More Changes in Store for the Wynns

I sadly have to change the name of the blog to "The Wynns - An American Family That Almost Lived in Sweden".  I recently made a hard decision to resign my job with Hansoft in Sweden after only being there for 3 months.  I did this a few weeks ago at the beginning of December because I made a ver difficult decision prior to my family and stuff being shipped to Sweden.  But I have been holding off on talking about it until everything was in place and all of the necessary people were notified. 

When I accepted the position, I was fully aware that it required quite a bit of travel, between 30 and 50%.  What I did not anticipate was how hard that would be on me being away from Sarah and the kids.  It was something that Sarah and I talked about quite a bit, but in the end we didn't think it would be that big of a deal, so we went for it.  But as time went by, it was becoming increasingly difficult on me.  Sarah had handled it very well, she settled into her own routines, and the kids were too young to really express their feelings.  But I was having a harder and harder time thinking about being the father that I want to be while being away from the kids and Sarah that much.  So I decided to make a really hard decision and quit that job before it became too hard to do so and I would have regretted taking the job in the first place.  It was not easy, and I know that it hurt a lot of people, most of all the team of very hard working people at Hansoft in Sweden.  But I had to put my family first and I still feel that I made the right decision.

However that still left us in a bit of a quandry, we had sold the house in Florida and I couldn't do anything about that.  Very unexpectedly another oppurtunity presented itself that I really never expected.  I was offered a really good position within Microsoft in their gaming division that I have decided to take.  So now, instead of moving to Sweden, we are moving in the other direction to Seattle.  We turned around a complete move in 24 hours and our stuff is now on the way to Seattle.  It is a bit of a shame because we had sold just about everything anticipating moving into a much smaller home in Sweden, so wherever we move to in Seattle is going to be a bit bare for awhile.  I will be starting that job in January after spending some time in Michigan for the holidays and a final trip to Sweden to wrap things up over there right at the beginning of the New Year.  I will be taking a job as Lead Producer on the Gears of War franchise for Microsoft.  I have always been a big fan of that game, and am really looking forward to having a chance to be a part of it.

It has been a really crazy year for the Wynns, a lot of things happened that I would have never expected to happen.  We feel like we ultimately have made the right decisions even if we got there in a way that not everyone would understand.

Max's 4th Birthday Party

I got back into Orlando on Friday afternoon after 3 weeks of straight travel.  I was pretty tried, but we had Max's birthday party planned for the next day, and there was a lot to do to get ready for it.  We are planning on moving out of our house on December 3rd, so we had to have his party a week early.  He is absolutely convinced that he is actually 4 now, we gave up trying to tell him that he won't actually be 4 for another week.

Max really wanted another Star Wars party.  We went a little simpler this year mainly because of the move, but it was still really nice.  A whole bunch of people showed up and he got a ton of presents, he was quite happy.

This year we had a cake made of Darth Vader by a local cake shop, it saved us a bunch of time.

Max really like eating it.

One of his gifts was a gift card to Target.  We had to do some shopping today and he carried it around in his pocket and kept picking stuff out at all of these stores and kept trying to use it to pay everywhere we went.  This Hot Wheels set was one of the few non Star Wars gifts that he was pretty excited about.  We happened to be in Target the night before and he begged me to buy it for him but I wouldn't because of his birthday and Christmas and everything, so he was pretty excited to get it.

Busy week ahead of us as we get the house ready to be moved and then close on it.  I am off to France on the 7th, and will be heading back to Michigan for Christmas, not sure when yet.

Banking in Sweden

Quite some time ago now, I got all of our banking setup in Sweden.  Banking in Sweden is quite different than the States, I think I mentioned this before, but that personal connection still exists there.  I went with Nordea because my company banks with Nordea, so that got me some extra services and cheaper services that I would not normally get.

I set an appointment with my personal banker to walk through and set everything up.  There is something that is kind of nice knowing that she is always available to help me should I need it.

The first thing I did was setup a simple Checking and Savings account.  They of course don't really call them that, they are both closer to what we would think of as Savings accounts in America, but with no real paper checks any more there, a Checking account is obsolete.  The only difference is that the Savings account has a high interest rate, but I am only allowed a limited number of transfers to and from that account each year.  The idea is to encourage you to actually save money.  Then I setup my internet access for the accounts which is important.  Accessing your account on the internet is a bit of a pain.  First, you have 2 different pins, one for the ATM, and one for online.  Plus you have this extra device that looks like a calculator that you need to stick your card into, punch in your internet pin and then it returns a number that you then punch in to the website to login.  So there is no real easy just check your account real quick, there is some prep time involved.  It's nice to have real bank accounts now, I can do everything.

Have to toot my own horn

A few stories hit the internet about my new job and it resulted in my receiving more linked in requests from old colleagues than I would have ever guessed.  I suppose people really read these things.

It hasn't helped my Google ranking, I'll have to work on that (just kidding of course).  I am wrapping up the end of a very long 3 week tour, then I get back to Florida for a little over a week.  The house is getting moved on the 3rd of December, and then we close on it on the 4th.  Then I am off to France for a week, back to Sweden for a couple of days, then off for another week of travel before heading back stateside for the Holidays.  After the Holidays, the whole family will go back to Sweden together finally.  Be sure to check out the new widget that I added to the right, it always tells you where I am with all my travel, and tracks how many miles I have traveled since taking the job in Sweden.

Pre-Game at the Magic Game

I mentioned before that we got to do something really cool the last time I was in Florida to see the family.  When Sarah and I attended the Black Ties and Tennies Charity event for the Orlando Magic earlier in the year, I had won a bunch of chips playing poker.  Those got turned into raffle tickets and then during the drawing, we won the oppurtunity to have the kids participate in the "High Five Squad" before one of the games.

So the Magic were really cool and gave us a few options for while I was going to be in Florida and let us pick which game to go to.  We decided to go see the Magic play the Phoenix Suns mainly because I wanted to see Steve Nash play over some of our other options.  They gave us 4 really good tickets to the game, along with letting the kids be on the court during pre-game and high five the players.

We got there early to pick up our tickets and meet with the Magic staff.  They gave us a backstage tour of the Arena and took us by the locker room.  Then we sat courtside and waited a bit while the Suns did their warm-ups while they told us the night would work.  Even though the thing was supposed to be just for the kids, they let Sarah and I do it too which was really nice of them.

So when the Magic came out for the warm-ups we walked over and stood on the court while they did their shoot around.  Marcin Gortat (the Polish Hammer) came over and talked to Max and Ella a bit who were standing a few feet away from Sarah and I.  Not sure what they talked about, but it was pretty funny to watch 3ft tall Max next to the 7ft tall Gortat.

A week back in Florida

I just got back in Sweden after going to Florida to see Sarah and the kids for Halloween and Sarah's birthday.  It was a busy week as we try to wrap things up to get ready to move everything to Sweden.  I will be travelling non stop until we move, with two more trips to Florida planned.

Halloween was really nice.  Ella was Daphne from Scooby Doo and Max was Jango Fett from Star Wars.  His costume is pretty big, so he will probably wear that around the house for a couple of years.  Ella was a power trick or treater as usual really working the old neighborhood with her friend, Ella Grace.  Max as usual, got pretty tired out and was done after about an hour or so.  Sarah and the kids picked me up at the airport the night before a bit after midnight, so they were pretty tired.  The guy that turns his house into a haunted house went even bigger this year.  He extended it out of his garage with some 2x4's and tarps and stuff.  Then he advertised it all down the main road leading into the development, and he had a band playing in the front yard, it was quite the event.  Ella couldn't get the nerve up to go through it this year, and Max didn't want to go near it, so we did not go through this year.  Unfortunately, the battery in our camera died right away, so we only got a few pictures.

Zombie Walk

While Sarah and I were in Stockholm this past weekend, we stumbled into the middle of the zombie walk.  If you are not familiar with this whole zombie walk thing, I believe that it is a self organizing event where a bunch of people show up at a specified location all dressed like zombies.  Then they parade along a route, some even act like zombies during the walk.  It is all in good fun and I think some of them even raise money for charities which is nice.

Anyhow, we where in the Gamla Stan (translates to Old Town) section of Stockholm when all of sudden hundreds of zombies were marching through the streets.  It was pretty cool.  I think that they may have done one in Detroit on the same day - see here.

I took a short video of about a third of it on my iPhone (next time that I use my iPhone for video I will turn it sideways).

There are a lot of photos from the event here.

Just a small update

I have not posted much lately because I moved into our new house about a week ago and I am without internet access for another week or two.  Another personnummer barrier, when I signed up for internet access, they had to send me a form to fill out and I had to make a deposit before they would send me the modem.  That takes a good 3 weeks to get through all of that and actually receive the modem.

I did actually receive my personnummer this week so that is no longer an issue.  I also now have a personal banker who literally does everything for me from the bank, loans, mortgages, account information, pension information, everything.  I will post more on that later, I have an appointment with her at the end of the month.

Sarah is here visiting, she had the same culture shock that I had when I came in July, she will just start to get used to it when she leaves on Sunday.  The only thing she wants to do is buy a car because she doesn't like waiting outside for the buses and trains.  The airline lost her luggage and we still have no idea where it is, she arrived yesterday morning, and we have no word on where it could be.  It is kind of problematic because obviously Sarah has no clothes (we had to go shopping to at least buy a coat yesterday), but it also had a lot of information that I need along with some new clothes for me to.

Setting up a bank account

Not a very exciting topic, but could be of some interest to anyone else contemplating a move to Sweden from outside of Europe.  You of course need to setup a bank account here in Sweden.  Earlier I mentioned that Sweden has pretty much moved past the need for checks, everything is electronic, so I had to have an account for my paychecks to go to.

This was another barrier to not having my personnummer yet.  You are not supposed to be able to get an account without one.  You can see the chicken and the egg like scenario that you end up in here.  However, they can setup a temporary account without the personnummer, the bankers are just not that well versed in it.

Eva, our office manager took me down to the local Nordea bank.  My company does our banking with Nordea and everyone speaks pretty highly of them, so it seemed like it would work out fine.  We were at the bank forever, and it took all 3 bankers at the counter working on it to figure out how to open an account for me.  They were about to give up about 3 separate times, but we kept at them and they finally figured it out.

Getting your Swedish personnummer

Now that I have obtained my work visa and residency permit, I can finally get my personnummer, which is the Swedish social security number.  The process was pretty easy, I just had to take my passport with my residency permit to the local Skatteverket office. The Skatteverket is a tax office that is like the DMV or Secretary of State office in the States. After taking a number and waiting my turn, I just had to fill out an application and give it to the worker.

The form is entirely in Swedish, and they just hand it to you and expect you to fill it out at a little table and bring it back.  So if you don't speak and Swedish you might want to take someone to translate it for you.  Eva, the office manager of my company who has helped me with everything involved with moving so far went with me to help me out. After you hand the form in, you just wait about 4 weeks to get your number in the mail.

Once Sarah and the kids have their permits and move over here, we will have to go back to get theirs, but that shouldn't be too bad.

The Bizarro Wynns

I meant to post this with the first day of school post.  We have met the bizarro Wynns at Ella's school.  There was an orientation/meet the teacher day about a week before school started.  All of the kids showed up with their parents and families to figure out this whole going to school all day thing.

There is another little girl in Ella's class named Ellie.  About the same size as Ella, long brown hair, they were friends pretty much instantly.  Ellie's family was of course there as well, she happened to have a little brother the same age as Max.  Her parents were the complete opposite from Sarah and I.  She was shy and he was very outgoing and they are both from the South (judging by the accents).

The first day of school I was sitting there waiting to pick Ella up in our Blue Buick Rendezvous when I spotted Ellie's family right in front of a red Buick Rendezvous.  Sarah just learned this morning that they even live in our subdivision.

It is all a little too weird for me.....

Obtaining the Necessary Swedish Paperwork

My Swedish paperwork is starting to come together now.  I don't know a whole lot about the process because my employer is handling it all for me, but there are a lot of steps and pieces.

There are 3 pieces that you need to get to live and work here in Sweden.  You need a work visa, a residency permit, and a personnummer (directly translates to personal number, it is Sweden's social security number).  Obviously I am the only one in the family that needs the work permit.  One thing that is kind of nice is that once I have mine, Sarah can automitically get one, she doesn't need a local company to sponsor her.

Now the exact process to obtain the work visa and residency permit is a little fuzzy to me.  All I had to do was provide some personal information and a photocopy of my passport to an agency that was handling the process.  Then I know that my employer had to provide some information on the job they are employing me to do.  All of that went to some agency for processing, when they were done it went to one of the Swedish Unions for approval.  After they approved it, it went to a third agency for final approval.  Once it was all done and approved, I have to go and pick it all up at an Embassy outside of Sweden.  I had to get a couple of passport photos, and book a trip to Copenhagen tomorrow to get it taken care of.  This whole process has taken about 4 weeks for me, which was expedited.  Normally the process will take a bit longer.

Finding a place to live in Sweden

I finally found us a place to live here in Sweden, which isn't as easy as you might believe.  One of the things that has made it harder is that Uppsala is a University town, and school just began again, so everything got snatched up the returning students.

Then unlike the States, there are no massive corporate owned housing complexes.  Everything is privately owned, so you can't just cruise down to the local apartment complex and choose whichever plan you think suits you the best.  You have to browse the (Sweden's craigslist, they do have craigslist here, but everyone uses the blocket) and find places to live.  Then for every listing, they get a ton of inquiries, so you just have to hope to get in there first most of the time.  I did get lucky in that some people were definitely trying to get professionals as opposed to students.  But on the other hand, I also found people who were not interested in having kids live in their rentals, so those were out.

First Day of School

Meant to post this awhile ago.  The kids started school down in Florida back on August 26th.  Ella has started kindergarten, she is in school from 8:45am to 2:50pm every day (Wednesday's get out an hour early).  She is pretty excited about it.  It could be a little weird for her here in Sweden when we move because kids don't start school until they are 7, so she will actually go back into daycare, with next year being more like kindergarten as we know it.

Another site update

Hope everyone likes the new site layout. I am done messing with it now. I can still do the read more link thing, but it is just manual as you type the new posts now, so that is pretty good.  This is setup to be pretty editable now, and should be easy to maintain.  Even the about and contact us links are working properly.  The only thing that would lead me to change it is if formatting photos in posts does not work correctly like the one from a few revisions ago, that was really annoying me.

Family weekend away

We decided to get away for a day before I leave for Sweden. I am not planning on coming back to see the kids for about 2 months. We spent the day at Animal Kingdom, and are spending the night at the Animal Kingdom Lodge where we have a Savannah view. We'll post more tomorrow, but this is the view from our room. Yup, those are Zebras, a Giraffe has been wandering around but were not in the view right now.

Wrapping up in California

I have been in California for the last 2 days, but am getting packed up to fly back to Orlando tomorrow afternoon. I came out for more interviews, I flew straight in and headed straight to the studio here for a day and a half of interviews, lunches, dinner, and breakfast. I spent a lot of time with the people that work here which was good. I am in Mountain View, CA, which is right in the heart of Silicon Valley, just driving around I have seen every major tech company has a presence here. It is a really nice area.

Last day in Sweden

Today is my last day in Sweden, I head back to the US tomorrow morning. I decided to head back into Stockholm to check it out before I left. Definitely a good decision, Stockholm is pretty awesome. I'm not sure where it ranks in terms of big European cities, but it is for sure one of the coolest cities that I have ever been to, maybe the coolest one of all.

As for the sun situation, I checked out intently last night. This place was dark, dark, dark by 11:30, then I went to sleep. I woke up at 3:30am and noticed that it was a bit lighter outside. It was still dark, but getting lighter. I fell back asleep then woke up again at 4:30am and the sun was rising then. That was a bit odd, I fell back asleep but it was probably full daytime by 5 or 5:30 in the morning. I wonder if it is dark that long in the winter here.

I got some good sleep and woke a bit later than normal, but that was ok because I had no where to be. I got ready and jumped on the train to Stockholm. I sent all day humping around Stockholm, checking out quite a bit. I checked out the standard city stuff, then walked by the Parlamaint building and the Royal Palace, then strolled around Old Town which was the coolest part of everything. Then I grabbed the train back here to Uppsala and had some dinner. Now I just need to pack and head out in the morning.

My latest observations on Sweden:
1) Probably the thing that I have found the funniest is that the Swedish word for Hi is Hej, which is pronounced as hey. But the "y" is annunciated a bit, so everyone sounds like Fonzie when you walk into someplace, everyone goes hey!.
2) Going out to breakfast is not really part of the Swedish culture. There are no Denny's or Ihop's (maybe I could make a fortune opening some). That is why my hotel was packed on Sunday, people go the breakfast's and brunches at hotels, because there really is no restaurant breakfast industry.
3) Sweden has an odd way of making me feel ordinary (height wise). It's not that I am gigantically tall, but I am a little taller than average. Especially in a place like Manuas, Brazil, where I was a certified giant. But, I am probably average or maybe even a little below average height here. Swedish genes are amazing, blond hair and tall.

Here is a photo of the Parliament building. They were giving tours, but I decided to skip it and just keep checking things out.

Here is the Royal Palace, I think the royal family still lives in here. There were tours throughout it, but I decided to save some money and only pay to see the Treasury. The treasury was a collection of the crown jewels, swords, and scepters going back to the 1500's. They had one of the Queen's dresses on display as well. It was pretty cool, I didn't take any pictures inside the treasury because they were pretty serious about the whole no pictures thing in there. I think one of the coolest things was the chest that was used to hold the crown jewels in the 1600's. The security and locking mechanism in the lid was just crazy, that was some serious security.

This is inside the palace. There was a small museum, that was barely noticeable on one side of the palace, so I strolled inside. It was pretty cool, they had a few paintings that were made of the palace almost 200 years ago, along with tons of old marble scupltures. There were signs that I am pretty sure were indicating to not take pictures, but no one was around so I snapped this one. What was cool about this part of it was that there was an old painting of this hall exactly as it still sits today. The painting was at the end of the hall in the photo looking towards me.

Here is a good random photo looking into Stockholm from the Royal Palace.

This is Old Town, Stockholm. It is really cool, almost no cars, just all walking and it was just packed full of people, mostly tourists. It was all a bunch of small shops, cafes, and restaurants. Really nice, there is nothing like this in the States.

Captain's Log, Day 2 - Sweden

I'm feeling a lot more comfortable here now after spending my second day in Sweden. It is amazing how quickly you soak in new languages and cultures, when you are immersed in it. It's not that I am speaking Swedish or anything, but I can at least identify individual words when people talk. I have no idea what they mean, but I can here individual words now. I figured out a few individual words, but that is not going to get me far. Now, I still have yet to meet someone that does not speak English, everyone is bilingual here, it is pretty amazing.

I woke up this morning and got ready for my interviews. I was meeting Patric (the CEO of the company, Hansoft, that I am interviewing with), and he was accompanying me to Stockholm by train to interview with a consultant that they are using for some specific hires that they are looking to make. The train to Stockholm was quite nice, only took 40 minutes to get to Stockholm, and we spent the time talking about Sweden and the general area.

The interview in Stockholm was really interesting. It was kind of like sitting down with a psychiatrist for a couple of hours. The primary goal was to get a good sense of my personality and qualities. We started by me giving a brief 2 minute intro into who I am. That lead into graphing out how happy I have been at various points in my career, and why the high points were highs, and the low points low. He would occasionally intervene with some slightly different line of questioning, and then go back to that graph to continue discussing my career. Then we talked about who has influenced me in my career so far and why. At one point he asked me to identify what 3 important traits for the position that I was interviewing for would be. Then we came back to it and he asked me to put myself compared to 100 peers on each of those traits. That was hard for me because I am not cocky at all, but I think I got through it. Then we talked about 3 groups of people that I was looking forward to interacting with in this position and why.

Finally we wrapped up with a photo of the 7 dwarfs. He told me that this was my team for a project and asked how I would go about leading them. I decided Doc was the most influential, so I was going to partner up with him to influence the team as I assumed the rest of the dwarfs really looked up to Doc. Then we talked about Grumpy and why he was Grumpy, I eventually chose Grumpy as my #2, as I thought that by recruiting him to my cause could get rid of some of the grumpiness and have a huge effect on the team. Sleepy was always late, so I had to deal with that, and Happy was probably hiding something and didn't actually know what was required to get the job done, that is why he was so happy. Dopey had a lot of good ideas, but ultimately I decided that he was just too immature for a real leadership role. Then he showed me an abstract painting for about 30 seconds and then asked me to write down everything that I remembered seeing. That went pretty smooth, I asked what the purpose was afterward and he just wanted to see how many details I noticed, which I assume was pretty good, because we didn't talk about it at all.

The only other interesting thing was that he set down 3 Swedish coins in front of me and said there are relationships between all 3. He then asked me to write down 10 of those relationships. After it was all over, I asked him what the purpose of that was, and he wanted to know if I focused on similarities or differences, there was no wrong answer, he just wanted to know which way I would go. I went with similarities, which I think was good, because we spent a bit of time talking about influencing others, and my main answer that I kept going to was that the key to influencing is finding out what is important to the other(s) in the group and what the group, including you, all has in common. After all of that, he just quickly said that is all I have and the interview was over.

The company's office manager picked me up in Sweden and drove me back to Uppsala which took about 45 minutes or so. That was pretty interesting because she lived in the States for 24 years, so she was able to give me a lot of information on the differences between America and Sweden.

I then had an interview with the other 2 founders of the company, Hansoft. After that was over, I had a quick wrap-up with 2 of the founders where we really focused on expectations and making sure I really understood the role that they are hiring for.

After that, I had some time to explore the city a little bit more, today I ventured into the more residential area near my hotel, then I crossed the river into the older section of the city where the castle and University are. That area was really cool, I will put some photos below. Now that I have spent another day here, this place really reminds of Ann Arbor, just older is all.

I think tomorrow I am going to head back into Stockholm and spend the day exploring Stockholm. It is only a 40 minute train ride (the train station is right next to my hotel), and only costs $10 to get there.

Some more observations:
1) Almost no one jaywalks here, not sure why.
2) If an offer is made and we decide that this is the best option for us, Max will be the big winner. The rumors about Swedish women are mostly true. Target rich environment for the young boy.
3) I swear that when I woke up in the middle of the night last night, that it was still a little light out. I was too tired to really look and fell right back to sleep, tonight if I wake up I will check it out in more detail. It is 10pm right now and is pretty dusky, but it is also really cloudy. Northern Sweden is in the Artic circle, so they get the 24 hour all sun and all dark cycles in the summer and winter. I don't think it is as prounounced down here in Southern Sweden, but I need to investigate.
4) The IKEA that I saw here is actually larger than the ones in America, found that interesting given that the big box stores are really an American thing.
5) I'm not sure that Sweden is as liberal as their politics would let on. This is entirely based on off handed comments made by people in casual conversation. One thing that I found interesting is that they had an isolated economic crisis here in the 90's and they got out of it by cutting spending, not increasing it.

Now for some more photos, here is the river that marked my comfort zone yesterday. On the other side is the older Uppsala where the University is located. It was really nice over on the other side, I quite liked it.

This is Uppsala castle. It was built in the 1500's, and was damaged in a fire sometime in the 1700's. They rebuilt it in the mid 1700's and fashioned it after French palaces, that is why it looks like that. It is up on this huge hill and overlooks the entire city, it was pretty cool.

I got up close to that church that I photographed from afar yesterday. Here are a few more shots of it.

This is just a random shot of the older part of the city. This area was pretty busy, I am right behind that restaurant on the river that I posted yesterday.

On my way back to my hotel, I happened by an Irish pub. Given that I didn't really have anything to do tonight, I was obliged to stop in for a pint of Guinness. It was my kind of place, they had 3 kinds of drinks. You could have wine (white or red, no selection), whiskey (huge selection), or beer (huge selection), and that was it, no Mojitos here. They were also playing rock music from the 70's and 80's. Now, while enjoying my Guinness (which was kind of pricey, about $10), I noticed they had my favorite beer, Hoegaarden on tap. Hoegaarden is a Belgium beer, that is just terrific, given that this is the closest to Belgium that I have ever been, I had to try one. Now nothing in my adult life has prepared me for what happened next. Mind you, that I have had yards of beer, and boots of beer, and other strange gimmicky concoctions of extra large beverage containers. But, what this Hoegaarden was served in defies expectation and description. I don't think that this photo does it justice, this glass was practically a glass bucket. It almost took 2 hands to pick it because one hand barely fit around it. The only thing that saved me was that the bottom of the glass tapered in a little bit and was octagon shaped, which allowed me to get a handhold on it. When you drank for it, the top was so large that you the top of the glass would cover your eyes while drinking from it.

New site layout

I got a little bored, and was get annoyed by some of the formatting issues with the old site, so I changed it up. Give me a little time to get everything updated.

How does everyone like the new format? Does having to click on read more on most of the posts bother you?

Alive and well in Sweden

I have arrived safely in Uppsala, Sweden. It was a pretty long journey, left Orlando about noon and flew to Chicago, then it was Chicago to Stockholm, which was about an 8 hour flight.

From the airport here in Sweden, I jumped on a train to Uppsala, which is the city that I am staying in (the 4th largest city in Sweden, a bit north of Stockholm). I am staying up as long as possible and will go to bed early tonight to adjust. I have interviews all day tomorrow, then I get Tuesday to do some exploring before my flight back on Wednesday. I am pretty tired now, but I wasn't able to go to sleep, so I walked around the city a little bit to check it out. It is 5:30am back home as I write this and I have not gone to sleep yet.

Some initial observations:
1) It is really quiet here (except for my hotel lobby, that place is hopping).
2) It is not very warm, the local Swedes probably enjoy it, but I am wearing shorts and a sweatshirt.
3) I wish I learned a little Swedish, I do feel a little lost even though everyone I have dealt with has spoken English so far.
4) The IKEA's in the States are just like the ones here (I saw one on my train journey).
5) I feel rich, the exchange rate on the Swedish Kronor is about 7.7 to 1 to the USD.

Bikes are really popular here, not sure what everyone does in the winter.

Here is a pic of the town.

I'm not sure what the name of this church is, but it is gigantic, I was walking by right at 11am local time, so all of the bells were ringing which was pretty cool.

This restaurant looks like a cool place to eat, it is right along this river (not sure of the name yet), I have no idea what kind of restaurant it is, but looks nice.

In just a bit I am going to do some more exploring and grab some lunch. Not much is open on Sunday in town (at least I think that's what the hour signs on the shop doors is telling me). My fancy Swedish to English translator on my iPhone is not very effective because it needs an internet connection, and paying for data usage is pretty pricey while I am here, so I am trying to avoid it.

Tomorrow, I am off to Stockholm for an interview, then back here to Uppsala for more interviews. Should be fun.

Checked out a new place for dinner

Our niece, Chelsea, is staying with us for the weekend. She is here in Florida for almost a month, but is mostly staying with Sarah's parents. We decided to check out a micro brewery at Disney's Boardwalk. Quite nice, good burgers, good beer. I had a sampler of all of their beers. Chelsea is 14 now, not ready to be put up on the Internet.

We found Lando!

We went to the Ocala flea market with G&G Butler and Chelsea and we found the ultimate treasure...Max has been asking for Lando (Han Solo's friend) for almost a year now and we had to check for him every single time we were at super Target but to no avail. Finally, today we found the original Lando Calrissian!!!

-- Post From My iPhone

Fireworks in Altamonte

We came down to Red, Hot, and Blue in Altamonte, which is the town next to ours. They have a small lake with a park all the way around it. Each year they have a big festival sponsored by a local pop radio station. Then they do fireworks on the lake.

We let the kids have some Coke for probably the second time in their lives. Fireworks start at 9:30.

Contact Details

Mobile Numbers:
Chris' Cell - (407)267-5420
Sarah's Cell - (407)267-2627

Email is always an easy way to get us. We both have it at home, work, and on our phones.

Chris' Work -
Chris's Personal -
Sarah's Personal -

Home Address
19221 NE 64th Way
Redmond, WA 98052

About The Wynns

The Wynns have just recently relocated to Seattle (January 2010). Chris and Sarah have been married since 1998 and have added a daughter, Ella, and a son, Maxwell to the family.

Chris Wynn is a native of Michigan where he spent most of his life. After spending 12 years producing video games for Image Space Inc, and Electronic Arts, he decided to take on a new endeavor in Seattle to work as a Lead Producer for Microsoft Game Studios.  He is currently the Lead Producer on Gears of War 3. He can be found on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.

Sarah Wynn is also a native of Michigan, but spent most of her years growing up in jungles of Brazil. After returning to the states at the age of 17 was when she met Chris and the rest is history. Sarah is currently focused on being a stay at home mom to Ella and Max. Sarah can be found on Facebook.

Family movie night

Tonight was family movie night in the theater, something that we try to do each week, but we tend not to when we get busy. Tonight's selection was Jurassic Park, really thought the kids would dig the donosaurs. But, I think the T-Rex was just a bit too scary, so we only watched about 30 minutes and turned it off. Max isn't too fond of dinosaurs now, I don't think he thought they were so mean. We switched it up to Indiana Jones, The Last Crusade and that was a big hit on their first Indiana Jones experience. Made the kid's close their eyes when the soldier gets his head cut off, and when the one bad guy ages and turns into a skeleton in about 30 seconds. Other than that, they really liked all of the action. I hope they continue to want to watch these old movies (old to them) as they get older.

More gargantuan creatures

Sarah just spotted this giant moth flying around outside. It is about 5 inches across. Here is a photo of it on our door.

Worn out after camping!

The kids went camping with G&G Butler and cousin Chelsea on Saturday and we joined them today for fun on the beach for Father's Day. Literally the second we pulled out of the campground, they fell asleep. We had a blast!

-- Post From My iPhone

Father's day at the beach

Sarah's parents took the kids camping at Flagler Beach yesterday with Chelsea who is here for a few weeks. Sarah and I came up today to get them and gang out at the beach. Really nice day, really hot but nice.

Lots of rain in Florida right now

It was rainy in fl a week loved it

-- Post From My iPhone

Mama Mia

Ella is now obsessed with Mama Mia. Sarah got the movie for Christmas and watched it with Ella, and now Ella loves it. She has the soundtrack on her iPod, and likes to sing it.

Yesterday, she was trying to teach Papa Joe how to sing it, and he was messing it up on purpose to get her reactions. She decided that she needed to teach him the correct way.

She said, no grandpa, it goes like this.
One Mama Mia
then one Here we go again

and so on down through the chorus. It was pretty funny.

A day at the beach

We spent my one day off at the beach today. Sarah's parents are camping at Flagler beach and Sarah's sister is visiting, so we all came to the beach.

Coyote problem

We seem to have developed a little bit of a coyote problem lately. Experts say that the local drought has pushed them into residential areas looking for food for the puppies.

When we first moved into the new house, I swore I heard them howling a couple of times, but it was pretty far away and I never heard anything since then. About a year ago, Sarah thought she saw one in the backyard while I was at work at night when the motion sensor lights went off. She wasn't entirely sure what it was. But, we have not seen anything since then.

Then last Tuesday, our friend who lived in our neighborhood (which is only 5 minutes away) found their cat dead in the front yard in the morning. The people that bought our house there thought they saw a coyote running around that night. The local news ran a story about it about a month ago. Link to story.

Sarah made a big deal about making sure that the dogs go out on their leashes at night and stuff. Well last night I got home from work about midnight, Moses wanted to go outside, so I just let him out without a leash. He decided to go adventuring and plundering for a long time. I was actually starting to get a little nervous because he was gone so long and I was really tired, I wanted to let him in and go to bed. A little after 1am I heard him barking like he was in a fight, that real angry growling bark. It was coming from the front of the house, so I went over to the front windows to look out. He ran into the road from the empty lots across the street, turned around and barked again, then starting running for the back of the house. Then I saw a coyote coming at him at full speed.

I ran to the front door and opened it and just kind of yelled out and it turned around and ran away. Turns out there were 2 of them, but one was black and I didn't even notice it. Moses was ok, but was probably about 30 seconds away from being a coyote snack. I would have felt pretty bad if that had happened especially since Sarah made such a big deal about letting him out like that. I think it will be leashes only from now on.

Last 2 soccer games

Did not go so well, we lost last Saturday 8-3. We were knotted 3-3 at the half, but somehow just fell apart in the second half and ended up losing 8-3.

We had a primetime game last Tuesday that I thought the kids would really step up for because we tend to play better in primetime. We were playing a team that beat us pretty bad earlier in the season, so I was looking for revenge. It was a pretty intense game, lots of shouting to the kids between myself and the other coach. We fell behind 4-0 after the first period, but fought back to make it 4-2 at the half. Once again, everyone fell asleep in the second half and we lost the game 8-2. We scored 4 own goals, otherwise it was a very competitive game. There was even a little pushing, pulling, and shoving between the kids.

We only have 2 games left, the next two Saturdays, looking to pull at least one more victory out.

At the Magic game

Game 1 of the playoffs against the 76ers. Kids are at home with a new babysitter. We have good seats, but the Magic are losing by 4 with 8 seconds left in the first quarter.

Orlando Magic Fund Raising Dinner

Last Saturday, Sarah and I went to a fund raising dinner put on by the Orlando Magic to raise money for their youth foundation. Sarah's work is a sponsor of the Magic and had bought a table at the event, then gave two of the tickets to Sarah (sales get all the perks). It was a black tie and tennies affair, so I had to get a tux for it. I somehow got swindled into purchasing a tux, I am not really sure how that happened still. I am pretty sure that it only cost me an extra $15 - $20, but still, I don't even own a suit.

It was quite nice, fancy setup at a nice hotel. Filet Mignon and scallops for dinner, there was a silent auction going on with a live auction after dinner. We bid on a few items in the silent auction, but didn't win anything. I thought that I was going to get some glass tickets to a Lighting hockey game, but someone swooped in at the last minute and outbid me.

The whole Magic team was there, and they gave everyone a small basketball (after a nice donation) to get autographs.

After dinner, they kicked off a live auction with some nice stuff up for auction, but that was way out of our budget. One of the items was a trip to Hawaii with the General Manager of the Magic. One of the players and the team's COO got into a bidding war, and the trip ended up going for $18,000 I think.

Rick DeVos, who owns the team (he started Amway and still lives in Michigan I believe) gave a nice speech too.

After dinner and the live auction, they had all sorts of things setup to fill your time and take your money. There was a casino where a lot of the players where playing. An area where you could play video games with a few players, a photo thing, a small basketball court to shoot hoops, and karaoke with Dwight Howard. Each thing cost money to do, with all of the money going to the charity.

I sat down at a poker table with another guy and Tyronn Lue. I lost my $50 really quick, and bought in for another $50 because I knew I could "get it" back. Even though I wasn't going to get any money back, only raffle tickets to win stuff in a drawing at the end of the night. The table eventually filled up, Tyronn is a really good guy, it was fun playing poker with him. I did win all of my money back to, I bought a total of $50,000 in chips, and ended with $219,000, including busting Tyronn in a monster pot. He went home at that point, and I ended up with a whole roll of raffle tickets.

While I was playing poker, Sarah was wandering around getting autographs. She really wanted to get a picture with Patrick Ewing (who is now an assistant coach with the Magic). But, his "handler" told Sarah not to bother him while he was playing blackjack. The other "handlers" (each player had someone to usher them around to make sure that they were where they were supposed to be) told Sarah that they did not like Patrick Ewing's handler very much.

I didn't know what to do with all of my raffle tickets, because by the time I got them, they had started the drawings. We asked a worker if there was still anything to draw on, and it turned out they had forgotten one prize. So, we dropped all of my tickets in there, and they pulled one of mine out. We won a thing where the kids will be able to be on the court before the game with the team for a game next season, and then form a line that all of the players will run through and high-five the kids during the player announcements before the game starts. So that should be really cool for them.

It was pretty fun, it was worth the small donation that we ended up making.

Flying penguins!

It sure is amazing what this world still has left to discover.

The Pirates get their 1st victory!

It was a glorious day on the pitch last Saturday. The Pirates got their first victory of the season with a 9-5 beating. I have said it before, and I will say it again, we cannot play at 9am. This game was at 11, and the kids were ready to play. We are all asleep at 9.

We now take a 2 week break for Easter before hitting the field again.

It was a loss, we lost again

We fell 9-4 this morning to the Vipers. What makes it worse is that they are the team that stole our black jerseys. We are just not awake at these 9am games. All 4 of our goals came in the 2nd half, we spent the entire first half watching the ball roll around.

In other news, we had to place one of the new players on injured reserve for the rest of the season due to a foot problem.

Shuttle launch

Just watched the shuttle launch. We are up at Sarah's parents for Joe's birthday. Even all the way up here in Ocala you get a pretty good view. This was our view from their driveway. The kids were yelling "have a good time" to the astronauts as loud as they could.

Lost 2 more

Last week the Pirates went down 13-0 in a massive whooping to Team Brazil. They were not really from Brazil, but you would not have known the difference. That team needs to find a more competitive league to play in.

This morning we lost 7-2. We had 1 own goal, whiffed on 2 opportunities to prevent goals, and had about 10 close calls. We should have won this one, the kids played hard, they were maybe just a little too eager, took them a little too long to get into the groove.

Now we are trying to figure out what to do for the weekend. We have a lot to do, too many options.


This morning's soccer game was pretty rough. After keeping the kids occupied for an hour before the game for pictures proved to be too much for their attention span. Despite that, we still put up a good performance being a man down and kept the game competitive only loosing 7-4.

There was a little bit of controversy. The other team played a defender back in front of the goal. This was something they specifically asked us not to do in the coach's meeting at the beginning of the year. But both teams that we have played this year have done it. Today, one of our parents got a little irritated and said something to the other team. That kicked off a whole bunch of conversation, I will probably remind the league officials to send a reminder to the rest of the coaches.

Picked up right where we left off

The Apopka Pirates opened up the spring season last weekend with a 14-4 thrashing. Apopka's mini Mia Hamm scored 12 of the opponent's 14 goals, we just had no answer for her. We opened the game with first goal and things were looking good. Unfortunately, our 3 rookies had a little rookie jitters and were not very aggressive. The scheduling committee also has it out for us. The league has grown enough to require 2 divisions, and we were supposed to go into the new, more inexperienced division, but that was not to be. And almost all of our games are scheduled for 9am. If you remember from last year, we are not much of a morning team, but they could have at least given us some 11am games.

This week is even worse as we have team photos at 8am before our 9am game. I am not making a very bold prediction this week.

Parents started speaking out at last week's practice. Somehow, one of the nearby teams has some crazy coach that actually gets all of her kids to listen to her during practice. I was told maybe I should go observe one of her practices (ours are a bit more chaotic in style). I responded with a blistering pace in practice, we ran up and down that field for an hour straight. I am going to get some hunger and aggressiveness in them.

Missing Super Bowl Bud Light Ad

This commercial didn't run in this year's super bowl, but it was created for it and made its way out onto the internets. It is pretty funny, it was probably too long to aford to run during the game.

Ice Skating in Florida

I mentioned that I would post some info on our ice skating adventure, but just have not gotten around to it (I have been too annoyed by the new 900 billion dollar "stimulus" package), and work has been a bit busy.

EA rented out an ice rink at this huge gym, called RDV Sportsplex. It is right across from my office, also happens to be where the Orlando Magic are headquartered and practice. It is a pretty cool place, they have two full size ice rinks, a lot of hockey leagues and open skating. We thought the kids would enjoy giving it a try.

I was never the best skater in the world, but I was definately not horrible. But, it has been a few years and it was definately harder than I was anticipating. I started to get the hang of it again after a few hours.

Ella loved it and didn't want to get off the ice. She really started to pick it up after 2 hours and was getting pretty proficient. Max on the other hand, shunned it as he has all winter activities.

I was out helping Max skate, I had him in front of right in front while I held him up gliding him along. I looked over to asses the location to make sure there were no imminent collisions coming, and right at that moment, Max fell forward. I went down right on top of him, right at the last second I let go with one hand and put it out to catch myself. That was how I hurt my shoulder. Max started crying right away, but I think he was most bothered by how cold the ice was on his hand. His night was done, he was already not crazy about the whole thing, and that was enough. He was perfectly happy hanging out in the bleachers watching everything go on.

I think Ella would like to go again, and would probably enjoy lessons. I don't think hockey is in Max's future right now.

It's been a rough year for my body

My body is just taking a beating this year. About 2 weeks ago I was walking through our bedroom in the dark and did not realize that Sarah left a suitcase in the middle of floor. I kicked it with my left food in full stride. I am pretty sure that I broke the toe next to your little toe. It was pretty mangled, and still hurts. I did not go to the doctor because I figured they would not actually do anything, so I am dealing with it.

Then yesterday we were ice skating, more on that later, and I had Max in front of me helping him out. He lost his balance and fell forward and took me with him. As I was falling right on top of him squashing him, I let go with my right hand and tried to catch myself. It did not end well, and I tore or pulled a muscle in my shoulder. It hurts quite a lot, spasms occasionally. The worst part is that I can only lift it up about 20 - 30 degrees, and then I just cannot lift it any higher. We'll see how it feels tomorrow to see if I go to the doctor or not. It is feeling a bit better now, but that might be due to the medication.

We are moving further south

That's it, I am moving further south. We are experiencing a crazy cold spell here, this morning it was 27 degrees when I left for work. As I type this, it is only 37 out right now. That's just ridiculous, although watching the local news is pretty humorous, they act like the black plague is sweeping through the area.