Swedish For Immigrants – Week 6

Swedish For Immigrants – Week 6

SFI X2Still plodding along, but enjoying these classes. They were frustrating at first. They still are, but I find myself looking forward to the four hour sessions. Had two tests this last week, one pretty good score, and one not so good. The teacher seems pleased, keeps telling me I’m making good progress. Wrote, ‘Bra!’ (good) on the test shown in photo above – 12 out of 20. 60% seems less than praiseworthy. Easy to make progress when you start at zero.
I can now understand intermittent words I read, or see in subtitles on TV. I can tell when people are talking about a car, or a wedding, numbers, money, time and years . . . the days and months. This last week we’ve been into verbs which have remained beyond my comprehension. They change like chameleons with shifts in tense. I have enough trouble spelling in English, without those damn accented characters. Ӓs and Ӧs sound about the same to me. I’ve heard them a million times and still can’t tell/remember the difference. I can understand, Å, an ‘a’ with a circle on top that sounds like any self respecting ‘o’ or ‘oh’ in English, except it’s disguised as an ‘a’. I can’t remember what Swedish ‘o’s sound like – ‘eww’ . . . or something like that.
It’s hard to hang out with the mid east students. They gather in small groups, smoking cigarettes and enjoying conversation in their homeland’s languages. There is also a 40 year age gap, more than enough to create social distance, and their English is very difficult to understand. One of the girls from Africa speaks pretty good. I’ve had some simple conversations with her on our study breaks.
She showed me photos of her two kids, on her cell phone. Oldest child, a girl, is now somewhere Italy. I’ve no idea how that happened . . . her  son is still in Africa.


“You look so young,” I tell her. Almost everyone looks young at my age!
“In my tribe, we marry young – “Fifteen. These guys in class, come from Somalia, and from Syria, get money. But not me,” she says.
“I thought you all got money for attending class,” I tell her.
“Only refuges, from countries, where is war. I come because I want to, so do not get money.”
“Same with me,” I tell her, but we come from very different worlds.

Last week most of the guys went to some kind of pre-employment session given by a local industry, something about CNCs, a highly accurate, computerized, milling machine that makes parts.
“I want to finish with this class before take job,” she tells me. “Too many student, they take job first chance they get, then stuck in low pay job because they cannot speak good Swedish. I’m must make good money to bring son and daughter here.”
I try to guess her age, mid twenties, maybe less, not more. How has she managed all of this?

Next week – Swedish Politics – Election Results.


About Bruce Louis Dodson

Bruce Louis Dodson is an American expat now living in Borlänge, Sweden with his wife, cat and dog. He is an artist and world traveler who writes fiction and poetry and practices photography in his less than copious free time. His work has appeared in: Barely South Review - Boundaries Issue, Blue Collar Review, Pulsar Poetry (UK), Foliate Oak, Breadline Press West Coast Anthology . The E-buffet, Qarrtsiluni, Struggle Magazine, Pearl Literary Magazine, Contemporary Literature Review: India, 3rd Wednesday, Sleeping Cat Books - Trip of a Lifetime Anthology, Northern Liberties Review, Authors Abroad - Foreign & and Far Away Anthology, The Path, Page & Spine, The Crucible, Sleeping Cat Books -Trips of a Lifetime, Vine Leaves, Pirene's Fountain,Tic Toc Anthology - Kind of a Hurricane Press, Cordite Poetry Review, Buffalo Almanac and mgv2.
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9 Responses to Swedish For Immigrants – Week 6

  1. Another great personal account, Bruce, and you ARE making progress – well done! Many good things don’t come easy so stay with it. Like your attempts at forming relationships, almost as hard as the classes themselves.
    Thank you for sharing, i enjoy these pieces very much.
    Best to you

  2. I think English speaking people 40 years younger than us would be hard to understand at times Bruce. It’s good to see you’re hanging in there, well you have to but at least you’re giving it your all. It’s an interesting post because you’re bringing out the sad stories of your fellow students. it shows us that life can be far harder than we have it.

    • bldodson says:

      Yes. Sometimes I bitch about things not quite as good for me hear as in the States, then I think about these guys and gals . . . where they are coming from. Syria, Somalia. Wow, I was born lucky!

  3. Learning the language is terrific, but you are having an opportunity to discover some amazing life stories. Do I see a book down the road?

  4. I meant to add that you could write a bra story!

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