18 October 2013 § Leave a Comment
As I sit on the train waiting to leave the station, I look out the window to my right and I see a young Asian man with a pink backpack rummaging through the trash bin searching for returnable bottles and cans. He doesn’t look desperate. He doesn’t look hungry. He looks methodical.
Seeing him, I can’t help but think how lucky I am. I have a good paying job with great colleagues, a wonderful wife and daughter, and a large farm that we can call our own. And then I think of the numbers of homeless, penniless, vagrants I see each and everyday on the streets of Gothenburg. I wonder what has happened in their life that has led to the state they are in now? How far removed am I from such a thing from happening to me? What can I do prevent it from happening? But I also wonder, are they looking at me and asking similar questions?
8 October 2013 § Leave a Comment
Today, Turi and I celebrate twenty one years of marriage.
Despite our spartan civil ceremony, witnessed only by my mother and a justice-of-the-peace, our relationship has survived numerous petty disagreements, the birth of our daughter, and living in two very different countries/cultures.
Our relationship has not only survived, it has thrived.
I attribute this to the fact that both Turi and I have matured as individuals, but also as a couple. We have learned the art of compromise, for the greater good. We know when our individual desires are less important than the needs of our relationship.
But it’s all about choice.
We choose to be with one another. We choose to accept one another. We choose to love one another. And we are more complete because of these choices.
I am proud to call Turi my wife. I am proud to be her husband. I love you, Turi.
4 October 2013 § Leave a Comment
A couple of days ago, I said that I would start writing again. It’s surprising how quickly time flies.
Anyway, when I was reviewing my WordPress account, I noticed that I had started an article on 29 September 2012 – one year and one day before I wrote that I needed to start writing again.
But that’s not the biggest coincidence. The subject of the article was losing touch. Doubly strange because it was exactly one month later (29 October 2012) that I lost my brother in Hurricane Sandy.
As it has been said many times, it’s important that we live in the moment. Take the time to express ourselves to those around us. And actively participate in the life that we have made for ourselves. Because now will never come again.
At the risk of becoming terribly maudlin, I will finish this by quoting a line from Kung Fu Panda: the now is a gift, that’s why it’s called the present.
30 September 2013 § Leave a Comment
I think it is high time that I begin writing my blog again. Not for you, my readers, but selfishly for me. Naturally, a lot has happened in the past year. Much happiness, but also much sorrow. I wonder sometimes if not writing about the uncomfortable occurrences, I have avoided coming completely to terms with them. This must be reconciled now.
3 September 2012 § 2 Comments
On August 29th, I became a Swedish MC license holder.
My more-than-six-year quest drew to a close last Wednesday, following a quick tour in Falkenberg’s traffic.
This time, unlike last time, I successfully displayed an adequate safety of margin in right-hand curves; and kept sufficiently to the right side of my lane when performing right-hand turns.
This journey to get my license was been more about a change of attitudes than of learning new rules.
However, and I can say with this with confidence, I am now a better motorcycle rider than I was in America.
Finally, I wish to extend my thanks to everyone who has listened to me bitch and moan for the past six years; I really have appreciated your support.
21 August 2012 § 2 Comments
So, I didn’t pass my driving test on August 9th.
The test administrator felt that I didn’t give myself an adequate safety margin while taking right hand curves on small country roads with limited sight. As I learned later, Swedish accident statistics show that a majority of accidents involving motorcycles occur on such roads. Unfortunately for the motorcycle rider, it is not usually his or her fault, but the oncoming car traveling on the wrong side of the road.
Equally unfortunate, in the eyes of the Swedish transport authority, the burden of reducing these accident statistics rests with motorcyclists, not drivers of cars. Subsequently, all MC test administrator pay extra special attention to how far to the left potential motorcycle license holders keep themselves in these situations.
I naturally argued that in corners with limited visibility, a motorcyclist needs to keep to the left longer in order to see more, especially to determine the apex of the corner. The test administrator adamantly disagreed stating that IF a car were coming (on the wrong side of the road), I would have no chance to avoid a head-on impact. I disagreed; I argued that by staying to the far right I would be forced to take corner too deeply, which could cause me to exit the corner wide and head on a potential oncoming car. Likewise, I argued, if there were a car on my side of the lane, the driver would have more chance to correct his or her lane position, if they have more opportunity to see me.
To be fair, I’m not describing a situation where I was on the wrong side of the road trying to make a blind curve as straight as possible (which, in fact, the administrator said I should do, but I argued is nearly impossible if you don’t know where the apex is), we are talking about centimeters and milliseconds on roads which are not much wider than the average car.
The second “mistake” I made was not keeping to the right when making a right hand turn. By law in Sweden, vehicles are required to keep as far to the left and right of their lane when making left and right hand turns, respectively. This pertains to those lanes which are not dedicated to turns. This law was created to maintain traffic flow.
Here again I argued safety and lane ownership. He argued the law; stating that if a moped, pedestrian or bicyclist were continuing through the intersection, I would be required to give them the right of way, but also allow any vehicles behind me the opportunity to continue through the intersection, unimpeded. Thus, the motorcyclist could find himself or herself sandwiched between cars and foot traffic.
I think this is crazy and exemplifies Sweden’s attitude toward motorcycles as second class citizens of the roads!
Regardless of my irritation, and absolute disdain for this mentality, I know what they’re looking for now during the test. I must maintain my cool and keep myself to the right. I must become the “humble” motorcyclist and take my place at the bottom of the highway food chain.
That is, until I have my license.