I have lived in Sweden for almost 16 years.  I am still working as a journalist because of her, Maj-Lis Koivisto, my former editor-in-chief at Sigtunabygden of the media house, Mediehuset UNT.

I was a journalist before I came to Sweden, but when I arrived in the country, I had to start from scratch because of the language barrier. And mind you, it is not easy for a 30-year old to start again.

Every body told me it was impossible for me to be a journalist again. Every body told me to give it up and accept my fate. The thing was – every thing that I ever did was write. All I ever wanted was to write. And suddenly, people were telling me to stop it because I was too old to have a command of the swedish language.

Until I met Maj-Lis Koivisto.

She believed in me. She saw my potential. And she told me the truth – what was required of me so I could be accepted as a journalist. There were no short cuts. The requirements were high, the way was tough and rough, but she told me that if I made it – then my labor would bear fruit.

She encouraged me as I struggled in my Swedish and journalist studies 2001-2004.

I only lived in Sweden a year when she gave me the chance to freelance.

On my fourth year in Sweden, the huge radio company Sveriges Radio employed me for two years.

I lived in Sweden six years when Maj-Lis Koivisto made me an editor and reporter.

On my eighth year of stay, I became permanently employed.

I still work in Sigtunabygden/Upsala Nya Tidning. And this is now my 12th year as a journalist in Sweden.

It wasn’t impossible after all. Thanks to encouraging big thinkers like her.

Thanks, Maj-lis. Forever.

(Photo taken by Maria Larsdotter, my colleague).