Lesson 5 – where I am the student!

My recent trip to a New Hampshire Dunkin Donuts taught me that having an accent from your homeland does not mean you are a new immigrant, unintelligent…or friendly.

When I walked into line, I heard a gorgeous blonde in front of me say that she’d moved from Sweden two years ago.

I conversation-bombed (my new term similar to a photo bomb) and asked if she knew English before she “came over” or if she learned “when she got here”?

Her curt response as she looked into my evidently insulting eyes was, “In Sweden we learn English at quite a young age.”

Meaning for my response to be an apology, and an instant friendship of alliance, I explained that I had a friend in Sandviken.

“That is quite a bit North of where I live.” and she turned to select her figure-altering donuts.

A little offended myself, I was suddenly on the defensive and explained that my friend met her husband in college and learned Swedish once she moved and immersed herself in the culture.

She now looked over her shoulder as she (picked up, grabbed), snatched her box o’ lard and stated firmly, “Right now I need to head North by myself.”

Brrrr….quite the ice queen. No wonder she was headed North.

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9 thoughts on “Lesson 5 – where I am the student!”

  1. Donna, I just had a lesson on small talk, with a little cheat sheet. My students had such a hard time with the idea of someone just starting to talk to you in a line somewhere. Lol. I told them this was a crucial thing to learn how to do and handle because it will 100% happen to you in almost any English speaking country. I taught them how to politely get out of it and not be nasty. They actually thought “who cares! It is rude for them to start talking to me!” If it was a cute guy… then that was o.k. They thought her response on DD was completely normal. … yup. That’s my life now.

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    1. So timely and interesting! I have been wondering if I was rude too. I’ve been saying I’ll never “conversation bomb” again. But we all live in such an impersonal world…I cant stand next to someone for five minutes and not want to know how their day is?

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      1. They are all Swedish. It is in the Swedish culture to “mind your Own business, etc.” In the US, we New Englander’s are known as being cold and stand offish. Let me tell you, people who say that have never been to Sweden!

        You, Donna, were not rude. Her teacher didn’t succeed in the small talk culture lesson, or conveniently left it out. I think I failed with half my class. By the way, small talk is called cold talk in Sweden, and it really is cold like you experienced!

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  2. Wanted to say that there are also wonderfully warm, polite, incredibly classy Swedes that I have learned lots from! I just got a kick out of the idea that you got a typical reaction from somebody that had been stateside for two years. Maybe she was homesick and longing for standing in line all by herself, not getting interrupted in her thoughts.
    Me, I gethat so thrown now if someone does that. I have become the rude snob!

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