Searching for Swedes
HOST INTRO: In a city with 40 percent foreign born people, there are a lot of us looking for our countrymen. Take me for example, I’m Swedish.
SECHER1: We’re not known for big gatherings, but we have a really big event coming up… On May 14th it’s the Eurovision Song Contest and because the winner was a Sweden last year, it’s in Stockholm this year, my hometown. It’s such a big deal there’s a Facebook event for Swedes in New York looking for other Swedes to watch it with. I got in touch with one of them.
BRANDIN1: So my name is Agnetha, which gets butchered a lot, it’s a typical Swedish name, so I usually go by Agnes or Aggie.
SECHER2: I want Agnetha to tell you a little bit about herself, and I’m gonna let her do it to the tones of ABBAs Waterloo which won the Eurovision in 1974
[waterloo up in the clear – and then fade under]
BRANDIN 2: So when I first came to New York when I was 16 I found New York to be so magical, you’re excited to be here, and you’re not really that homesick, but with the years and as I’ve gotten older I feel I have gotten more sentimental and nostalgic. You kind of start thinking more about your identity and where you come from, where you grew up, the country that shaped you, and I think you kind of start looking for that connection with people who share the same background, the same language, culture and traditions.
SECHER3: So back to the Eurovision. This is the song that won last year, by Swedish Måns Zelmerløw
SECHER4: When I grew up there was one qualifying competition when we decided which entry to send to the European finale – it has grown a lot since then. Now it starts in February and there are six semi-finals until March. Every week you vote for your favorite, kind of like American Idol. And then the winner at the end gets to compete with 42 other countries in the big European finale.
BRANDIN 5 Watching the Eurovision. It’s huge. It’s usually the whole family and friends get together, it’s like a whole feast, you know they’re having a party, food and drinks, and usually the way I’ve done it, you have a piece of paper, you write down like the countries, who you think will win, and you know they’re voting, and obviously you’re always cheering for Sweden.
BRANDIN 6: 9.40 It’s that bond that you have with people who are from the same country as you are… there’s a certain cultural difference with american. My boyfriend is American and he often talks about American football and baseball, and I don’t know any of that. Like I grew up with soccer and I watched ZI play soceer and the Eurovision song contest. Th ere are certain events and people that only other Swedes will know about, so it’s that connection, that bond, that you’re looking for with people who are from the same country as you.
SECHER6: But I’ll have to watch it from here, maybe with Agnetha Brandin. Either way, I’ll be there, cheering for Sweden.
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