Friday, June 19, 2009

Waiting Time

Thirty-eight days. Is it a long time or short?

There is barely enough time for all the things I need to get done before I can leave: prepare my fall class, teach the two classes I am now teaching, sock away some money, make a million lists and blah blah blah; I won't bore you with the details that I find endlessly entertaining.

But the anticipation is almost painful. I can hardly wait to be there, see everyone, see everything. Five weeks seems like an eternity.

But it is hardly enough time to improve my Swedish, which is better than it was, better than nothing, but I slaughter that beautiful language when I try to speak it. I just don't get the pronunciation rules, and this goes beyond (what I hope is) a cute American accent. I just don't get the tones or the stresses or the long and short vowels. As a result I say everything wrong. My new tapes, Colloquial Swedish, should help mitigate this a little. Fortunately, most Swedes speak English.

My heart is already in Sweden. My thoughts are already there, too, and my stomach is in knots as I think about going. Five weeks is a long time to feel this way.

Then again, thank heavens there is time to iron out the details, to study a map of the airports I will have to navigate, to think about eventualities and anticipate some of them, to talk to my world-traveling friends and get as much advice as possible.


Anonymous said...

You will be fine! Almost all Swedes speak English - even my grandmother (87) and my grandfather (89) understand and speak a little! We are all used to hear English on TV (of course not all programmes are in English, but we have a lot of imported tv-programmes from the UK and US) and I think that is the big secret to learning English!
I never study maps of airports, everything from gates to toilets are usually very well signposted and if you are lost, you just ask somebody!
Good luck with the preparations! It seems you have been struck by "resfeber" ;-)

steviewren said...

WooHoo! Not so long now! I'm green with envy! (exclamation upon exclamation) I really am looking forward to reading your impressions of the people and the country.

Indie said...

Petchie, that is what I've been hearing, about everyone, especially those under 50, speaking excellent English. It's a good thing because my Swedish needs a lot of work! Still, I think you can't really get a look into a culture without its language. So much of culture is located or carried out there. Ja, Jag har resfeber, men jag är lyckligt ocksa. :)

Stevie, it will be especially fun to chronicle things because I know you'll be paying attention! Thank you for being encouraging.