The reason for me staying in this apartment was that I was taking care of 2 little kids who's dad worked at the Swedish Mission to the UN. My job came with board and my duties was to get them ready for school, take them to school, clean up, pick up from school and entertain them until dad came home. In the evenings, as you can imagine, I had lots of fun. I had connected with a bunch of other Swedish girls that had also come over the way I did. Anne, was my closest friend. We knew each other from University. We loved walking around Manhattan in our spare time and just breath in the feeling of not wanting to be anywhere but right there where we were.
We felt it really was the epi centre of the universe.
I stayed with this family for one year. Towards the end of this year Anne and I tried to come up with ways to stay in NYC another year. We wanted to do something else but had only the diplomatic visas that allowed us to work for UN families. We heard that the chef at The Consulate General's residence was going back to Sweden. There was nothing else to do than to ask if we, 2 Home Economic Teachers with some experience of cooking, could get that job. A Saturday afternoon in may 1989 we walked up the few steps and knocked on the door to 600 Park Avenue where Consul General of Sweden, Arne Thoren and wife Eva lived. We introduced ourselves and Eva invited us in. We told her why we were there and assured her we knew we were not as experienced as Peter, the current chef, but we would split his salary and apartment and she would get 2 for 1! She thought about it for about 3 minutes and then said, lets do it. We left the residence as the happiest people in all of Manhattan! We could not believe it!! Eva would send us a ticket and take care of the VISA thing and we would see her in august when everyone was back in the city after summer vacations! This is really when it all started. During my time in New York I developed a new identity in a way.
We ended up cooking for all sorts of famous people, Prince Bertil of Sweden and his wife Lilian, Bianca Jagger, Dr. Ruth Westheimer, Lasse Holmqvist, a Swedish TV personality and many more. Every year on December 10th Eva had a Nobel dinner. It was very a very formal affair and the dining room was filled with previous winners of the Nobel Prize. Every course was named after a prestigious winner. I ended up working in Eva's kitchen for 2 years. The second year without my side kick Anne. She went back to Sweden. During my 3 years on Manhattan I met lifelong friends, gained incredible experiences, ran a marathon while my mom, my aunt, my friends, Eva Thoren and my then new boyfriend who later became my husband and now is my ex stood along 1st avenue and cheered for me. What a feeling that was!