Just because I SOUND like a caveman…

This past weekend, I took a shortcut past a brand new tram stop that had not yet opened. A very confused looking woman asked me in Swedish when the next tram was coming. I explained to her, also in Swedish, that the stop would not open until the next day, as it was a new stop for the new line. 

From her confused look, I deduced that I had once again messed up my Swedish grammar in some way. However, I’m fairly certain I got all the key words correct. “New station” “Opens tomorrow” I’m not THAT terrible at Swedish. 

It seems the problem may have been that this woman was not familiar with Stockholm and it’s transportation system. She kept insisting that she arrived at this stop a few hours ago and was trying to go back. Figuring she most likely was not a time traveler from the future, I tried to tell her that there was a different train (not tram) stop about 400 meters up the road just behind a large building. Perhaps that was where she arrived?

But because of what I can only assume must have been bad grammar ( “Different train, you go other side of building, different station.”), she did not trust my local knowledge. In a move I’ve experienced a few times before, she stared at me for a beat, then proceeded to approach another person to ask the exact same question. 

It’s so frustrating to take time to help people when they totally ignore everything you say, even if it is in a caveman-like accent. Just because I’m missing a few adjectives doesn’t mean I can’t answer your question! 

I need to find out the Swedish equivalent of “But that’s what I said!” and “I told you so!”  Otherwise, I might just practice a standard phrase in perfect Swedish and use that for any question from now on. Example: “You only need to wait here 5 minutes. Have a lovely day.”

This will be my response for all future questions, whether they are “How long until the next train?” or “Where can I find something to eat?”. People will trust my confident, perfectly-spoken answer and wait for something that will never come unless they dare to trust information from someone with an accent. 

Cavemen have feelings too!

4 Replies to “Just because I SOUND like a caveman…”

  1. Lina

    Hej! I keep having this experience too, but I’m positive that my Swedish is much worse than yours. I’m not sure why people ask me for directions (I really don’t look that Swedish) but I’m so flattered that I try answering anyway.

    I’m a Canadian in Sweden and I found your blog when I was trying to figure out what Balsam is; it was right next to other the other bottles that were labeled conditioner (so by deduction it should have been shampoo) and it certainly didn’t feel like any conditioner I’ve ever used! Anyway, I love your posts, I’m bookmarking your blog 🙂

    • hjonasson

      Thank you so much! How long have you been here? And I’m so happy I’m not the only one who wasn’t sure what Balsam was! haha!

      I wrote a book about all the weird stuff moving to Sweden. Things like not being able to read the news properly, having greasy balsam hair, and just random thoughts. Basically, my blog type stuff in a book. If you look up “Heather Jonasson” on Bokus.com or Amazon you’ll find it (I wrote two).

      And today I rinsed my eye with what I thought was distilled water, but was actually some sort of disinfectant with a bit of chlorine – so the fun never stops! But now I’ve learned some new words…. painfully. 😉

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