Wednesday, November 10, 2004

News at home

We had exciting news at our house. Tuesday our daughter came over with her husband. She's the third grade teacher that we followed to Vegas. She had a present for us, and as my wife opened it and dug through the tissue paper I heard her scream - it was a baby rattle. Followed by some 'I'll be at Grandma's' clothes. Yes, our first close up grandkid. At least the first we'll change diapers for. Due May 13.
We do have three in Sweden with our 'adopted' doctor son. I think I wrote about Ulf before, he came over for two months as a summer exchange student. When we lived in Temecula we signed up for several programs, and had a few foreign students over the years. But Ulf really found California to be different than Sweden. He was 18, so I guess it was over 20 years ago. He came back almost every summer. We took him to the beach, and he really liked it when the waves were up. He would stand out in the water off Newport Beach up to his waist and loved having the waves break over his head. He would stand in the water for hours.
Ulf went on to become the youngest cardiologist in Sweden. He now flies all over the world to give talks to other cardiologists about studies and things he has found. I didn't realize that Sweden was such a good place for research studies, but with socialized medicine and all hospitals being government owned they can follow patients for years and keep track of their progress. There are very few private doctors in Sweden. Ulf complained that with his student loans - the government paid tuition but he needed living expenses, books, etc. - and government controlled salary he was taking home a lot less money than the factory workers he was seeing.
He talked about moving to California, but part of his requirements there was compulsory military service. I don't know if every Swede does that, or if it was part of his student stuff. He became an officer in the Navy and did his one month every year thing. At least he didn't end up in Iraq for a year (sorry, just one relapse in rants). Now that he is older he still talks about moving, but California would require he do a residency all over again, and he doesn't want to do those 35 hour shifts.
We finally visited him in Sweden when he was married several years ago. He is the 'typical' tall thin blond. He was looking for a California girl, found a few tall blonds, proposed to one, but ended up back in Sweden getting married to a tall blond Swedish airline stewardess. The kids will probably end up being tall blonds too. Their wedding was in an 800 year old church. The reception after was very interesting. We sat next to the bride's friends, two stewardesses from England. The only other native English speakers there. They put up with our American English.
All the Swedes knew English, most quite well. In Sweden they have three TV channels, and most of the shows are American still in English but with Swedish subtitles. So they can get an English lesson just by watching. The get MTV from London, so most of them speak English with a British accent. They all made fun of Ulf for having a 'California' accent. I don't know why that was funny, they all watched Baywatch - I remember seeing it on several times at a few houses. The Baywatch sun and sand were quite different from Sweden, as was Pammy, but then she seems different than most girls. But, everyone wanted to practice speaking English with the Americans. So we were almost as popular as the bride and groom.
We had a great time, and look forward to going back soon. Their first son showed up two years ago. And a few months ago twins came along. Alex Joe Sunestrand and Sven Sunestrand. So I do have a 'grandson' named after me. I think he is the only Joe in Sweden. They brought the oldest, out on a visit last year, just before the latest pregnancy.
Our other grandson popped up a short time ago - I related our son's wedding in September. Well, in addition to gaining a daughter (in law) we gained a grandson at the same time. I wanted to get a photo of him sitting on my knee, but the wedding party was kind of busy and I missed the chance. It would have looked like Mr. T sitting on Mad Dog Murdock's knee, so picture it in your own minds. Except Etiene doesn't have shoulders that big or a mohawk, and I'm not as thin as Murdock. But it was the best comparison I could come up with on short notice. He lives in the San Francisco area, so next time I see them I'll get a shot.
This then is the first grandchild we will end up seeing on a regular basis as they grow up. That is unless our daughter makes her threatened move to Portland, to get away from the poor Nevada school system (of which, as a teacher, she is part of). And unless we make our threatened move to New Zeeland.
Well, looks like I just can't get away with a short post. But look, one with no pictures and not even a single link.

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