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Saturday, December 13, 2014

Swedish For Immigrants - Week 16


Verbal abuse
These verbs I know
will someday be of use
these tenses do so stress
I must confess
but will endure
these eight more days
I didn’t know were still to go
I never seem to know
what’s coming next
these texts a complex sum of words.
I do not fit
this SFI curriculum
designed for immigrants
much younger than myself
some dozen years at least
and coming from the middle east.

*                       *                       *

I’d thought I’d be on holiday by now, but have misunderstood. Still two more days to go, the last test Wednesday, then a party Thursday, then I’m done. New classes start the second week of January. I am far from able to rise up to ‘C’ level this next semester, but the majority of my class will stay in ‘B’, though they know more than I. Most of their problems are with writing, I believe. One has to write text of 100 plus correct words in order to move on. I was able to write 50 words with only one mistake last week, but they were written in present tense and the test called for past tense. Duh. Strangely enough I scored a 95%, a 90% and a 70% on the last 3 tests. A vast improvement, but still so far to go.

One of my classmates showed me photos of his house and homeland in Afghanistan last week. They were so picturesque they made me sad. The little town, houses and village school were modest, but idyllic, green pastures, farmland and mountains on the horizon. There were photos of his 19 year-old son who is still there. What’s going on behind those images I wonder. Why has he come to Sweden. Can’t be easy.

I cannot resist sharing one more poem by Binnie Andersson, first in English (my translation) then in Swedish from the original.

From: Swedish For Immigrants – Published by Immigrant Institute
Suddenly I am a Foreigner
Binnie Kristal-Andersson
Suddenly I am a foreigner
suddenly I am alone
in a foreign country
foreign eyes
staring at me
I try to look friendly
I try to explain
with my quiet humble eyes
why I am here
in your country old lady
who sits beside me on the bus
and stares at me angrily.
Why do you look so angry?
I know that I don’t
look exactly
like the others
I know I cannot speak
your language
as well as you
but believe me old lady
I want to love you
and your country
if you do not count me out
before I get
a chance.
*                                 *                               *
From: Svewnska för Invandrare
Binnie Kristal-Anderson
Plöbtsligt är jag utlänning
plöbtsligt står jag ensam
i ett främmande land
främmande ögon
stirrar på mig
jag försöker se vänlig ut
jag försoker förklara
med min ödmjuka tysta blick
varför jag är här
i ditt land, gamla dam
och sitter bredvid mig i bussen
och stirrar argt på mig
Varför ser du så arg ut?
jag vet att jag inte
ser ut precis
som de andra
jag vet att jag inte kan prata
ditt sprak
lika bra som du
Men tro mig, gamla dam
jag vill älska dig
och ditt land,
om du inte domer ut mig
innan jag får
en chans.
*                                 *                                  *
Christmas will be a new experience for them . . . and snow.
I hope it’s a good one for them, and for you, and for all of us.

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