Losing my native language

It’s a strange feeling when you start having problems speaking in your native language, or when you fail to use the right word order, or even the right words. It almost feels like you don’t have a native language anymore, as your second (or third, fourth, whichever) language is not perfect, even if it is as perfect as a non-native speaker can get,  and you also have problems speaking your first language. I have that problem.

Ok, there are good reasons for it I suppose. Such as having a British boyfriend for 2 years, and thus speaking a lot of English with him, especially since it mostly was a long-distance relationship. About half my classes in the last few years in Norway was taught in English, and I’ve lived in Scotland since September. But when I more often think and dream(!) in English than Norwegian? Or when I usually don’t notice which language I’m speaking, which leads to me switching to English mid-sentence  without realizing when I’m speaking Norwegian with someone?

Flames are pretty! And relevant pictures are overrated.

Of course part of it is good, because it means I speak English well enough to not need to think before I speak, but I’d still like to keep my native language intact, and not feel like a foreigner who can’t speak the language properly when I return home. I felt like that about a year ago, when I had just spent a month with my boyfriend in Britain, and it took me  an hour after landing to even understand Norwegian without having to ask people to repeat themselves. I actually spoke English to the bus driver on the way home from the airport, as I couldn’t remember how to buy a ticket in Norwegian. Luckily everyone speaks English in Norway.

I occasionally have skype calls with my family now when I’m Scotland, else I’d probably have even more problems with Norwegian, even if it only happens every two weeks or so. It helps a little, but it’s also the only Norwegian I hear or speak in the course of months of a lot of English, as I don’t have any Norwegian friends nearby. It will be interesting when I move home in May, if I can get home from the airport without having to speak English or not…

Have you experienced language confusion? If so, in your first, second, etc language? 

“Do you have ID?”

Maybe it’s just in Scotland, or maybe it’s the whole of Britain, but they ask for ID all the time. Not just for normal, or at least understandable things like buying alcohol or going into a club. No, here in Scotland they ask for proof of age for the weirdest things, in addition to asking for ID every single time you buy alcohol. Even when I had just turned 18, I was only asked for ID occasionally when I was home in Norway and now, a few years later, it hardly ever happens at home. In Scotland on the other hand, I have no carry my passport with me anytime I think I might, maybe, possibly need it.

Buying alcohol

Ok, this is normal enough, it’s just that they ask every single time, almost no matter how old you are. One of my friends from last semester is 26, and doesn’t look particularly young, but even her they asked all the time.  Sometimes you will even be asked both when you enter a pub, and when you actually buy alcohol there. Overkill I say.

Knives

For big scary knives I can understand why you would want to check if the person buying it is old enough, but when it’sVeeeery scary knife... the type of knife you use to spread butter on your bread? The thing isn’t even sharp, and I doubt you could cut yourself with it even if you tried. Most people have several of them at home anyway, it’s not like it’s hard to get hold of one. Still, if you want to buy a new one, you have to show proof that you’re old enough.

Scissors

These might be sharper than those knives, but still, most people have these in their house when they grow up, or even use them in school. It’s not like it’s hard to get hold of one if you really want to. Why it’s so much more of a bigger deal when you buy one in a store is beyond me. But still, to buy a scissor, you have to show ID.

Glue

Glue is such a horrible thing, of course you can’t buy one unless you are old enough, because it’s sooo dangerous.. It’s ridiculous, sure you can technically sniff glue and slowly kill your brain in the process, but yet again, it’s a common thing to have in many houses.  It’s not hard to get it anyway, and you don’t have to show ID to use it no, just to actually buy it. My friend needed some to fix her shoe, but she had to go home empty handed because she didn’t happen to bring her ID, even though she’s clearly older than 18. Great logic.

Dangerous and hard to obtain item.Teaspoons

Yes, teaspoons, you actually have to show ID to buy teaspoons. Why? Because you could theoretically use them to do drugs. Yeah right, because it’s so very,very difficult to get hold of a spoon if you really need it for that purpose. I’m suuure asking for ID when you buy teaspoons in a store stops so many people from doing drugs…

I also experienced not being allowed to sit in a pub drinking a can of coke in the middle of the day while waiting for a movie to start, because we couldn’t prove that we were over 18. Fun times.

All these things I or my friends here experienced during the past 8 months, some of them happened several times. What is a bit strange is that I’m pretty sure I was able to buy razor blades without showing ID. Razor blades are clearly a lot less dangerous to let young people use, compared to things like teaspoons.

Of course I know that most of these rules are there just to protect the places from being sued if these items are used in bad ways. What’s really sad is that there is actually a chance of a lawsuit like that winning if it wasn’t for these rules.  I sincerely hope it will never like this in Norway, because it’s way past the border of ridiculous and unnecessary.

Do you have any similar stories of being asked for ID at strange places or for strange things, or is it just me?

Rammstein!

I’m one of those people who like sort of metalish music, and a few weeks ago I got to see my favourite band of all time, namely Rammstein.  I’ve liked this band since I was 13-14 years old, and this was the second time I’ve seen them live. It was EPIC!  They were playing in several cities in England, and so I took the train to Newcastle as it was the closest option for me. I also happen to have a friend who studies there, which made it even more convenient, not to mention nice to see her again. I got an early train on purpose so I could spend the day with her, which was great.

As soon as I got on the train I saw some other people who were going to the same concert. How did I know? They were wearing Rammstein t-shirts of course, or a t-shirt of another similar band. When we were walking around in Newcastle I saw more and more (by that time I was one of them myself, having changed into one of my Rammstein t-shirts at my friend’s place) wandering the street. It’s a really cool feeling, seeing so many people dressed in a similar way for a day, just because you are all going to the same event. It feels like you’re all a part of an extended family, even if you have no clue who anyone else is. It feels like you’re not the only person who is different than “normal” people. I like it, and I like being different.

We went to Metro Arena where the gig was quite early, because really, that’s what all real fans do. Where I bought another t-shirt, because that’s what real fans do as well…and I also really like the designs. Eventually the warm-up band started, a Scandinavian (I think) band called Deathstar, which I’ve never heard about, but they were actually pretty decent. And then…they came on stage.

Rammstein is a German band and almost all their songs are in German, so I mostly have no idea what they actually sing about as I don’t speak German, but I don’t really care as I like the music anyway (and I bet it’s more interesting lyrics than, say, all mainstream music). Still, I sing along basically all the time, as I know how all the lyrics sound, even if I can’t pronounce it all or know what I’m saying.

I won’t say much about when they actually played, as it’s something you have to experience to understand, words just can’t convey how it was. Or at least I can’t, with my second-language English. What I will say though, is that they are great, and they do it so, so well.   If I could I would have followed their tour and seen them several times in a row, as they played in several other cities in England around the same time as I saw them in Newcastle, but unfortunately there is this thing called university classes and money which are sort of necessary.

This Rammstein concert and the one I was at two years ago when I saw them for the first time are the best gigs I’ve ever been to, ever.Partly because the music is fantastic and I know and really like all the lyrics which makes everything more fun and partly because they do it so well. They don’t just stand there looking bored and singing half-heartedly, they make a show of it and acts like they actually care about making it worthwhile for people to come see them.They don’t do silly, stupid things on stage just to get attention, but awesome things which fits really well with the music and just makes the whole experience better.  Such as in the picture here where they actually had this bridge coming down from the ceiling and walking across it to get to the stage instead of doing the normal boring thing of entering through the back of the stage, and also used it several other times during the gig. I mean, come on, a bridge, coming down from the celing, being just over our heads. Or like in the other picture here, during the song “Engel”, which means angel (no shit sherlock), when he’s wearing those cool wings. Maybe it’s just me being a bit of a pyromaniac, but it’s just awesome with flames used in ways like that.

It’s hard to describe in words how great it really was, especially for someone who hasn’t experienced a concert  with this kind of music, or someone who doesn’t like it to understand. It’s incredible, with the music, the show, the flames, the atmosphere, the occasional mosh pits, the people, everyone (including me) singing along whatever parts of the lyrics we could pronounce and just moving with the music…it was just fantastic, and I’m really looking forward to whenever I can get to see them again. Hopefully it won’t be too long.


What music do you like?