Thursday, July 11, 2024

Help! I am learning Svenska!

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!

I write about family, faith, work and Life. My pieces focus on how I am learning to bloom in all these and I welcome you to bloom with me.


  1. Lol….. Fk, don’t worry you’re on the right track. Sooner or later you will get fully immersed in the language, either through the class or an alternative means. The good thing is that one learns faster immersed in the environment compared to learning the language outside the boundaries of the country. The environment will enhance the learning. Infact you will learn alot subconsciously outside class in your relations with people there. I wish you the best.

  2. “That it’s challenging does not mean it’s not God leading.” This got me.

    Moving to a new place comes with its own baggage and people need to know that the fact that God led you doesn’t mean it will be all rosy. I don’t have language barrier in my own case but settling in especially accommodation have been challenging that I have asked myself if I truly heard God or I only came here because I just have coconut head.

    The grass may not always be greener on the other side buh it will get greener where you water the ground.

    Thanks for sharing.

  3. Du sa inte till mig att du flyttar och ursäkterna accepterades inte.?

    Iffa hear say you quit peren, I will fly down to re-enrol you.? But I know that you won’t ?

    On the relocation thing, quite a number of post online aren’t “good”, although harmless but it is not right. I had to do a long reply on a dear brother post on Facebook to at least help someone see clearly from the lens of someone outside Nigeria. Settling in a new clime is haaarrrrdddd work.

    • Olamide that one na lie o! Anyways, Jag alskar du.
      True! I have been tempted to reply (more like enlighten) some folks as well, but there is always the right time.

  4. I laugh tired!!! You definitely will cope because you’re smart and purpose driven. Don’t abandon class, it will definitely be to your advantage later. A winner never quits. God is your ABBA Father, He would never lead you wrongly. He is with you, no Matter what the world is saying about relocation, know that God’s got you and yours. Just live each days as it comes joyfully and TRUST GOD.

  5. Fk????
    Loads of love????
    You will come back in weeks to tell us how you learnt, conversed with people in Svenska
    Learning something new is not easy, but its always worth the while
    God keep and be with you &family always


  6. Wow ! I didn’t know it was Sweden! Nice place to over stress it, easy does it and before you know it! It becomes as easy as ABC, make sure you enjoy all the experience cos you will miss and laugh at them. Miss ya!

  7. ??This is so funny. Sorry.
    I can’t wait for when you write a whole blog post in svenska that we will have to tap on translate?.

    Best of luck.

  8. Hej Hej Hej
    *Laughs evily in svenska
    I always love the realness in your blog posts.
    It’s your process sis, You’d definitely go through it successfully.
    Rooting for you

  9. Is Ari in class with you?

    So that she can also learn (cos I know your children learn languages a lot faster) then as time goes by, she will teach you ??

  10. Lolz, you mean you’d do copy and paste in order to bully in Svenska or you’d learn aggressively in order to do so? Either ways, I know you can do it and you would. Look into yourself and bring that potential out. Keep doing great


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I write about family, faith, work and Life. My pieces focus on how I am learning to bloom in all these and I welcome you to bloom with me.

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