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Saturday, September 20, 2014

Swedish For Immigrants - Week 6

Swedish For Immigrants – Week 6


Still plodding along, but enjoying these classes. They were frustrating at first. They still are, but I find myself looking forward to the four hour sessions. Had two tests this last week, one pretty good score, and one not so good. The teacher seems pleased, keeps telling me I’m making good progress. Wrote, ‘Bra!’ (good) on the test shown in photo above – 12 out of 20. 60% seems less than praiseworthy. Easy to make progress when you start at zero.

I can now understand intermittent words I read, or see in subtitles on TV. I can tell when people are talking about a car, or a wedding, numbers, money, time and years . . . the days and months. This last week we’ve been into verbs which have remained beyond my comprehension. They change like chameleons with shifts in tense. I have enough trouble spelling in English, without those damn accented characters. Ӓs and Ӧs sound about the same to me. I’ve heard them a million times and still can’t tell/remember the difference. I can understand, Å, an ‘a’ with a circle on top that sounds like any self respecting ‘o’ or ‘oh’ in English, except it’s disguised as an ‘a’. I can’t remember what Swedish ‘o’s sound like – ‘eww’ . . . or something like that.

It’s hard to hang out with the mid east students. They gather in small groups, smoking cigarettes and enjoying conversation in their homeland’s languages. There is also a 40 year age gap, more than enough to create social distance, and their English is very difficult to understand. One of the girls from Africa speaks pretty good. I’ve had some simple conversations with her on our study breaks.
She showed me photos of her two kids, on her cell phone. Oldest child, a girl, is now somewhere Italy. I’ve no idea how that happened . . . her  son is still in Africa.

“You look so young,” I tell her.
“In my tribe, we marry young – “Fifteen. These guys in class, come from Somalia, and from Syria, get money. But not me,” she says.
“I thought you all got money for attending class,” I tell her.
“Only refuges, from countries, where is war. I come because I want to, so do not get money.”
“Same with me,” I tell her, but we come from very different worlds.
Last week most of the guys went to some kind of pre-employment session given by a local industry, something about CNCs, a highly accurate, computerized, milling machine that makes parts.

“I want to finish with this class before take job,” she tells me. “Too many student, they take job first chance they get, then stuck in low pay job because they cannot speak good Swedish. I’m must make good money to bring son and daughter here.”

I try to guess her age, mid twenties, maybe less, not more. How has she managed all of this?

Next week – Swedish Politics – Election Results.

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