Today is apparently Thanksgiving in America so enjoy, dear americano amigos. I added a latino touch to that to emphasize. Not sure what exactly. Thanksgiving is nothing we celebrate in Sweden. We actually aren’t that big on turkey either, which means the holiday would be impossible, I assume. Here in Dubai I’m working with a lot of Americans and they made sure nobody misses the event. At work yesterday we discussed what we are grateful about. Since I’m not back home in Sweden and taking important things for granted, I’m obvious grateful for the full jar of lingonberries that I have in the fridge (the red stuff we eat with meatballs), that nobody got in to the elevator after that extremely, horrible fart that might have killed someone (am I allergic to tomatoes?) and that my husband still believes that “Pappa är bajs” means “daddy is your best friend” in Swedish (until he reads this). It means that he is poop but it makes for a fun conversation once my daughter starts talking.
I was also taught how to draw a turkey with my hand. Yes, it sounds like I work in a kindergarten.. this is actually my colleagues drawing. I can’t show you mine as it will be worth a lot of money in a few years.
Or maybe it’s in the trash.
I was having an interesting conversation with one of my Filipino colleagues. We were discussing the differences in how we grew up, challenges in the daily life and missing family back home. A lot of the female Asian community here in Dubai leave their children back home with grandparents to go abroad to work and send money home. The dads are all mysteriously uninvolved. It hurted my mummy heart to listen to this but I have learnt to understand to be grateful for what I have and sometimes people just got to do what you have to in order for their families to be safe. Even if it means seeing your child once every two year. I know, we can’t even start to imagine. We take so much for granted in our lives.
While having this discussion she looked at me and said that so much is different here in the Middle East. How we live, how we talk, expressions….like “you have something in your nose”. I was like oh, ok what does that mean? I was wondering what that expression meant while she walked away to do grab on another desk. I told her that we have some funny expressions in Swedish. For example “there is no cow on the ice” means “don’t worry”. Makes sense right.
She came back and sat down and said “your nose” again. I nodded slowly and tried to look interested while thinking this is a weird expression. Is she going to tell me what it means. I looked at her and waited for her to explain.
She handed me a napkin and said “your nose…” and pointed. And that’s when I understood that I’m a stupid blond and actually had the biggest booger in my nose and the sentence didn’t have a culture meaning. It was just a straightforward wish from her side to remove the disgusting booger in my nose while I was sitting there doing nothing and just looking at her talk.
I nodded and walked slowly and embarrassed away from the situation and to remove what was hanging out of my nose.
My husband is English and I’m Swedish. I guess that makes our six months old daughter Swenglish. So far she is doing a great job being in between. We have weekly fights if she is more of a viking or a crazy Manchester United hooligan.
A few weeks ago my husband started taking Swedish lessons to be able to understand what me and our daughter are and will secretly be talking about. He has obviously already showed off in class that he knows important phrases like “mamma är din bästa kompis” (mum is your best friend) and “pappa är bajs” (dad is poo). Things that his incredibly talented wife thought him and made him believe it meant something else. I’m sure they were very impressed in class.
The other day he had a meeting at work with a Swedish supplier. My husband who is obviously proud of his new learning wanted to show off with shaking the suppliers hand and asking her “vad heter du?” (What’s your name?). He took her hand and his memory failed him slightly and he said “Hej, jag älskar dig” which means “Hi, I love you!”
The supplier was obviously flattered considering my husband is a handsome guy but she laughed and asked him if he was really sure about that considering it was the first time they’ve met.
Well, people that speaks more than one language knows how hard it is. I’ve done quiet some interesting mistakes like ordering a naked steak in France, asking for a blow job in Lebanon and asked my Arabic boss in Doha if he wanted to eat a road sweeper.