Friday Haruto and his family moved back to Japan leaving a hole in our class community. Today that hole was filled with new energy and substance as Sven arrived from Sweden to spend his first day with us. Last day/first day….. In some ways the two are so much alike, all passageways between worlds and memories that will take on a life of their own
The students looked on in wonder as our new student came through the door. He is the first student I have had from Sweden. I always love that when my universe expands with a new culture, not yet part of the fabric of our multicultural quilt of families and their, yet untold, stories. I also have my first Tunisian, my first Brazilians, and my first student from Kyrgyzstan. The world has knocked on my door.
“Prater du Svensk?” I ask this a bit haltingly from the deepest recess of my mind Sven looks at me in surprise and starts speaking Swedish. Now it is time for a reality check. I just threw at him all the Swedish I remember from a Swedish class I took in night school in Germany over thirty years ago. At the time, I was teaching English in a German high school and struggling to learn German, so I am not sure why I thought it might be a good idea to add Swedish to that , but I enrolled in the Swedish class none the less. The teacher gave explanations and translations in German , not English, so that made it all the more fun This many years later that is all I had to show for it. This was soon apparent and the excited student stopped mid sentence when he recognized that look of bewilderment on my face.
Sven’s English is stellar When he begins to speak, the room. becomes very quiet and we are all charmed by his British accent. I. think to myself, he speaks better than I do. I have to find a way to get everyone to talk, as they are mesmerized by his new and charming accent. To get to know one another, we share stories and play games Just today, I created the cherry blossom snowstorm. Everyone gets a piece of pink paper. On it, “Write something we don’t already know about you. Now, fold the paper to look like a cherry blossom, squish it.” So we all stand with our new found cherry blossoms in hand. “Now, make it snow” We throw our cherry blossoms up in the air and when they fall, we all collect one from the ground. As we open them we guess who said whatever is written there
I learn that Sven is a big fan of Real Madrid and doesn’t like Barcelona at all- an immediate common bond with the class, soccer!
And so, a new day begins. Sweden has come to call.