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  1. Key Member
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    #1

    Freedom, part five

    Would you please correct the mistakes in the fifth part of my text?

    Although many years have passed since I came to this country, I still remember vividly the moment when the ferry docked and hundreds of my compatriots and I hurried down the gangway to the shore. It was the end of a long and ardours journey across Europe from war-torn Bosnia to peaceful Sweden. It was in the middle of June, and I expected warm, summer temperatures, but instead a cold, strong wind welcomed me. It tore through my clothes and made me shiver. I heard strange regular sounds, and I scanned surroundings until I saw the flag ropes hitting the tall masts in front of the passenger terminal. In my hometown, strong winds are rare, but in this town, they are apparently blowing all the time. But I was so overjoyed to have escaped hell that not even the stormiest weather would spoil my happiness.

    We were housed in a sport hall. Local authorities had prepared for us hundreds of folding camp beds and food. Beds were uncomfortable, food was dull and coffee was weak, but none of these things bothered the refugees, who now hoped to start a new life.
    In the morning, as I sat with a few men on the benches outside the sport hall, enjoying the blue sky and sun, despite the ubiquitous wind, an old man with a walking stick and wearing a beret, came up and sat with us. He told us he came from Yugoslavia to Sweden in 1960s to work for Volvo. I saw a sparkle in his eyes as he spoke with us in our mother tongue. He took the cigarette, which one of my companions offered to him, and drew a deep drag on it. He seemed to be savouring it, keeping the smoke in his lungs longer than usual. He then held the burning cigarette in front of him, staring at it as if it were a piece of gold. “Drina,” he sighed. “I haven’t smoked it for more than twenty years.” The man who gave him the cigarette put the packet into his hand saying, “Take it the old man.” At first he did not want to take it, wondering what we were going to smoke, but the man assured him we had enough cigarettes in our luggage to get us through for a couple of weeks.

    “How the Swedish government can be so generous and take all these thousands of people in their country?” asked a middle-aged man.
    “Generous?” snorted the old man. “Don’t be naive. What do you do for living?” The man replied that he was a carpenter. He asked more people about their profession, and they told him one was an electrician, another an engineer, the third a lathe operator, and the fourth an economist.
    “You see,” the old man said, “all of you have some kind of profession and years of working experience. Now you are going to work in Sweden and pay your taxes, and Sweden has not spent one single crown on your education. They’ve got thousands of well-educated people, and they are glad that you are here. They know that people from the former Yugoslavia like to work hard and do not live on benefits.”

    We looked at each other, embarrassed at our ignorance. The old man continued. “Do you really believe that a capitalist cares about wars and suffering of innocent people? He is only interested in profit. He never gives presents for nothing. Of course, the Swedish government will give you a flat and loan you money so you can buy some furniture and other things, but you will get a job one day and pay back many times more than you received. Look at the ordinary Swedes; try to find a family without credits and loans. You’d be hard pressed to find one. They are up to their ears in debt.”

    We stayed in that sport hall five days, and the old man came to visit us every day and would spend hours with us. I felt sorry for him. He apparently did not have any friends and did not have any contact with his family in our homeland. He worked for almost thirty years, and his comfortable pension was more than enough to live off it, but I did not see joy in his eyes. I remembered pensioners I met in my hometown and their witty comments which always made me laugh. Their pensions were often small but they did not lack optimism and humour. In contrast to them, this old man appeared to me as a deeply dissatisfied person. I did not want to pry into his past, but what he told us and his unhappiness marred the picture of the beautiful country.

    I walked every day to town centre, but it made me disappointed. There was no life in it at all. Streets were lined with shops, banks, a post, and other buildings, but restaurants, pubs and coffees were cheerless and sparsely populated. The atmosphere felt sterile, as if its architects were not interested in creating a centre where people could socialise with each other and have fun, but rather where they would do their shopping, pay their bills, visit their GP, optician or other institutions and immediately after that return home. How different this town was from my hometown where coffees, pubs and restaurants were everywhere. They would open early in the morning to welcome workers who wished to drink their first morning coffee, until late in the night to cater for bohemians and those for whom pubs and restaurants were like a second home. The prices of cigarettes, food and drinks were low, so even if you did not have money, there would be people who would buy you a drink to make you feel glad.
    I looked at the price lists at the entrance of some of the pubs and restaurants in this Swedish town and was astounded by their exorbitant level. It was no wonder that pubs and restaurants were empty. I remembered what the old man said to us, “Don’t expect that anyone buys you a cup of coffee, let alone a dinner in a restaurant.”
    TO BE CONTINUED

  2. Tarheel's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: Freedom, part five

    Say:

    arduous journey

    And:

    strong cold wind

  3. Tarheel's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: Freedom, part five

    Say:

    I heard strange regular sounds, and I scanned the surroundings....

    And:

    but in this town they, apparently, blow all the time.

  4. Tarheel's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: Freedom, part five

    The last sentence of the first paragraph is good, but it could be better (maybe). Perhaps:

    But I was so overjoyed to have escaped hell that not even the stormiest weather was going to spoil my happiness.

    Or:

    ...would have spoiled my happiness.

    Or:

    could have spoiled my happiness.
    Last edited by Tarheel; 27-Dec-2016 at 18:52. Reason: Add something

  5. Tarheel's Avatar
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    #5

    Re: Freedom, part five

    Maybe I would stick with the first one.

    ~Ron

  6. Tarheel's Avatar
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    #6

    Re: Freedom, part five

    Second paragraph. Third sentence. Say:

    The beds were uncomfortable, the food was dull, and the coffee was weak.

  7. Tarheel's Avatar
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    #7

    Re: Freedom, part five

    Perhaps:

    ...as I sat...enjoying the blue sky and sun, despite the constant wind, an old man using a walking stick and wearing a beret came up and sat with us.

  8. Tarheel's Avatar
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    #8

    Re: Freedom, part five

    Say:

    He told us he came from Yugoslavia to Sweden in the 1960's to work for Volvo.

  9. Tarheel's Avatar
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    #9

    Re: Freedom, part five

    Say:

    He took the cigarette, which one of my companions had given him, and drew a deep drag on it.

  10. Tarheel's Avatar
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    #10

    Re: Freedom, part five

    Say:

    "Take it, old man!"

    And:

    ...but the man assured him that we had enough cigarettes in our luggage....

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