I took poultry to a Swedish classroom!

 

SFI session

In Sweden you can tell off the teacher for ‘overteaching’ and actually walk out and come back to class. Yes, that’s a thing I learnt  at SFI (Swedish for Immigrants).

I recently began my journey of getting integrated into the Swedish System. So far I have my personnummer (Swedish Identification Number), ID number and even most recently opened a Swedish bank account which by the way is very difficult.

I think to join the CIA, you have to go through a rigorous process like the one I went through opening my account. Those guys are thorough and petty at the same time. They almost asked whether cowrie shells are a form of currency where I come from. I swear I could read it in between their questions!

The most important part of the whole integration process is to learn Swedish and that’s why it’s important you register for SFI (Swedish for immigrants) when you first arrive. No matter who you are, if you have plans to live here you must learn the language because most employers require you to produce SFI certification when hunting for a job.  As a journalist writing for a Swedish newspaper you can imagine how important this is for me. I feel very bad whenever someone has to translate my articles. The right word here is helpless!

I’m the only African and black person in a class of 20 people. The other nineteen people are from Middle East, India, South America and some other European countries. My first day was quite dramatic. First as soon as the tutors announced that we should switch off our phones, my alarm went off.  My alarm itself is dramatic. It’s a  crowing cock. Yeah, the villager in me was exposed. And it’s in such situations that your phone decides to hang. I just wanted to die. Someone even asked if I brought poultry to class!

My embarrassing situation was quickly forgotten when one of my classmates blurted out to the tutor: “When will you be done talking? I need to drink water. I just can’t sit here all day!”

The teacher just went quiet and showed him where to get water.

I doubt that guy meant any harm. I guess it’s a combination of language barrier, background and upbringing. A simple ‘excuse me’ would have done though. If this had happened in Kenya, by now one of them, either the tutor or student would be trending online. Someone would have recorded and released the video online. Then a battalion of hashtags would have followed debating whether the tutor should resign.

I have to go back to learning Swedish nouns and pronouns. See you on the next post!

 

 

 

 

Gothenburg, a city without secrets!

Women whispering — Image by © Image Source/Corbis

Gothenburg is a very small city. So small, that I know when a beggar’s spot has been taken over. So small, that I have met the same global warming propagandist (and they are many) fifteen times in the seventy something days I have lived here.

Living in a small city means that everyone is involved in each others business in one way or another. It means that if I fry my food with coconut oil the neighbours will know. And you wonder why I cook my Ugali at 3am? I bought a 2kg packet for 70 kroner (sh 770). I will use it sparingly.

 

See, a week after I got here I found met a Kenyan friend from Facebook in a shopping mall and he called out my name. Of course I was excited to meet someone from my home country.We agreed to meet but that is yet to happen.  A few days later, while attending the Social Democrats press conference, I texted a friend in Italy and shared how lonely it could get sometimes.

Swedish journalists, unlike other journalists I have met elsewhere, are a bit antisocial. So, my friend in Italy immediately recommended that I meet her friend who had lived in Gothenburg longer. Everything happened so fast and in a few minutes we were going to meet outside Gothia Towers. Well, until a phone call came in and I had to cancel the meet up to go and check out somethings on the other side of the city. So I cancelled the meet up. Then I got distracted by  group of refugee’s demonstrating and decided to take pictures. Guess who is right infront of me as I walk out of the demo point? Yeap, the lady I had just cancelled with.  I knew it was a small town indeed!

Sweetheart not so sweet!

A few days later, I mentioned that I was Kenyan to a group of Swedes that I had just met and they laughed out loud. Turns out a Kenyan woman once lived in their neighborhood did not leave a reputation to be desired. She shared bed sheets with everyone. Infact, one night at a house party, she got too farmiliar with almost all the men in attendance. It hit me, people talk!

A friend recently invited me for an event in the city center and  I really enjoyed myself. Nice reggae music, that got me feeling bomboclat and tings. it felt like a little Jamaica in Europe. It was like the UN. We had Zimbabwe, Uganda, Tanzania and few hyper Swedes who love reggae. I was so excited and while trying to find out when the next event would take place my new friend cautioned me not to get too attached to the group. Turns out African men have attached their DNA on each other’s faces over the ‘blonde’ Swedish girls while the women have lost a strand of hair or two fighting over these ‘tall, dark and handsome’  men.

In a few days, I will be three months old in this city of the Rain forest. I have a lot to learn  in this Country of the vikings but the most important lesson for me is to be discreet and selfish with my activities!

 

 

Sweetheart not so sweet!

It’s three months now  since I relocated to Sweden. And a lot has happened to me. So much that I feel like I have lived here for a decade. Infact, these activities are the main reason I began blogging again.

Most of it has been laughable but there are two incidences that have left me in shock.

Towards the end my first month here a man harassed me at the bus stop.  I had a meeting that went on to almost 9.30pm and on my way home I decide to pass through a store to get a few supplies. Some guy followed me out and asked if I wanted to go home with him to drink some vodka. I politely declined thinking he was part the notorious A-laget  (Swedish alcoholics).

Ambushed by a gypsy!

He was persistent  and declared he was from Italy. I could clearly see he was an Arab from looks and accent. I’m not sure why he would lie about that either. Not unless it’s cool to be followed home by an Italian. I walked faster towards the bus stop which by now was clearly empty. He followed me, inquiring whether my bum and boobs were real or if it had some silicon in it. Then he declared that he was willing to even pay me to go home with him so that I could ‘please him’.

I was very pissed off and was about  to beat the hell out of him then I remembered that I was in Sweden where shouting someone’s name in the streets is already frowned upon (I have been insulted for laughing out loud. Ok, fine! I laughed too much and frankly that could have annoyed even the wildest animal.) Where were we, guy followed me to the bus stop, tried to corner me but I swung my gym bag and walked away very fast to the nearest crowd. He shouted ‘Goodbye Sweetheart. I will call you’.

I had forgotten about that  until  recently  while walking to the bus stop from the gym. It was at 10am, on a public holiday, when a black Mercedes slowed down beside me. A middle-aged Arab guy waves and I look away thinking he was waving at someone else; perhaps two blonde girls walking towards me.

He then sped off and parked right ahead of the store that I was clearly walking towards.

He pulled down his window and shouts: “C’mon sweetheart, let’s come inside. Let’s talk.” 10 am?

Where do people get these guts?

I thought moving to a first world country meant that I was taking a break from sexual harassment. I was like phewks! No more cat calling and risking being undressed for a while but no. It got worse!

And the worst part is that I still don’t know how to deal with this. Normally in Kenya, I would have faced the man and gave him a piece of my mind. But now I’m in a new country dealing with people from different backgrounds. I have to be careful how I address some issues lest I’m tagged racist or violent!

 

DISCLAIMER: This post is just meant to highlight what happened to me. I mean no harm towards any race. We are all equal!

 

Ambushed by a gypsy!

A week ago ,a gypsy  ambushed me outside a shopping mall here in Gothenburg, Sweden.

I shared a brief version of this story on my Facebook page as I psyched up myself to finish working on this website’s design. Yeah…Yeah! Roll your eyes all you want about my webdesign skills (ok fine I did a bad job). Now where were we.

Gothenburg, a city without secrets!

Yes, my romantic encounter with a gypsy.  First of all for those who don’t know, gypsy, is a name for the Romani people, an ethnic group of South Asian origin. They are a nomadic group that are mostly involved in begging and other strange crimes in Europe. They are a combination of a Nigerian (for their con skills) and Maasai (their nomadic nature).

A group of gypsys trying to make a living in the streets…

A typical gypsy female dresses up in a pink headscarf brown jacket on top of thirty other pieces of clothes and croaks while the men love their faded hand me down faded Adidas pants. They live outside shopping malls or any other public areas where they hops to beg their lives away. During the night most of them sleep under brigdes or abandoned caravans.

So on this particular day, I was just walking around wearing my African uniform. What is that? You ask. That takes me back to a party I attended recently and someone told me all Africans have a similar permanent grin. He even demonstrated it. To tell you the truth he looked like a goat!

Is this how Africans laugh? Really?

Ok, let’s stick to my unwanted brief love life with a gypsy. The man ran towards me and hugged me and before I could react he had pulled my hand and attached his thin lips on it. I stood there shocked. Everyone staring at us. My whole life flashed in front of me. Then I saw my my future. The gypsy had kidnapped me and taken me to Romani or wherever  in a ship.

His mother asked me:”Hjjjbfgrt mnaqeebgesd jbdu” and I just stared at her. Then they fed me tea with stale cheese and burnt lasagne. They wanted me to grow fat for some reason. If it weren’t for a Nigerian brother who pulled me away from that scenario I’d probably be a nun in Romania. Or whatever. That means I’d never see our family cat again. You guys, it’s no longer safe out here. Pray for me!