a friend went to nyc

photo: s-o hogberg

A friend of mine in Sweden, just got back home from New York City. He’s 75 years old and doesn’t speak one word of English! I guess he had some sort of hang-up … that he really wanted to see NYC. Not like me … I want to go there too … it’s like the city itself is calling me … no, he wanted to visit some jazz club (Blue Note). His wife didn’t want to go, so he persuaded a niece to travel with him.

At first, I was under the impression that the niece didn’t speak English either. In Sweden, I’d say most people are more or less fluent in English BUT … not people that were born before 1945. That’s just an impression I have … something must have changed with regards to education around that year. My brother was born 1945 and he’s good in English. Turned out that I’d misunderstood and that the niece did speak a little English after all!

Now … I found this to be really brave. Okay, many people travel to different countries without speaking the language but they might either travel in a group or have some kind of arrangements. These guys were on their own. I kept thinking about what it would be like … being in a huge city, not being able to pronounce the simplest word?! How do you order in a restaurant? How do you tell a cab driver where to go? I guess you can point on a map, but still…?!

Nevertheless, they made it back and forth and he’s sent me pictures of the usual stuff … Statue of Liberty and so on … this one here is from the top of Empire State Building, I suspect. Very courageous!

This word … «courageous» leads me to an entirely different subject. «Brave, courageous» are two words that I apparently have not had the full grip of in English. They are used differently compared to my native tongue. I know what they mean, alright … it’s just the usage of them.

To me, those words used to be reserved for firefighters, people who jumped in to stormy seas to save a life … stuff like that — not because of writing a blog about your inner thoughts or taking part in a photo challenge. Now I know, but at first I found it a bit confusing when a person I used to know said that she didn’t have the courage to take part in a photo challenge we were discussing. Languages are funny that way … words can take on a much wider meaning in one language!

Now, that was a parenthesis. Back to NYC! One day, I’ll go there too … now that it’s more within my reach, so to speak. It’s one of my hang-ups … it keeps popping up in my dreams. I even wrote down a dream I had, as a blog post. I have it in my drafts folder and will post it some time soon. I’ve tried to explain to Gerry what this is all about … I’ve written about it before, I think. It’s no particular place there that I desperately want to see … well, the ordinary, touristy stuff … but it’s that I want to … once in my life get to experience the immensity of it all … feel the pulse of it … the pace. When I go … I’ll make sure it’s in late October or so, so that it’s not too hot and I’ll be able to enjoy.


15 thoughts on “a friend went to nyc”

    1. I’ll try and drag the rest of the story out of him … the emails tend to be a little … summary… He was a little disappointed with the jazz club — I don’t know why, maybe the expectations were set too high 🙂

  1. Unfortunately, The Blue Note is not what it was. If the act isn’t truly excellent you will really wish you were somehere else and there are still some wonderful jazz clubs in the city..

    As to courage and bravery, it is only in the past 20 or so years that i would say we decided that going to the dentist was an act of bravery and having a root canal made you a true American hero….

    NYC – mid October, beautiful, although I think there is something to be said for seeing us all half naked on a 90 degree humid July day… 🙂

    1. Apparently, he’d been told that Blue Note was The Place to go … There, he’d tried to ask for a glass of water somehow, and got a glass of vodka LOL.

      Very soon, I’ll be really brave and go to see a dentist..

      As for humid July day … nah, it wouldn’t be worth it — I’d die..

  2. I have always wanted to go to NYC. But I won’t go alone so I probably will never be there. Maybe I can find a tour group…. I cannot imagine going somewhere where I do not know the language. I was sort of that way my first time to Sweden but I was with a group and then family. A friend tried to get me to take the train from Karlstad to Kalmar. I could not imagine doing that. Today, yes. Then, no. I flew.

    1. I had never really thought about it before I lived in QC …
      Don’t think I’d mind so much going on my own, if that were the case..

      Karlstad to Kalmar … that’s not too far 🙂 Next time, you’ll take the train..

      1. Last time went by train from Bollnäs to Stockholm to Lund. Easy as pie!! I was rather nervous but all went well. love the trains and busses there. We are so lacking here.

  3. I have always wondered about that…how people travel to countries where they don’t know the language. You would have no idea of what the people might be saying to you. Have you ever seen the movie “Hostel”? That will really make you think about it!

    1. Now, I wouldn’t do it … not on my own, or have very good arrangements upon arrival. For five years, I lived in a French-speaking area [Quebec] and I don’t speak a word of French, so that left me with plenty of time to think about these things.
      No, I haven’t seen the movie but I’ll look out for it…

  4. Well, he at least followed through his dream of going there, and that was an achievement in itself at his age, and not speaking the language!
    I’d love to go there one day too – if only to experience the whole thing myself, no other reason.

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