Sunday, September 19, 2010

There are no words...

... to describe my feelings right now. How can this be?

The Swedish election is over. My fear has become a reality. The Sweden Democrats were voted into parliament. It didn't come as a surprise but I still find it hard to believe. I'm so very disappointed and upset. I'm writing with tear-filled eyes and a heavy heart.

It scares me that almost 6% of the Swedish population believes that racists are the best people to govern Sweden. What did we do and where did it all go wrong? If the root of problem is the immigrations policies that previous governments have implemented, we should hardly punish the immigrants. If it is the refugees that is the major concern, we can't really blame them for starting wars or for being politically prosecuted. My fear is that 6% of the Swedish population really believes that the color of your skin determines you personality, demeanor and sense of right and wrong. And if this is the case, isn't the root of the problem the 6% of the Swedish population?

Aside from all this, the election was actually historical. This is the first non-socialist government to be re-elected. Unfortunately they didn't win majority, they are just the biggest minority. It's going to be very interesting to see how the Prime Minister will lead a minority government and to see how the opposition will act to aid the democratic processes. The Sweden Democrats got just shy of 6% of the votes and their position as the kingmaker just adds to the insult.

Today is a day I will remember. Today is the day I am ashamed to call myself Swedish.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Role-model of the day!

This is a lady with a mind of her own. She is a hero!


Two days until the Swedish General Election. Two days left to try to make a difference. I will continue to discuss The Sweden Democrats.

I'm a passionate and emotional person. The Sweden Democrats make me want to cry, they make me want to punch something and they make me want to hurl. But the party is not the only one to blame, I blame everybody who even considers voting for them. How can people be so introverted, narrow-minded and uneducated? Don't they realize that immigration and multi-culturalism is an intrinsic part of everybody's life, including theirs.

It can be such simple thing as the favorite foods of Swedes, like sushi, kebab, Chinese food etc. But also the dependency on workers with different ethnicities within healthcare and elderly care. But then maybe the foreign nurses and doctors are just stealing Swedish jobs. No, wait, the immigrants are a problem because they don't work and they live of Swedish taxpayers. Or, are they stealing jobs? I never seem to get this right. I'm so confused...

As an adult I've moved abroad twice. Both in the UK and the US I've been segregated, by choice. In the UK my closest friends were all from Scandinavia and we used to get together and cook "Scandinavian food", we celebrated Scandinavian holidays such as midsummer, April 30th and Lucia. Some friends and I actually started a Scandinavian Society at the University of Birmingham.

In the US, most of my close friends are Swedish. We go to IKEA together, we have "Swedish movie nights", we speak Swedish to each other, we watch the Eurovision Songcontest and we are trying to help each other's kids learn Swedish. No matter where I live, I will always speak Swedish to my husband and if we have kids, they will speak Swedish as well.

A few years back, Swedish channel 4's travel show visited a Swedish village in Minnesota. Their buildings, clothing and cultural heritage were very apparent Swedish. Many of them still spoke Swedish! I bet most Swedes who watched this tv-segment felt some sense of pride without realizing that this is the result of 200 years of segregation!

The Sweden Democrats are narrow-minded and uneducated hypocrites. But if you don't want to take my word for it, check out this intervue with the Sweden Democrats' leader in Filipstad.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010


Vote! If you can vote, you should/need/must vote! If you eligible, there are no excuses. If you don't know what to vote, there is still time to read up on it. If you're too lacy to do your own reading, at least take one or two of the "political tests" available on every major newspaper's webpage. If you forgot about it, here is a reminder. If you just don't care, you're selfish and the only thing I can do is to plead to you and hope you will change your mind.

This blog post might be triggered by the Swedish General Election on Sunday, but it is much more general than that. If you live in a democratic country and eligible to vote, it is you responsibility and obligation to do so.

Belly Dancing

This Monday i started belly dancing. I'm loving it! I've only been to one lesson this far, but I can't wait till next time. The instructor is fabulous, the other belly dancers seem nice, the music is exotic and I love the sound of the coin belt.

One thing came as a surprise. Belly dancing is not as much belly dancing as it is hip dancing. And clearly my hips are not used to "pop" the way they are suppose to when belly dancing. I was incredibly sore after the class, but even more so the morning after. I waggled like an old lady in need of a hip replacement. It's always interesting to discover muscles you didn't know you had.

But regardless of the pain, it was great. I've taken quite a few dance classes in my life. Unfortunately, many of them have felt pretentious and for the already devoted. It's like having to be in great shape to fit in at a gym. But not this belly dancing class. Before I signed up I read the class description and it said it was for "all levels of fitness, all ages and all sizes". And it truly was. My class consists of women of "all levels of fitness, all ages and all sizes" celebrating the love of dance and the pride in our own bodies and abilities.

Monday, September 13, 2010

The Ghost Writer

"The Ghost Writer" was a good movie. I would definitely recommend it, especially if you prefere smart movies where subtle use of atmosphere and nuances impress you more than in your face action sequences. I'm sure this movie attracts the masses, but for those of us who are self-proclaimed "politics nerds" it offers something extra. Also, it was interesting to see Roman Polanski in action, once again.

I'm not going to pretend I know all about his work, but I know I really enjoyed "The Ninth Gate". But what really intrigues me is Roman Polanski himself. Being Polish and surviving World War 2 by hiding while his parents were in a Polish concentration camp (where his mother ultimately died), to then having his wife be murdered by the Manson family and later on be convicted of raping a 13-year old. He was arrested in Switzerland in 2009 and finished editing "The Ghost Writer" from inside a Swiss prison. But in spite of all the controversy he has remained a well respected director and writer. To me, it is truly fascinating and in my ears it sounds like a great plot for a movie.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Doctor's orders

Lately I've watched quite a few episodes of "The Dr. Oz show" and "The Doctors". Both these programs highlight topics and issues concerning health. Sometimes it's about diet and exercise, sometimes about deceases and sicknesses and sometimes it's about more superficial things such as beauty and "rejuvenating procedures". At the end of each episode of "The Dr. Oz show" and "The Doctors" they will give you an advise or a "Doctor's orders" on how you can improve various aspect of your life and health.

Great! I'm given short and concise advise on how I can improve my life. Two small improvements a day... 10 improvements a week... about 40 improvements a month... Some of the things I'm suppose to do everyday, some things I'm suppose to do often and some things just once in a while. It has taken me about 3 weeks of watching, more or less, every episode to become confused, slightly anxious and totally exhausted. I've never been a hypochondriac but I'm thinking it's easier than following all the "Doctor's orders".

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

The Swedish General Election

sAutumn is here. Initially I planned to summarize some of this summers biggest headlines, but there are more pressing issues at hand. The Swedish general election.

September 19th is election day. I’m happy to say that the Swedish people take their democratic obligation very seriously. Last election (2006), 80,4% of the eligible population voted.

With just a few weeks left until the election, the speculations are running wild. At the moment, the current government are doing really well. According to recent polls the government will continue to be more market friendly, liberal and conservative rather than turning back to its more socialistic traditions. To me, this is all very well.

During the previous elections I’ve been passionately involved in the political debate. I’ve defended personal freedom instead of governmental control. I’ve argued why it would be beneficial to Swedish citizens to cut taxes rather than raise them. I’ve debated why Swedes should embrace private entrepreneurship rather than hanging on to governmental monopolies. And I’m still passionate about these issues. However, this time around my focus lies somewhere else.

The Sweden Democrats. It is a nationalist party that has steadily gained power and influence over the past decade. They’ve been trying to find a legitimate platform for the past two decades, but it’s just recently they’ve become a real threat.

The Sweden Democrats believe it’s detrimental to the Swedish society to embrace multi-culturalism. They don’t believe in integration, they believe in assimilation. Immigrants should leave their heritage, culture and language behind. If they don’t they will create friction in the Swedish society, they will commit crime because they don’t understand the concept of being law abiding citizens. Furthermore, the Sweden Democrats want to reinstate the same immigration policies used before the 1970s. It’s as if Rosa Parks did gave up her seat on the Alabama bus and it’s as if Nelson Mandela never was let out of prison.

But regardless of the abundance of uneducated and false accusations made by the Sweden Democrats many polls show they will get over 4% of the votes which will give them a place in the parliament. It is then we will see the politics of politics. It is not unlikely that the other parties voted into parliament will have to enter into an alliance with the Sweden Democrats in order to get majority of the votes and ultimately get to govern Sweden. They all claim that they would never co-operate with a undemocratic and racist party but are they all really willing to relinquish power?

Politics and politicians have always and will always have to choose between power and principle. Without power there can be no change but without principles the power to change is just an illusion. Maybe that’s why I need to put my trust in those who are not politicians. I need to hope that the Swedish people will vote wisely.

This summer's top cultural experiences

Yet another summer has passed by. It's been fun and eventful. Let me share my three most cherished cultural experiences from his summer.

Roller derby

Earlier this summer, my husband (Martin) and I discovered Roller-derby! This far we’ve made it to three bouts and we’re loving it! I’m not going to describe it in detail or to explain the rules, I’m just going to recommend it! Our home team is Silicon Valley Roller Girls ( and their home arena is San Jose Skate. The game itself is fun, fast-paced and really easy to get into. The roller girls are tough exhibitionists who love their audience.

We all know the importance of first impressions. The first impressions of Roller derby can be summed up in three words: low-budget, community and fishnet-stockings. The Roller derby bouts we’ve been to are as far from big professional productions as one can imagine. All the signs in the arena are hand-written and hand-painted. They sell their merchandise from a make-shift “gift shop” (aka tables). The arena can best be described as a gymnastics hall with painted palm trees on the walls. It is very obvious that this team and this sport in totally reliant on the players, their families and their fans. This is what makes this experience so unique.

There is a real sense of community in this sport. The players (and their families and friends) sell the tickets, they arrange raffles, they sell beer, they welcome you to the arena and they ultimately welcome you to the world of Roller derby. We got our tickets to our first bout from a man we met while waiting in line to get tickets. He was there early to get good seats and we where there early to get tickets. We talked about how we found out about the sport and he explained the rules to us. Later he made a phone call and suddenly we stood there with two free tickets! It turned out he was SVRG’s team captain’s father. During the bout he came over to make sure we understood all the rules and answered the questions we had.

Fishnet-stockings. I think that sums it up pretty well. The players all wear “provocative” outfits. Fishnet-stockings, hot-pants, tight tops etc. And they all have “provocative” names. The captain of SVRG is called “The Smack Dahlia” (which has given her father the nickname “Smack Daddy”). In the team there is also Booty Vicious, Donna Diggler, Postal Servix and my personal favorite, Pia Mess. It may sound like all fun and play, but they are tough! And rough! And simply awsome!

Jello wrestling

The great thing about discovering something new is that even more new stuff will follow. If Martin and I hadn’t discovered Roller derby we would not have ended up at a Jello Wrestling tournament.

I’m not sure I had a specific image of what a jello wrestling tournament would be like, but I think I had this image of pretty women in skimpy cloth, pretend wrestling in jello for the amusement of men. Maybe that’s how it’s done in other places, but this was not what I witnessed. Skimpy cloth, yes! Pretend wrestling, no!

The women who did the wrestling were the same women playing Roller derby. If I thought they were fearless before, I now thought they were slightly insane (and some of them quite skilled wrestlers). At one point one of the wrestlers got so frustrated she tried to choke her opponent.

I usually consider myself being a tough cookie, but I think I’ll stay out of the jello pit and stick to my jello shots.

California Extreme

I play a lot of games. So does my husband. PS3 games, Nintendo Wii games, Nintendo DS games. The only games I passionately refuse to play are board games (I might explain this at another time). So, when the annual classic arcade games show, California Extreme (, opened its doors, we were there. We paid $30 each and played to our hearts content. There are hundreds of games, from arcade shooters to Pac-Man. There were pinball machines from 1948 (Sally), machines from 2010 (Iron man) and pretty much from every year in between.

First of all, I had no idea I liked pinball machines as much as I do. I can only remember playing it once or twice before this event. Secondly. I’m actually half decent at it.

But I did find one thing I was ridiculously bad at. Dance Revolution! I’ve seen the machine hundreds of times before but never tried it. Now I have. Now I know I suck! I’ve always known my hand-eye coordination is questionable but my foot-eye coordination is without a question horrible! And of course there was a whole bunch of those “I’ve-spent-ridiculous-amount-of-time-and-money-on-Dance-Revolution-machines” people there, just waiting to show off their talents. Better to leave it to the professionals. But if I’ll ever find myself, in an empty room, with a Dance Revolution machine, you never know what will happen...

This summer's revelations

Autumn is here. But before leaving the summer behind, I want to share 3 revelations I've had these past few months.


On June 2nd, my friend Janita drove me to the airport. I was just about to board a plane from San Francisco to Göteborg. I was bursting with excitement and I couldn’t wait to see my family and friends again. Also, I looked forward to catching my connecting flight in London. Not that I like Heathrow airport but it gave me an opportunity to surround myself with wonderful Brits and it also gave me the opportunity to indulge in one of my addictions, cheap British “Real Life Stories” magazines. I love them! Especially “Take a Break” and “Pick me up”.

I’m not going to write about all the details of my wonderful days in Sweden, but to sum it up, it was just as I expected (and trust me, I had high expectations). I spent my days meeting friends over coffee, aka “fika”, lunches and dinners. I ate all the foods I miss, such as Swedish kebab pizza, “Pytt i panna” and “Potatiskroketter”. I also ate quite the amount of fish. The weather was also as expected and it wouldn’t feel like Göteborg without the rain and the wind. At least there were a few nice days so that I could enjoy the long summer days and short summer nights.

After 19 days in Sweden, I packed my bags, hugged my family and friends good bye and left my home to go home. As I boarded the plane I contemplated the decision to live a continent away from the people I love. Either I could feel sad and feel I was missing out or I could count my blessings and be deliriously happy I had wonderful family, friends and homes in more places than one. And with a warm feeling in my heart I looked forward to seeing my husband and friends back in the US.

Btw, I flew via London, again, on my way back. Picked up yet another load of magazines and I arrived the US with 18 wonderful trophies.

Björn Rosentröm concert

While in Sweden, me and Theres (my BFF) decided to take a stroll down memory lane. Back in 1998, we discovered a Swedish artist by the name Björn Rosentröm and we attended his concerts frequently from 2000 to 2005. During the last few concerts we’d become familiar enough with the band for them to recognize us, exchange a few works before/after concerts and we even got invited to a after-party after a magical concert in Kungshamn. But after 2005 life got in the way of us continuing our obsession.

But this summer, five years after our last concert (and ten years since our first!) we decided to get ourselves to yet another concert. We had everything planned! Rather than attending one of the bigger concerts in Göteborg, we decided to attend a smaller venue about 90 min from the city, hoping it would be less crowded. The concert would be in a park rather than a club which we figured would make the crowd less dense. We also wanted to get there early to get good spots (we always stand in the middle of the first row. This was going to be the best concert ever!

It wasn’t.

After battling the GPS and the Internet connection for a while we found the park. The second we got to the parking lot we realized something was unusual. The parking lot was nearly empty. We soon realized why. People were to young to drive their own cars to the event so the big majority of people were dropped off by their parents. After waiting a lifetime for the concert to start, we soon found out that our favorite band-member was missing in action. And we probably should have left when they started of the set by asking the crowd how many who had graduated high-school. Only half the crowd cheered... We estimated that most of the kids there were around 4 years old when we bought our first Björn Rosenström record. They were still in kindergarten when we went to our first concert.

We spent the rest of the concert battling drunk, hormonal teenagers on summer break. We left the concert agitated, bruised, exhausted. My head hurt. Some giant and over-energized teenager had used my head as an armrest. Apparently I’m not only old, I’m short as well.


Just a few days after I returned to the USA I finally got to go to the San Francisco Pride parade. I recommend anyone who wants to spend a festive day to attend, but to me, it was so much more than that. Gay right issues has always been very close to my heart. Maybe it’s because I’ve had wonderful gay people in my life for as long as I can remember or maybe because some of my close friends are gay. But the core of the issue is simpler than that. I absolutely hate discrimination of any kind or form.

As i stood watching the parade, I teared up quite a few times. Here I was, watching this huge parade and demonstration. It was not against an oppressive dictator, it was not against a war, it was not against “the system”, in fact, it was not against anything. The Pride parade is a demonstration for everyone’s right to be themselves. It’s for everyone’s right to shape their own reality and ultimately it’s for everyone’s right to love.

Two older gentlemen where carrying a sign that said: “David + Donald = 44 years! We all deserve the freedom to marry!” and it really got to me. I’m married. What if I wasn’t allowed to marry my husband? What if our relationship was considered to be wrong and unnatural? I would be devastated beyond description.

One section in the parade featured families where the parents are gay. I looked at all the proud parents with their kids, some kids smiling, some laughing and some sleeping on their father’s shoulder. I suddenly felt the anger grow inside me. Who are those people who look at these families and wishes they didn’t exist? How can some people still want us, as a society, to teach these children that their life and their existence is wrong?

I don’t expect everybody to join the Pride parade and demonstrate for equal rights, I guess I just wish people would mind their own business and let every other person to do so as well. I usually pride myself in being an open-minded person but the older I get the more I understand my own intolerance. I am fiercely intolerant towards intolerant people.