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Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Swedish For Immigrants - Week 1

I’ve started my Swedish For Immigrants class. There are ten of us. One from Vietnam, One from Gambia. The rest from Somalia. Teacher is not in love with me I fear. I do not fit her definition of a student. I’m too white, and too old. A problem. I waited fourteen months to get into this class. I was constantly deferred as being someone who did not need to find a job. Ageism in Sweden. Who would have thought.

It’s kind of scary. I am old, and have an iffy short term memory . . . was never good at learning languages, or math. It’s so embarrassing to be noticeably slower than others in the pack. My classmates are friendly, and create a happy sort of ambiance. The Somalis seem to already know some basic Swedish. They are all men, and go off together on our breaks, where they talk Somali to each other. I wish I could hang with them but doubt I would fit in, not speaking their language and a good fifty years older.

The Gambia student is a woman, also very nice, speaks good English. The only other girl is Vietnamese. We took a short quiz to determine where we were at scholastically, basic math and months, anatomy – body parts: arms, legs and such in Swedish. I got about half of them right. The tests were scored and discussed in a one-to-one interview. Teacher congratulated my ability to add and subtract. We were given a class list, times and dates, in Swedish.

I misread Friday’s schedule and was dismissed an hour earlier than expected, with no ride home – wife had the car. I wondered around the school and found a nice little library. Libraries, (bibliotechs) always feel like home to me, oasis’s in the swirl of life. I always carry book in case of moments like these, and sat in a comfortable chair, gazing lustfully at the shelves of books surrounding me, longing to be able to read Swedish . . . newspapers, books, and magazines – to have that knowledge.

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