Wednesday, 1 February 2012

Where My Life in England Started

I was nineteen years old and had just graduated from school  in Sweden. All I wanted was to leave my boring hometown (Nässjö) and have an adventure. Signing up for a 3 month English course might not sound like a classical adventure, but it changed my life forever. From the moment I got off the coach at Pool Valley, I knew I wanted to stay in Brighton.

Yesterday I went back to Loxdale Centre in Portslade where I did the previously mentioned English course back in 2001. For the fifth (!) time I was invited to do a talk, titled "Life after Loxdale" where I told the students about my experiences of living and working and writing in England. I also introduced them to performance poetry through my stage persona Lou Ice. Even though most of the students were Swedish, I did the talk in English which is quite nerv-racking as I feel more "judged" than if the audience had been English. (Most Englishmen seem impressed that people can speak English at all as they're not very interested in learning languages themselves, but this is one of the stereotypes I want to explore through my Swenglish project)

I have really fond memories of Loxdale and still remember my time there vividly. Some bizarre things stick out in my mind, like my teacher's voice when she read us an extract of Dorian Gray from our textbook. I thought she had the most perfect English accent and could happily have listened to her reading all day. (In the window you can spot Gill and Sue who were two of my teachers.)

So, ten years later I'm still in Brighton & Hove, but the question is: do I stay or do I go? To quote from The Journal of a Recovering Taiwanoholic:  "After 10 years you either stay or go. Become a lifer or get a life."


  1. This makes me smile so much:) I left my boring home town Linkiping in Sweden at the age of 19, I wanted an adventure and thought a good excuse was to learn English in England, and i ended up in Brighton! The 3 months I was meant to stay turned in to over ten years and I still think it is the best place to be! I am also now turning 30 and just left Brighton:( for a PhD (still in the UK though), but I am constantly coming back and I will always love the place:)

  2. Encouraging to hear your story ... All the best with your PhD!