– Posted by Hanna –
Who am I? Why am I traveling? All I know is that from a very young age I always wanted to see the world. But to be able to realize my dream I first had to learn basic English (AND finish high-school, AND get a job, AND earn some money, but I was luckily unaware of all that tedious stuff back then). I started studying English in fourth grade and I still remember my second lesson – with horror!
The teacher (I’m sure she was a senior associate of 666 personally) had given us homework and now we were supposed to know how to say the following sentence in English: My name is …… (and fill in with our own names) and I have…… (and say either a ball, a pencil, a book, etc.) No iPhones or iPads back then.
Pretty easy, right?
The teacher started to question us one by one and to her complete satisfaction everyone answered correctly. In the end it was my turn. “Can you say the following sentence in English: my name is Hanna and I have a pencil?” (Obviously she asked this question in Swedish so 10 year old me had to think really hard to come up with the right answer.)
I was nervous like never before and started sweating. My throat was as dry as Lynchburg, Tennessee (OK, maybe an odd reference when you are 10 years old but trust me, if somebody offered me a Jack Daniels I would probably have swung it back without even blinking). I could hardly breathe. The entire class turned in my direction. They were all waiting impatiently to hear the answer. Finally I opened my mouth and said:
“My name is pencil…”
I couldn’t finish the sentence. There was an eruption of laughter in the classroom. It was a slip of the tongue but I don’t think even Eddie Murphy could have pulled off a one-liner as good as this one. The entire class was rolling and the teacher was laughing so hard that her tail started spinning (not exactly a woman of wealth and taste) I told you she was from one of Dante’s circles of hell, right?
After this little blunder, I could no longer enjoy my English language lessons. I also realized that my ambitious plan, to travel and see the world, unfortunately had to be postponed for another couple of years.
N.B. I have now been traveling for the past seven years and my English still hasn’t improved, but my Swedish has gotten worse. Touché.