Svenska is the Swedish language.
A couple of weeks back, my family and I left the shores of Nigeria for Sweden – a quiet country in Northern Europe. I can’t tell you so much about Sweden in one post, and not just yet, as I still know too little, but I will in the near future. Today learn about my dilemma!
Many Swedes understand and speak English (Engelska), however there is still an overwhelming sense of language preservation – it’s as though the language itself embodies the culture. Most Swedes will not speak to you in English until and unless they absolutely have to (excluding government agencies dealing with immigrants and essential services workers, understandably). Also, most cooperate vacancies require some level of communication capability in English & Svenska. Uhmph!
So, I am integrating – painfully so. I am learning the Swedish language.
How do you teach a beginner Svenska with Svenska? Egba mi! (Collect Deliver me!)
My first day in class, I was puzzled, in fact bewildered. How do you teach a beginner Svenska with Svenska? No kidding, these guys were instructing first timers with 95% svenska and 5% sign language, and the annoying part is that they understand English! If a student speaks English, V. (my teacher) would pause, smile, and repeat herself in Svenka. Twenty minutes into the session on day 2, I was weeping, scratch that, I was wailing inside of me. A barrage of questions were running through my mind: Folake ki lo wa de Sweden? Wetin lost for your hand wey you find reach here? Did God bring you here abi you brought yourself? Heheheheh! Yes, my body was in that building, but my spirit and soul were at heaven’s gate.
You get it?
Now imagine finally getting back home after 3 tormenting hours (V. is a great teacher so I feel sorry to say that), viewing WhatsApp statuses so I can laugh and cool my heated head, only to repeatedly see naija folks posting – “ehn o, it is where God say you should be that you should be o, or else your eyes will see shege” Looool! Omo! The thing be like say na me dem dey follow talk, because that class was the definition of shege.
Well, that’s not exactly how they posted it, but you get the drift. I really felt for myself. I could easily have been back in my hood, doing Sahel fhingz jeje. (Oro yi toun terin). I recall gisting my dad about that particular class, and before the prayers came, he laaaaughed, baba use me laugh ehn.
I wrote the part in green by the way – na my work, na me run am, Clap for me!
We are only two Africans in my class, a class of 20 or so. I know three Nigerians who said they stopped going after a few classes, I am hoping I won’t be the 4th.
By the way, I am drafting a piece on this japa thing – from a different lens, I hope you get to read it soon. Seeing the type of way that certain opinions on social media tempted me feel on that night (I say ‘tempted’ because I sabi flee all appearances of evil), I realized that many people are writing things and sharing comments that though ordinarily harmless and perhaps intended to be so, can actually be toxic and distressing to folks who are settling into new countries. You think it was easy for Abraham? Naaa! Make sure you read it when it drops, you can also subscribe so that you don’t miss it.
That it’s hard doesn’t mean it’s not the way. That it’s challenging does not mean it’s not God leading. I can’t promise that I wont quit Swedish classes, I swear V. dey carry me go where I no know. But, I’ll stay strong, and I’ll trust in His purpose, on this journey away from home.
If you tease me in the comment section or on WhatsApp, I will bully you in Svenska.
For those who would say, ah FK you didn’t tell me you’ve travelled, e dakun ema binu.
Till your next visit – stay blooming!