Accent on Lansing
It's been 11 years since Wessel Meyer arrived from South Africa with his family, and strangers still guess he's Australian or German.
But Meyer's accent is African. And at home, Afrikaans is the language of choice. Though speaking the language helps his family maintain its roots in South Africa, Meyer doesn't pine for his homeland. He's almost completely happy with living in Kansas - almost.
"If there was one thing I could bring back from South Africa over here, it's the climate," Meyer said. "It's really great over there."
Meyer came to the United States in 1995 to complete his medical training and residency through the University of Kansas medical program in Kansas City, Kan. After graduation, he took a job at the Leavenworth Veterans Affairs Medical Center. There, he further developed his love of internal medicine.
"Internal medicine, what we usually do in our practice, is treating more complex medical problems," Meyer said. Combining aspects of many areas of science makes diagnosing a disease an exciting challenge, he added. "You really have to be a Sherlock Holmes sometimes."
Despite the stress, Meyer loves his work. He loves Lansing, too. His visits back to his South African homeland haven't convinced him to return permanently.
"I don't see that ever happening soon. I doubt it. Overall, I think we're pretty happy and I think where we live right now is kind of ideal," Meyer said after adding one caveat:
"If you ask my wife that, she may give you a different answer."
Name: Wessel Meyer
Address: 182 Canyonview Drive
Occupation: Internal medicine doctor and chief of medical subspecialty care at Kansas City Veterans Affairs Medical Center
Graduate of: Gymnasium High School, Potchefstroom, South Africa; University of Pretoria, University of Pretoria School of Medicine
Family: wife, Marl'e; sons, Mauritz, 17, Theo, 7, Wessel, 2; daughter, Marita, 13.
How long have you lived in Lansing and what brought you here? Came to this area from South Africa in 1995 for residency through University of Kansas Medical Center; moved to Lansing when hired by Leavenworth Veterans Affairs Hospital in 1998.
What do you like most about Lansing? Small-town atmosphere and great schools and the neighborhoods.
What do you do for fun? Just be at home and spend time with the family.
What would surprise people about you? That I'm not Australian.
What's the best advice you've ever received? Somebody once told me that the good deeds you do for other people define you as a person more than any other accomplishments.
What organizations or clubs do you belong to? Apart from professional organizations, I'm not really a part of other organizations or clubs.