Chapter 11: The Housing Market

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Swedish Again: Chapter-By-Chapter Guide

Questions for Understanding

  1. What did Marie offer Anna? Why?
  2. Where did Anna finally find an apartment?
  3. What did Marie explain Anna still needed in order to get an apartment?
  4. What kind of job did Anna get?

Questions for Group Reflection and Discussion

  1. What do you think of the housing list system in Sweden? Have you ever experienced something like that?
  2. It seems like Anna got stuck between being a native person and having newly arrived. In your opinion, should the government have treated her more like an immigrant, since she had been gone since childhood?
  3. Have you ever had the experience of falling into “the gaps between the boxes that label people”? If so, what happened?

Ideas for Further Consideration

  • On the Stockholm housing list, “Nicer meant bigger; desirable meant central.” (p. 111) Is this also true where you live? If not, how do people judge which homes are nicer and/or more desirable than others? What’s your dream home?
  • The neighborhood of Rinkeby is described as having a large community of refugees whose culture differs from typical Swedish culture. What are your thoughts about housing as related to segregation or, perhaps, racism? Are neighborhoods integrated where you live? Do people of different groups get along, and are they offered the same opportunities in housing?

Especially for English Language Learners

Key Words and Expressions:

“a little like Dorothy landing outside of Kansas.” = This refers to the movie, The Wizard of Oz. It means Anna feels like she’s in an unknown, strange place. (p. 111)

“It turned out…” =  In the end… or I learned that… (p.113)

“…for astronomical amounts.” = for a very large amount of money (p. 115)

“…everyone wanted to make a buck.” = Everyone wanted to make money. (p.115)

“…it didn’t completely throw me off.” = It didn’t surprise me enough to interrupt my plan or my way of thinking. (p. 116) (To understand this, it might be helpful to imagine being in a train going somewhere; when the train shakes, the movement is not strong enough to ‘throw you off’ the train.)

Language Focus:

This chapter is full of Words that Describe People. Let’s take a look. Are any of these new to you?

Researcher = someone, such as a university professor, who does research

Foster parent = a person who serves as official parent or guardian for a child who needs a parent

Ex-husband = a husband after divorce; his wife becomes his ex-wife

Do-gooder = someone who tries to do good things. (This expression is often used in a slightly negative way, like the person is well-meaning but unrealistic.)

Youth = young person. Depending on the context, this can be a child, a teenager, or a young adult. This word also means the young period of life, for example, “In my youth, I rode horses.”

Pensioners = retired people; senior citizens; seniors. It means someone who receives a pension. (Note: This word is not used much in American English. Americans prefer the other three expressions.)

Customer = someone who buys something

Potential renter = someone who might rent

Contact person = the person at a program or organization that you communicate with when you are not part of that group

Foreigner = a person from a different country. (Note: This word can feel negative. It can feel like the person doesn’t belong. We also use this word for objects which don’t belong, such as a “foreign object in my eye.” Therefore, other words, such as newcomer or immigrant or visitor are often used instead.)

Immigrants = people who move and settle into a place. (Emigrants are people who move away. This word is used less often.)

Advisor = a person who gives advice. It can be a job title, such as an “Academic Advisor” at a school or college.

Director = This is usually a job title, such as the director of a school or program. (This word is also used for the director of a movie.)

Answers to Part 1

  1. Basically, an apartment. She offered Anna her own spot on the housing list because she didn’t need it and Anna was too far down on the list.
  2. On Facebook.
  3. An official, Swedish income; a job in Sweden.
  4. She became a Swedish teacher for newcomers to Sweden.

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