Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Help Me, Help You!

(Take two on posting this to include video link and fix up the formatting... Previous posting will be deleted. Thanks.)

Hello hello, you... I find it very difficult to talk about what has been happening to us here in Sweden, only because there are too many things going on and my head feels very big these days. Q thinks that I make things hard for myself sometimes. I have to agree, but that's me. I am very driven and focused about things that I deem important. Below is just one aspect, specifically around the language study.

This update will come in the form of a 6 minute speech video. For those of you who prefer to read, below is the script, more or less, but you would miss my awful awful rapping, in Swedish nevertheless! Enjoy and feel free to share your feedback!
(Note: The Speech title is Help Me, Help You. It was presented at Malmö Toastmasters club's humorous speech contest, and I won! So I will go on representing the club at the area-level on Sept 20th competing against other club winners from Denmark and southern Sweden.)

Video link: http://vimeo.com/104399450

I have been here in this beautiful country for six weeks. Jag talar lite svenska. I speak a little Swedish. I realize that I have this deep, strong, fundamental need to learn more.

It is not because I need to find a job and make money. Nah. That's what my husband is for. It is not because that I want to understand people. Don't tell anyone - I don't like people. And it is not because I need to understand the postings, the signs, the newspapers... "Blah blah blah". I sit on the beach. I get my drink. I enjoy the sun. Every day has been like a vacation in Thailand or Vietnam. Fantastic!

So why do I need to learn Swedish? Well, to help you. You want to help me with my Swedish to help you! I am going to give you three reasons.

First reason. Help me with my Swedish will help save you money! That's right. Let me tell you what happened when I first got here. I was told to go to the old city area, to this street with a very loooong name. It's hard to read. You know what. I am pretty smart. I will remember the first part and last part of the street name. I was sure I would find it. Walk my way there. There is my street. "Nor... Gatan". Another "Nor.. Gatan". And another "Nor...Gatan". I am confused - why are so many streets start with "Nor" and end with "Gatan"??? (N.B. "North...Street") I am pretty desperate when I get lost. Do you know what I do when I get lost? I look for the police officers. Smile. "I am lost. Would you please take me back to my home?" What do you know. The Swedes are very polite and helpful. The police officer took me home... on your tax dollars, or, kroners. Now I get lost a lot, so that is a lot of police taxi rides, as I call them. That is a lot of money that you can help save if you help me with my Swedish.

Second reason why you want to help me with your Swedish is to... Save you time! Do you see those long lines at the supermarkets? Do you know why they are there? Me. I find it very intense when it is my turn to walk up to the cashier. It is like smuggling hundreds of bottles of liquor into Sweden and walking up to the Immigrations. I get really nervous, and I try to stay calm. The cashier just casually scan the items and says in lightening speed,"Var du bra så?" (N.B. "All good?"), and continues scanning. I on the other side, am completely stunned. What just happened?! I scratch my head and think to myself, I must be careful with my answer now. I don't want to get charged double for that chicken! "Ja...? Nej...? Ja..? Nej..?" (N.B. "Yes...No?") Wait wait, I signal to the cashier. I quickly pull out my smartphone and look up the dictionary, "Igen?" "Again?" And that was only the first question. By the end of this immigration-like or cashier session, the line almost goes out of the supermarket door. And everyone looked a bit upset, understandably. Some of them might have been you. And guess what? I quite like shopping. I do that many times a day. So if you do the math, you want to help me with my Swedish to save you time that you can use to line up somewhere else!

The last reason why you want to help me with my Swedish? To bring you entertainment. Yah! Have you noticed that Swedish has a very nice rhythm to it, beautiful language, singsongy. I quite like that when I listen to the Swedish language audiobooks. It gets boring listening to them over and over, but you know what, I can feel the rhythm. I can get it. And the more I listen to it, the more it becomes clear to me. There is some serious music talents under this Chinese skin here. Yo yo yo! "Jag, jag, jag heter Shu. Jag, jag, jag kommer fran Toronto. Jag, jag, jag bor i Malmö!" That's right. Now you can see if you help me with my Swedish, next year, at the Eurovision Song Contest, I think I have a shot!!! I can go out there and represent Sverigeee (N.B. "Sweeeden")! Are you with me? Yesss. :)

So help me with my Swedish to save you money. Help me with my Swedish to save you time. And finally help me with my Swedish to bring you yo-yo-yo entertainment. Help me, help you. Help ME, help YOU! Tack så mycket. (N.B. "Thank you very much!")