First full day in Sweden: FULL OF SURPRISES.
It is NOT, I repeat, it is NOT freezing cold. When I talked to Simon a week ago, he was waist-deep in snow and talking about taking a break from the cold at a sunny beachside resort in Siberia. I don’t know whether he was just trying to garner sympathy or whether it really was that cold, because right now it’s rainy and foggy but reasonably warm. REASON TO REJOICE!
I did not have Swedish class today. I was supposed to start a new Swedish class about two weeks ago, but unfortunately I was not able to attend due to being in the United States. When I showed up for my class today, at 8 am MIGHT I ADD, I had to take yet another diagnostic placement test, wait for an hour, and then talk to the teacher about what I wanted to do. So no learning for me today.
I am BALLER at Swedish. WHATTUP!! The diagnostic test was all writing and grammar, the things I’m worst at in all my foreign languages (read: the things you can’t bluff your way through with hand gestures and facial expressions), and I placed into a level higher than what my original placement test put me in. This should also be a testament to the virtue of giving your brain a break, because Lord knows I definitely didn’t study or speak any Swedish for the six weeks I was in the US.
I decided not to go into the higher level of Swedish, though, because they don’t teach any more grammar at that point, and that really is a gaping hole in my Swedish abilities. The difference between the two levels is sort of like high school English class (Swedish) and remedial high school English (Swedish). You read books and write papers in English class—you don’t really learn about sentence structure. What I opted into is the sort of remedial high school Swedish, except that I think it will be mostly made up of foreigners like me instead of actual high schoolers. I almost always choose to just jump into the deep end and figure it out as I go along, but at this point with my Swedish, I think I’ll be missing too much if I skip the grammar class.
So all’s good on that front. The other downside is that instead of having Swedish every day for 2-3 hours, I have it only three times a week, two hours a day. The timing of those two hours is awesome, though: 10-12 am. That way I can work out, read, do homework, write my great American Expat novel, etc. etc. etc. either before or after Swedish each day with no problem.
Besides that, tomorrow I start up again with my babysitting/tutoring for a family in Malmö, Thursday I am meeting with a new tutoring student at Orange Box, and Friday I head off to Gothenburg (Göteborg in Swedish) with Simon to meet up with my friend Steve and go to the Gothenburg International Film Festival.