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    #1

    The Seminar , part one

    Would you please take a look at the first part of my short story and correct my mistakes?

    I arrived in the town of L. with the aim of attending the seminar about the unknown African poet from the 19th century. It was my first trip to Sweden after more than 10 years. At that time, I had spent a wonderful year as an exchange student. I fell in love with Linda, a leggy blond student who loved me with such passion I had never experienced before. We would spend hours in bed, having sex, fondling, kissing and looking into each other’s eyes while baby talking. Besotted with each other, we lived in our little world as if on another planet. In summer, we bathed naked in a lake in the twilight, and in winter, Linda taught me skiing. On Midsummer Day, we danced around a tall wooden pole and sang, “The little frogs, the little frogs are funny to observe.” I believed I was in paradise, surrounded with so many beautiful and kind people, until the day when she told me she wanted to have a child with me. Her words jolted me out of my dream. I associated children with a marriage, but she apparently had different outlook and idea. I asked her who was going to take care of the child, and she replied fluttering her long eyelashes, “I’m going to take care of it, and you can come and visit us whenever you like.” Although I loved her madly, I did not like the idea at all. I was going to return to Madrid, and I could not imagine myself flying frequently to Sweden to see her and the child. Neither could I imagine leaving my family and friends and moving to another country. Our relationship soured. Her blue eyes did not have the same allure as before; her smile felt false; her kisses were cold. It dawned on me that from the beginning she was weaving a web to snare me. Although I escaped it, the experience made me more cautious when dealing with women. Their logic and way of thinking would probably remain an unsolved mystery for men for ever.

    After I checked into the hotel, I went out for a stroll. Although the buildings had not changed much, I believed I ended up in some town in the Middle East. Women in black niqabs and men in white robes shuffled along the street with noisy children in tow. Young Afghan asylum seekers sat on benches ogling girls in short skirts. A group of African men stood around discussing lively. Some of the women wore hijabs, even shop assistants. Roma beggars sat at the entrances of shops, holding polystyrene cups and shouting, “Please money!” An old Roma man without a leg hobbled on crutches in the middle of the high street shoving his cup into the passersby, who ignored him and gave him a wide berth. Many of the teenagers were overweight, especially girls. They stood around in clusters, openly smoking. I was dazed. I left the country which was well-ordered, but now it was unrecognizable. Did the Swedes suffer from a collective madness? How were they going to accommodate all those people when the shortage of housing was permanent? How were they going to create jobs for hundreds of thousands people, of whom many were illiterate?

    As I walked by a restaurant called Dubrovnik, the memories of ten years ago flooded back. Sweden is an expensive country, and I needed money to take Linda out. I asked for a job in many restaurants, but my inquiries were unsuccessful until I knocked at the door of Dubrovnik and the owner, Darko, offered me job in his kitchen. I washed dishes, peeled potatoes, cut vegetables and wiped the floor three times a week. He paid me cash in hand, and he was kind to me. Not once did he tell me off. I remembered him cracking jokes and laughing all the time. Today I could not just walk by without going in. I opened the door, breathed in the smell I was used to a decade ago, and a wave of warmth passed through me. The colour of walls was different but the large pictures of Dubrovnik and it medieval town walls were the same. Darko sat on a stool at the end of the bar reading newspaper, as it was his habit. He looked up, folded the paper aside and came up to me saying, “Welcome.” His appearance had not changed much -- a wrinkle or two more, some grey hair on his temples. But his dark eyes had the same twinkle I remembered from before.
    “Como estas, amigo?” I asked.

    He hesitated, stared into my eyes for a moment and then shouted, “Pedro, is that you?”
    We fell into one another’s arms like a son and father who had not seen each other for years.
    “What a handsome man you’ve become -- an intellectual par excellence.” He stepped aside to look at my clothes and said nodding, “Elegant, tailor-made...Pedro, you don’t wear jeans, anymore?”
    TO BE CONTINUED

  2. Tarheel's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: The Seminar , part one

    First paragraph. Try:

    At that time, I had a wonderful year as an exchange student.

  3. Tarheel's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: The Seminar , part one

    Try:

    I fell in love with Linda, a leggy blonde student who loved me with such passion as I had never felt before.

  4. Tarheel's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: The Seminar , part one

    Try:

    I associated children with marriage, but she apparently had a different idea.

  5. Tarheel's Avatar
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    #5

    Re: The Seminar , part one

    Perhaps:

    Their logic and way of thinking will probably be a mystery for men forever.

    Probably.

  6. VIP Member
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    #6

    Re: The Seminar , part one

    Tarheeel,
    I am wondering if I kept "remain" in my sentence, would the sentence be correct like this?

    Their logic and way of thinking will probably remain a mystery for men forever.

  7. Tarheel's Avatar
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    #7

    Re: The Seminar , part one

    Second paragraph. Try:

    Although the buildings had not changed much, I believed I had ended up in some town in the Middle East.

  8. Tarheel's Avatar
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    #8

    Re: The Seminar , part one

    Quote Originally Posted by Bassim View Post
    Tarheeel,
    I am wondering if I kept "remain" in my sentence, would the sentence be correct like this?

    Their logic and way of thinking will probably remain a mystery for men forever.
    Yes, that is good too.

  9. Tarheel's Avatar
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    #9

    Re: The Seminar , part one

    I believe the people are called AFGHANIS.

  10. VIP Member
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    #10

    Re: The Seminar , part one

    Tharheel,
    This is what the author Paul Brians says about the use of the word Afghan.

    The citizens of Afghanistan are Afghans. Similarly, it’s Afghan food, Afghan politics, and Afghan afghans. The only time to use “Afghani” is in reference to the unit of Afghan currency by that name. Afghans spend Afghanis.

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