Cultural learnings of Sweden from wandering Bostonian

Elizabeth Dacey-Fondelius, the self-styled 'Boston Blatte', says when she first came to Sweden almost 16 years ago as a tourist, she didn’t expect to stay. Then she met a man.

Cultural learnings of Sweden from wandering Bostonian

“It was a long-distance relationship at first, then I came back,” she recalls. “It was 1992, we had a summer fling, and now we joke that we messed up and got married.”

After nearly two decades, she says she’s now stuck in a murky area between being a Swede and American, but still clings to her parents’ Hungarian and Philippino roots – thus the basis of her blog.

“I’m still trying to find my voice. It’s an analysis of life in Sweden from an outsider who is interested in cultural aspects,” Dacey-Fondelius explains. “But after living here for over 15 years, I’m seeing things through a somewhat insider’s perspective.”

Dacey-Fondelius says she doesn’t miss her homeland, as she regularly visits, but misses certain aspects of all the countries where she’s lived: Hungary, France, and the US.

She now works as a consultant; in her mediator-like position, she helps improve English skills, communication and understanding in an ever globalizing country. She also copy edits, reports, and has written travel guides.

“There’s integration and different things are changing,” she says. “Swedes are asking how things could be done in certain ways. You need to keep dialogue open, because the more people understand things the more likely they are to work things out.”

You can expect to read about such issues in her blog, which, according to Dacey-Fondelius, might make you ask some questions of yourself.

“I’m always interested in hearing other people’s input on it. A lot of my ‘Aha’ moments come from other people’s comments,” she says. “You need to question things, not bitch about it.”

In essence, her blog looks at Swedish culture and life, and Dacey-Fondelius is not shy to criticize aspects of living in Scandanavia. But look deeper and you might just find a silver lining – like she did.

“You think Swedes are sonsofbitches, because they have this hard exterior, but they are soft and smushy inside,” she says.

Still, she says despite her time here, she will never refer to herself as Swedish.

“For one, I don’t think the Swedes will take me as a Swede, and two, because I don’t have to change my identity,” she explains “There is no box that applies to me, and I’m never going to be a Swede. I’m still on this journey of figuring it out myself.”

Read Elizabeth’s blog.

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Swedish actor behind viral blog beats cancer

Swedish actor Fabian Bolin, 28, who has appeared in several UK television shows and US movies, has announced to the world that he is cancer-free, just over a month after he was diagnosed.

Swedish actor behind viral blog beats cancer
Swedish actor Fabian Bolin. Photo: Instagram with permission of Fabian Bolin

The actor and model started the blog on July 1st, just days after being diagnosed with leukaemia – a blood cancer which develops in bone marrow.

“There is a risk that I will not survive,” he posted in both English and Swedish.

But after weeks of gruelling chemo therapy doctors at the Karolinska Institute near Stockholm have revealed that Bolin is expected to return to complete health, the actor told his fans.

“We have just found out from the doctors at Karolinska the following: my entire blood system, and my spinal chord system, is now free from blood cancer. Just to be 100 percent clear to all of you, my beautiful angels: I have survived and killed my cancer,” he wrote in this latest blog entry.

However, the actor is not yet at the end of the road to full recovery. He is set to undergo chemo therapy until February 2016 to ensure the cancer stays out of his system.

“Imagine the feeling in your heart when you've run up a long hill. Have you ever tried that? Or if you've ever been at a gym, if you've done a really hard cardio session. Now, think about how hard the heart beats. If you want to know how I feel, then add about five times to that heart feeling,” wrote the 28-year-old in the blog post published late on Tuesday.

Bolin's heartfelt blog quickly went viral in July after being picked up by several Swedish and international media, including The Local.

“I feel so utterly sad and confused right now. I feel like it's unfair that I should have to go through this hell of a treatment, after fighting so hard to reach this stage in life and be on the cusp of fulfilling my acting dreams. But, I will not give up,” read one of his earliest entries.

The star is best known for his role as Philipp in Swedish film Snabba Cash in 2010 (released internationally as Easy Money) and Snabba Cash II (2012), his first major parts after quitting a previous career in banking.

He has spent the past few years living in London where he's played small roles in British reality TV show Made in Chelsea and the recently released UK web sci-fi show Kosmos.

READ ALSO: Swedish hunk pens emotional cancer blog

Reacting to the huge social media stir surrounding his blog, he told The Local last month: “the response is the best and most powerful experience ever”.

“I’m in shock but in a good way. It wouldn’t have been possible for all these people to come together without social media. It’s amazing to see how many wonderful people there are out there.” 

Thanks to his contacts in the film and television industry, Bolin said at the time he had already been approached by production companies who are keen on turning his story into a documentary and added that he had received support from many fellow actors, including other Swedes he worked with on Snabba Cash. 

“I decided to let people follow me on my journey from beginning to end and this enormous response makes me feel so empowered,” he said.

Update: In 2019, Fabian Bolin founded the app WarOnCancer together with Sebastian Hermelin to improve mental health for everyone affected by cancer.