Since arriving I’ve had three or four people ask me “why do you speak Swedish”? It’s a question for which there is no simple answer or at least no simple answer I can respond to in Swedish.
The first occasion happened arriving at Stockholm Airport. This was the first time I’ve actually come through the full border control at Stockholm, having previously entered Europe mostly through Germany and Finland.
As someone without an EU passport, I had to join the queue where they ask you lots and lots and lots of questions about why you’re coming to Sweden, how long you intend to stay and so on. To be sure I didn’t mess anything up, I had the initial conversation in English.
Fifty metres later and I was asked – in Swedish – by a security guard (in one of those random checks) where I had come from, about my nationality and so on. As this was reasonably easy to understand and to respond to, I replied in Swedish. Seconds later, the guard asked me, with a confused look on his face, “You’re from Australia. Why do you speak Swedish”? to which I replied, probably rather stupidly, “Because I’m learning Swedish in a class”. Dumb in hindsight, but he seemed happy with the response and let me continue.
It happened again when I went to exchange some currency and when I checked in to my apartment. “These are strange currencies”, the woman at the currency exchange said, referring to my Australian dollars and Chinese RMB. And then we got into an albeit very simple conversation about how I was from Australia and had travelled via China. Again, she asked, “Why do you speak Swedish”.
When I checked in to my apartment I began with English – I didn’t want to mess anything up – but then realised I could respond to some things in Swedish and did so.
I absolutely love my apartment. It’s larger than I expected for a “small studio”. The bathroom is as large as mine back in Sydney, it has a great little kitchenette, a nice and comfortable bed, even a lounge area and outside I can hear birds. And it’s new, clean and modern, and only about 10 minutes from T-centralen via T-bana. What more could I want?
After a bit of relaxation, I headed into the city where it was surprisingly warm. I was half expecting a night-time chill in the air, but that wasn’t to be. Indeed, when I popped into a bar, Torget for a drink I found myself actually quite hot. With the warm weather, Stockholm is really buzzing. There are people everywhere, and they’re definitely making the most of the sunshine and warmth.
After a couple of hours wandering around the city, it was time to come home, have a shower and hop in bed.