WELL, I’ve been staying in Slough this weekend, but it was a good weekend overall. I was in the south-east for the Language Show. I’m following various languagey things on Twitter/Facebook/whatever else I do on the internet to waste time, and they all told me to go to the Language Show. I’d wanted to go just for the day last year, but my train got cancelled, so that was that. This year I went each day it was on.
On Friday I did a taster course in Norwegian. I was a little bit disappointed, if I’m brutally honest (not with the Norwegian language in general, which is lovely). The class was meant to be half an hour but seemed to finish after 15 minutes, and we only got halfway through the worksheet, and it was really hard to hear, as the classroom wasn’t really a room, but a set of chairs in the main exhibition hall. So that was a bit of a shame, but I think the teacher probably wasn’t used to the setting and would have been a lot more comfortable in a ‘normal’ classroom setting.
Then I had a look round to find myself a career, which resulted, inevitably, in failure. There were a lot of bilingual recruitment companies around, most of which I’m already registered with, but not many actual translation companies.
That was Friday, and it left me feeling slightly disappointed overall, not helped by being in a Travelodge in Slough and being unable to even buy food there because their credit card machine had stopped working. But Saturday was much more fun. I went to three seminars at the show. The first was EU career-related and really really good. I’ve applied for the EU once before, without success. I’ve applied for a traineeship this time round, but won’t hear anything till next year. I’d really like to do it, if I can. The people I spoke to were both British with a couple of foreign languages (German and Dutch in one case, like meeee) and they’d picked up around 4 more languages since joining. Obviously this would be a main attraction of a job for me. I also went to a seminar on fighting crime with languages and how to do language blogging, both of which were less relevant to me, but still interesting.
On Saturday afternoon I trundled round London, having got over the shock of London in general and fancying myself quite the expert on the ‘Tube’, just because I didn’t get lost. I went to a massive bookshop of languages which was even better than I could’ve imagined. I was impressed enough that they had whole sections for Welsh and Irish and Danish and Finnish, but they even had Plattdeutsch. A beautiful grammar book that I’ve never even seen in Oldenburg, home of Plattdeutsch. It’s a good job I’m genetically such a skinflint, otherwise I’d be a lot poorer by now. After this I went here and stocked up on Swedish sweets, which I’ve been craving. They were really friendly there too! (the people, although the sweets were also friendly)
I also got to meet up with the mysterious and wonderful Cakemaline, who lives in That London and dances and eats cake. She looked after me and we ate cake and chatted. She made sure I got on the right line to get back to Paddington. Which I keep confusing with Piccadilly. Cakemaline has done Important Dancing today, I do hope it went well.
Today I felt that I’d seen most of what there was to see at the show, so I went into London for the sole purpose of a half-hour taster session in Finnish. This was totally worth it. There weren’t many there as it was still quite early in the morning, but the lesson went really well, and now I know how to ask somebody for their phone number in Finnish. I will win at chatting up Finnish men, if I ever get the chance. The word for ‘good’ sounds a bit like hoover. I’ve had a linguistic crush on Finnish for a very long time and I’m glad we’ve finally consummated things. I would like to learn Finnish properly some day. It’s so pleasant-sounding. I’m going to keep going over these dialogues we did.
It took me about six hours to get home to the West Midlands, o British transport system on Sundays, how we love thee. I’m back now though. I might be revising my negative impression of London slightly, because in London there are many people who speak languages I love, and this offers ample opportunity for stalking. I nearly embraced some Dutch people on the Tube today, but I think they would have been scared. If only I was brave enough to speak to these cool-languaged people I always stalk.