Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Vilka språk kan du-What languages?

What is the best question you can ask when you meet some new person/people who look interesting?

I may explain at the end what American sociologists say is the only question. I do not believe them for a minute, so here is my question, one I posed to an interesting gang I met at Saltholmen. Actually, one of the women beat me to posing the first question, so let's let her speak first.

Tror du på Jesus? Så sade Emelie. Bra fråga. Jag svarade att det är en stor fråga så jag skulle ställa en enklare fråga.

Do you believe in Jesus Christ. That is what Emelie said. Good question. I answered.

Now to that best question. First a little background. One of the neat things about living in Sweden is that there are about 8,000,000 people who sometimes believe that they are all the same. Some refer to them as Ethnic Swedes. What is neat about that is anybody who turns up using another body language is a good candidate for being somebody who is not an Ethnic Swede.

In my years at the Red Cross in Linköping, I heard all the usual questions people ask a new arrival. I finally decided I needed a better question. Here it is:

Vilka språk kan du/Ni? What languages do you speak (or know)?

So after Emilie asked me about Jesus I decided to pose a question to three girls who were sitting on a bench at the edge of the water. I asked them in Swedish and here is what I got back.

Svenska, engelska, portugisiska.

I am going to stop here, this is just a first draft. If somebody answers with those three, how do you react?

Let me know. I will be back.

I just got out to Styrsö and I have to get to work. A Ph.D. Thesis awaits for review.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

This One's For Martha

The United States has just shown how easy it is to stand on the brink of becoming a failed nation and many of us living abroad have followed this sorrowful sequence of events, written comments in the New York Times, and have wondered is there any hope.

Yesterday afternoon, October 16th, I sought solace in the same way I always do, by running to my trees and then stopping to let them talk to me through reflection and by encouraging reflection. By the strangest of coincidences, I came home from Götakanalen and there in my Gmail was mail from Martha in California, a reader of NYT comments who then escaped from them by turning to my blog and to a post A Walk in the Park (based on a NYT article). She, like I, cannot live without "our trees" and, for me, even better, the reflections of trees. (Lisa, master of the reflected image, this is for you also).

Want to feel better? Find yourself some trees like these and talk with them.

l will later add the blog link to an earlier visit to Götakanalen. Someday my blog will have such improvements. Right now back to work - translating a medical questionnaire from Swedish to English. This was my fika paus. PS you have to double click on at least the 2d image to see all 3 trees. PS 2 trying different image sizes for the blog but in the end double click to see best.

Blog post that introduces Götakanalen was way back in September (25) 2011. Sorry but I do not have a system that can take you directly there. You have to go through older posts. Someday? Maybe.
Added 2013-10-18