Category Archives: officialdom

Speaking Our Language: Registered for SFI (At Last)

What’s it like living in a country where you don’t speak the language? Well, it’s like this:

A wall of sound that you know contains meaning. But you have no idea what it is, even when the intonation and facial expression carries the general direction and mood. So you can have a go at making the appropriate face to keep up your end of the conversation and pretend to be a great listener (I have gone a good 10 mins as one of three or four in a conversation), but you get found out eventually, and confessing to be a big faker who laughed at the jokes he didn’t understand isn’t pleasant.

On a good day, it’s a bit like this old Larson Cartoon

And very, very slowly, I can hear a few more words as time goes on. But it’s too slow.

And it leads to being very confused in places like the supermarket. Some things you really don’t know what they are. And what you think you know, you get wrong. Like the time we bought 6 cartons of yoghurt instead of milk. Or the time we made pizza with shortcrust pastry. And you can’t work out how to get the self-scanning working. At least I can ask Ursäkta, kan du hjälpa mig in Engelska? when things go truly wrong, which is huge advance on where I was 6 weeks ago (ie: Engelska?)

And while I do have enough very simple phrases to ask for things, I’m far too nervous to use them. Not because I fear my pronunciation would fail critically and laughably. Well, OK, not just because of that, but I’m much more afraid that the person behind the counter will ask a clarifying question, which will wash over me in an impenetrable wall of blah blah blah blah GINGER! blah blah blah.

So I’m very relieved that both Lucy and I have finally bitten the bullet and registered for SFI classes. Lucy has hers 3 days a week in the day (starting at 0815) totalling 15hrs, and I have 2 evening classes of 3hrs. Both are a short bus ride away from the house (actually just across the car park from our nearest big supermarket, which is handy). Both of us start in a couple of weeks.
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Achievements Unlocked

Having a week of achievements.

I finally made it along to IKEA and bought all the things. My lovely colleagues back in Scotland had given me an IKEA voucher as a leaving gift and it was time to spend it. I would have loved to have bought one amazing thing and say that that was what I bought but actually we needed lots of little things.

So thank you guys, you helped me buy… Slats for DD’s bed, a coat hanging thing for DD, a clothes hanging for Martin, a duvet cover for DD, a sheet for DD, an angle-poise desklamp, a new light fitting for the office, door signs for DS2, lovely glasses and mugs, straws, paper, pens, scissors and of course the essential tea lights. We still have some things left to buy, mainly big things (a bed, a sofa-bed and some bookcases) but I think we are almost there.

We are still waiting for delivery of our containers, so we are living minimally. It is mostly okay until you think where is… and realise it is somewhere between Scotland and Sweden. Very frustrating. I arrived with two skirts and one pair of jeans. Manageable I thought.. But I simply cannot find the jeans. They have vanished. So I have had to go to H&M to stock up on clothes to accommodate my ever expanding waist line. (More on that another time.)

PersonalNummer Registration

Today we took the kids out of school for the day and visited the tax office. Forms were filled in, boxes ticked, passports, marriage certificate, employment contract and birth certificates copied. This is all so we can get our personnelnummers. This number is key to Swedish life. It is a bit of a cross between your NHS number and your NI number and it used for everything… Opening bank accounts, applying for a travel pass, applying for child allowance, health care, dental care, buying a mobile phone, applying for membership of the library or the local sports club, getting an IKEA family card… Seriously this number is used all of the time. We still have another 3-4 week wait before we finally get them. Then Martin and I can apply for ID cards so we won’t need our passports on us.

After that we went to the shop to stock up on food and milk. We seem to be going through gallons at the moment. Considering getting a cow! Home for lunch. After lunch I explored the chimney and found the evasive flap and its handle. It is extremely stiff though so will have to get Martin to look at it. I can totally see how the house filled with smoke. The hole is tiny without the flap being open!

Then, while I was on a roll, I looked at the downstairs TV. It claims to have two HDMI inputs but in reality it only has one. So I have unplugged the Apple TV, for now, and plugged in the XBox. Cue, happy boys!

The other thing that happened today is I picked up a parcel containing 15 UK to EU plug converters. We had two with us and I looked at them at the airport and they were £25 each! I bought some off UK Ebay for about that for 15 including shipping. So now we can plug in all the things.

Things still to achieve

  • Register with midwife (did I tell you that bit?)
  • Get DS1 into school – ongoing….
  • Test the sauna – although I will only be able to watch
  • Find a good knit night – I have three to test next week 😉

Continue reading Achievements Unlocked