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Oh the weather outside is frightful

By: Rayne McKenzie
By: Rayne McKenzie

Freezing temperatures in Sweden make me long for the Wiregrass.

It's freezing here!  Literally.  This highs are in the 40s and 50s and if you know anything about me it could be that I'm cold natured.  I brought along a snuggie just in case I needed it and actually I have- every day of the trip!  It's a Roll Tide snuggie, so at least I'm representing :)  I'm actually tucked beneath it as I write this blog.  I feel cozy and am munching on a bag of salted peanuts that I found in a homesick care package my host family made just for me.  It also contained a root beer which I had as a snack after dinner.  Dinner was sushi- it wasn't Kyoto but it was raw salmon which suits me any way you cut it. 

Today I had the chance to visit two television stations a radio station  in Karlstad.  It was very interesting.  Again I found that the similarities outweigh the differences.  A station manager called  Magnus chauffered me around to each place.  He also took  me another Rotary meeting where we made yet another presentation.  People seem interested to know about the type of crops we have in Alabama and also are surprised about the Alabama Shakespeare Festival in Montgomery.  They are never surprised to here about the civil rights movement of Mardi Gras!  A surprising little tid bit we've learned from these meetings is that these Swedes love their Forest Gump...they quote from the movie.  It is hilarious to hear them say "Life is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you're gonna get." with a Swedish accent :)  Very entertaining.  The movie of course was shot partially in AL and the screen writer lives in the state as well. 

I was informed today that Sweden and the U.S. have a longstanding relationship history.  Did you know that?  It was a Swedish man who invented the water skiis after a visit to our country.  It was also a Swede who invented the Greyhound Bus...I kid you not.  How neat.  They also invented the Swedish Fish that many of us have come to know and love (that part may not be true.) 

So while on our tours today, Magnus took me to a cafe where I was able  to purchase my daily allotment of coke (I'm addicted) and a piece of cinnamon roll type cake with a cream on top.  I ate it while he toured me around the city.  What a pleasant little jont in the middle of a very busy day. We discussed the difference in their socialist-like economy and how it deters people from working hard because they are then taxed far more than the rest of the population.  In fact some of these residents pay as high as a 50 percent tax!  And to think we get frustrated.  It really puts life in perspective.  Do realize that they have high taxes but also have healthcare for everyone- it's still up for debate of course which system is better.  Perhaps, as is usually the case, the perfect system lies somewhere in the middle.

Oh, before I go I have a cute story to share with you.  I'm living, as I said in yesterday's blog, with a 12 year old girl who speaks English very well.  She and I had a jump on the trampline after dinner and some deep discussions.  I am hoping she'll come visit me in the States when she overcomes her fear of flying.  I digress, Linn told me she was in English class and held up a picture of vegetables.  She asked the class how they should say the word in English.  When no one answered she told me the correct word was "green suckers!"  Linn corrected her and said she believed the word was vegetables  to which the teacher replied, "well it could really be either."  Oh goodeness!  Green suckers, not even close!

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