Showing posts from 2015

Thanksgiving in Sweden... Twice (part 2)

With one Thanksgiving celebration under my belt now I had confidence.  I knew I could make the food (besides the cornbread) and the friends would be awesome as always.  The (affordable) turkey had been thawing all day Saturday.  It was ready.  I didn't know if I'd be ready though.  My visiting friend would be leaving on Sunday morning.  This meant he wouldn't be at the dinner.  It also meant that I'd have to show him a good time on Saturday night.  I mean, who wants to take a flight NOT tired and hungover?

We went out Saturday and met some friends of mine.  Half the night was spent deciding if we'd go to this other party that was kind of far from city.  With my friends, leaving the comforts of "the city" had better be worth it.  Plus that other party had port-a-potties!  How dare they?!  I wanted to go check out the party (that I had RSVP'd to), but as the night crept on, the comforts of the city felt like the place to be.  My friends would be going t…

Thanksgiving in Sweden... Twice (part 1)

Each year we plan a trip to the US for Thanksgiving.  I hadn't given thought to the importance of the holiday for me.  I guess I took it for granted.  Thanksgiving was always there for me.  I still consider New Year's my favorite holiday, but Thanksgiving is a very close second.  The warmth and love and food and football is always amazing.

I had hosted Thanksgiving dinner in Sweden back when we lived here in 2006.  I wanted to spread the spirit of the holiday to my new family.  That dinner went well.  I had my mother on speed dial to make sure I got the recipes right (I did).  Everyone loved it.  I still remember the satisfied faces of my in-laws as they sprawled out on the couch with a case of "the itis".  Ah, memories.

This year we wouldn't be able to go home for Thanksgiving.  Apparently Uncle Sam and his cohorts did a little research and Expat Jon had crunched his numbers wrong at tax season in 2012.  Vacation money would be going to the IRS this year.  Swed…

Daddy Diaries: An Elevator Adventure

Playing outside with Bash is fun.  It's even more fun with Jasper.  I get the best of both worlds.  Bash is thoroughly entertained by our crazy dog, and Jasper gets good exercise from running around like a maniac and mellows out for the rest of the day.  How could I not take advantage of this?
Last week I had an opportunity to go outside with the boys.  Swedie was at work (will she ever learn?) and I was home with all of these responsibilities.  Bash was non-stop that day.  Climbing and running and singing and being a toddler.  He recently found out that he can get to higher things by pushing around a chair.  Now I have to actually be awake!  Jasper was being his usual annoying self, so outside was the way to go.
I took them out and let Jasper do his thing.  Bash loves it when Jasper runs in huge circles barking hysterically.  I teased Jasper and made him run more and more.  Bash laughed more and more.  He even gave me a few of those baby laughs that everybody loves.  That's t…

The Potty Struggle

Our goal was to start early with the potty training.  Diaper prices aren't exactly going down, so we want this boy to be out of them as soon as possible. I noticed early on that Bash is very independent.  He likes to try to be a big boy.  Maybe if he SEES Daddy using the toilet he'll want to use his own.  Daddy and Mamma don't wear diapers.  Be like Daddy and Mamma, Bash.  Help us help you... Please!

At first we thought we had a child prodigy on our hands.  Bash used the potty the first few days we ever put him on it.  He tinkled.  Yay Bash!  Good job Bash!  We clapped and celebrated the pot full of urine.  He clapped too.  This was going to be a breeze.  The grocery bill would be dramatically decreasing in no time.  This was when he was just over one year old.  I was full of pride as I told the teacher at preschool that Bash is "using the pot now".  I asked that they continue trying with him.  Maybe after his nap.  You know, not like the other kids.  She smiled…

My Stance On Guns

I found out about the latest mass shooting when I was on my way to the comedy club to do a set.  Great!  Just what I needed to get me in a good mind set.  Thanks Swedie.  I said I wouldn't read up on it just yet.  I didn't want it on my mind.  I walked in and a Swedish comedian nodded to me:

       - What's up bro?  Did you hear about that shooting?  You guys and your guns, man.  It's crazy!

I just shook my head.  It was like I was representing my dumb ass country with their stubborn ass, outdated rules.  The rest of the civilized world is baffled by our stupidity.  This keeps happening and will happen again because we are a gun-crazed society that refuses to change.  The culture is dangerous and the political process is polluted.  The NRA has too much control over the conversation and we eat that shit up because it's "our right".  I hear people shouting out "SECOND AMENDMENT!" without knowing what the fuck they're talking about.  The second…

London, Here We Come!

I had been excited about this London trip.  Bro-in-Law and I had planned to go to London to see our Dolphins play against our rival team.  It would be history.  The first division rivalry game ever played overseas.  We would be a part of that.  We bought our tickets through the Air Force base in England back in March when I visited my brother.  Bro-in-Law has become quite the passionate Dolphins fan. I may have created a monster.

The waiting was over.  The first three games had been played and the Dolphins weren't playing well (only one victory).  London was going to be where we turned it around.  This would be exciting!  More exciting would be getting to see one of my military brothers.  I hadn't seen him in a few years, but he would be there to pick us up when we got there!  Bro-in-Law would get to see what that Air Force brotherhood is all about.

No trip goes perfectly.  We found a STEAL of a deal on our plane tickets.  The flight would be on Ryan Air.  I had flown…

The Cure for Winter Anxiety : American Football

This time of year the Swedes walk around in a pretty much constant state of sadness. I get even less eye contact when walking on the street than normal.  The weather talks go from disappointment about the summer weather to anxiety about the coming winter.  It's understandable.  Winters are long and dark and cold here.  If the weather affects your mood, September in Sweden is the long, steep water slide leading into the sea of freezing depression.

I, on the other hand, walk around with a smile of anticipation plastered on my face.  The end of August doesn't signify the last chances to wear summer clothes or go for a swim.  For me it means football is back!  I love the Fall.  The crispness in the air and the leaves turning mean that I will be passionately screaming at my TV on Sunday evenings.  I'll be battling sleep as I try to catch the end of those west coast games.  It's a great time for me.

I can imagine that my chipper attitude in the autumn would annoy the winter-…

Favorite Uncle Came to Stockholm!!!

I got a call from my mother that her youngest brother - my favorite uncle - would be taking his wife to France for her 40th birthday.  I thought that was a cool, nice thing to do.  The thought crossed my mind to ask why he doesn't come to Sweden, but I didn't want to be selfish.  Then out of nowhere Mom said that she suggested he come to Stockholm to visit.  She told me to call and tell him how much it would cost.  WHAT?!  Moonk in Stockholm?  No way!

I called immediately.  Moonk is pretty laid back.  He said to look into it and let him know the details. He'd try to make it.  He didn't sound excited at all!  I didn't want to get my hopes up.  It was kind of last minute.  A trip in the middle of another trip?  Unlikely.  I looked up the prices and called Moonk.  He said call his wife Tonya.  I did and she was excited.  This might really happen!

Tonya called me the next week with flight information.  Moonk was coming to Stockholm!  She warned me that we'd bett…

Eating on Public Transportation

Eating on public transportation makes me feel guilty somehow.  I don't know what it is.  It's my food. There's no rule against it.  Something about it makes me feel rude or something.  Once I was taking a very short flight in North Carolina.  The plane was a very small plane that barely had room in the cabin for carry-on luggage.  I firmly believe that there is a rule in the universe that mandates that I sit next to an obese person in a situation like this.  I  looked at my ticket... F4... F4.  I scanned the plane and saw a woman in one and a half seats.  I knew the half was F4.  This was a short layover.  I had hurriedly stopped by Burger King on my way to my gate.  I didn't have time to eat it, but whatever, I'd eat on the flight.
I counted the rows as I approached the half seat.  I hoped there was a number between 3 and 4 that I hadn't ever learned about.  There wasn't.  I was in the half seat next to the obese woman.  She had a box of Cinnabon cinnamon …

Finally Back on Stage!

It had been a while since I got on stage and told jokes.  You get a rush when it goes well.  There is a level of happiness after a good set that's hard to explain besides saying it's like taking a bunch of ecstasy without the worry of going to jail or dying.  After my first set I was hooked.  I tried to book myself as much as possible.  I needed to get on stage and get better.  For two months I went up at least once a week (except one week when Swedie told me I had to keep my ass at home).  I was starting to feel like a comedian.  Then the summer came.  This summer has been bad (ask any Swede) in regards to the weather, but my first summer as a comedian was a tough one.  Most of the comedy clubs (and everything except bars) shut down in the summer here.  That means every comedian in Stockholm is trying to get on one or two stages.  That also means no one cares about Jonathan Rollins getting some time.  Who is Jonathan Rollins?

Some people in the Stockholm comedy scene had been…

Another Drunk Bothering Me...

I don't know what it is about me.  Maybe it's the well-trimmed beard or something, but these drunks keep bothering me.  Just yesterday I was minding my own business.  I had my headphones on so that the dude at the phone store wouldn't bother me.  I was also listening to a podcast, but the main reason for the headphones was the phone store guy.  Doesn't he get it? I live in this neighborhood.  I pass you every day - listening to media on MY FUNCTIONING PHONE - and you still ask me if I want to come in and talk to you about a phone plan.  I don't know anyone who bought a phone plan from one of these guys here or in the States.  It's weird that the strategy is still used.  It's just harassment.

So I avoided the phone guys with my newly adopted Swedish-blinders-while-walking technique.  It's effective when used moderately.  It was raining because it's the summer in 2015 in Stockholm and that must be in the damn contract.  So I walked under the overhang.…

Swedes and the Weather

I'm learning that small talk is different in different cultures.  I'm a small talker myself (blame the south) so I've been working on chit-chatting in Sweden.  I do my normal "How's it going" with customers at work.  They seem shocked at first.  This guy can't be Swedish.  The accent only confirms it.  They always say something like:
       - Det är bra, tack. Själv då?  (I'm fine thanks, and you?)
Which is pretty normal.  Then I say:
       - Bra! Hela tiden!  (Fine! Always)
Most people chuckle at the ridiculousness of my response.  How can everything be good all the time for this guy?  Doesn't he know that is impossible?  Of course I know that is impossible.  But no matter what, I will convey a cheery, American, wholesome, happy attitude.  I like to try to bring - or keep - all spirits up.  What I've noticed is my little comment opens this slightly awkward situation up for the Swede I'm talking to.  I'm fine with it all ending here. …

Holding on to my youth with Snapchat

I had heard about Snapchat.  It was "what the kids are doing these days".  If you don't know what Snapchat is, it is a messaging app that lets you send images and videos out for a limited amount of time.  If you put a picture of yourself on your Snapchat making a silly face, that picture will be available for people to see for 24 hours.  If you send a picture to a friend, that picture deletes automatically after that friend sees it.  The same applies to videos.  You can also add text to your pictures and videos or text message directly to friends.  Everything is temporary.  I know what you're thinking.  This is just for kids to send pictures of their private parts to each other.  I thought the same thing!

When it came to Snapchat, I ignored the phenomenon.  I really didn't know it existed at first.  I had enough social media.  Since moving here I had gotten a personal smartphone which gave me access to Facebook.  Wow!  Then I started a Twitter and Instagram acco…