I have moments of complete irrationality when it comes to learning Swedish. It sweeps over me like a tsunami and I feel like I am loosing my mind, that is assuming it has not all ready happened. It really is baffling to me at least during those irrational moments. It becomes almost impossible to explain. I have tried to label it but any attempts have only resulted in failure.
At these moments I find myself loathing Swedish. Yes loathing. It is a strong word. It comes in waves. Sometimes it might last for a few minutes, maybe a day, and it has even lasted longer than two weeks. During these periods, especially the longer ones, I start to feel the very essence of insanity. You might just see a simple frown on my face, but my world is shaking and I am screaming with fear and anger.
New Swedish words find their way into my mind all the time. Often I find ways to understand them usually in the context of English. But, that does not always work. Knowing what a word means does not guarantee I am using it correctly. Words are containers for emotions. Sometimes Swedish words contain emotions that I have no context to understand. And then it happens without warning a world will push into my brain and I will fall into that now familiar landscape of insanity.
Once I fall into that place of insanity Swedish starts to become rhythmic gibberish to me again. My struggle to understand intensifies and takes more concentration. My brain starts to resist Swedish, grasping towards English. In these moments of torrential torment I find I have to work even harder at learning Swedish. I feel like banging my head on a brick wall might be more productive.
And then something happens. It is as if the Sun just broke through clouds after a torrential hurricane. The rhythmic gibberish disappears. Swedish returns and begins to make even more sense than it did before. The loathing is replaced by a deep love for the Swedish language.
I do not understand those moments of insanity. I also often find the moments of sanity just as baffling. I really have no comprehension of what is going on in my brain. I do know that I am learning Swedish so something must be happening. If there was a boot-camp for brains this would be it. So here I am pressing forward progressing towards Swedish fluency.
(I am going to start writing some parts of my blog in both Swedish and English. If you find mistakes in the Swedish please feel free to let me know.)
Min svenska är inte så bra. Det är svårt att höra svenska vokalen men över tiden lära jag att höra de. Också jag behöver att prata och att skriva och att läsa mera. Jag ska skriva av somliga min blogg in svenska. Därför jag hoppas jag kunna hjelpa min själv lära mig mera.
My Swedish is not so good. It is hard to hear Swedish vowels but over time I am learning to hear them. Also I need to speak and to write and to read more. I shall write some of my blog in Swedish. Therefore I hope I can help myself learn more.
Igår åkte tåg till Malmö. Dagen var ljust och varm får höst. Jag till och med sett solen. Det hade regnade för två dagen och kanske mer. Jag åkte bussen numret två bara för rolig, till slutet och tillbaka till centrum. Jag träffas Vanim i närheten centrum. Vi gått till Sankt Johannes Kyrka så jag kanske tagit tavlorna.
Yesterday I rode the train to Malmö. Today was light and warm for fall. I even saw the sun. It has rained for two days and perhaps more. I rode bus number two just for fun to the end and back to downtown. I met up with Vanim near downtown. We walked to Saint John’s Church so I could take pictures.
The information about St John’s Church comes from the pamphlet provided by the church. Construction for the church was started in 1903 and completed in 1907. The design of the church is Art Noveau unlike many of the churches built in Sweden at that time in the new Gothic style. I really like the Art Noveau style. This church is referred to as “The Church of Roses” because there are over 1,000 roses in the church. Traditionally the church tower would be placed in the west but at Saint John’s Church it was placed on the north side of the church. This was to signify the arrival of a new era.
The inside of the church has plastered walls with murals in the Art Noveau style. The older churches built in the medieval period have a more somber and more solid feel to them. This church had a more lively feeling. Sitting in the pews you could almost feel the hum of the building. I find it interesting to visit these different churches. They each were built for the same reason but each one has its own unique feeling and atmosphere.
|Closeup of Church Altar|
Today was a big milestone for me. I went to the post office to mail a package and conducted the entire transaction in Swedish. I did not use any English. I usually ask “Förstår du engleska?” (Do you understand English?) or “Talar du engelska?” (Do you speak English?) than continue the interaction in English. The truth is that I have been afraid to try to communicate in Swedish with someone that I do not know in Swedish. I realize that this is an unfounded fear since since all the Swedes I have met have been nice and more than willing to help when asked.
I have now been in my SFI (Swedish for Immigrants) class for almost four weeks. Even though I have a long way to go I have learned a lot. This is a very different experience than when I was learning Spanish in school. I did not have to learn Spanish to be successful in my life. Learning Swedish is the key to being successful here in Sweden.
This experience has given me a whole different perspective on immigrants and the political debates going on in the United States. It has been a common sentiment with many people that I know and including myself that if people are going to live in the United States then at least they can learn English. What I realize now is that it is not such an easy thing to do.
I sometimes have these moments of irrational fear. A couple of days ago there was this moment when I thought I am going to start thinking different and I will loose myself. It quickly passed. Some days I feel like my brain might explode. There are times when I feel I am almost to a point of understanding and then I wake up and feel like I might never understand.
I will continue to learn. I will start interacting with Swedes in Swedish more often. Sooner or later I will be fluent in Swedish. I am hoping for the sooner.