Friday, December 30, 2011

The Works

JenniferRural Sweden has its surprises, and one of them is a fantastic art gallery in the small town of Avesta. Verket ("The Works") is a 100+ year old iron smelting factory, a remnant of Sweden's heavily industrialized late 19th century. The metal-working industry became so large and important that it outgrew these old structures, and the factory was abandoned around the middle of the last century, with buildings left intact and large equipment left in place. What do you do with an old smelting factory? You turn it into an art gallery, of course.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Language notes part 6: procrastination

Jennifer"De satt och jämförde sina händer: hans var större men hennes var vackrare."

The object of the lesson was the use of comparative words. T., the eldest of my teachers, read this sentence out loud from a textbook, surely for the umpteenth time in her life. T. is very Swedish (despite, or perhaps because of, the fact that she's part Finnish). T. likes to use the chalkboard and thinks grammar is neat-o. T. gives the impression that she has worked at the University all her life. T. is not above cracking a simple joke now and then for us poor foreigners, but usually she plays it pretty straight.

This time, though, this time she almost snapped. She read the sentence again out loud: "De satt och jämförde sina händer: hans var större men hennes var vackrare" (which translates to 'They sat and compared their hands; his were bigger but hers were more beautiful').

There were a few seconds of silence, during which T. pursed her lips and she appeared to be thinking. And then she said, out loud to the whole class, slowly, her voice dripping with sarcasm (in translation now):
Yes. So. How interesting Sweden is. How nice. "They sat, and compared their hands." Oh, yes, how very interesting. "His hands were bigger but her hands were more beautiful." Oh, can it be true? Well, you know it is winter now, in Sweden, and we have nothing at all to do but to sit inside and compare our hands.
She sighed. "But the author of the book is from Gothenburg, so what can you expect?"

Right, so I had Part 1 of 3 of my final exam today. Part 1 was reading comprehension; Part 2, which I take tomorrow, is writing. Thus, I am reviewing notes about words used for making comparisons. I guess I had better get back. It's been years since I've procrastinated like this for a test. Thanks for your enabling! (that's not a word in English, is it?)

Saturday, December 3, 2011

At least he went quickly

Branns på födelsedagen!
Joe …and we woke Friday morning to the news that the goat burned down. On the night of his 45th birthday, no less.

Christmas is officially cancelled. At least that should make the cat happy.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Midwinter Sacrifice

Clockwise, from top:
(a) Santa beard;
(b) head with one eye, single leg dangling;
(c) other leg; (d) assorted innards.
Joe Sunday was Första Advent, marking the opening of the official Swedish Christmas season. How has it been going so far? The advent fireworks planned for Sunday afternoon were cancelled due to wind. Norwegian weather reports that November, 2011 was the warmest November in 111 years (only because they've only been keeping track for 111 years, mind you). I'm nursing a sprained wrist, because I fell off my bicycle on the single icy morning in November. Oh yes, and the cat hates Christmas.