From our first sleepless day in Stockholm, we were blown away by Sweden's quiet complexity. I felt like a kindergartner in graduate school. We saw car after car that we can't get in the USA, and we wanted them! The Toyota Yaris - the European 2000 Car of the Year, available since 1999 in Europe. We finally have a variant over here now, but it's not the same car. We coveted Lisa's van, and the Renault cargo vans we saw at the show, perfect for dog folk, but no can get at home.
We didn't see trash. Anywhere. What is wrong with us, that people think it's OK to drop their garbage wherever they please? There was a summer festival this past week downtown at the riverfront in my little city. When I walked the dogs Sunday morning, there were crews with giant leaf blowers, blowing huge amounts of garbage into mounds. Disgraceful.
The whippets in Scandinavia are, in my humble opinion, some of the best in the world. The breeders have retained whippet size and type, and still managed to get lovely free sidegait. And they've been able to avoid exaggeration, in shape and movement. Certainly Sweden's pro-active, scientific approach to breeding practices is to be emulated and admired.
I had some great fun with the language. It is so musical. And yes, folks, it does sound like the Muppets' Swedish Chef
But our own language is confusing enough. Crystal and I were figuring things out, and had been discussing both the price of things, and the new words we were hearing.
I said, "Hey is hi here."
Crystal said, "Hay is high? How do you know that?"
"I've noticed when folks are talking."
"You noticed when folks are talking that hay is high? How did you get that?"
"Because when you see people walk up to each other they say 'hey.'"
We laughed all week over hay is high.
And then there was the soup. This was a menu board at a delicious restaurant-
I guess if you get the pea soup or the tomato soup, well...
Oh and I have to tell you a funny story from home while I was away. We do live in a magical neighborhood. Folks truly help each other out, and watch out for one another. My beautiful, happily married, blond friend Karen, came every morning at the crack o'dawn, to help Bill walk the dogs. She would arrive at the back door at 6:30, walk the three groups with Bill, and leave through the front door, around 7:45 AM, to go home and take her shower and start her day. One day as she was leaving, coming out our front gate, another neighbor who was out doing his dog walking duty, stopped dead in his tracks and said, rather sternly, "What are you doing?"
Karen has continued to come over early and walk with me, since I've been home, and it's with a great sense of relief that my other neighbor smiles broadly and says, "Good morning!" to Karen as she leaves.I will be forever grateful to Swede William's breeder Lisa. Well, I already was indebted to her for life, for entrusting me with Swede William. But this trip would not have happened without her.
Sweden is a beautiful place. I foolishly thought we had everything in the USA, feeling a little sorry for the less fortunate folks in rest of the world. I came home feeling that the U in USA stands for Uncivilized. We do have a lot here. We have a lot of poverty, litter, dirt, people without health care, and gas guzzling cars. I left Sweden thinking we should be able to do a lot better in America.
The Whippet Congress was all I had hoped it would be and more. Our Swedish hosts were so gracious and the whole event was so well planned that it was a seamless pleasure for the attendees. There were some wild goings on at night, (I heard rumors about some crazy, blond Brits, and a Swede or two, with some Norwegians thrown in for good measure!) but I was happy to fall into my little coffin and snuggle with Swede William's family.
And then there is Bill. The man who wouldn't have one dog cared for my nine without a complaint. He encouraged me to go. He picked up poop and helped the Very Old Dog up and down the stairs a hundred times a day. He emailed me to let me know things were fine because he knew I would worry. And he didn't worry about the cost - we'd work it out.
Some things in America are just right, and are so worth coming home to.
hug your hounds