Photo: © Tor Wiklund

My name is Eva Johansson and I live in Västervik which is a small town on the east coast of Sweden, south of Stockholm. I have two sons Arvid and Einar, born in the mid 80's. And a husband.

I was born in the mid-50's and brought up in the socially secure and developing nation of Sweden. Eventually, I became a journalist. But first I was in England for some time as an au-pair, and worked in the merchant navy of Sweden. Among many other odd jobs.

In England I worked and lived in Stockton-on-Tees, Doncaster and Scarborough, all in Yorkshire. I came to Stockkton in the summer of 1971 and that was my first visit to England. I stayed in a doctor's family in town and spent the summer as a help in the house. And I learned to speak the english language fairly well, I think.

In 1972 I went back to England as an au-pair. I simply liked it so much. This time I went to Doncaster and spent the first months looking after a baby boy in a family. But that didn't fit me really so I went on and landed in the Wilsic Hall Hotel in Wadworth. Do you know about it? Please let me know. It is a very special time of my life, those winter and spring months at the Wilsic in 1972 and 1973. We were mostly young people who worked there, most of us lived in. It was Steve, Grayam, Walter, Colin, Eddie, Anne and me. And it was my first Christmas away from home. I was 18, going on 19.

When the estate was sold in the spring of 1973 I went on to Scarborough, and stayed there for the summer season until I finally returned home to Sweden in december. Scarborough was fine, but totally different from the Wilsic. In Scarborough I worked at the Central Hotel and at the Grand Hotel. I will never forget you, Cathy from Glasgow, with your red hair. I hope you are happy today. And you, Jane.

I loved being in England, and in Yorkshire. I loved the people, the villages and the social life. It made me grow up and take care of myself. Nobody else did. And it gave me a truly second language, which I still enjoy speaking. I never once talked to a person in swedish during that year and a half, and it took me some time starting thinking in swedish again after I had come home.

In 1998 I went on a nostalgic trip back to England with my sons, and everything was just the same as 25 years ago, but still changed.

Earlier we have travelled to Malaysia, a country of beautiful long white beaches, coral reefs, delicious food, friendly people and nice weather. What we enjoyed most was the travelling on the island of Borneo. I want to go back there sometime. Other countries I have visited, during my time in the merchant navy in 1974-1977, are United States, Ghana, Cameroun, The Ivory Coast, Togo, Sierra Leone and Gabon.

I worked as a radio operator while in the merchant navy. For about three years I sailed the seven seas. That is not true because I never came to the Far East. But I spent five weeks in Eastport in the very north of Maine in USA in january and february 1977. Perhaps mrs French in Eastport remembers me? You invited me to a visit at an evening with your literary society, which I appreciate very much. I was also interviewed in the Bangor Daily News with the headline "She mans the radio". That is still a milestone in my life. Anybody there who remembers this? I suppose not. Time flies so quickly.

I also did some trips to West Africa, on the ship M/S Arizona. It was hot there and sometimes not so easy to get by.

I loved being at sea, but when I had encountered a couple of rough storms too many I decided to stay on shore.

I also love my job as a journalist today at our local daily newspaper Västerviks-Tidningen. I am a curious person and I want to tell my readers about the things I get to know. Every person has something to tell, no matter who you are. And that is what I want to give to my readers. I have been writing ever since I was a child and it still fascinates me to catch the words and use them in writing.

My spare time I spend with my husband and my sons, reading books, writing and surfing on the net. And thinking about life. And with duties, boring duties such as cleaning, washing, making beds, tidying and washing the dishes. I quite like cooking, but not every day. When there is too much laundry piling up I fly away into the music of U2, Chantay Savage, Waterboys or an occasional opera. Or take a working session in my small garden, which surrounds my very own semi-detached house.

Do you want to know more? Or do you have anything in common with me? Or did we by chance meet in England in 1971, 1972 or 1973? Or at sea? Please mail me!

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