“Snygga jacka,” said my colleague TH yesterday afternoon.
“Huh?” I said, thinking, he just said something about my jacket. I heard the word, but also got the visual confirmation, as TH was watching me zip up my down coat against the cold as I was about to leave our office for the day.
“Snygga jacka,” he repeated, pronounced “snoog YAK-uh,” and followed up with “nice jacket” in English.
And then I said something like “it’s from California, but it’s from three years ago” — in Swedish. I said it in Swedish almost without thinking, and I even used the phrase “tre års sen” for “three years ago,” a past tense form that stymied me when we were taking language classes over a year ago. (Over a year ago!!)
Convinced I’d said it wrong, I looked at TH and repeated myself in English, and asked, “did I get that right?”
“Yes,” he said, “tre års sen, three years ago.”
I did a little dance, clapped my hands and yelped with glee — maybe I’m starting to pick up some Swedish! Maybe eating lunch with and working around Swedes is working a tiny bit for learning the language! It’s not quite osmosis, but lunchtime conversations and corrections must be oozing into the language centers in my brain.
I still can’t speak Swedish, but it was so encouraging to have that little blip of minuscule fluency, just for a moment. And I got another lesson or two from other colleagues today — the different ways to say thinking about something or talking about something… but that’s another post.