Taste of the States

As long as we are here we intend to experience as much as possible of America. One way, and probably the easiest way is of course to do it taste wise. We will do it randomly when we run into something we believe to be typical American.
The other day we tried Dr. Pepper soda. I was quite sure I would like it so I bought one can for me and one for Cre. We started out sharing one can and of course I was wrong. We did not like it one bit. One can will be left in the fridge until we leave in six months.
I also tried Jell-O. I played it safe and bought vanilla (I’m a sucker for anything with the taste or smell of vanilla). I was very sure I would like it so I got six small packages to have as deserts. Needless to say, I was horribly wrong again (my god I’m bad at this). Five little packages of vanilla Jell-O will accompany one little can of Dr. Pepper for a cold six months wait in our soon to be crowded fridge.

Just realize that most of the things we see as typical American are unhealthy. But perhaps I’m wrong again.

We are in Texas so we have to try to have a proper steak. We have been tipped about Saltgrass Steak House which should be able to supply us with just that. Sunday noon we went there and tried it. The restaurant looked very nice both from the outside and inside and the staff were very friendly and service minded. The guy that took our order spook a very colorful Texas dialect. When he introduced himself and the menu, he sounded like we just caught him stealing our horse and he was explaining his way out of it. After politely informing him that we in fact newer owned a horse, and he must have mistaken us and the horse for someone else, I ordered a steak from the lunch menu (the menu said steak and so did the guy taking our order). When the food arrived we saw that what we in fact ordered was something that once was a steak but had now been cut into pieces. At first we were a bit disappointed but my god it tasted good. We will for sure go back, and then order a proper steak.

We also tried KFC. Not so much because it is American, but because we both like it allot. We try to have it at least once every time we go to Romania (there’s no KFC in Sweden). Cre got the chicken wings and I got the chicken strips. We could both agree that the salad we selected as side order was good. On the wall behind Cre was a weird poster of a dog eating KFC from a bucket at a picnic.

Please let us know if there is anything you think we should try or stay away from while we are here.

TV commercials have more air time than any regular TV show.
The majority is for insurances, law services (lawyers) and medicine. Americans must be expecting the worst.

So far I have seen a lot of drive trough’s. The two who surprised me the most was a drive through bank (perhaps only ATM) and Dunkin’ Donuts.
American really love their cars and doesn’t really like to get out of them. Perhaps in the future they will all live in their new super big cars. Perhaps we all will.

Saw this in the mall. Must be a very fancy toilet for nr2 only.

Fancy toilet?

I just have to say again how nice everybody are here. Even at a distance. You could be walking down the road, and 50 meters away a person waves at you. It is almost rude. No, it is rude. They are forcing me to be nice back. The polite way would be to ignore me and give me the choice to be “nice” or not. Now, if I don’t say hi, smile and wave back I’m automatically a bad person. Bastards. I always greet them back of course, but I even things out by giving them the finger once their back is turned.

A few days back when I was out walking with Nadia I saw this young guy walking down the road dressed in black sneakers, black long pants, black sleeveless shirt, and a black sweater thrown over his shoulder. My god, all black in this weather. It is at least 35-40 degrees Celsius outside. The guy must be a moron. This is what I was thinking to myself. At least the guy had sense enough to wear white sunglasses.
The day after I saw him again. He was dressed the same way. Not only is he a moron, he doesn’t learn. Later that day he spoke to me. Of course there was no way I could take him seriously wearing those white sunglasses.

Nadia is a good sport. She doesn’t even complain when I sing to her.
Her fourth tooth is out.

Our GPS is called Never Lost. Well I guess it is partly true. It will always tell you where you are (approximately, and if you give it enough time). You will of course have to tell it where you are going. So you have these two points cleared out, which is good. The problem is that our GPS sucks at telling us how to get from one point to another. You know where you are, where you are going, but you have no clue how to get there. I sometimes wish it would just point you in the general direction of the target.

The AC and me are friends. He knows what I need and he delivers.
If he was a person, I guess his name would be something like Abra Cadabra He would be dressed in a black cape, and a black pointy hat. He would be invited to all my future parties to keep cool and perform magic tricks. After two parties though, he we no longer be invited because he might be able to keep the cool, but he is a very poor magician and a little bit of a downer at festive occasions.

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Tornado 1

Today was another day of rain. Heavier than yesterday and the wind was blowing strong. Again we had about one hour where me and Nadia dared to venture out, but we kept close to home in case the rain would start again.

Our TV is very wise and has close to 100 channels. Around 50% are religious and 25% are Spanish.

Around 17.30, while doing the dishes after Nadia’s tasty dinner, I heard a loud horn outside. Clearly some kind of alarm signal. It kept going for at least a full minute. Cre’s colleagues had told her about this. This must be a tornado warning. According to her colleagues it is nothing to joke about. I zapped through our TV channels to look for a local station (as advised by Cre’s colleagues). I finally found one who’s normal schedule was interrupted by a tornado warning. The TV now showed me a map over the Dallas area (including Plano) and told me that Plano might be hit by a tornado at 17.45. I looked at my watch and it said 17.40. The TV told be to find a storm shelter (no luck there) or a closet or bathroom (not connected to an outer wall). I followed the TV’s instruction to the letter. Because we all know that the TV never lies. With Nadia in my arms I collected pillows and blankets and headed for one of our bathrooms. I tried to make the bathtub as comfortable as possible for us. Then I got a few toys for Nadia (I had no idea how long these things lasts) and my phone. We got into the tub and I called Cre, who hadn’t come home yet. I was afraid she was on the road, which apparently is not a good place to be during a tornado. I was relieved to hear that she was still in the office. The Ericsson office is also in Plano, but she had not heard any tornado alarm.

After 15 minutes Nadia was got very bored with the tub. Her noises now overpowered the sound of the TV so I could no longer hear the tornado updates. After 20 minutes in the tub, we got up and had a look at the TV. It seemed as the tornado missed and was now heading away from our area. Three minutes later Cre comes home. She had asked her colleagues what to do and if it was safe to go home. They looked at the sky and said that it looks safe. I would not be surprised if we were the only people in Texas hiding in the bathtub that evening. But better safe than sorry. And hey, the TV told me to!

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Yesterday it was all rain.
I think we got an around one hour break. I took Nadia for a walk and it was like a sauna out there. I was lucky my watch is also a diving computer so we made it back in one piece. The aim of the walk was to find out what stores we have close by our home. Apparently there’s only a few clothing stores, a cinema and the rest is restaurants and cafes.

The rain started again and me and Nadia where confined to our apartment.
I can’t help but feel a little bit isolated here, but I’m sure it will get better.

For some reason I started to think about Karma the other day. For the whole thing to work you have to bring your consciousness with you when you die to be able to pursue your quest to become a higher standing being. Do you take other things with you as well? I am very scared of, or at least dislike spiders allot. What if I was reborn as a spider? Or to have agoraphobia, the fear of open spaces, and become a bird?! I mean a bird should be a step in the right direction right? If I’m not mistaken on the top of the list is the white cow. But who want to be a lactose intolerant cow? What kind of reward is that?

Woke up this morning to even more rain.

On the airplane from Chicago to Dallas I overheard a guy (apparently very well educated) telling another guy how he owns a 9mm pistol, and sometimes carries it around with him just for the hell of it. I almost forgot we are in the country of guns. Next time I get into our car I will have to check the glove compartment. I thing it would only be fair to offer tourists guns as well, or at least bullet proof wests

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Labor day

Today was labor day.

We celebrated by cooking allot and then going to a big mall.

Nadia got her first ride on a carousel. She didn’t look to excited about it, but what does she know, she’s only seven months old (pushing eight).   The mall also had an ice rink which we did not visit. It had just about any store you can imagine,  but we still had problems finding what we were looking for.  Americans sure are good at hiding things. But I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that it is hard to find stuff in such a big place.

Nadia will get her fourth tooth any day now.

Our GPS tried to drop us off a bridge today, twice.

I am not so impressed with Wal-Mart. They are supposed to have everything. Well, we went in trying to find just a few items, and couldn’t find any.

Fat people were occupying all the benches so Cre had problems finding where to breastfeed Nadia.

Can still not figure out why the last few weeks I’m always humming a song from Star Wars while changing Nadia’s diaper.

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5 days

Early on we learned to hate our Mazda’s baby seat. Now we love it. But still ice-cream is better.

I gave Cre a crash course in driving without a stick. Cre is a quick learner. I hear that Cre is having long and intense discussions with our GPS on a daily basis.

Our home is very nice. An apartment with two bedrooms, two bathrooms, two walk-in closets one living room/kitchen. Just across the road we have a common area, gym and a outdoor pool.

I don’t trust our GPS. It has a weird sense of humor that perhaps in time we will learn to appreciate. Right now, not so much.

You cannot get anywhere without a car.

Our car cannot get anywhere without us.

The GPS will do the same thing to us that our mobiles have done with phone numbers. Soon we will not be able to find our way anywhere without the little box.

Wal-Mart, US largest supermarket has two kinds of fish.

We cannot afford an exorcist, so we will not use the dishwasher ever again.

Everybody is very friendly here.

No one seem to have seen a cuter baby than Nadia.

Everything is big. You cannot find a small package of anything.

Our GPS took us to IKEA the other day. We bought some stuff and had lunch. Then the GPS took us home without any problem. It is plotting something big, I am sure of it.

First time shopping I wanted to buy Listerine. I found something that sounded awfully disgusting. I bough it of course thinking it would be funny to use something that makes your mouth fresh, clean and smelling weird at the same time. Cre did not chare my enthusiasm and yesterday we bought a new regular Listerine.

The place is nice. I think we will be fine here.

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Getting there

First of all I have some explanation to do.
I’m sorry for all of you I did not say good bye to. The truth is that we didn’t know when we were going until 17 hours before we were out the door. That gave us very little time to do anything but packing and preparing for the trip. I also admit that I am very bad at good byes. To be honest I’m equally bad at hellos, and pretty much sucks at everything in between. So you didn’t miss anything.

As you can see I am also writing in English (or at least trying). This is because I’m very cool and have friends from other countries.

This new blog will give you the opportunity to see our experiences through my eyes. My beautiful and smart wife (Crenguta) has been sent for a short time assignment in Plano, Texas. I have tagged along to take care of our little baby girl, Nadia.

Tuesday afternoon, 31st of August, we received our American Visas. Wednesday morning at 07.00 we left our apartment and headed towards Arlanda airport. We left so that we would have plenty of time to check in. When we arrived we saw that it wouldn’t be that easy. It seemed as there had been some sort of medical convention in Stockholm the same week and now everybody was going home at the same time. The queues were humongous. We got to our gate just in time. The personnel were kind enough to allow us on the plane first, as we had a little baby with us. The boarding finished quickly but we didn’t go anywhere fore quite some time. For some reason we were delayed. Bad news for us that had a connecting flight in Chicago. But it didn’t worry us too much as we had three hours to transfer.

We landed in Chicago nine hours later (around 20 Swedish time) with two ours to complete our transfer. First up was the border control (crazy queues again) where they verified our Visas, they took a photo of each person and mine and Cre’s fingerprints. Then we went to pick up all our luggage. We brought the luggage through customs who thankfully decided to ignore us and we put all our bags back on another conveyer belt for transferring passengers. Security check. Off with the shoes, belt two laptops. No beeps. Now we find out that our connecting flight to Dallas will depart from another terminal. Off we go. With less than a hour to spare we arrive at the other terminal. We stand in line to get our new boarding passes. A very short line but my god it was moving slowly. We were praying we were in the right queue because we couldn’t get any straight answers from anyone. Turns out we were in the right queue and we get our boarding passes. I ask the lady if we will make it in time. She calms our worries and says that it won’t be a problem. Another security check with a loooong queue. I ask the man controlling our boarding passes if we have enough time to make our flight (I’m worried because of the line in front of us), he says yes. Off with shoes, belt and up with laptops. No beeps. Nadia has fallen asleep in the babybjörn despite our jogging between “stations”. Now it is less than 15 minutes to our flight and I ask a lady at the security check one last time if we will make it. She says yes. Cre runs before me with Nadia in her arms while I pack our stuff again and secure my pants with the belt the security find so interesting and potentially dangerous. Turns out that we have to run quite far to reach our gate. We get there with 5 minutes to spare only to find out that the gate is closed and no more passengers will be let on. 😦 They place us on a flight from another terminal two hours later. Crap! This wouldn’t be such a big´g deal perhaps, if we did not travel with a little baby. It was now way passed her bed time and we were still moving.

We got to the new terminal and sat down by our gate and watched as our flight slowly was delayed minute by minute. Apparently there was bad weather in Dallas. We got some food in us and Nadia got a few minutes of sleep. We boarded our flight that ended up being just over one hour delayed and we were on our way again. Nadia slept more or less for the full two hour flight and we landed around 5 Swedish time.
It went fast to get our luggage as they arrived on the previous flight and we headed towards the rental car. To get there we had to get on some bus with all our things so we decided not to, and took a cab directly to hour new home instead. 25 minutes drive and we were finally there and soon we were all asleep. At least for a while.

Nadia woke up around her normal Swedish time which gave us three solid hours of sleep. Cre tried all her tricks but Nadia wouldn’t go back to sleep. Since Cre was going to work the same day I took Nadia to the other room. We played a little bit, and then I put her surrounded by toys and a pair of scissors (for excitement) while I unpacked our stuff.
A little later Cre woke up. We ate breakfast and then left to get our rental car (some Mazda I think). Cre left for work and I went home with Nadia. And so everything begins.

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