My dear, beloved step-motherland

At the passport control, the immigration officer questioned, one after the other, a bunch of Chinese young men. What is the purpose of your visit? How long are you going to stay? What kind of business are you doing? Their English was not very good, but they answered diligently, and the officer was satisfied. He will…

Language cafes, difficult times and us, immigrants

I never thought I would sit in one of these cubicles in Kista library (for non-Swedish speakers, pronounced as Sheesta). They always felt quite… claustrophobic. When you pass by two rows of these cubicles, you can see through the narrow glass slits desks with people sitting at them, looking very confined. Like they are imprisoned,…

What Norway has that Sweden doesn’t

… is a common Swedish joke. What does Norway have that Sweden doesn’t? You guessed it, a good neighbour. According to the Swedes. The other way round, perhaps, according to the Norwegians. Or maybe they don’t joke like that. In my case, what Sweden had in those short days when I was in Norway, and…

Nya ord

Jag har förlorat mitt språk tingen har ingen smak längre i min mun det finns alltid en oändlig tyst stund mellan mig och de nya orden Theodor Kallifatides, Mitt språk och jag

Summer swimming (in Sweden and Switzerland)

Earlier this summer I swam in Lac Léman, in icy-cold, ice-like transparent water. It was a hot, hot day at a villa in Chambésy where we stayed for one night, and from where we could see the lake, and could see Geneva and its tall white fountain at a distance. We reached the lake in…