The other day I went shopping, like so many times before. Yes, you guys know me: Annika has a hard time staying away from the stores!
But, actually, I haven’t been shopping all that much since Christmas. I promised myself to lose 5 kilo, or about ten pounds, before heading to the clothing stores again. Unfortunately that has not happened yet. Me losing 5 kilos, that is-so therefore my favorite clothing stores will have to wait…Sigh…
But, of course there are other things a person has to buy: food, presents for parties, gadgets for the home etc.
The other day I went to Target, my beloved store Target, to pick up a new microwave oven and a couple of lamps for our bedroom.
I stood in line, and said nothing more than a “hi” to the cashier…He looked up at me and his next question was:
- So, where you’re from?
- Oh, all right…so, how come you’re not blonde?
How on earth do I answer to that? As always I gave my tired old spiel: oh, you know not every single person in Sweden is blonde. We come in all hair colors. Sorry to disappoint you…
- No, no…your eyes are so blue…that is so Swedish!
- Oh, all right…
Sometimes I get so tired of that, it gets so old. It is classic line that all of us Swedes that are not blonde have to hear, time and again. I know it is nothing major at all. But none the less, it is a little bit annoying.
Something that also happens every once in a while is a “Bad English Day”. It is sort of like having a bad hair day, like when you hair doesn’t want to co-operate with you, you all know what I mean. Same thing with the English language…Some days it just won’t come out right. You stand there sounding like an idiot trying to explain yourself; ”ahum, you know that thing you use when you turn the channels on the TV…You know!”
-Oh, you mean a remote control.
-Yes, thank YOU!!!
Moments like that are so embarrassing. And you feel like a moron. I guess it happens to all of us. My friends and I talk about the phenomenon every now and then. It has struck us all at some point.
Another thing that I think is truly hard is when a person is spelling something fast . I still, after all these years, have such a hard time sorting a,e and i fast in my head. I get them mixed up with letters in the Swedish alphabet (help!!!). When I worked as an assistant director for a Montessori school in Arlington for a year I took a lot of phone calls, and had to write information and names down on a daily basis. I hated when a person called and spelled his or her name and address in a fast pace. I was lost, many times. Awful.
One of my best friends in the entire world lived in the States for a couple of years. We met when we were au-pairs and became fast and close friends. M was au pair for a year, just like me. She went back to Sweden again and a couple of years later she came back to the states again with her Swedish boy friend. He had landed a high-tech job in North Carolina. That was so much fun for me to have M back in the US again. I had just given birth to Karolina so it was so fantastic to have one of my best friends nearby. M and B came up a lot for visits, and we visited them. M is one of the lucky people with a perfect ear for languages. You cannot hear her Swedish accent. It is non- existent! She sounds like an American when she opens her mouth. That just happened right away. M just picked up the American accent, just like that during her year as an au-pair in Connecticut!!!
Her boyfriend B had this charming Swedish accent (that he really worked, by the way!!!), and he and I were always saying that we envied M so much!! Now M (and B) is back in Sweden again. She moved back about ten years ago. But, her American English is as perfect as always. Not fair
The rest of us can only dream…the rest of us whom are stuck with our “Very European Accents”.