Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Birthday celebration

6 years ago today I became a mom. I remember how one of my worst fears was not being able to communicate during labor - not remembering English but only Swedish and no one would understand me. I had prepped the Husband, forcing him to read books and watching "Birth Story" on Discovery Channel to get the vocabulary right in case he had to be my advocate when I had totally forgotten English. In the end I had a c-section since my baby girl had decided to stay upside down, listening to my heart beat instead of being head down. And I didn't forget how to speak English, I did just fine. We brought home a perfect little baby girl - with very straight legs.

And that was six years ago. Now she is a 1st grader and I'm sitting here writing sentimental stuff on how fast time flies and how I still can recall that car trip to the hospital that beautiful warm September morning...

Today we got up early and woke up the Daughter with cake with candles, birthday balloon, the Swedish birthday song and gifts to open in bed. The Swedish way. And the Daughter who promised me she would be awake all night and never would be able to sleep - was sound asleep when we opened her door. And no, we haven't hung a Swedish flag in the window.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Alpaca farm field trip

Last weekend we headed out to a local alpaca farm - the first field trip with the Swedish School. Not sure how common alpacas are in general in California (to me they're something you encounter in South America rather than North America - but maybe I'm wrong). I had never seen any so it was a fun experience. You could go in to the enclosed field where they kept them and say hello and they were really friendly and let you pet them.

The Daughter got to make a small pouch out of alpaca fur - a really interesting procedure. Too bad it was so crazily hot... +37 and absolutely no wind. We were melting away and felt sorry for the alpacas who had fur...

Monday, September 28, 2009

TV show week

Last week was the traditional week of TV series permeiers in the US. Every fall the networks launches new shows the same week - the week of the fall. Not all will survive - some disappear after the first week. I'm not a big TV watcher in this phase in life - but I like to have a TV-show or two to follow - if nothing else when I'm on my excercise bike (at least that's usually my plan... I usually end up not watching TV nor using my exercise bike... but hey, it's great for hanging clothes on!).

After reading up a bit I decided to check out Fast Forward, Modern Family och CougarTown. Fast Forward because it seemed like a interesting concept, Modern Family because maybe, maybe it's a new Arrested Development and Cougar Town because I wanted to check out Courtney Cox from one of my favorite series, Friends.

Of course I missed all of them. I have no time to keep track of days and times for TV-shows... In comes - a website where you can check out your favorite shows with only limited commercial (usually only a 30 second break now and then) - and I can watch it on my computer in bed, or on the big TV (since we have a computer hooked up to our TVs) when I like it.

We'll see if I keep watching. The Husband sort of liked Fast Forward (if it will increase it's speed a bit) and I liked Modern Family (sure can be a new Arrested Development, we'll see).

Here are the previews of the shows. Maybe some of them will make it to Sweden in a couple of weeks or so.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Swedish School and floor ball

This fall the Daughter is attending to Swedish School down in Sacramento. They meet once a week for 2,5 hours, learning and reinforcing Swedish. My Daughter is bilingual and Swedish is still her strongest language - but she needs to practice writing and interacting with other Swedish kids. She uses Swedish school material - the same as you would use in a Swedish classroom when you have "Svenska" (Swedish). She likes it a lot- but Mondays are tough days. Not only does she has 1st grade all day and then heading out to continue school for a couple of hours.

Luckily they have fun breaks - some of the other parents have "innebandy sticks" so they play "innebandy" (floor ball)on the breaks - a new favorite for my Daughter. It's something you don't see played often around here. I'm going to try to get a couple of sticks to have on our cul-de-sac to play. I might even join a game - it's fun to play "innebandy"!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Is this woman for real??

The last couple of days there has been lots of buzz in Sweden around a woman named Anna Duck - oups - Anna Anka that is, married to the famous Paul Anka (anka = duck in Swedish). She is in some show called "Swedish Hollywood Wifes", broadcasted on Swedish television and the other day she wrote an... article...? on Newsmill, one of the newssites in Sweden (then later it was debated whether she actually had written it herself or if one of the editorialists had written it) (either way it didn't make it better).

This woman, born in Sweden, moved to the US and eventually marrying Paul Anka, has the most weird view of American men and life in the US compared to Sweden. I'm way to lazy to translate everything she has written but here is some of the stuff:
A real American man panics if he is alone with the child for more than 20 minutes. American dads don't cook and don't iron, they work and supports their families. American men appreciates their wifes however, they are very romantic. They write notes, calls and leaves love messages on the phone. Swedish men never do that. In return they get women with style. As a housewife you are to support in any way. You should be good looking and stylish. Sexually it's the womans duty to make sure the man is satisfies, if not she can only blame herself if he is unfaitful.
Maybe she is trying to provoke or be funny or just get attention and earn a lot of money in the process. The only funny part is that her last name is Anka.

When you read this stuff I'm glad it's in Swedish. You feel embarrassed being a Swedish Alien when reading this womans rants... rich Hollywood wife or not...

Friday, September 18, 2009

Starting out fall with swine flu

One would think that working from home would keep you pretty safe from catching the flu - after all you don't meet that many people during the week except your family and you can keep hand washing and other germ techniques pretty controlled. On the other hand - maybe that's why you catch it more easily?

Let's just say that now I know what it feels like when you get the swine flu. And it's not pretty. I have been confined in the guest room and guest bathroom away from the rest of the house, with a cough that made my head explode, wheezing air pipes, fever and chills.

Why wait until there the real flu season begins or until the vaccines are available when you can start off your fall with a little H1N1 virus?

Monday, September 14, 2009

Birthdays in Sweden according to Parents Magazine

According to an article in the latest issue of Parents Magazine we have a very old tradition in Scandinavia when it comes to birthdays.
"The national flag is hung prominently from a top window of the birthday child's house to mark his special day. When neighbors see it, they stop by and offer their congratulations".
Someone must have missed to inform my parents and all my family and friends of this. Imagine the congratulations I could have gotten over the years....

Sunday, September 13, 2009

10 years

This weekend the Husband has lived in the US for 10 years. He moved out to California with one suitcase and a pallet slowly making it's way by boat. He had been offered a transfer from the Stockholm office to the headquarters in Northern California and decided to try it out. It was his second visit to the US. I traveled back and forth for many months until California became my base too.

10 years, one house, two kids and lots of experiences ago.

It feels like yesterday and an eternity ago. No wonder we feel things have changed and view Sweden from a different perspective - we've been away for 10 years.  If someone would have told me that I would emigrate to the US and  have both my kids here I would have thought they were trying to be really funny. And here we are.

Happy Anniversary!

Friday, September 11, 2009

Swedes in space

We watched the space shuttle Discovery return to earth - landing in California, east of Los Angeles at the Edwards Air Force Base. It's a pretty impressive thing, the space shuttle. And I can't help but find it pretty impressive that among all these American astronauts is one Swede. Of all the countries in the world - there is a Swede on board. Christer Fugelsang did his second space trip on Discovery (and judging by the interviews after - it was his last). A day to feel proud to be an Swedish Alien in America.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Enough already

HOW come Jon and Kate Gosslin has become such major "celebrities" is really beyond me. Jon and Kate Gosslin, for those in Sweden not familiar with these people, have eight kids, one set of twins and one set of sextuplets and have a reality show on TLC called "Jon&Kate plus Eight". This spring they got divorced - very sad considering they have EIGHT kids together. After the season premiere of their reality show this fall, they've been everywhere. I don't even watch the show but I still know way more about these two people's divorce than I want to know about.

Isn't there anyone who can stop both of them and help them - it breaks my heart to see two parents break apart and do so in public. I'm not on anybody's side (even though it seems Mr Jon has gone a little too wild considering he is a dad with EIGHT kids...). I just want peace for the kids - and to listen about real news when I tuned in to the news channels...

Last week it was Kate who was on every talk show there is and this week Jon is out talking about how he "despises Kate" on Good Morning America.

Enough already.

Sunday, September 06, 2009

Labor Day Weekend

Labor Day weekend is the official start of fall in the US. Every first Monday of September is off and the American people head out to beaches, trails, neighborhoods for adventures and barbecuing. Almost like the Swedish Midsummer, but without the Midsummer pole.

For us it's one of those weekends we tend for forget about. Despite 10 years in the US, it seems it always come unexpectedly. We're just to long weekends in the Spring, but fall in Sweden is just one long stretch of ordinary weeks and no days off.

And working for a Swedish company it's a regular day - nothing special, work as usual. Next year we really should save a vacation day for this day and enjoy this last weekend before fall. That way we will have Midsummer as the long weekend after a long spring and the start of summer, and Labor Day as the long weekend before the long fall and the end of summer. The best of two worlds!

Thursday, September 03, 2009

When Swedish and English collide...

My bilingual daughter got a little stuffed dog the other day. She instantly loved it (as with all stuffed animals...) and decided on the spot that she would call her Pussis... Now this is when bilingualism gets tricky.... "Pussis" because she wanted to kiss it all the time - in Swedish "pussa". And when we all started to laugh a bit and couldn't really instantly explain why it wasn't such a good name, she broke into tears, thinking we were laughing at her...

Not wanting to introduce bad English words too early, but at the same time wanting her to change the name was a tricky thing... One of those challenging moments as a mother...

We really didn't want her to run over to the very religious neighbors and call (in English) - "Look I have a new dog - it's called Pussis"...

In the end we agreed to rename it Knatten which should be a safe name in both languages...

(If you don't get this post - grab an native English speaking person and I'm sure they'll explain it...).