When my friend called me to say she was in my neighbourhood and asked – “do you feel like a drink”? – I had no idea I’d find myself a few hours later sitting in a lesbian bar speaking in Swedish to a couple of women from Finland. But that’s exactly what happened.
My friend is quite the extrovert and makes friends easily. She is also a crazy Eurovision fan, loves travel, and loves meeting people from different cultures. Thus when she told me she had met a couple of women from Finland – one living here, one visiting – it didn’t surprise me at all.
After an hour or so chatting about life, travel and all sorts of things, my friend mentioned to them I was learning Swedish. And that’s when one of them said to me, “Jag talar svenska också” (I speak Swedish also).
The difficult thing about learning Swedish is the lack of someone in my life to have that day to day practice. Although I have a couple of colleagues who speak Swedish, I usually only see them once a week, and I still feel quite embarrassed about my skills. If I had a partner it would be quite different.
So when I had the opportunity to speak with someone in a “real life situation” in Swedish I was sooo excited. It was such a buzz. And because she had also learned Swedish as a second language (it’s compulsory in schools and all signs are in Swedish and Finnish – a hangover from the days of union) she spoke Swedish quite clearly which made it easier for me to understand and respond.
I also happened to have some photographs on my phone taken from when I visited Finland several years ago which actually made one of the women a little teary, and probably a little homesick.
We had a great night chatting in both English and Swedish, putting songs on the jukebox, and even managed to have a bit of a dance.
How random? But it shouldn’t surprise – it was a full moon after all.