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Saturday, October 11, 2014

Swedish For Immigrants - Week 9

Musings on a day off.

I did my language school interview today and have officially been assigned to the lowest level B class which is listed as, B-. I assume there is also a B, and a B+ class. The B+ class must be for students far ahead of me. Three teachers will be co-teaching classes. They will rotate and have specialties. One does reading, one does writing, and one does talking. I think the ‘talking’ teacher is the one who taught our class once before – the one who refuses to speak any English. It will be like learning German from an SS officer. But not a bad thing. Buddhist monks have written about choosing a master, someone who would pretty much take over their lives, in order to get them on their way to enlightenment. It’s like a marriage without the option of divorce. Some monks don’t choose the teacher they like best, one that they get along with. They chose the opposite, I guess thinking, “This bastard will make me learn.” I think there is some truth in that – the teacher without mercy.

Today was interesting. I drove to school some forty minutes early, for this morning’s interview, thinking I would hang out on the hallway couch and read while waiting. Teacher was in the hallway looking slightly pissed when I arrived, and looking for a student whose appointment time it was, the time slot before mine. Some students haven’t gotten used to the idea of being on time. Time hasn’t been all that important where they are coming from. Because they had more of it there. Perhaps more than they will ever have again as they become accustomed to ‘the good life’ and begin consuming, TVs, P/Cs, cell phones, houses, condos, furniture and cars . . . stuff. This 24-7 world, where it seems there is never enough time. I thought I would have so much time when I retired. Seems like I have less. Some of you will be familiar with that observation. Days fly away like crows at night.
Teacher asked if I would mind taking my interview early. I said, sure. We went into the classroom and took chairs at her desk. As usual I understood about 20% of what she was saying, but I was familiar with the subject. I was shown my test scores, average: 60%. Exactly what my own estimation has been.

She was enthusiastic, happy about my progress, asked what class division I thought I should be in, which of the three Bs. “Low, low, bottom!” I leaned of the chair and reached down to the floor. She got the picture, easily agreed, but in a complimentary way. She drew a graph of my scores, a line going up at a thirty degree angle. Easy to make progress when you start at zero. I am still so far away from understanding. I watch Swedish TV shows and news. Understand a word or two, like him and her, conjunctions, good and bad, the most common cuss words, and anatomy and clothing . . . Death is, Dod. I love it. Death is easy –  life is hard.

This missing student arrives fifteen minutes late. Teacher is up out of her chair – pissed off again. She tears loose a paper that has been tapped to the wall with the individual student’s times to appear for their interviews, a list in 36 point bold. She remanded us to look at it every day last week, and asked everyone if they understood. We all said, Ja. She opens the classroom door and lets go on this guy, who is also her best Student, who always has near perfect scores. Always the best in class. She whales into him in Swedish which, of course, I cannot understand. But he does. He will wait and take his interview when I leave.

Teacher comes back and removes a form from her basket, lays it on the desk. It’s her analysis of me, in Swedish. Once again I am clueless, but I get the drift. The one important thing is that I get into a SLOW class. B- will be fine with me. That’s about what I got out of college with. Looks like a done deal.

She walks me to the door when we’re finished, attempting to make small talk. Something about the next classes being mostly immigrants from Syria. That figures. I was watching TV news about Syria last week. Something like 100,000 we’re running from ISIS, fleeing the country, in an attempt to stay alive. Now Turkey has stopped letting them in. Guess they will all want to come here. I would if I were them, best deal available. Sweden or U.S. America first choice, of course, but Sweden is nice, good benefits and closer, and easier. The Somalis think I’m nuts for leaving the States; sometimes I agree with them.

I thought Swedish for Immigrants – Week 8, was going to be the last of these posts, but maybe not. They have become a sort of diary, or notes to something I might use later, or not.

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