Yesterday was one of those days in which I experienced a lot and felt drained both physically and mentally afterward, whilst feeling it was so important for my own self-development.
The day started with the panic realisation that I had to finish my Swedish novel so that I could verbally summarise and review it for the course I have been taking this year. I had originally chosen ‘Röde Orm’ (Red Snake), a Swedish Viking classic, written in Old Swedish and had read a third of the novel and was enjoying it, before I was bought another for my birthday.
This book ‘Låt den rätte komma in’ (Let the right one in) is a chunky four hundred pages of Swedish language and focuses on a 12 year old vampire in a suburb of Stockholm over a three week period in October and November, 1981.
I had read around two hundred pages before yesterday and was thoroughly enjoying the book, however, two hundred pages of my second language, which I still don’t feel happy with, filled me with dread, especially as it was to be done in one day.
The beginning of the reading session was very sporadic and I seemed to find a hundred and one excuses not to get too bogged down in the novel: ‘I’ll put some coffee on at the end of this section’, ‘I’ll get a piece of fruit before I continue’, ‘I’ll pour a coffee now’, and so on and after three solid hours of ‘reading’, I was amazed to see that I had read a massive 35 pages.
It was then the real panic set in and I decided to make a quick lunch (bulgar wheat and brussel sprouts…yummy) and get on with the task in hand. It was here that all fell into place as the book hit a peak and my reading went with the flow.
When it was time to get myself ready for my weekly football training with Etina’s relatives, I had only 30 pages left and knew that I would be able to read them without any problem on my return.
Missing the football for the last three weeks, due to that birthday party and my wedding anniversary, I had mixed feelings about returning to the fold. In general the relatives are pleasant and we have a fun hour and a half of five-a-side football, yet there are a couple that seem unsure of how to deal with me and instead of just saying ‘hello’ every week and then speaking ‘football talk’ feel that they need to engage in some meaningful conversation that goes something like this:
Mark: Hello there, how are you doing?
Relative: Not too bad, yourself?
Mark: Pretty good.
[uncomfortable silence follows as Mark then tries to get on the football pitch and run around a bit]
Relative: So how’s the teaching going? (fifteenth week in a row)
Mark: Yeah it’s okay but it takes time away from my writing (fifteenth week in a row)
and here is where the traditional comes in as it doesn’t matter what I say as the answer is always in the positive. I am still toying with the idea that I can tell them next time they ask that I am an alcholic and am thinking of comitting suicide and see what the response is with that one. The thing is I already know that they will say ‘that’s good’ and nod interested.
I know they are only being polite but I’m not that interested in politeness for politeness sake. Have I become too harsh here, should I get involved more, make these people feel that we really have something in common, maybe hang out socially? [Mark shudders].
Anyway yesterday was not so much annoying in that way as realising I was losing the desire to play with the group that has now displaced the older, more relaxed players. Now we have a majority of teenagers, some quiet, some mouthy, some typical but one that is so arrogant that I found myself biting my lip to stop myself from giving him a mouthful on more than one occasion.
I am aware that age makes a difference and that at my peak of playing, as a seventeen year old, I could be a problem but this was different, this was taking the fun out of the whole game and I’m not sure there will be enough motivation to get me back to the sports hall next year for another game…shame.
Returned home and finished the book. Was expected a horribly clichéd last twenty pages or so (as is often the case in novels of this kind) and found the author did seem to have a problem with ending the story well. On saying that I did enjoy it and it wasn’t as clichéd as expected and I really feel like the early sections of the book really made up for it.
I would recommend the book for those of you with a taste for the vampire story although as only Kroker and David will be able to read it for now (as I am awaiting an answer regarding my offer to translate the novel to English) you may have a chance in the future.
This morning I reviewed the book and got a decent grade for it; only five assignments left and then I will have college level Swedish…:-)