Pa Svenska

I’m feeling pretty good tonight. In fact, as I walked home I was absolutely buzzing. Was it love? Was it a great day at work? Had I won the Lottery? No, I’d just had my first Swedish Lesson.

“Why are you here?”, we were all asked one by one. I didn’t openly admit to the ABBA stuff, instead referring to my travel plans as the main reason why I had enrolled. As it was, I was still the odd man out, since almost everyone else was there because they had a Swedish partner. Many were, in fact, planning to move to Sweden.

There was one bloke who was planning on studying there. And there was a young bloke who said he had a lot of Danish friends and was learning Swedish because Danish was too hard. Oh and I loved the bloke who said he had a young daughter he wanted to be able to converse with. And there was a woman whose parents were Swedish born, though they, too, didn’t speak Swedish.

But mostly, it was Australians with Swedish partners.

In many respects I’m a bit envious of them, as they have someone to go home to practice with. Of course, there’s a colleague at work who I will see at some point this week. And there’s a couple of other people I could call for a brief practice. But mostly it will be just me and my mp3 player.

Having spent a lifetime listening to Swedish pop music, I thought I did a reasonable job picking up the pronunciation, and I thought I did a reasonable job with the simple vocabulary. Although I gulped the first time I was asked to say something out loud, I was reassured when I was able to respond to a question in Swedish with an answer in Swedish. OK, so it was only, what’s your name and where are you from, but I felt proud nonetheless.

As I walked home I kept repeating the phrases out loud, and singing a couple of the simple songs we had learned.

“How was it, your first time?”, our instructor asked. “Challenging”, I replied. Everyone laughed.

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