The past few days I’ve been exposed to many different languages, but primarily Swedish and Polish, with a dash of French thrown in. My friend, Pontus, is originally from Poland, as well as his mother and father. They escaped from Communist Poland in the later 80’s when Pontus was a small child and lived in refugee camps in Sweden for a few years before becoming Swedish citizens. Sweden has a long history of accepting refugees from many countries all over the world, although these days their quota is much smaller.
So in the home, the family speaks Polish. It is a fascinating language. There is a zzzzzzz sounding word that I believe means “in”, but when you hear it you think it is a filler word, like “um”. I had a small Polish lesson from Pontus’s mother today. Verbs are masculine and feminine, so if you say “He runs” it is a different word from “She runs” which is a different word from “they run” which is different from “we run”! Interesting stuff. I was looking through her Learn English book in Polish and the pronunciations are so different. For instance the pronunciation guide for “goodbye” looks like this: gud baj!
I really have had an amazing few days here. It’s funny how it seems so short, but also like a lifetime. I feel very at home in this home. It may have something to do with the fact that this family is so very kind and wants to make sure that I am well fed and drunk! My first meal here was fantastic: soup, moose burgers, a cabbage/mushroom dish (the mushrooms were picked by the parents), salad (some of which came from their garden), new potatoes, strawberries, and lots of alcohol! Pontus’s parents monitored what I ate. When they came home from work and saw that not much was missing from the fridge they questioned me. Pontus’s father was sure I didn’t eat:)
I’ve learned that Swedish people are friendly, it’s just good to have a Swedish friend that introduces you, then they are great people. Last Saturday I got a small Swedish cultural lesson at a party and lots of alcohol, including a Polish honey wine that will make you grow hair. Sunday Pontus and some his friends and I went to a 3 acre parcel of land that he bought this past Fall. We explored like crazy and found tons of cool animal sign: moose poo, wild boar, deer, hare, squirrel and many a cool plant and tree. My favorite was the Myrtle, it reminded me of Cottonwood buds and beeswax put together, both of which are happy smells for me.
Pontus and I have scoured the city as well, discovering all the cool plants and trees that call Malmo home. Meadowsweet, the Lime Tree (our equivalent is the White Basswood), Cherries, Sycamore, Fireweed, Elder, Beech, Red Clover… There are many good smells to be had here mixed with the stink of the city.
Oh, and I’ve been riding a bike! It’s flat here in Malmo which makes bike riding simple and fun. Pontus and I have biked all over the city exploring the sea, parks, and the busy Centrum of Malmo. It feels so freeing to ride a bike, powered by your own energy, wind blowing hair, reminds me of being a kid again.
By the time you read this I will be in Scotland and beginning the crazy coyote controlled chaos that is the Art of Mentoring. I hope to be able to post during this event, but it might have to wait till I am finished. Until then, have fun out there, and if you want, share your own stories below!