Asta Sunding is 91 years old, lives in Dalby, Skåne and not only is she my beloved grandmother but also a very practiced traveler of Europe. Therefore she has been able to see the aftermath of (and in some cases even witness) some of the historical events that have greatly shaped the world we now live in. I wanted to take this opportunity to meet up with Asta and talk about some of her stories from her adventures abroad. The interview was conducted in my own garden at midday.
Malte Sunding: When did you first travel outside sweden?
Asta Sunding: The first time I traveled abroad was sometime in the early fifties when my husband Anders was going on a business trip to France.
Malte Sunding: And you were about how old?
Asta Sunding: I think I must have been about 24.
Malte Sunding: Would you say that this experience was in any way memorable?
Asta Sunding: Well… I remember how, before the trip, I was sort of confident about travelling since I had already travelled several times around Sweden, and thought this to be no more than another small trip. And it wasn’t until I stepped off the first of the several trains in Germany, no the way to France, that I understood how different travelling internationally really is.
Malte Sunding: How?
Asta Sunding: Well, during my childhood of course there was a lot of talk about everything going on in Europe. The war. So when I stepped off the train in Germany, I think what struck me was that I now I was standing where it had all happened. It was surreal in some way.
Malte Sunding: Do you think that this experience has something to so with your later love of travelling throughout Europe?
Asta Sunding: Oh yes definitely. I very much think that a fundamental reason why we, me and my husband, always went back to Europe was the fact that we both were, in some way, fascinated with the events of the war. Of course Anders, being a civil engineer and having worked closely with the Swedish civil defences during the war, was interested in that way.
Malte Sunding: What is your most memorable experience travelling through Europe?
Asta Sunding: A moment, or rather an experience that has always stuck with me was when I visited Berlin in 1989. We had gotten lots of photos from our close friends living in West Berlin. And I was as updated as I could be regarding the whole situation with the wall, although there was a lot that no one knew. When flying down, we first had to fly to Frankfurt since the only countries that were allowed to fly in and out of West Berlin were the allies. From Frankfurt we got on a second plane which then flew us to Berlin, at low altitude. There we found the city in total celebration. People were out in the streets cheering. It was totally surreal to witness such a contrast.
Malte Sunding: Thank you for this conversation, is there anything else that you would like to add?
Asta Sunding: Not really, I would just like to say that it was very fun to revisit some of these memories, and really have a think about why I have travelled to the extent that I have.
(Due to time restraints we couldn’t continue the interview any longer. Asta was soon on the way back to Skåne.)
Yu: Can you introduce yourself and how you became interested in movies?
Lee: First, I am really a big fan of movies; it’s not always about the storyline. Everyone can appreciate the artistry that has gone into them. I learn many things from movies, and I can even experience situations I wouldn’t normally experience.
In mainland China, it’s true that we hardly see any high-quality movies. But I can download many classic movies from the Internet, or buy DVDs online. Actually, this type of thing is not allowed, but sometimes you’ve got to defend what you love, when you deeply believe you’re right.
For now, I work as a history teacher in a private secondary school. Our school is located in a remote village near Beijing. It’s a very beautiful place; there are many kinds of plants in our school. Children who came to study here usually want to go aboard after graduation. So there is an infinite number of possible learning environments, which is what makes teaching so interesting.
By the way, Ingmar Bergman is one of my favorite directors, and I also like Greta Garbo and Ingrid Bergman. I collected 200 SEK and 100 SEK bills on purpose when I visited Stockholm; I think you know the reason, lol.
Yu: Which movies are your favorites?
Lee:Intolerance: Love’s Struggle throughout the Ages, Metropolis, Citizen Kane, Roma Ore 11, Paths of Glory, Persona…
Yu: Which director is your favorite? Why? Why do you love these directors?
Lee: My most favorite would be Andrei Tarkovsky, because his name is so hard to remember, hahaha. And I love these directors because they direct their movies so well, and their movies make people sleepy and fall asleep, lol! For example, director Ingmar Bergman.
Yu: Do you have favorite lines from a movie that made a deep-impression on you?
Lee: “Hogwarts will always be there to welcome you home,” from Creating the World of Harry Potter (a movie about how J.K. Rowling created her magical world). An
d “I desire nothing more than a deep, restful sleep,” from Throne of Blood.
Yu: If you had the chance to direct a movie, what kind would you make?’
Lee: A autobiography of the Chinese actress Xiaoxu Chen from China.
Yu: Finally a humorous question: how did you spend all your money?’
Lee: On travelling expenses to Hogwarts, and on books of magic, and magical herbs!
(She’s too lost in the Harry Potter-world , I couldn’t pull her out, hahaha!)
Today I will be interviewing Adam Jonströmer, a fellow classmate, about his early piano career and how it affected the early stages of his life.
I meet Adam after school and we make our way to my home in Tyresö. My grandma has prepared dinner. After the meal we sit down in the living room and start the interview.
Dutt: So Adam, tell us about yourself.
Jonströmer: Well, my name is Adam Jonströmer and I am a sixteen-year-old student at Lilla Akademien. I’ve just started first year at the upper-secondary school, and I play the piano as my main instrument.
Dutt: Can you tell us more about your piano playing?
Jonströmer: I’ve played piano since I was seven and a half, so that’s just over nine years now. My first piano teacher was my mother, she taught me the basics and is one of the main reasons I developed as a pianist. At the age of ten I started studying with Staffan Scheja, he was great and gave me lots of opportunities.
Dutt: When would you say was the most demanding period during these nine years?
Jonströmer: My most active years were between age nine and thirteen. During this time I played at Staffan Scheja’s Gotland Chamber Music Festival and attended sixteen international competitions. It was a very stressful period. I skipped school regularly to practice and my social life was non-existent. Many times before a competition, I would stay home a whole week just to practice. Not only did this have a bad influence on other classmates, it had a huge impact on my grades. I had very low grades and warnings that I wouldn’t pass subjects, but at that time I didn’t really care about school at all. Every bit of my focus, drive, and motivation went to my piano-playing. All I did was play the piano day in day out. My life didn’t consist of studying, being physically active or having a social life; my life only consisted of one thing: piano. Whether it was practicing, going to lessons, or performing, my piano playing was the only thing that mattered.
Dutt: But what was the turnaround? As I’ve understood your grades are well above average now.
Jonströmer: It wasn’t until I started at Lilla Akademien in sixth grade that I was forbidden to miss school for my music. This created a lot of new priorities that I never really thought of before. I started to learn there are other thing in life just as important as playing piano, and I was able to work my way up to were I am now. It took a few years to get use to focusing on more than just my piano playing, but it payed off in the end. It was because of Lilla Akademien that I was able to improve my grades.
Dutt: What was the reason you stopped playing in competitions?
Jonströmer: I decided that it wasn’t worth the time and effort. Sure you get the fancy prize and new contacts, but it took so much from other aspects of living. Instead of having a holiday from school, I would spend autumn and spring breaks having private lessons with teachers for a whole week straight. I was so wound up in my own little piano-world that I never really understood the importance of a social life –– funny for me to admit now, cause I usually hear that I never shut up.
Dutt: Do you regret not having a healthy social life when you were younger?
Jonströmer: No, I don’t. I am actually grateful that my parents encouraged me to practice as much as I did, because it has taught me valuable habits that have helped me in other fields, like schoolwork. Without spending late night hours diligently practicing, I could never cope with finishing writing an assignment at midnight. Sure it took a toll on my social skills, but it was worth it for what I’ve achieved, and how it’s positively impacted my daily life today. Although I lived in constant stress and missed out on some of the normal stuff, I still don’t regret attending all of those competitions.
Dutt: After coming so far in your piano playing, do you still want to choose it as your career?
Jonströmer: I believe that music is something I will be involved with for the rest of my life. I’ll always have my piano skills, but choosing it as a career? It’s too early to say. I think it’s silly to put a label on what we might do, and who we might become. I want to try as many things as possible, and then decide.
When Christian Sjölander was a small child, he and his Swedish family decided to move to Germany. A couple of years later, when Christian was about eleven, they decided to move back to Sweden. How did he, as a child, experience the differences of the two countries?
Sjölander: Let’s take it from the beginning. When I was two years old in 1971, we moved to Germany, as my father had gotten a job at a shipping company there. We lived in Germany for almost ten years, which means I went to a German school. We moved back to Sweden the summer before I started sixth grade. Since we were new in the neighbourhood I didn’t have any friends. I rode my bike around looking for kids, but there was a problem. There weren’t any kids out. The ones who weren’t abroad were inside. Swedish children weren’t at all interested in being outside, doing stuff.
When the school year began, I started to notice more and more differences between Swedish people and traditions, and German people and their traditions. The relationship between students and teachers was especially different. The respect that the students had for their teachers in Germany wasn’t there in Sweden. The school system in Sweden was very laid-back, and I felt early on it couldn’t be sustainable. It was like two different worlds. The schools in Sweden weren’t worse than in Germany, they often had bigger budgets and more subjects, but raising children was not the same as in Germany, and I think that is the most important difference. I had started learning English in school just one year before we moved, but I was still knew more than the Swedish students who had been learning English for two or more years. The attitude towards homework was also completely different. The homework in Sweden was voluntary, and if you hadn’t done it, the consequences were minimal. In Germany homework was homework, and there was always an exam.
Flink: Were you prepared for the differences?
Sjölander: I didn’t think that it would be the same, of course not, but I didn’t have a clue the people would be so different. There really was no motivation in the Swedes, no sense of efficiency.
Flink: You mentioned the difference with the students, but was there any major difference with the teachers?
Sjölander: One specific example I remember vividly. I took guitar lessons in Germany. My teacher was dedicated, and he wanted to really make his students the best they could be. I could read sheet music and play technically challenging stuff. But my new teacher in Sweden was completely different. He didn’t care about me improving. He was really only there to get his paycheck. He didn’t motivate his students, so we all lost our motivation too. The rest of the teachers were more or less like him.
Flink: After high school, you decided to move back to Germany for a year, to work in the restaurant business. What made you choose that path?
Sjölander: To travel and work abroad has always been one of my goals, and since my father still had friends who could help with a place to stay in Germany, that was a good start. I chose studying to be a chef, because it’s very universal. Everyone has to eat and everyone has to drink. When I started working in Germany I started to notice differences that I had noticed as a child again. Students were so much further educated, both theoretically and practically. The education I had gotten in Sweden wasn’t nearly as comprehensive as the Germans. This was clear proof that the Swedish educational system had educated a generation of slackers, who weren’t prepared for an international market. I later noticed the same problem in Switzerland, France and Russia, where I’ve also worked. The Swedes are behind the rest, and it’s almost shameful.
Flink: Do you still recognize differences between you and the normal Swede today?
Sjölander: Absolutely, all the time. I think that people often see me as rude or impolite, for example when I say when the food isn’t good in a restaurant, or when I speak my opinion. I think Swedes generally are too quiet and careful when it comes to stuff like that. Swedes react disproportionately to minor things. Saying what you think and feel isn’t socially accepted. We have an expression in Swedish that I think sums up Sweden and the Swedish people very nicely: Mellanmjölk.
On Wednesday the thirteenth I had the opportunity to sit down and talk with one of the world’s best music producers. He has released a whopping zero albums and has lost about 2,000 SEK in the process. He may be a superstar, but he always respect his following.
Theo 1: Ok, so to start off. When and how did you become interested in music production?
Theo 2: I started getting into music about a year ago. A family friend who works as a music producer introduced me to the wondrous world of music production.
Theo 1: What is the one thing every song must have to become a solid hit?
Theo 2: It obviously depends on the genre, but I think a catchy melody and a good bass-line are fundamental for a chart-topping track. Take the song “Sorry” by Justin Bieber for example. It has a melody that can get stuck in your head for weeks, and the mixing is just exceptional.
Theo 1: Speaking of popular songs, approximately how long does it take to create a track of such high quality?
Theo 2: Again, it really depends on the genre of the song, but specifically for pop I’d say that it could take 3-5 days for the full track to be produced, mixed and mastered. Excluding all the time put into writing lyrics.
Theo 1: Where do you get your inspiration from, to start up a new project?
Theo 2: I guess I get most of my inspiration from other songs, since I listen to so much music, but I also like to take walks in nature to clear my mind.
Theo 1: What is the hardest part about being a music producer?
Theo 2: Publicity. It’s really hard to make a name for yourself in the music industry, especially as a producer. The sudden rise of both trap and hip hop music created a wave of new music produces and rappers. This makes it even harder for kids with huge potential to become who they aspire to be.
Theo 1: What are some ways to market yourself as a producer or artist?
Theo 2: I think it’s really important to just be yourself. A lot of people trying to get into the music industry end up committing serious crimes as publicity stunts, or might just give up because they don’t think they’re interesting enough.
Theo 1: What advice would you give someone who just started producing?
Theo 2: The most important thing is to stay consistent. You can view producing like any instrument or skill: the more you practise, the better you’ll get. Bad habits are also important to break. That one time you do something else instead of producing turns into two times, two times into four times, and so on.
Theo 1: Last question. What about producing brings you the most joy?
Theo 2: Definitely when you listen to the final mix through high-quality speakers. Words cannot describe how satisfying it feels to make a nearly perfect mix or master. It’s pure satisfaction.
This is an interview I conducted with my grandmother Gurli Bolin, who was born in 1933. I wanted to find out more about her life growing up, and understand how the city of Stockholm has changed.
Early childhood 1933-1939
Rut Bolin: Can we start with you describing your first ten years?
Gurli Bolin: I was born on Skinnarviksringen Road in 1933, my parents were doorkeepers in that house. We didn’t stay there for long but I know I played in the park nearby, because I’ve seen pictures of it, I was too small to remember. After that we moved to Hammarbyhöjden, I think I was around four years old. I had a friend called Britt. But we only lived there for a year, then we moved to Tavastgatan here in the south, by Mariatorget. They were waiting for an HSB-apartment on Lundagatan, but since those apartments were not finished yet, we had short residences at Hammarbyhöjden and Tavastgatan. But then in 1939, the house we’d been waiting for at Lundagatan was finished, so we moved in. There were lots of kids in that neighbourhood, we had so much fun together, it was… we were the same age as well, almost all of us.
Rut Bolin: Why were there so many children there?
Gurli Bolin: Probably because it was a neighbourhood with small HSB-apartments where everyone had one or two kids. So we had lots of fun. And I met a girl in my apartment house, she was one year younger, Siv. And I met Barbro who lived in the house next to mine. After a while we found out Barbro and I had applied to the same school, which was the “folkseminariets övningsskola” by Maria Prästgårdsgata Road. I went there for nine years because it was Swedens first enhetsskola, which meant you could complete your obligatory studies by attending the same school for nine years, and also graduate (realen). And because it was a seminar, we had lessons with seminarists who were going to become teachers.
Rut Bolin: Why did you move around so much?
Gurli Bolin: I think many apartments were empty back then, and so the landlords offered low rents to attract tenants, and my parents didn’t really have a lot of money, so they were constantly looking for a cheap place to live, which meant that we moved a lot.
Rut Bolin: What did your parents do for a living?
Gurli Bolin: My mother didn’t have a profession, she came to Stockholm as a maid, and met my father who was a baker. So he worked, but he had a very low salary. But then my mother won the football lottery (stryktipset), when could that have been? 1945? 1946? She wasn’t really into games, so my father told her to write some random numbers, and she did, and ended up winning 15,000 SEK.
Rut Bolin: How did one usually live back then? How were the apartments divided?
Gurli Bolin: I always wished for a room of my own, but at Lundagatan I slept in the kitchen, and my parents in the other room. Then my brother Anders was born. I was ten years old, in 1943, and he slept in an extra bed in our parents’ room, which they took out each night and set up.
World War II: 1939-1945
Rut Bolin: Tell me about the war.
Gurli Bolin: I experienced black-outs, and the bomb shelter by Eriksdalshallen sports hall. It was very disturbing, we practiced in the safe room in our house, and my father put up curtains, he was so careful because there couldn’t be even a single slit of light. It’s a sad memory. We also had to have a place to evacuate if that became necessary.
Rut Bolin: Was the war something you thought about a lot?
Gurli Bolin: Yes, I did, I wasn’t that old and my father was in service in the navy, on a minesweeper. I think he was there for two and a half years. I remember I felt it was very unpleasant in the shelter, where you were supposed to sit if war came.
Rut Bolin: But then when the war ended, did you feel as if there was a big difference even here in Sweden?
Gurli Bolin: It was a little like people letting out a breath they’d been holding for some time.
Rut Bolin: How did you find out the war had ended?
Gurli Bolin: You used the radio a lot back then. It was very important to keep up with the news, so I probably found out through that way. You often heard the adults talking about the war, and what was happening around in the world as well. Especially in Germany, since it’s nearby.
Rut Bolin: What was the attitude towards it?
Gurli Bolin: I myself thought of Hitler as a horrible human being, and you would hear about the concentration camps. Even as a small girl, I understood that Hitler was an awful tyrant. And not only him, but also his staff. And Norway was a part of the whole thing, and the Finnish Winter War as well. We were surrounded, and the German soldiers travelled through Sweden, heading to different places. Hearing adults speak, you understood the seriousness of the matter, they were afraid and worried. They discussed the whole thing a lot. And Stalin was also a big name at the time.
It was very poor as well. Not so you were starving, but we had food-ration stamps during the 40s.
Rut Bolin: How did that work?
Gurli Bolin: You had to make them last all month. But we were lucky, since my father was a chef in the navy, he would sometimes bring leftover food home, when he went on leave. But yes, you had to go to the store with your food stamps, and then you would trade your stamps for food, and make it last as long as possible.
Rut Bolin: Did you find it hard, getting it to last?
Gurli Bolin: No, I never felt anything was missing, I think my mother was very good at keeping track. She made low-cost food that lasted a long time, and was still nutritious.
After the war: 1945 to the present
Then in 1949 I graduated, and I wanted to become a teacher and attend the seminars at that same school, but because of the month I was born, I was too young to apply. But I think it was for the best, I was way too childish to start studying to become a teacher, I wouldn’t even have been twenty when I graduated. Instead I applied to the Postgiro bank, as I didn’t want to study just yet. And there I worked for about a year.
After that I applied to the seminar, but there were 400 applicants and I didn’t get in. Instead I came up with the idea of becoming a needlework teacher, because I was very fond of sewing, knitting, embroidering and such. I was accepted into the program, and became a needlework teacher.
And in my free time I enjoyed dancing, I went to the dance club Nalen, because they had school dances, so during Sundays and some evenings on weekdays you could go there. The schools also had dances, at Södra Latin and Norra Latin. I don’t think that my parents enjoyed me being out dancing as much as I did, since I was only sixteen. But still, I came home at reasonable hours. I went to a place called VP as well, Vinterpalatset (the Winter Palace) at Norra Bantorget.
Rut Bolin: And you danced there, as well?
Gurli Bolin: Yes, and when you went home, you had to go by tram, and since there weren’t many departures there were a lot of people, the trams were extremely packed. My parents didn’t know I sometimes stood in the open door to get home on time.
I also liked skating, at the outdoor rink at Zinkensdamm. They had music playing and the winters during the 40s were amazing.I went to jazz concerts as well. I’ve always liked music and played the piano myself, but we didn’t have one at home, so I had to go practice at an acquaintance’s house. And since I appreciated jazz music, I went to the concert hall, because they sometimes had famous musicians. Ella Fitzgerald was the name of a woman who sang fantastically well, and her group as well. I saw Gene Krupa and Benny Goodman live as well, and of course listened to people like Louis Armstrong. I went dancing to famous orchestras as well, which was really fun.
Rut Bolin: And when was this?
Gurli Bolin: This was the early 50s, maybe late 40s, but probably 50s.
Meg Tiveus Borglin was born in December 1943, in the middle of the Second World War. This has affected her adult life and helped shape her into the successful person she is today. She has been CEO for Swedish Posten, Åhlens, Holmen, and Svenska Spel. Now retired, she is in the board for Swedish Match, Cloetta AB, Arkitektkopia AB, Björn Axén AB, Folktandvården AB, Nordea Fonder AB, Svenskt Kulturarv, Readly, and Gotlandsbåten AB.
During her years she has been exposed to many unfair situations because of her gender. But her driving personality and straight attitude have made many respect her more than their male colleagues.
How did growing up in post-war Sweden affect her childhood, how did it help or challenge her professionally, how has the attitude towards women in business changed, and how does it need to continue changing? After a tasty dinner I start recording.
Jonströmer: For starters, where do you come from?
Tiveus: I’m from Motala, Sweden. I was born into a family with four children, with me as the fifth child. I was seven years younger than the youngest one of the other four. It was a big family.
Jonströmer: How did life look like back then? I believe it was very different.
Tiveus: Well, yes. For example, there were no fridge or freezers, we washed and reused plastic bags, and we got most of our groceries through rationing coupons. Eating chicken was a luxury, and cod was a daily meal. We treasured plastic before, but now we pollute our oceans with it. People eat too much, and cod is a vulnerable species. We poison our waters so much that we are prohibited from eating food from certain places. It was indeed very different.
Jonströmer: Speaking of food, was there enough for you to eat back then?
Tiveus: My grandmother and grandfather had a large farmyard which provided us with plenty of food. So we were never starving. But there was never an abundance of food. Everything was divided equally between the seven family members.
Jonströmer: Has this way of thinking followed you into your adult life?
Tiveus: Yes, not in the same way but everything had a clear limit back then. You never had too much of anything. The things you had were precious. Like your toys, leftovers (if there were any), clothes, etc. This encouraged us to save everything, because if you needed it, you couldn’t just go and buy it. We didn’t have that luxury. You got the things you needed, then you kept them until they were unusable or too small. And this habit is still with me today. As you can see (she gestures towards her full bookshelves and cabinets) I still like to keep things. Though I don’t wash my plastic bags anymore, which I really should.
Jonströmer: I understand you had a close relationship with your family. But how about you and your siblings?
Tiveus: I’ve had a good relation with them. But there was this large seven-year age gap between me and the second-youngest one. This could make things a little more distant because I was always seen as a mommy’s girl. I was very determined to always sit on her lap, and I almost always got her attention, because I was the youngest –– but I was also the only girl. I had four older brothers that teased me, and regularly fooled me. A good example is that they told me that meat was something disgusting and that I should never eat it. And beef was a real luxury, so they took my meat coupon and shared it between them. I had my first fillet of beef when I was seven, and that’s when I realized that meat was delicious and that I couldn’t fully trust my siblings. Since then I’ve always been skeptical of their claims. And it also taught me how to stand up for myself and come up with good arguments. Even as a child, I was very stubborn. But a big part of the teasing and the mildly unfair treatment from my siblings was because I was a girl. And I was the only girl.
Jonströmer: As gender equality is a very active topic in today’s society, I’d like to ask about the attitude towards women?
Tiveus: For many years I was alone as a female chef. It was most often men who had a senior position. I was the first female division manager for Holmen and Posten, which led to many interesting situations and encounters. A strong reason why I always enjoyed higher positions was because there was less chance of working for an unfair boss. Sure it still occurred, but most of my time I was a respected woman because of my personality and position in these different companies.
Jonströmer: Can you give us some examples of encounters or behavior you experienced?
Tiveus: Well, a funny story is when I was in Finland as a new division manager at Holmen. We were on a three-day conference to merge Holmen with a large Finnish company, and as a typical Finnish tradition, the ones attending the conference would bathe in saunas. Back then I was a lone female manager, and as everyone knows there is a male and a female sauna. This meant that all the men would sit together, and I was excluded from the discussions that would take place in the saunas. But despite a lot of resistance, I forced myself into the sauna with the men. A towel over my “inappropriate” body parts and a good sense of humor made meeting the other seniors in their birthday suits very smooth. They almost forgot I was a woman. But the first time I greeted the head of the Finnish postal service was when I didn’t have a towel on me. I was just about to grab it when he opened the door to the showers. We both stood there, fully naked, and without a pause, I reached out and said: “Meg Tiveus, head of the Swedish postal service, nice to meet you!” We both were equally naked so there wasn’t any sense of awkwardness. It was a business gathering after all.
Jonströmer: In your years as a businesswoman, what was your favorite job?
Tiveus: That’s a good question. I have to admit that even though Postnord has quite a reputation for late deliveries, I enjoyed my time there the most. I worked there for seven years and I loved it.
Jonströmer: In what way?
Tiveus: Well, you know back then people sent letters. It wasn’t messages over the Net. If you wanted to send a love letter, you had to send it through the post. I started as a regional chief, responsible for 4,500 employees. Postmen still delivered letters to each doorstep, and there were tons of post offices. For example, we had seven of them on the suburban island of Lidingö alone. The need to physically send letters made the delivering them a really important part of everyone’s life. And the community that had formed around the postal service had a strong family feeling.
Jonströmer: But if you liked it so much, why did you quit after seven years? Did you get bored?
Tiveus: No, not at all. I loved it all the years I worked there, and I would have continued if I felt that the conditions were right. But the reason I quit was that my previous boss retired and a new one took his position. The new senior boss was indirectly treating women unfairly, because of his views. He tried to discourage and mistreat me while giving other colleagues encouragement. This was the major reason why I quit Posten.
Jonströmer: Okay, so in your opinion, have attitudes changed? If so, how?
Tiveus: When you look back, it’s very interesting to see how the views of women and men have changed in the corporate sector. Today attitudes are of course drastically better. More top names are women, and social and political movements for equality between men and women have impacted the workplace a lot. But I still notice that even today there are fewer women in leading roles. For example earlier this afternoon, I had a lecture for eighteen managers from eighteen different companies. All with a higher position in their companies, though there was only one woman who attended. It was for sure a small group, but these were big companies, and it’s a little shocking that it’s still like this in 2019. But as you hear, many companies are being accused of unfair distribution of gender. But I am excited and hopeful to see how that might change in a few years. I believe that gender equality will improve.
Jonströmer: I agree. Thank you for your time, Meg. Lovely seeing you again.
Tiveus: No thank you! It was lovely talking to you. Hope to see you again soon, Adam.(We give each other a warm hug and exchange a few wise words.) Remember, don’t take things for granted. Be grateful. Do what you love, and do it with passion. But do it with the right people!
Stella: As a composer, why did you choose this profession?
Lin: I grew up in a family filled with music. My mom is a cellist and my father is also a composer. When I was in high school, I started to write songs. I think the things which can bring my happiness in my music can make others like it. I still have that opinion about composing.
Stella: In your life, what role does music play?
Lin: Mutual communication between people and hearts. I can communicate with different audiences through music. My music can let other people know my opinions about of life. Music can be understood by people of various culture background. I want people to comprehend Chines culture through my works.
Stella: When you’re composing, what’s your source of inspiration?
Lin: Firstly reading. I love to expand my imagination by reading. Secondly, life. I really like to learn the musical styles of various places by travelling there.
Stella: When you are starting to compose a new piece, what is your original template?
Lin: Classical music, Chinese traditional folk music, and pop music. Any musical form is a good template for me.
Stella: When your music is to be performed, how do you communicate with the musicians?
Lin: Performing the music is re-creation of the music. Like the work I did with YoYo Ma, “A Happy Excursion”. I often talk to him about my thoughts on music, and then he uses his method to better interpret the music.
My Grandma Monica Alisch has been a hard-working woman. She started off her career with a degree in medicine and worked at several hospitals in Sweden, for instance Karolinska, St. Sigfrid Psychiatric Hospital, and Växjö Regional Hospital. Twenty-five years later she decided to become a middle school teacher, and later on a professor of pedagogy at the faculty of education at a teachers’ college. She finished her carer with a double degree after fifty years of contributions to social and human development in education and health. In many ways she is one of my leading role models.
One of her personal characteristics and skills I admire is her way of always treating people with respect, despite their age, origin and habits. This respect is often combined with humour.
Sarah Alisch: What did you want to be when you were growing up?
Monica Alisch: I have always enjoyed helping people, so I wanted to work with people and participate in developments in health-care, and I wanted work with human welfare and public assistance. I think that’s why I chose to be a nurse, and later on a middle school teacher. Although every time someone asked me that question, I actually said nurse, so apparently that stuck with me. My parents told me “if you want to do it, then do it!” and that’s what I did.
Sarah Alisch: Tell me a bit about your jobs.
Monica Alisch: To work as a nurse never stopped being interesting, I was always learning new things, I wanted to learn new things. It’s a profession with a lot of variation, people have different problems and needs, and that makes it exciting. At Växjö Regional Hospital I was head of nurses. It meant you only worked with the doctors and not with the assistant nurses. Together with the doctors I was in charge of the medicine supply at the hospital, making sure that the adequate medicine was distributed among the patients correctly, but after some years I was happily pregnant and giving birth to your uncle and your father. Meaning that the night-time-working-hours as a nurse were not possible anymore. That led me into my next profession, becoming a middle school teacher. Here I worked with children, teaching and assisting them in finding themselves, in a social context. Naturally I taught them a variety of subjects, often going out into the forest, learning about the flora and fauna, and also getting physical exercise.
My Grandpa, John, was really interested in biology and taught me a lot about all kinds of plants, insects and animals in the Swedish forests. He always said the forest helps your body to heal, he was also the one that told me all medicines comes from nature, and also about making the forest the best medicine. I think he was the one that really opened my mind, and the reason my interest in medicine and health care grew so early in my life.
After working at school a couple years, I continued my carrier and took another job. This time also as a teacher, but instead of me teaching children different subjects, I gave lessons to the teachers on how to teach their students and pupils, in a pedagogic way. I was professor of pedagogics at the Faculty of Education at a university. This was also the last profession I had before I went into retirement.
Sarah Alisch: Last but not least, do you have any stories from your jobs?
Monica Alisch: Well, one time in Växjö some nursing students were on a special tour of the hospital. When we heard they were coming, a very close colleague and I decided to play a trick on them. Before they arrive, we painted our lips white and put blue make-up under our eyes. The idea was to look as sick and drowsy as possible, and tell them things like, “This job is really the best” and “if only you knew how fun this job is!” You should have seen their faces! How they were startled and started to whisper to each other. They really got fooled! Of course when we thought they were worried enough, we told them that it was a joke, and everyone began laughing.