English vs Svenska
I just got back from a holiday to England−my birth country, a place where I lived for some of my formative years (18-23), and a place where all but 2 of my relatives live. It was a very hectic but enjoyable visit, jumping between friends and family I have not seen for 10 or 20 years. Everyone was so gracious and generous. I also took C and M (my gift child..oops, teenager), so they experienced a little bit of what it is like to be me in Sweden. Specifically, I realized this week, when I returned to work and so forth, that the most wonderful thing was that I was immersed in my own language for 3 whole weeks, with no guilty feelings (about speaking Swedish, there were plenty of other guilty feelings), no pressure to learn more quickly, to be training all the time in a language that is just not coming that easily to me.
OK, I know I am very lucky because I do not need Swedish for my job. And generally you don’t need it for everyday life, but the fact is, and this shall always be a fact, English is NOT the national language in Sverige, and thus everything of importance and culture ultimately requires Svenska. I am learning as quickly as a person in her 40s is willing to, and I think (most of the time) I am doing ok. I can comprehend quite well (reading and listening), and carry on basic conversations. No, I am not advanced, and I expect my grammar sucks, but for the most part I do try more than other expats I have heard about.
I guess I just wanted to put it in writing somewhere. I am only a 3 year old kid (that is, in less than a month I will have been living here for 3 years), and although I am not fluent, and certainly could be trying more, I have the desire to learn, but in my own time. So there!
Google Translate – Use It
Part of why I have survived (so far) is thanks to the folks at Google (translate app) If you don’t use this, then you are crazy. I copy text in there to translate from English to Swedish, so I can learn and send information in both English and Swedish in emails. I use it to translate webpages from Swedish to English, I use it to confirm if I am writing (basic) things correctly. I know it is not 100% accurate or reliable, but enough to help you get by and learn a little by osmosis.