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Swedish
Michelle Hedberg

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I'm from Uppsala in Sweden. When I was 17
I moved to London. I went over (from England where I was living at the time) to visit some friends - these Irish girls from Kilkenny that I had met whilst living in Prague a year earlier.

I just fell in love with Dublin and the Irish people so I decided to stay for a while. I had no expectations of this country when I arrived here but I knew that Dublin was the place for me. When I came here in 1993, there were very few foreigners living in Ireland but in the past 10-15 years Ireland has become quite multicultural. I love the Irish people but I hate the Irish weather.

For me it has always been an obvious choice to speak to my children in my mother-tongue Swedish, it would feel unnatural not to. I think my children identify both with their Swedish and Irish identity. (My daughters' dad is Irish).Two of my children are born in Sweden and one is born here in Dublin in Holles St.

We go home to visit our family in Sweden every christmas and during the summer which is really important in terms of them learning about Swedish customs and culture etc. I think it is hugely important for people to be part of the society/culture they live in. To be part of society you need to speak and understand the language and you need to understand the culture and customs otherwise there is a big risk of alienation

To me, the idea of a multicultural Ireland would be very positive but integration and understanding between different cultures is very important. Hopefully for the younger generation this will happen naturally.

Michelle

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