We have had a lot of people ask how our Swedish is coming. Well, its, kind of, not. At the moment, anyway. When we decided in April 2009 that we would move to Sweden from DC, we bought the Rosetta Stone language program. I recommend it...pretty pictures, easy to understand, total immersion in the language. It helped with the basics and with pronunciation, putting us roughly on the level of a 3 or 4 year old (which sounds demeaning, but kids ain't no dummies!) If we see an uncommon word we learned on Rosetta Stone, the exact phrases we learned it in still comes back to us. Its a bit weird, actually.
So in getting here, I signed up for SFI, Swedish for Immigrants, which is offered for free to nearly anyone. The government used to pay immigrants to take Swedish classes, and though they stopped that a while ago, I read that they tweaked the system and are piloting a version of the pay-for-learning plan in a few places, including Stockholm. I am not sure I'd qualify, but I'm sure I'd do it if I they threw a little money at me! I didn't start until late October, and only lasted until December. It wasn't terrible; they were educated, smart people taking the class with me, and it was nice to have nothing but Swedish spoken at me for a solid 3 hours. But it wasn't great, and after two months, I didn't feel like I learned all that much. Not to mention, all the art galleries in Stockholm hold their opening parties on Thursday nights, and I was either missing the openings or the class once per week. So it just didn't work out for me. And I have taken a month or so off from active Swedish learning.
But next week is when it all starts up again! Stu and I are paying to take a course at a local school together, once per week. It promises to have only a few students, and we took a placement test that will put us with other people on our level. Thankfully, we placed higher than total beginners! I would have been a little embarrassed otherwise. At once per week, we aren't going to become fluent anytime soon, but I might feel a little more comfortable talking to the grocery cashiers, and maybe later step up to the next course. I'm taking a beginner class at Stockholm University, mostly just to get more class time with professional professors (as opposed to the not-so-professional SFI professors.) And because it is for school credit, there is a bit more incentive to go to class and to do well. I think I'd also like a "language buddy" or something, too. A Swede that could get together for an hour or so a week to just practice the everyday phrases, etc. I could pay in cookies. Once I learn how to bake them here, that is. Or maybe Swedish pancakes. They are at least supposed to be super thin.
I was chatting today with Patti, a friend who just moved with her bf (and Stu's best friend) to Utrecht a week or so ago, and they are facing some of the same issues we did when we first got here...starting a new life, settling in, finding things, communicating with the locals, learning Dutch. I guess that is why I started writing this post. To acknowledge that its been 6 months! It feels like so long ago, but we definitely feel settled in Sweden. Even if we aren't fluent in Swedish (yet).
Oh, shameless plug, Patti just started a blog to keep up with everyone: http://goedgouda.blogspot.com/