Wednesday, May 19, 2010

What I do for my country

Jennifer So I have been amusing myself these days by trying to catch up with two months worth of Swedish homework in a week. This is not a good idea, and I don't know if I will be able to do it, but I am learning a lot of Swedish. We have to take self-administered computer tests: reading, writing, speaking (we speak into the microphones and make sound files that we then attach to the test), and... listening.

Normally I enjoy practicing listening; it is a real pleasure when I suddenly understand something that I didn't before. But the people who made up this test thought it would be good if we could understand Swedish being sung. Normally I would even agree with that. But this particular test... "Idas Sommarvisa"... and I have to listen to it over and over until I can get the words... oh god, please make it stop! Click here for a youtube video of it... the lyrics scroll along the bottom so no, I have not watched any more than it took for me to verify that yes, this is the version I am listening to about a hundred times.

Joe is sitting across from me working on his own stuff; I played a couple seconds of it. He winced. I complained. He said that it's kind of like that Dutch video they show to immigrants as a tolerance test— you know, the one showing mild drug use, homosexual couples, and topless women at the beach?— the punch-line of which is "This is the Netherlands: if you don't like it, don't come here." (Most people I know respond with "Netherlands— great! Where do I sign up?")

I am still taking the test so I don't have time to find that Dutch video for you. Instead, I suggest you försöker mina kläder and watch "Idas Sommarvisa" again instead. Joe's parallel is pretty good, so I'll stop complaining now and accept that this is just Sweden.

Still... are we sure this sort of thing is allowed by the Geneva convention?

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