Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Northern...Western Canada

So I traveled back from Sweden on Friday the 11th. I was home for all of five days before work asked me to take a trip. It was unexpected to say the least. Before that though I was able to fit in a lot of time with my family. Everyone was in town, so it was a lot of fun. We went to Scofield, shot guns at Newton ranch, Owen went on a horse ride. Ate out, and ate in. Went to a movie. And had a nice breakfast with my grandparents.
Us on the four-wheeler, isn't my wife cute?
It was quite fun. I spent the next week working with Greg on our house. I learned a lot and am very appreciative of him and his talents in helping me out. He is a wonderful contractor and I would recommend him to anyone (

So I am currently in Calgary Alberta. I was asked to visit an operation we have in Alberta, and I made mention of going to "Northern Canada" around one of our executives in the office who is from Canada, and he corrected me and said you are going to "Western Canada". You be the judge.

Northern Sunrise County

When I got here on Monday, it was beautiful 70 degrees. I woke up this morning to a bad snowstorm. It was just like Utah.

My first trip to Canada four years ago had mixed reviews. I went to Montreal, meh, and Nova Scotia, nice place. I was too young and inexperienced to notice really cultural differences. After being in Sweden though I am more sensitive to it. this trip was better. Canadians really are some of the nicest people I have met. I was surprised as I observed how they interacted with people. Coming from Sweden where if you got another person to acknowledge your presence was a good day, to Canada where everyone is so interested in you has been refreshing. 

For example, today I was flying from Grand Prairie to Calgary. Grand Prairie is pretty small and the airport only has two gates and all the planes are prop planes. When I got to security there was a line, and I was shocked and thought, okay who is holding this thing up and I peered around everyone. There was a physically and mentally handicapped person at the front of the line going through security. I quickly relaxed and made a note not to get upset, but what really changed me was how everyone else was reacting. Especially the security folks. This woman had a roller bag and a backpack. She was incredibly excited to be flying and by the time I arrived the security guard had helped her get her bags in the plastic bins. Then the security guard and this lady had this exchange.

SG: "Do you have any liquids, a laptop, or anything in your pockets?"
W: "No....wait I have this in my pocket" pulls out a receipt
SG: "Thats okay, do you have any liquids or a laptop?" there is a laptop visible sticking out of the backpack
W: "No...wait I have a laptop"
SG: "K, let's put that in a bin. Do you have any liquids?"
W: "No" proceeds to the metal detector, "Wait, yes I do"
SG: "K, let's put them in a bin."
W: Pulls out a red makeup bag, and says "what about this?"
SG: "We'll just put it in a bin to be safe."

The entire time being completely calm and friendly. The women then proceeds through security, the person in front of me, and then I do. As our bins go through the scanner, the security guard grabs this woman's bins and starts helping her get put back together. Then she holds up this makeup case and shows it to the lady on the X-ray machine, and says "isn't this pretty?", "Oh my yes that is beautiful". When we got to the gate and sat down I was seated near this lady and she was beaming, and telling her friend how the security guards liked her bag. 

Now maybe it is the cynic in me, but I cannot see any American TSA person ever taking the time to help someone through security like that or have the patience with them. At first I didn't even have the patience to wait in a line. It was humbling to see people care for complete strangers. When I was in Sweden I learned to appreciate other cultures. I am by no means bashing on America, but I feel like there are some things that other cultures do better. I feel like Swedes have a better work-life balance to a point. 

I am hoping to be a little kinder, and more patient after this trip. 

I can't wait to come home to these two. Aren't they just the cutest?

Monday, April 7, 2014


3 years ago today this was us. In the past three years we have gone through a lot. Shortly before we were engaged, I received a job offer from a company in Chicago. The plan was for the first two years to be in a management training program. I was the only person from BYU to receive a flyback and it was a pretty sweet gig. We would have lived 6 months just outside Chicago, moved to a manufacturing facility in the South (a friend of mine from interviews ended up in South Carolina, if I knew then what I know now about that place, it would have been a much harder decision), and then move back to Chicago for 6 more months. Depending on how those three jobs went I could end up anywhere but would most likely move one more time at the end of the two years. Gini and I talked and we said that is just a little too much moving for us, 4 moves in 2 years. Funny how we ended up moving just as much, and MANY more miles.

If it hadn't been for her, I probably would have taken that job. I can honestly say that without her helping me to be the best person I can be, I would not be the man I am today. Happy Anniversary dear. I will be home soon.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Swedish Miracle

So I have been back in Sweden now for a week. It has been fun, and it is nice knowing that I will be home in Utah soon. This past week at work has been EXTREMELY slow. I am just here for questions and discussions so work occupies about 2 hours of my day. It has been fun.

With me being the last one here I have the joy of tying up all the loose ends, closing apartments, selling cars, and changing addresses. Really fun and exciting work. To preface this story I will explain something about Swedish culture. People in Sweden are very private and keep to themselves. They aren't very talkative to strangers. For example, no one holds the door for each other, and if you do hold the door it is seen as weird. My co-worker was using the stairs in his apartment building one day, and as he was walking down them he looked out to the entrance and he saw a woman and a man struggling to carry a couch inside. So he walked down and grabbed the door for them. Right behind them was another Swede. The guy started to chuckle as my co-worker held the door open, and asked if he was American. My co-work said, "Yes, why do you ask?" "I can tell because a Swede wouldn't have done that."

So last night I decided I was going to clean out one of our apartments instead of paying someone to do it. So I had just finished boxing everything up and was starting to load it into my car to take to the Red Cross. As I get my car half-loaded this other car pulls up to the front door and two 18-20 year old kids starting moving in. Seeing an opportunity I pounce.

"Are you two moving in?"
"Yes, we are, to the 6th floor."
"Do you guys have furniture and other stuff?"
They look at each other, "we have beds."
"Would you like some more stuff?"
Look at me, look at each other, "Sure."

So I tell them what apartment I am in and tell them to come on up. They both look so lost and confused. Mind you, this apartment was used the least of all the ones we had here in Sweden. So all the stuff was still really new and had a lot of life left in it. When they walked in they were still waiting for a catch, and finally I said what do you guys want and they listed off some really small things. So I grabbed them and started moving them to their apartment. When I went in their apartment they had two beds and only clothes. Poor college students. So I let them pick what they wanted. It ended up instead of me spending all day Saturday running back and forth to the Red Cross, I was able to cut it down to one trip. It was one of those situations where it is beneficial for both parties. Their apartment is now stocked with more stuff than they would ever need, and I am not killing myself moving all that stuff.

They were really funny the whole time and kept saying things like; this is a joke, are you sure we can have this, do you want any money. When I would say do you guys want that, they would say, we would love it but would be too timid to say anything. My favorites though were,

"I feel like I am on Extreme Home Makeover"

"Is there a hidden camera somewhere?"

"This is only cool because you are an American."
"Why is that cool?"
"Because if it were anyone else, we wouldn't believe them. If you were a Swede we wouldn't even believe this."

It was like a dream come true. I am so glad I was able to find someone to take all this stuff. It really was one of those small things, that reminded me I am not alone here in Sweden.