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How Do You Say "Calf Birthing" In Swedish?

Hello, Rudy.

In 1980, I moved to Sweden to be with my not-quite husband. We spent almost two years living on a farm in his hometown in rural southwestern Sweden. I learned Swedish from his mother and father, who spoke no English (although his father could mimic John Wayne perfectly). Lovely people. To become as "Swedish" as possible, I baked with my mother-in-law and worked on the farm with my father-in-law. This helped me learn the language -- and some other skills I never expected to pick up. In fact, I knew how to birth a cow in Swedish before I could speak in the past tense.

It happened like this: One day, when no one else was home, my father-in-law came looking for me with a look of terror on his face. He motioned for me to follow. He got a wheelbarrow and blanket, and off we went into the fields. I was very confused. He kept saying something in Swedish that I didn't understand. We ended up at a mother cow in lots of pain. Her calf was stuck halfway in and halfway out. We rolled up our sleeves and helped this poor mother cow have her baby -- he speaking in Swedish and me in English.

We didn't understand each other but we were able to get the job done. We gained great respect for each other that day. As we rolled the wheelbarrow away with the newborn calf, my father-in-law took the opportunity to teach me more Swedish words. He wanted to make sure I could converse in calf birthing.

I had many good times in Sweden. My husband and I have lived in the U.S. for almost 20 years now, but I still remember my days on the farm in Sweden as if it were yesterday.




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