The three hundred and eighty-fourth åsic- Fika as an ice-breaker is never wrong!

A recycled blogpost from my visit in Pitman New Jersey 2014! 

There are many times I have marvelled over the word fika and how it doesn’t seem to have any translation in many other languages. Today was another of those times! 

This morning at the ”Sweden Day” at the school I visit I shared the concept of FIKA and explained what it is to the members of the staff. I was surprised that so many seemed to like the idea of FIKA and that made me think of a completely different situation some years ago. I talked to an American woman, who was married to a Swedish man.

This woman had learned by being in Sweden what fika was, and her idea of it was pretty much like the one I wrote on the whiteboard today (which I share above). As we talked we realized that the two of us had talked to Americans about the concept of fika, but in different parts of the country. I have only met people on the East Coast and she had just talked to people in California about it. Both her friends and mine had to some extent started to USE the word fika in the American English. What I now hope for, is for both the actual WORD and also the CONCEPT to spread across the continent. That would be amazing!

One of the teachers who had fika with me this morning, came back to the classroom after a while and asked me how to use the word in a sentence if he wanted to invite someone for a fika. So now, let’s spread it! There are different ways to invite, depending of the situation, but in English you can say like this if you like:

  • Do you want some fika?
  • How about some fika?
  • Are you up to some fika?

Fika can mean just a cup of coffee or tea, or it can mean coffee+ a sandwich, or it can mean coffee+a bun, or it can mean, coffee+ bun+ cake+cookies+ tårta, which is a Swedish kind of cake with no frosting/icing, but more likely whipped cream. The funny part is that fika also can mean ALL of the mentioned categories… There are really SO many different connections to the word in Swedish that it is very difficult to explain. Instead it is necessary to see the phenomenon as something ELSE, but ”having coffee”. It is a chance to SHARE with friends. What do we share then? It is not just the COFFEE, but thoughts, ideas, gossip, memories, jokes… Having a fika with someone is paying attention to that person, having a good time together with someone for a while. That is why I want the word to spread… So please, help me ”spread the word”… 😀

TILL MINA ELEVER är här en liten ”språkruta”:

Ska vi ta en fika? Hänger du med och fikar? Kom så fikar vi! Nu skulle det sitta fint med en fika! En slät kopp (= kaffe utan något fikabröd till) fika räcker! Vi ses på fiket! Vi hinner kanske med en språngfika om vi skyndar oss? Jag har fikarast mellan nio och tio varje morgon. Men jag brukar kvällsfika vid TV:n också. Stina kör långtradare och hinner inte med så långa raster, men ibland stannar hon på ett långtradarfik. 

 

The three hundred and eighty-third åsic- Uppe med tuppen!- Being an early bird!

A recycled blogpost from my visit in Pitman New Jersey 2014!1946345_1200_675.jpg (612×344)

I have noticed that one good thing with travelling across time zones is that there is a good chance to change bad habits! 😀

I agree completely with the Swedish saying ”Morgonstund har guld i mund”

Generally I do get up in the morning and start my day, but I’m not really awake…Here, six hours after my regular time zone, I have decided to get up whenever I feel alert, although it’s not ”six o’clock” as usual… Today the hour I woke up was 5.30 and I didn’t mind!

 

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Yesterday night when I accidently woke up in the middle of the night, I got a snapchat from one of my daughters. I replied…although I was tired, saying ”it’s in the middle of the night!” HER snapchat was a very alert and neat pic of herself and her friend singing and playing the guitar at school and I thought: ”Oh, NO! Not NOW! I’m TIRED!” …but it also made me aware of the wonder of TIME.

I’d say TIME is a phenomenon human beings invented. My host HERE would say ”We (the AMERICANS) invented time!” … And honestly, since time flies, I don’t have time to do my homework and find out for real who ”invented” what we all refer to as time.

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I do however enjoy the many aspects of time that make a life worth living. What if we never had any sunsets? What if you couldn’t wake up an early morning in late May in Sweden go and get your Dalademokraten, and have a cup of coffee outdoors while letting the sun warm your face. What if you couldn’t catch a flight to the USA and try to leave the sunrise behind you? There is however one thing I don’t appreciate about the way WE adjust to time. I understand why we all need to do the daylights saving change of time but having said that, I must admit I’m probably the most tired person on earth when we change all our clocks in the spring. I am probably also the luckiest person next weekend when I get my reward for struggling every morning for several months. Kronblom might be TOO lazy, but he is for sure the caracter I think of, connected to the words ”lazy” or ”relax”.

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Here, during my visit in NJ, I have noticed that I do have a serious chance to give myself the treat of feeling alert at five in the morning! That’s amazing and I love the calm and relaxed morning I get in return for getting up early. The lunch break in Sweden is up, but here we haven’t yet started our day. When I get back from school this evening, my Swedish friends will be on their way to bed… I can now see why there is a slight problem finding decent hours to chat online with a person from another part of the world. Being here is being ”right in the middle of things” when it’s a decent hour on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean… I’d better keep that in mind when I get back home to Sweden again! It has been said many times in Latin (Carpe Diem), not quite as many in Swedish, but it is an important thing to remember:

Fånga dagen! 

The three hundred and eighty-second åsic- Second Day in an American Teacher’s Hectic World

Everybody likes Pitman, #asaole

A recycled blogpost from my visit in Pitman New Jersey 2014!

At home I don’t teach English, but Swedish as a Second Language. This evening I had the great opportunity to visit an adult learner’s group in Spanish at a College not far from where I am. The students were all taking lessons in Spanish, but volunteered to talk to me about what the conditions are for adult learners at this level in the school system. I found our conversation most interesting and will share their viewpoint with both my students and my teaching friend at basic level of English.

Earlier today I first met with a few children with special needs. I shared with them a few thoughts on what it is like to live in a country where we have monopoly money and a” fairy-tale-like” reality with a king…

I also had a chance to contribute with Swedish words in grade six while they were taking a Spanish lesson about furniture in different rooms of a house. Then I discussed with a group of eightgraders why so many Swedes left Sweden a hundred years ago.

I then had a nice and long chat with one of the teachers who has been a resident of Pitman almost all her life, apart from a short period down south. She told me all there is to know about the little town and I was happy to learn all that first hand, rather than read about it.

On Friday a few of the teachers have planned for a Sweden day, where the students will be getting a whole lot of information about Sweden, but also try some typical Swedish activities. I will contribute with a slideshow about Sweden and explain why the Dala horse is a symbol for  Sweden. The collaboration with an art teacher at this school also led to an idea where we let the kids know a little about how one can paint a typical ”kurbits”.

Tomorrow we’re off to Atlantic City, my teaching friend and I. We will study ESL as the NJ authorities wants it to be. I look forward to that very much. I don’t need anyone to rock my cradle! I am exhausted, but I’m having so much fun! Teaching is my life! ❤