How do I look? No spinach in between my teeth or holes in my trousers, I hope! Good… I’m ready for my interview with the very funny Po aka the South African Sea Monkey. She had a lot of questions, so after a quick cup of coffee, we got started. I was going to offer her some home-baked cakes, but she declined. I wonder why?
How did you meet Sir Pe and how long before you got married?
Gosh – she does know how to pick them! Well, I had just written a Student’s Book (to learn English as a Foreign Language) for a large Swedish educational publisher’s and they invited me over to Stockholm to write the Teacher’s Guide as well as other educational goodies for kids at Swedish schools.
So, I took a three-month sabbatical from my teaching job in England, and without a single word of Swedish in my baggage, turned up in Stockholm one sunny day in April back in 1996. After a couple of weeks, I decided that I ought to at least know some phrases in Swedish (it gets a bit monotonous saying Hej! all the time and sounding like the Swedish chef out of Sesame Street). So, I enrolled in a Swedish class for beginners. I found myself sitting next to the only Englishman in the class: his bow tie was a dead give-away!
This gentleman invited me to his 40th birthday party in The Limerick, a good old Irish pub in Stockholm. The date: 14th May. We went there after class, and some of Bow Tie’s workmates were there – including Sir Pe.
Now, I thought Sir Pe was a native Swede because he hadn’t spoken English for so long that when he did, HE sounded like the Swedish Chef with really bad English. Turns out he was a Swedish citizen (still is), but came originally from England.
We exchanged e-mail addresses (he was one of the few people I knew back in 1996 who actually had an e-mail address), corresponded for a couple of weeks and finally went out on a date sometime near the end of May.
Dazzled by my wit, modesty, good English and cooking skills (I burnt a hole in his coffee pot the first time I made coffee), we got engaged on 1st July 1996.
The words whirlwind romance perhaps spring to mind. Either that or: They’re nuts! After my three months were up, I went back to England, resigned from my job, packed up everything and found someone to rent my flat.
We didn’t get married in haste though – and waited for nearly a year before tying the knot in England on May 17th, 1997.
Oh my – doesn’t time fly by when reminiscing? Only time for the one question… Po had to get back to her place PDQ because she is hosting Strange Shores #4. So, visit her blog for a plethora of more real-life tales from nutty ex-pats.