My Life Story (Part 4) – Starting School

Starting school was a pretty tough time for me. Since I had gone to an English speaking pre-school (you can read about that in the post about my 2 first years) and the school I was about to start was Swedish speaking. Luckily I could speak perfect Swedish, since I lived in Sweden, but I wasn’t used to speaking it regularly.

Most of the other kids had gone to pre-school together so they all new at least someone in the class.
I started one year early since my English day care only went to the age of 5 and school in Sweden starts at 7.

So there I was, one year younger, without friends, not comfortable speaking Swedish.
School was going to be great…

The first day went by as a daze, we got to know each other and the teachers presented themselves.
I was pretty lonely all day.

Day 2 after school I was in the after school play area looking around when two of my class mates asked if I wanted to join in playing with them.

I was so relieved and happy, I instantly said yes.
Their names were Oliver and Daniel, they had gone to pre-school together but knew no one else in our class.

We quickly became friends and started hanging out.

We lived in a very segregated area
Before I continue I want to tell you about the different groups in our area.
I grew up on an island by the capital of Sweden, Stockholm, the island, Lidingö, is connected to Stockholm by a bridge that takes about 2 minutes to drive across.

It is a very nice place, close to town but still calm with a lot of green areas.

Therefore it has become very popular for people with an “over-average economy” to live there.

All communities in Sweden are required to take in immigrants though so on Lidingö have put them all in a place called Högsätra.
My school was right by Högsätra.

This meant that most of the kids came from poorer backgrounds (which was great, I didn’t have to put up with snobs all day).

Oliver and Daniel, the friends who invited me to play, were from a richer background but their families lived closer to Högsätra than any other school so they were put there.

My family has a decent economy, over average for Sweden but way under average for Lidingö.

The mix is what made me popular when I started school
Because my families economy made me okay to spend time with for everyone and since I was both Swedish and second generation immigrant (my dad is from the U.S.) I became a good bridge between the richer Swedish kids and the rest of the people at school.

It is sad to have to write about this, but it was a very obvious segregation at my school.

Next week we will be discussing more about how life was at school.


Related posts:

  1. My Life Story (Part 2) – My First 2 Years
  2. My Life Story (Part 5) – School
  3. My Life Story Part 3 – The United States
  4. My Life Story (Part 8) – 6 Months in the U.S.
  5. My Life Story (Part 1) – My Parents
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6 Responses to My Life Story (Part 4) – Starting School

  1. Bill Dorman says:

    Hey Daniel, unfortunately we see segregation all to often. Also, as uncomfortable as it was w/ the language just think how you would have felt knowing zero Swedish?

    I take it be the time you bring us to the end of your journey we will surmise you are reasonably well adjusted and didn’t turn out to be an ax murderer or anything……:).

    Thanks for sharing, it certainly is interesting to hear about other cultures and the challenges and opportunities that presented themselves.

    Hope you had a good weekend.

    • Daniel M. Wood says:

      Hi Bill,

      Wouldn’t it be a fun twist if I turned out to be a serial killer though and this was my story? ;)

      It will hopefully end with everyone knowing more about me and who I am, hopefully someone you can relate to and someone you are willing to listen to.

      My weekend was great, we were in Sweden which is why I have been so slow at replying to comments this weekend, how about you?

  2. Hi,
    Cool to read your school story.
    I’m curious what are Oliver and Daniel up to these days. I hope they didn’t turn into psychos, ha, ha..
    Just following your thread guys:)

    • Daniel M. Wood says:

      Hey Derek,

      As you will see later in the stories we broke off our friendship, sadly, after 6th grade.
      I honestly don’t know what they do now.

  3. Hi Daniel,
    It’s interesting to know that even Sweden has problems with segregation. Somehow I thought this might be one country that didn’t have to wrestle with this problem.

    • Daniel M. Wood says:

      Hi Riley,

      Sweden is a lot better than most countries but racism exists everywhere and segregation as well. The economic gaps aren’t as large but there are still super rich and under average, we don’t have many super poor at least.

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