Where have I gone?

Wow. It’s been a while.
I’m afraid that I have gone incognito on cyber space.
I might be back though (might).

Here’s a little update.
I don’t work at Eric anymore. Which is sad, I really liked it there. But I was their first employee and in the end they couldn’t afford me just yet.

So I had almost a month of applying for a million jobs, trying to save money, trying to not panic, and in the end I started working at a pub in Richmond. Which was probably the best thing that could have happened.
I love working in a pub. I love beer, I love people, and I love football so it has been easy to keep up with the World Cup. The people I work with are great!

I have also applied for some nanny jobs and next month I will start working with a lovely family in Chelsea.

Hopefully this will give me more time to write. Both here in cyber space and on my personal projects!

Oh, and I have been reading loads! I crave Swedish crime novels in the summer.

Also, I miss Öland and Sweden a lot. Especially now. This will be my first summer ever that I don’t spend on my island. It feels a bit weird. But I will have to go there soon anyway, thanks to my dysfunctional vagina.
Ta.

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5 Things About Me.

I was thinking that I should do a little “get to know me” post. 5 things about me? I’ll give it a go, let me know if you like it.

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  1. I have always wanted to become a sport journalist. My family loves sport and it is a big part of our lives. My grandfather was an athlete, my dad has played football since he was little, and my mum used to work at a football club. We are the kind of family that sits, watching high jump, and clap along with the audience on site. This, and my love of writing, has lead me into this dream of becoming a sport journalist. Ideally, I’d write about football, but I have started to  more and more sports as the years have passed.
  2. I read way too little. I love reading, and getting hooked in a book is the biggest treat. When that happens, I don’t let it out of my hand. Unfortunately, the times I find myself hooked are rare and I miss being addicted to a story. I think the reason I read less frequently is the stress of university and the ticking bomb that is social media. I find it so easy to disappear into my phone that I forget about what I actually should be doing. I need the amazing Grace Latter to teach me how to read and do it effectively. However, now when I have finished uni I will find more time to read, and my reading list is long and lovely.
  3. I used to be a social butterfly. I really love people. I do. I love meeting new people, learn about different cultures, listen to peoples stories, and making people laugh. My main mission in London used to be ‘make as many people as happy as possible’. But I kind of forgot to make myself happy on the way.
    I used to attend every event, meet up with everyone sort of close to me, and I tried to maintain every relationship I ever made. With this mission came anxiety and I felt like I had to deliver; be the happy and funny one, all the time. In the end, I fell apart, and I got very ill.
    Now, I try to focus on my own mental health, and I try to not feel like I have to please everyone. I hate it sometimes. I feel like I’m missing out and I have had so much fun being out there, but I have learnt that I can’t keep that up if I want to stay sane.
  4. I’m a vegetarian. I must say I’m a shitty one though. I still eat fish, and I find it hard to turn down a meal that contains meat when I’m invited for dinner. Although, most cooking I do at home is plant based and I have tricked Dennis into enjoying dinners that are fully vegetarian or vegan. This world need to eat less meat and I’m encouraging anyone who are trying to reduce their meat intake. I have some great cookbooks that I can recommend!
  5. I have never been outside of Europe. I can’t wait to explore the world outside the European boarders, I have so many places I want to visit. I want to go to Brazil, to see Fernanda, eat the food, enjoy the weather, try to speak portuguese, and hang out with the beautiful people. I want to go and see my little Emma who lives in New Zealand. I want to go and see Hobbiton, and explore the landscape. I want to go to Russia, visit the Red Square in Moscow and tour St Petersburg. I want to go to Japan, to experience the chaotic order and the beautiful culture. I want to do it all.

STOCKHOLM

So I did this thing….

I trashed my ticket to London this weekend and took the opportunity to go to Stockholm. I came on Sunday, and will leave for London on Wednesday, and I have had the best time.
I have been spending time with my uncle, his wife, my cousins and their partners and of course little Linton; one of my cousins 1 year old WHO I ADORE! We spent the Sunday together, had Easter dinner, drank too much beer and wine, and played family games; we do love Pictionary!
Then I have been to a floorball game where I got to see an old friend of mine (whom I met in London 4 and a half years ago, he’s called Gustav), play against my local Kalmar team. Gustav’s team bloody smashed the Kalmar team, and it was amazing, it was intense, and it was so much fun.
I have missed watching floorball; it is a special feeling to sit there and feel everything, and to get swooped in with the other supporters.
After the game I was invited for dinner at Gustav’s house, and it was so lovely. We talked about floorball, the time that has passed, school, work and everything in between. His family are so into floorball that we kept talking about the game over and over, which I loved.
Today I’m enjoying the sunshine.

Now, always when I see people back in Sweden I am asked “So, what will happen next? Will you move back to Sweden?” and my answer has always been No.
I don’t really feel like I want to go back to Sweden, I am way too restless for the Swedish Lagom (Lagom means ‘Just enough’) and I want to travel and see more of the world.
But, if I were to move back to Sweden I would move to Stockholm.

Stockholm feels like home, although I have not actually lived here. We moved down to Öland when I was six, so I haven’t really experienced the Swedish capital properly. But I have so much family, and so many friends, living here and I wish I had the opportunity to spend more time with them and in this city.
I want to find the best coffee in Stockholm, I want to go and see all the football derbys, I want to live the quality life I know exist in Sweden, but maybe not just yet…

I am not quite done with London and the hectic, crazy, wonderful life I have there, but I can’t deny that Stockholm is an intriguing thought. I will continue to say No to Sweden for a while longer though, but when I feel a bit more Lagom I will start considering moving back to where it all started.

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Winter Olympics 2018

Friday the 9th of February kicked off this years Olympic games and I am excited.

I have always loved the Olympics, both in Winter and Summer, we even have our own little Olympic fire at home that we light and keep lit during the games. My family are very into every sport there is and usually sit in the sofa helping the athletes towards their goal. Helping = pretending we have poles and push with them through the air.
Man that was hard to write in English, we have much better words for that pretend activity in Swedish…

Today was the first day of competition and the first sport to finish was the Women’s Cross Country Skiathlon. It is 15 kilometers of skiing, and the first winner of the 2018 Olympic games was SWEDISH! Charlotte Kalla (who I have actually met and I don’t think I have ever been more starstruck than that time) led most of the race and won with 7 seconds down to Marit Bjorgen. It was a great race and Kalla was so happy after crossing that finish line!
The Norwegian favourite is up for winning most medals ever (men and women) during her Olympic games which is crazy impressive, so winning against her must have felt good!

I am positive to this Olympic games even though it will start very early here in the UK, but Sweden do have chance to more medals and I will try to watch as much as possible.

Go sport and go the Olympic games and GO SWEDEN! (Sorry GB, I am yellow and blue.)

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Equality in Swedish Football

Last week, the Swedish female football team tried to discuss their way to a new contract with the Swedish football federation after only getting 200 kronas (around £20) per day the last couple of years. This reminded me of a feature I wrote about equality in Swedish football.
I was lucky enough to get an interview with the, at the time, women’s team manager Pia Sundhage who was one of my idols growing up.
The topic is still current and I thought I’d share my story here. I will also do a opinion piece on it.
Enjoy!

Equality in Swedish Football

Women’s football in Sweden has been one of the leading forces for equality in football, and the blue and yellow women’s national team are constantly fighting for better quality football, more coverage and equal ground.

There was a time when girls were not allowed to play football, but that has changed now. Equality in football has definitely improved, and most of it during the past 40 years.

The Swedish Football Federation was established in 1904, but the first women’s team was not established until the 1970s. When the women’s team got to play their first game in 1973 they played with smaller balls, they played 2 times 35 minutes, they had less time on the field, and much less resources to become professional football players. But somewhere along the way, someone started asking why.

Pia Sundhage, 57, who was one of Sweden´s first professional female football players and who now is the Swedish women’s national team coach, remembers the time before women’s football was accepted and says, “It all started when we started saying ‘why is it different for us? We want the same as men.’”

Sundhage thinks that women’s football can give something new to the world of football, something that the male dominated sport is missing.

“What will happen if we include women’s football in the word football? Women’s football is different from men’s football, but that´s a good thing, because it gives more to the sport. It gives us more role models, a new audience which doesn’t hate, instead it cheers its team on, more audience that is not interested in violence, there´s fair play and it is a different environment to the one in men’s football. It´s a victory to have ‘women’s football’ as a part of the sport.”

The Swedish national team is known for it´s strong profiles such as Lotta Schelin, Nilla Fisher, Caroline Seger and Kosovare Asllani, and they all work hard to be, and to appreciate, female role models.

This year, the Swedish players dropped their own names on the back of their blue and yellow match kit and replaced them with quotes by strong Swedish women, to encourage young girls to be who they are and that anything is possible. The campaign was developed by the federation, Adidas and the players, and 10% of the profit went to Everyone is different – Different is good, to support girls in sport.

Sundhage is happy about the campaign but also surprised about the debate it created. She says, “What´s interesting is the debate after we launched the new kit. People started discussing Adidas and for what purpose they did this. Does the men’s team have to do the same? Is it all just for publicity? No one discussed what was actually on the shirts. What was the true meaning of the quotes?”

She continues, “If the men’s team does something, then that is just the way it is, but if the women’s team does something, hell breaks lose.”

For women to play professional football, and make money from doing so, have only been an opportunity for about 15 years, and the opportunities are still limited.

Sundhage played abroad, for the Italian team Lazio, and she was certainly not able to earn enough money just from playing football in the 80s.

Jonas Nystedt, who works at the Swedish Football Federation, says that “Yes, Pia Sundhage was a ‘professional’ player in Italy, but she had to pay almost everything with her own money. There is still a huge difference in salary between men and women, but today our best female football players can play football full-time and earn an acceptable monthly salary which is good, and about time.”

Nowadays, the Swedish national teams, both women and men, have the same resources such as training camps, travel, hotels, leaders and medical teams. The coverage of Swedish football is high and big events such as the Euro Cup games and Olympic matches are viewed by millions of people. Nystedt says, “Last year, the men´s Euro Cup games were seen by around 3 million people, and the women´s team had the most viewers during the Olympics with 1.8 million watching them play in the final against Germany.”

There is approximately 20-45.000 people watching the men´s highest division and 8-10.000 that watch the women´s league.

Nystedt continues, “We in the federation works in the same way with men and women’s football when it comes to equality in audience, money, fame, and coverage.”

Sundhage is on the same track, “There is some kind of equality, because we get to do the same thing as men.”

One of the reasons why women’s football still is not as big as the sport itself, is money. Because less people, and less countries, engage in women’s football very few want to invest in the industry. Nystedt explains, “Because women’s football is not as developed in other countries, like in Sweden, people are not ready to invest or expand. But it is growing everywhere and countries that has been dominated by men’s football, such as Spain, Italy, Brazil, Argentina, England, are catching up with USA, Germany and Sweden who already are well established. The big clubs are starting to investing in women’s football so it´s just a matter of time before they are as good as us.”

Sundhage is doing her last year as the national coach and is now on her way towards something new. She says that most people say that the next step is coaching men in the Swedish first division – Allsvenskan.

“Coaching men simply has to be the next challenge for a woman´s coach”, she says sarcastically.

She continues, “That would be the usual way, you´ve coached a national team and it´s time for Allsvenskan. I´m not sure it will work for me though. Men who comes from national teams and take over a club team are put on a pedestal; I don’t think I will get my own.”

Being a female coach in a men’s world is tough and you have to prove yourself on a whole other level.

During the summer of 2016, Lars Lagerbäck led his Iceland to a surprising quarterfinal and was celebrated for his tactics and clever way of playing. When Sundhage did the same in the Olympics, which led her and her team to a final, she was criticised for being boring and weak. They both did what they had to do, making them both look like less hot-blooded versions of José Mourinho.

“People don´t take us who coaches women as seriously as the ones coaching men. Me and my colleagues have been doing this for a long time, and very often someone comes from a men’s team and think it will be easy. But it´s not. It is very different. Imagine if I did the same? I don’t know anything about men’s football.”

Sweden has come a long way towards equality. Boys and girls play football together in school and they are not divided into girl´s sport class and boy´s sport class as in, for example, the UK. Because children in the UK learn that boys are supposed to play football, and girls are not, there is a difference between the sexes from an early stage.

In Sweden, boys and girls play together in school which makes the difference less noticeable. Although, there´s still many who looks down on women’s football rather than appreciating it.

Lisa Farquhar, 24, plays in division 1 in Sweden and says that she has experienced inequality her whole life, even when she played for the best club in her region.

“I´ve seen the attitude towards women’s football and it can be patronizing. People make fun of women’s football and diminish it. It is not taken as serious as men´s football.”

Farquhar believes that the next step towards equality in football is knowledge about gender and to break free from old patterns. She says, “I think that with more studies about gender we can challenge and acknowledge how we are effected by old patterns and outdated opinions about men and women. I think the equality lays in these old habits. We should ask the same from boys and girls.”

She continues, “It will be important to raise boys and girls in the same way, that adults take their responsibility and challenge the old ways. It´s a tough thing to do and it demands strong role models.”

Sundhage is looking at it differently and acknowledge the difference, but the difference should be appreciated rather than diminished.

Sundhage says, “Women´s football has been accepted, now I want it to be respected, that’s the next step.”

Sweden is ahead when it comes to equality, but the country still has a long way to go. The sport has to work against the norms and the way women’s football is talked about. The sport has to take away “we against them” and encourage girls to be as good as they can be. The better Sweden can be at this; the more other countries will want to follow.