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Monday, August 11, 2014

Swedish For Immigrants - Week 2



The teacher is teaching in Swedish. I thought I was here to learn Swedish! There are four class levels of instruction: A, B, C & D. They have put me in the B class. I suspect this is because I listed my degrees on the application papers, fourteen months ago. Did they think an MS in education meant I had a Swedish vocabulary? I have made some progress today, moving from humiliation to laughter. It’s getting ridiculous. She calls on me asking questions in Swedish. I have no idea what the question is, let alone the answer – though I do know some of the answers, if I knew what the question was. Teacher gives me a look that says, “How can you possibly not understand.”

Last week I answered, “I do not speak Swedish, that is why I’m here.” Said that twice, no reason to say it again. It got funny after a while today. Laughter is a great survival tool. My Somali classmates are getting a kick out of it and have become very friendly and helpful. They are doing all they can to help me understand, sometimes whispering the answer. Unfortunately they speak almost no English. I suspect they have all gone though the ‘A’ class and have a fairly good beginning Swedish vocabulary. At least I seem to be making some Somali friends. One of the two girls in class (from Gambia) speaks good English, but is having almost as much trouble as I am. I could probably transfer to the ‘A’ class, but assume that would be 95% Somali students and questions asked in Arabic. Nothing is easy.

The most concrete thing I’ve learned today: There is no ‘W’ in the Swedish alphabet.
Some good news: It has finally started to rain and the forest fires seem to be under control at last. Helicopters and planes loaned to Sweden from Italy, and Norway, have been sent home. Russia offered to send an enormous water plane last week, but it was refused.
Republicans here have decided such equipment is not needed in Sweden, and have made cutbacks in numerous other essential areas, such as fire fighters and police. Sounds just like the Republicans in the U.S. There thirty forest fires burning in California, Montana, and other states, all of which are running out of money needed to fight the fires. The Republicans have refused to grant more funds and have now gone on vacation.

“As it is in Rome, it is in Athens also.” Canto the elder.

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