Saturday, December 5, 2009

Hockey starts tomorrow

Yup, he's 3 and tomorrow he will be ingratiated (sp?) into the world of hockey and me into the world of Hockey Moms. Hubby hooked up with a fellow co-worker who runs the Uppsala Young Hockey Club and even though the age for entry is 5 the men convinced themselves that our son could possibly participate. How, I'm not sure. I mean, seriously, he's 3!

So last night we got skates and a helmet and tonight hubby is taking us out for elbow and knee pads. He's 3!

I tried to warn hubby not to expect much. Did I mention he's only 3?! But he's excited for this bonding time on the ice and since hockey blood courses through his veins, why shouldn't the little man hit the ice as early as possible?

And then the little man picks up a stick and ball at the store last night and starts chasing the ball around with said stick. To hubby, this was a proud moment and sure sign we have a young Gretzy in the making. Uhmmmm...So here we go...

Maybe he'll be #3?

Friday, December 4, 2009

Understanding my son's Swenglish

I've been working with Swedes for well over 10 years now. They are extremely good English speakers, especially the younger generations, which has to do with early learning in the school system. It's very easy to be here and get by without learning Swedish. But I don't have that luxury. My son speaks Swedish.

He was just beginning to speak Serbian when we left Montenegro. He was then thrust into a completely new culture and language. Since he started his new daycare in August, he is really adapting well and speaking Swedish almost fluently. We're so proud of our little sponge.

But this has understandably delayed his English speaking skills as he's only speaking English at home with us. From 8-3 everyday he's in an all-Swedish environment and the language that surrounds him while we're out and about is of course, Swedish.

Hubby and I are finding it harder to understand him. I have a bit of an edge since I've been taking lessons once a week for the past several months. But I fear my bad Swedish grammar coupled with his toddler enunciation is compounding his inability to express himself and our inability to understand.

I know children his age back home are speaking and expressing themselves clearly. His "speak" goes something like this: "mama, make a peepee" "Juice" "Go see Dada" "It hurts" "Axel (boy's name) crying."

He pushed a child at school the other day who fell down and started crying. The teacher explained this to me when I picked him up and he then got a stern talking to in English. He was upset. He understood it was wrong.

Yesterday I picked him up from school and he started to babble about "Axel crying. Axel fall down." I asked him if he pushed Axel and he said, "yes". But I was doubtful so before giving him another stern talking to, I called the school to get the deets. Little man did NOT push Axel down. He just fell. Phewf. But do you see my problem? This is a daily occurence. I can't reach him sometimes and he doesn't have the vocabulary to explain himself.

Anyone have any advice? I try to passively correct his speech. So when he says, "Mama, make a peepee", I repeat, "Mama, I have go make a peep". I try to fill in the blanks. I've also started speaking to him in Swedish sometimes but I fear I may be hindering his English.

I'd really like to understand my little man and I fear we're lost in translation.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Wanted: 3 bedroom apartment in Uppsala

But we'll settle for two. It's that time of year again...moving time! We've really loved living in our quaint little "radhus" (townhouse) surrounded by kids and nature. Unfortunately our landlord has just sold the house and we're on the prowl again..though this time, it seems much more difficult. Seems there are more people looking to rent and less people renting.

So, if you know of anyone in Uppsala renting an apartment (yes, we want to stay close to my son's daycare), kindly let me know. We need to be out of here at the end of February.

So it begins. Again.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

First Advent

I've been complaining a lot about how lonely it is in this country and how it's so hard to make friends cuz the folks here are, to put it politely, reserved. To put it bluntly, Stuck Up.

But today I was reminded of how blessed we are to be here.

Today was the 1st of Advent. For a not-too-religious country, they sure take the four weeks leading up to Christmas very seriously. I don't know of anyone, save us, that doesn't have four advent candles (on my shopping list). Every Sunday a candle is ceremoniously lit in every house until Christmas Day; here's it's the 24th, when all four are glowing.

Swedes are big on tradition. Today we were invited to spend the day celebrating with our adopted Swedish family and their real family. We celebrated a daughter's birthday, a cousin's immigration to Sweden from Armenia and the 1st of Advent. As is customary in the weeks leading up to Christmas, the food was "Julbord", which means Christmas Table. An array of yummy foods including ham, this amazing scalloped potato dish called Jonsson's Surprise, pickled herring (it was seriously to.die.for), red beet salad and of course, meatballs. And those are just the highlights.

There were too many of us to count.

And after we feasted, we migrated along with the rest of the townsfolk, to the botanical gardens to witness the annual 1st of Advent firework display. Even amidst a heavy fog, it was impressive. The little guy was in awe.

These reserved Swedes truly astound me when it comes to preserving age-old customs and celebrating as a community. I should also mention we partook (is that a word?) in "Julmarknad", which means Christmas market, in downtown Uppsala yesterday. "Since 1287". Yup, that's how long they've been doing the Christmas market. Outdoor Christmas Craft Fair with pony rides and a petting zoo for the kiddies. Well worth shivering for.

But it wasn't the Jonssons or the fireworks or the white pony or even the wine. It was being a part of centuries worth of tradition with our Swedish family. As they have for over 10 years now, they wrapped us up in their inner circle. We were the only non-family there and that, my friends, was a very special blessing. Today we were far from lonely.