Results 1 to 7 of 7
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • Serbo-Croatian
      • Home Country:
      • Bosnia Herzegovina
      • Current Location:
      • Sweden

    • Join Date: Mar 2008
    • Posts: 3,605
    #1

    Strawberries, part one

    This is the first part of my short story, "Strawberries." Please would you correct my mistakes.

    There was a time in my life when I came close to suicide more than ever before. I lived in one of Stockholm’s suburbs—a depilated, insipid, grey area built in the 60’s when the Swedish government decided to build one million flats in a shortest possible time. At that time, its inhabitants had been young and hard-working people who looked to the future. Thirty years later the situation was the opposite. The inhabitants of the suburb had become immigrants and refugees who had been fleeing wars and poverty, only to find themselves in a new country, dumped in a place where they were going to vegetate and wither until the very end of their lives.

    It was a world within itself. You could buy anything you liked: women from East Europe, guns and hand grenades from the Balkans, drugs from Afghanistan, smuggled alcohol from Germany and Denmark or expensive watches and other goods stolen from the homes in the West Europe. Here the Swedish laws did not exist and the police were looked at with suspicion and hatred. Young people openly smoked hashish and idealized criminals, who drove around in flashy cars and wore finger-thick gold chains around their necks. If you walked the streets, you had an impression you were in the Middle East or Africa. Women of West African origin wore colourful caftans, large head wraps and long robes, while those from the Middle East and Somalia never left their homes without a hijab or burqa. Dozens of boisterous children followed in their wake. Old Arab and Asian men dressed in their jellabiyas, thawbs and shalwar kameez sat on the banks day after day, fingering their prayer beads and staring vacuously in the distance. They probably asked themselves in what kind of a strange world they had come at the end of their lives.
    There was nothing to do for young men, especially in the summer holidays, so when they did not consume drugs or alcohol, they amused themselves by torching cars, vandalising playgrounds, smashing windows, pelting the firefighters, paramedics and police with stones and bricks, and sometimes they beat an innocent Swede if he happened to be around.

    I had a nice and sunny flat, which was in good condition, but my neighbours seemed to be people who had never before lived in a proper accommodation and thus never learnt how to behave like civilized human beings. They slammed the doors violently; they hammered the nails at 3 a.m., they quarrelled until late in the night and they listened to music at such high volume that my crockery, cutlery and glasses jingled and I could not hear my own radio. Of course, I could have lodged a complaint, but I already knew that authorities would not lift a finger. They had given up on the ghettos years ago and did not want to waste their resources and time on the people whose fate was sealed.
    In those difficult moments, I often thought about my home in Bosnia and the beautiful years before the war broke out. I understood that compared with my current situation I had spent my childhood and youth in paradise. For how could I call my orchard with dozens of fruit trees in bloom, our garden with bright flowers, which scent wafted into my room, and the birds which twittered from sunrise until sundown? How could I forget my friendly neighbours who wished me good morning, chatted with me every day and treated me with freshly made pastries and cakes as if I were their own child? Such kindness and friendliness would be looked at with suspicion in this country, where people prefer to maintain the distance in the interpersonal contacts in all circumstances.

    My feelings shifted from self-pity to desperation to anger. I wished I had the strength to move to another part of the country, preferably to the north, where my only company would be bears, wolves and reindeers, but I was afraid I was going to lose my mind in the long and cold winter months without sun. I could return to my homeland, Bosnia, but my traumatic experiences from the war and the time I had spent in a prison camp witnessing torture and killings of my fellow humans, warned me against going back. I was furious at the Swedish politicians and journalists who praised multiculturalism but lived away from ghettos and immigrants. They invented the fantastic tales, which had nothing to do with reality. Whenever I watched the Nobel Banquet on TV, my stomach turned into knots. I dreamed about having the technology to teleport all those expensively dressed, bejewelled, softly spoken and refined men and women to my street, and see them panic and cower in fear. I wished they would feel on their own skin the insanity of their creation.
    I woke up many times with the thought that this was my last day. I was going to take my own life and put an end to my suffering. I had cut off contact with my family and relatives, so nobody was going to sorrow me anyway. I took the bus to the centre of Stockholm wondering where the best place was to end my life. There were plenty of tall buildings, bridges, churches with towering spires, busy roads and deep waters. As I passed by the Swedish parliament, I thought I was going to set myself on fire. Let my death not be in vain. Let the well-paid and well-protected men and women get a chock and be reminded of the mess they usually preferred to ignore.
    To be continued.

  1. Tarheel's Avatar
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • American English
      • Home Country:
      • United States
      • Current Location:
      • United States

    • Join Date: Jun 2014
    • Posts: 11,086
    #2

    Re: Strawberries, part one

    Quote Originally Posted by Bassim View Post

    There was a time in my life when I came closer to committing suicide than any other time. I lived in one of Stockholm’s suburbs—a dilapidated, insipid, grey area built in the 60’s when the Swedish government decided to build one million flats in the shortest possible time. At that time, its inhabitants had been young, hard-working people who looked to the future. Thirty years later the situation was the opposite. The inhabitants of the suburb had become immigrants and refugees who had fled wars and poverty, only to find themselves in a strange country, dumped in a place where they were going to vegetate and wither until the very end of their lives.

    It was a world within itself. You could buy anything you liked: women from East Europe, guns and hand grenades from the Balkans, drugs from Afghanistan, smuggled alcohol from Germany and Denmark or expensive watches and other goods stolen from the homes in the West Europe. Here the Swedish laws did not exist and the police were looked at with suspicion and hatred. Young people openly smoked hashish and idealized criminals, who drove around in flashy cars and wore finger-thick gold chains around their necks. If you walked the streets, you had an impression you were in the Middle East or Africa. Women of West African origin wore colourful caftans, large head wraps and long robes, while those from the Middle East and Somalia never left their homes without a hijab or burqa. Dozens of boisterous children followed in their wake. Old Arab and Asian men dressed in their jellabiyas, thawbs and shalwar kameez sat on the banks day after day, fingering their prayer beads and staring vacuously in the distance. They probably asked themselves what kind of a strange world they had come to at the end of their lives.

    There was nothing to do for young men, especially during the summer holidays, so when they did not consume drugs or alcohol, they amused themselves by torching cars, vandalising playgrounds, smashing windows, pelting the firefighters, paramedics and police with stones and bricks, and sometimes they beat an innocent Swede if he happened to be around.

    I had a nice, sunny flat, which was in good condition, but my neighbours seemed to be people who had never before lived in a proper accommodation and thus never learnt how to behave like civilized human beings. They slammed the doors violently; they hammered nails at 3 a.m., they quarrelled until late in the night and they listened to music at such high volume that my crockery, cutlery and glasses jingled and I could not hear my own radio. Of course, I could have lodged a complaint, but I already knew that the authorities would not lift a finger. They had given up on the ghettos years ago and did not want to waste their resources and time on the people whose fate was sealed.

    In those difficult moments, I often thought about my home in Bosnia and the beautiful years before the war broke out. I understood that compared with my current situation I had spent my childhood and youth in paradise. What other way could I think about my orchard with dozens of fruit trees in bloom, our garden with bright flowers, which scent wafted into my room, and the birds which twittered from sunrise until sundown? How could I forget my friendly neighbours who wished me good morning, chatted with me every day and treated me with freshly made pastries and cakes as if I were their own child? Such kindness and friendliness would be looked at with suspicion in this country, where people prefer to maintain their distance keep interpersonal contacts to a minimum.

    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • Serbo-Croatian
      • Home Country:
      • Bosnia Herzegovina
      • Current Location:
      • Sweden

    • Join Date: Mar 2008
    • Posts: 3,605
    #3

    Re: Strawberries, part one

    Tarheel thank you again.
    I am just wondering if you have missed an "and" in the last sentence in your version "....where people prefer to maintain their distance keep interpersonal contacts to a minimum. "

  2. Tarheel's Avatar
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • American English
      • Home Country:
      • United States
      • Current Location:
      • United States

    • Join Date: Jun 2014
    • Posts: 11,086
    #4

    Re: Strawberries, part one

    Quote Originally Posted by Bassim View Post
    My feelings shifted from self-pity to desperation to anger. I wished I had the strength to move to another part of the country, preferably to the north, where my only company would be bears, wolves and reindeers, but I was afraid I would lose my mind in the long, cold winter months without sun. I could return to my homeland, Bosnia, but my traumatic experiences from the war and the time I had spent in a prison camp witnessing torture and killings of my fellow humans, warned me against going back. I was furious at the Swedish politicians and journalists who praised multiculturalism but lived away from ghettos and immigrants. They invented the fantastic tales which had nothing to do with reality. Whenever I watched the Nobel Banquet on TV, my stomach turned into knots. I dreamed about having the technology to teleport all those expensively dressed, bejewelled, softly spoken and refined men and women to my street, and see them panic and cower in fear. I wished they would feel on their own skin the insanity of their creation.

    I woke up many times with the thought that it was my last day. I was going to take my own life and put an end to my suffering. I had cut off contact with my family and relatives, so nobody was going to mourn me. I took the bus to the centre of Stockholm wondering where the best place was to end my life. There were plenty of tall buildings, bridges, churches with towering spires, busy roads and deep waters. As I passed by the Swedish parliament, I thought I was going to set myself on fire. Let my death not be in vain. Let the well-paid and well-protected men and women get a shock and be reminded of the mess they usually preferred to ignore.
    OK

  3. Tarheel's Avatar
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • American English
      • Home Country:
      • United States
      • Current Location:
      • United States

    • Join Date: Jun 2014
    • Posts: 11,086
    #5

    Re: Strawberries, part one

    Quote Originally Posted by Bassim View Post
    Tarheel thank you again.
    I am just wondering if you have missed an "and" in the last sentence in your version "....where people prefer to maintain their distance keep interpersonal contacts to a minimum. "
    Yes, I did. It should be:

    where people prefer to maintain their distance (or: keep their distance) and keep interpersonal contacts to a minimum.


    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • Serbo-Croatian
      • Home Country:
      • Bosnia Herzegovina
      • Current Location:
      • Sweden

    • Join Date: Mar 2008
    • Posts: 3,605
    #6

    Re: Strawberries, part one

    You see how I still make the same mistakes with the articles. For example I put "the" in front of "people" and then forget it in front of "authorities." And the main reason for that is that we in Slavic languages do not have articles. I am wondering if I am ever going to learn to use them properly.

  4. Tarheel's Avatar
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • American English
      • Home Country:
      • United States
      • Current Location:
      • United States

    • Join Date: Jun 2014
    • Posts: 11,086
    #7

    Re: Strawberries, part one

    It is interesting how different languages are different. Certainly, the use of articles can be tricky. Sometimes yes, sometimes no, sometimes maybe.

Similar Threads

  1. Christmas/ New Year learners' dictionary Part 5 (final part)
    By Alex Case in forum General Language Discussions
    Replies: 0
    Last Post: 16-Dec-2010, 23:47
  2. strawberries
    By e2e4 in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 48
    Last Post: 30-May-2008, 22:03
  3. Her lips tasted of wild strawberries.
    By joham in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 5
    Last Post: 22-Dec-2007, 23:01
  4. Strawberries really fourish/prosper in cool climates.
    By angliholic in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 4
    Last Post: 15-Dec-2007, 01:02
  5. Replies: 2
    Last Post: 15-Nov-2007, 00:12

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •