one.

TEXT: MARIA SMEDSTAD

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