I’m a little bit country. I’m a little bit rock’n’roll

Cafe Svensson, Sydney, Australia

Cafe Svensson, Sydney, Australia

After one month’s break, Swedish class resumed tonight. And unlike previous occasions which have mostly been on a Tuesday night, my group now has classes on a Wednesday night. This is the same night as “Cafe Svensson”, the Swedish community get-together.

Grant and I met at the pub for a beer and a chat before class commenced at 7.15. As Grant and I walked towards class we immediately noticed (and were impressed) by the sign on the seemingly impermanent sign on the otherwise inauspicious community centre which accompanies the Lutheran Church on Goulburn Street.

After making our way through the cafe, we headed to an upstairs room where classes were being held.

Ours was a small, but interesting group of people learning Swedish: there’s a bloke whose brother lives in Sweden’ there’s a bloke who is from Swedish heritage but who was raised here (and speaks Swedish very well); there’s a bloke who previously lived in Sweden, there’s a woman who visited there, who has friends there, and there’s Grant and I.

Previous classes have often been heavy on grammar, one of my least favourite activities. I much prefer listening and speaking. Although I appreciate why we need to do grammar exercises (to learn to speak properly), I find the activities boring and sometimes confusing, as I was part of the “experiment generation” in Australia that was never really taught English language grammar either. “What’s an adverb, agaim?”, I often find myself saying :)

But tonight’s class was heavy on conversation, as we spoke almost exclusively in Swedish. And although there were occasions when I didn’t completely follow what was going on, finding the level of conversation a little sophisticated, there were also moments when I found myself following everything and even, almost, thinking in Swedish. There were more of the former and less of the latter, of course.

One of the exercises we did tonight was talk about where we lived and where we came from, and to describe ourselves as people from the city or people from the country. We needed to describe the sights and sounds of the places of our lives.

While the rest of the class were almost overwhelmingly from the city, I was the only one, aside from our teacher, who grew up outside of the city. I grew up in a house on the outskirts of town with cattle in the yard outside our house. Nonetheless, I mentioned, our home in Lismore is now much noisier than my home in Surry Hills, as I live on a quiet street here, whereas my home in Lismore is on a main road. I concluded I was a bit of both.

Afterwards Grant and I headed off to the pub again to catch up with mates. A fine evening.

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