att tala svenska

Att tala svenska med svenskar! Weee!

In the likely and forgivable case that that means nothing to you, it means, “To speak Swedish with Swedes!”

In case you were wondering, that was one of the things I did today.

I was walking along, coming back from some seminar or other, and the girl in front of me was on her iPhone chattering away and I caught a word that sounded familiar.

So I listened for a few more minutes to make sure I knew the language. I thought about what I should say. I waited for her to get off the phone. And then I went for it.

“Ursäkta,” I said, and she looked around. “Talar du svenska?”

Oh, my God, you guys. The look on her face.


And from there I’ve already forgotten most of it. There were three, but I only spoke to two of them. And we chatted along a little bit. They asked how I had learned Swedish, and I asked if they’d heard of Concordia and they hadn’t but that was okay. I asked where they were from and they were from Umea, the city I want to go to (!!!!!), and I confessed that I didn’t know very much, but the one girl said, “Well, we can understand you,” and then I think my brain turned blue and yellow.

I’m still beaming inside.

The best part was that it just FLOWED. Aside from the odd moment when I went to say “si” instead of “ja” (hashtag multilingual problems), I talked to them without too much mental effort. There was one moment where I couldn’t remember if the word for ‘to hope’ had an ‘s’ on the end or not (which it does, distinguishing it from the word for to hop) and had to rummage around and finally decided to use the word ‘vill,’ to want, instead. That was okay. I lied. The whole thing was okay. The whole thing was way beyond okay.

The other great thing about today was that I listened to an accounting professor speak and he made two puns in five minutes. I am definitely in the right place. I mean, obviously that’s not the only thing to base that assumption on, but what the hell. Puns puns puns. 🙂

The other other great thing about today has probably been that I have actually talked to more people that I don’t quite know today than I may have ever talked to in all of my high school career (which, in my defense, took place mostly in a town of 12,000 people). I am learning that you don’t have to make a connection with someone. Not all human interactions are going to be major oh-we-are-just-friend-soulmates. You just have to be able to sit down and talk to them. Ask questions, as my mother is constantly chiding me to do. And just be friendly enough that you can wave and smile next time you pass them on the street or wherever. That’s really all it takes. If you – well, if you are me, and you have one or two people you can really relate to, like Derek and Hannah (or maybe a blog), and you aren’t totally isolated doing everything else, you’ll probably be okay. I’ll probably be okay.


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