Everything is learning

I find it fascinating how different races behave. Women snorting great globs of phlegm, for instance. I guess it’s what you’re used to, but I don’t like it. I remember being surprised that the slurping eating in China didn’t really bother me, but this phlemy snorting is not something I can ignore. I found it quite distasteful this morning.

Today, at SFI, there were five of us. There were also exams being held in all of the classrooms so we sat in the common areas playing word games. Which was fine. We sat around a table and the teacher (a lovely and remarkably patient woman from Gnesta) tried to get us to play Concentration.

The teacher took great delight in showing me photos of her new puppy. This was after she discovered we had ‘hundar’ of our own. The other students had gone by this time, and we were sitting around chatting. But, back to the game…

For those that do not know, Concentration is a game where a load of cards are turned face down and each player turns a card over, then tries to pair it by turning over another. If they find a pair, they remove the two cards and have another turn. If they do not find a pair, then the cards are turned back over and the next player takes a turn. The point being that each player sees where the cards are and has to remember for when their turn comes.

For the version in class we used cards with pictures on them. Each player had to give the Swedish word for the images after turning the card over. When we matched two images, we were given a third card which had the corresponding word written in Swedish on it.

The main thing that surprised me was how the other four would turn a card over and move it. That makes the game pretty difficult. Of course, the teacher kept correcting them, telling them to leave the cards where they were but, no matter how many times we played (there were lots) they just kept doing it.

But that wasn’t the only surprise. There was also a lot of cheating. Like, what is the point in cheating? Obviously, it was some sort of weird mind set. Three of them behaved like very small children, flipping cards and giggling, looking across the table at each other in order to clarify where cards were.

I didn’t care about the cheating, after all, I was there to learn new Swedish words not to win a kid’s game. I was just amazed. I did care about the mobile phones though.

Three of the other four students answered and used their phones many times. It was not only disrupting, it was also pretty rude. I guess it’s another case of cultural difference. After witnessing the teacher’s constant reminding of the rules of the game, I don’t blame her for not enforcing the no mobile phones rule.

For all that, I did manage to learn some new words. Of course, the fruit and veg cards were easy – my Supermarket Swedish is pretty good already – but my furniture wasn’t. Though I did know fönster (window) because it was written on my train tickets when I came over in 2022. (Fenster was written on my German tickets.) It’s one of those odd things that just stays in your brain. I expect that Dr Julia Shaw could explain it, but I can’t.

Another word I already knew was ‘paraply’ but that’s because of my limited French. It makes me feel like I’m collecting similar words in various languages.

All in all, today was a bit chaotic and incorrectly instructive, given I learned more about other cultures and less about Swedish. Still, everything is learning, I guess. Except, perhaps, women clearing their flooded nasal passages with an exaggerated sniff.

Back at home, Mirinda managed to get me to build the two raised beds we bought a while ago, then lug around ridiculously heavy bags of compost to fill them. I’m not going to complain though because she has embraced the ‘no dig‘ technique, which made the job a lot easier.

The worst bit was cutting up the cardboard to place in the bottom of the beds. We really needed Princeton to pop over with her handy box cutter.

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