Monday, October 18, 2004

"To live with someone from a different country" requested by Belle.

Somehow it doesn't feel odd, it feels familiar and comforting to live with an Englishman. My mum, who is from Finland, did stay with her aunt in England for a while when she was in her twenties and worked there for a couple of years before meeting my dad who also was from Finland. She moved to Sweden shortly before they got married. We've always talked a kind of mixed Swenglish in the family with my mum but talked Swedish to our dad. But we never learnt Finnish so that is what my parents talked when they didn't want us to know what they were saying.

Mum used to cook all sorts of English dishes and we got used to having brown gravy to almost everything and that the vegetables were supposed to be all mushy and overcooked(yuck) but also that yorkies are very nice with gravy and roast. But she also did these fantastic pastries and cakes and every time we went over to visit her aunt she brought back loads of English necessities like Oxo cubes, malt loaf, water biscuits, short bread, self raising flower and dried mint that she used for the lamb roast plus a heck of a lot more that would fit in our car, we'd go by ferry on the north sea and all I got to say about that is, thank the gods for planes and short crossings of 2 hours! So all of this is familiar and not unusual to me. Maybe that's why I fell in love with a handsome Englishman with a Suffolk accent... ?

But as Belle has found out there is a difference in tolerance to cold weather. When James first came over to stay he was fascinated with snow and could just sit and stare at it while it was falling outside. He still loves the crunch sound you get when walking on it when it is very cold but now when the novelty has worn off he thinks winter goes on forever and spring can never come too quickly when it is around March. And he still has difficulty in judging when it is a proper time to put some gloves and hat on. He still some times thinks it is alright to go out in -10 without a hat on! BTW when the English news says there will be severe cold they are talking about -1 or maybe even -3. It took a bit of time before I realized they weren't joking about it when I was over in England to visit James' family in winter.

He has never understood the Swedish term "fika", which generally means a cup of coffee or tea WITH cake or sandwiches. And he don't really get that we like to fika so often. It is almost like a religion to some, and it has to be at a certain time and there has to be cake and cookies with the coffee or else it isn't a proper fika! If a friend calls and wonders if you can get together and have a talk it usually means can you come over and fika or could we go out to fika at a nice and cozy cafe. I kinda like it, it is very relaxed and you get something to munch on while talking about deep meaningful stuff, like the latest gossip...

Even though I'm sure there are loads more that you can go on and on about there really isn't anything that irritates me. He is very easy to cook for, he always amuses me with his quirky sense of humour and I enjoy being in his company and misses him awfully whenever he is working a different shift then I am. Life would be oh so boring without him, I do love him to bits, love you Jamie...

1 comment:

Eleanor said...

Thanks so much for that, Maria! :-) Great answer and the extra "warm" bits about James are lovely! Aww, may you two always be so mad about each other!!

I don't know why, but it just didn't register that you married a guy specifically from Suffolk. I probably read it at some point, but it didn't stick in my head. My husband comes from the same part of England. Well, technically he's from Essex, but right on the border between the two counties, so the accent is the same. His is watered down some as he has spent so many years in Canada, but I hear the authentic one frequently when chatting on the phone to his relatives and friends in England.

Maybe it's a generation difference as my husband is older, but the "fika" thing wouldn't be as strange to him as it is to James. He HAS to have something to nibble on when I set a cup of tea or coffee in front of him and it's the same when he has a cuppa in a cafe or whatever. We call it "having a coffee/going for coffee", regardless of what the beverage choice actually is at home/in a coffee shop or cafe. It's sort of a rite of passage when you get to the point in your teens when "wanna go for coffee?" becomes part of your vocabulary and a regular activity. The English have a pub on every corner - we have a Tim Horton's coffee shop! :-)