Elin is 27 years old. I’ve known her for 27 years.
Born in the small metropolitan city of Skövde, she grew up in the best possible neighbourhood, Våmb. She is the youngest of three siblings, and the only girl in the bunch. Like many young girls in this town, she started playing handball at a very young age, and was a fantastic talent.
The team she played in won a lot of tournaments through the years and she was one of the more prominent players. A skill for speed and a real head for the game was her signum.
She went to school to be a chef and graduated with high scores all across the board – this is an educated guess after having tasted her food on several occasions. After working in the kitchen for a couple of years, she started to feel the pull towards teaching. Both of her parents are teachers, and maybe that’s one of the reasons she resisted it for as long as she did, but a true life calling will eventually catch you.
So she started school again to become a middle school teacher, and at the same time she took on a handball team of talented young girls as the head coach. Her own handball career ended as tragically as to many do, with an injury that she still lives with today. She came back as a coach and as I said, a true life calling eventually catches up to you.
Today, she works as a teacher at the same school where she worked part time during her full time studies, she holds the toughest class at the gym several times per week, she’s building a house with her fiancé and this summer, that duo becomes a trio.
As I stated in the beginning, I have known Elin all her life. We grew up next to each other and I was 4 years old when her family brought home this little bundle of happiness.
To be honest with you, as I was closer in age to her brothers, she initially became my little sisters irritating friend. And it took me to many years until I actually got to know her. But she was always around and a source of a lot of joy. Yes, we laughed at her at times but today, I’m always laughing with her.
2009 we traveled to New York to visit my sister who was working there as an aupair. This tripp was amazing and one of the reasons was Elin. She was pure energy and fun. We shopped, ate, did amazing sightseeing (talking chopper sightseeing), laughed and sang. Sang. Yes, and this was the source to a lot of laughing. For me and Elin, I don’t think the rest of the group enjoyed it as much at times.
She is always honest, strait forward and says what she thinks, which I love about her. She also gave me one of the greatest gifts I have ever gotten when she asked me to coach a handball team together with her and Denise. I don’t know if she knew it at the time, but since I had to put my own handball shoes on the shelf, I was going through a personal hell, and even the thought of watching a game was impossible to me. She also saw something in me that I had never seen in myself, and for the first time in my life she gave me the opportunity to be a leader.
Me, her and Denise coached this amazing team of young girls for 2 years. I found a love for the game again, and the two of them quickly became two of my favourite people, and together we have now (basically) adopted 25 12-year-old girls. The love for the game and that team was life-changing for me in a time when I was struggling with the direction of my own life. An experience that is invaluable for me. And she was the best coach that club have ever had.
Hanging out with her is so easy it’s like family. She has also chosen a life partner that complements her perfectly. It’s never a dull moment when they are around. Elin also shares my interest in photography, which is awesome. We’ve been on several photo shoots together and I’m so thankful to have her in my life.
If you would choose three things in your life, that has changed you the most as a person, what would it be? (I’ll ask all the women this so you get their own reflection about their life and who they are. The reflektion is in both Swedish and English, because it’s her own – Swedish – words)
”The first thing that shaped me as a person is growing up with two older brothers, who influenced me both as a fighter and with a fighting spirit. A constant kind of disadvantage (mostly physical) and the need to constantly assert myself. Which resulted in me being a tomboy in many ways, just to feel like I fit in with my older brothers. Something that I am incredibly grateful for today, and that I certainly had not been the same person without.
Första saken som format mig som person är uppväxten med två äldre bröder som präglat mig både med vinnarskalle och jävlar anamma. Ett ständigt slag ur underläge (mest fysiskt) och behov av att ständigt hävda sig. Vilket resulterade i att jag blev väldigt grabbig på många sätt just för att känna delaktighet med mina äldre bröder. Något som jag idag är otroligt tacksam över då jag absolut inte hade varit samma person annars.
Point two is my years as an athlete, which has really shaped me both with my social skills, being a team player and through all the different meetings with people. A constant need of other people and a need to feel involved and being part of a community. This in return has generated some of the best memories I have, because I was able to be share both the joy and sorrow with others.
Punkt två är mitt idrottsutövande som verkligen format mig med både min sociala kompetens, att vara en lagspelare och genom alla möten med personer. Ett ständigt beroende av andra människor och ett behov av att känna delaktighet och gemenskap. Som i sin tur har genererat några av de bästa minnen man har för att man just kunnat dela glädje och sorg med andra.
Point three that shaped me as a person is my choice to study at the hotel and restaurant program at Kavelbrogymnasiet. It was, in some way, where I found who I was and who I wanted to be. Three years with classmates who were all such unique individuals with such diverse interests and backgrounds. Unlike the life I had lived up until then, with like-minded people with the same interests as me. Here, I got even more confident in myself but realized at the same time that the world was so much more, and better, than school and the handball court. You could say that I got a better perspective on how different life could be, and become, but also felt that I was (there and then) exactly where I was supposed to be.
Punkt tre som format mig som person är mitt val att läsa hotell och restaurangprogrammet på Kavelbrogymnasiet. Det var på nått sätt där jag hittade vem jag var och vem jag ville bli. 3 år med klasskamrater som alla var så unika individer med så olika intressen och bakgrund. Till skillnad från det livet jag hittills hade levt med likasinnade med samma intressen som jag. Här blev jag ännu mer trygg i mig själv, men insåg samtidigt att världen var så mycket mer och större än skolan och handbollshallen. Man kan säga att jag fick ett större perspektiv på hur annorlunda livet kunde vara och utforma sig, men kände samtidigt att jag var (där och då) precis där jag skulle vara.”
There’s a strength in Elin that comes through in different ways. Physically she is one of the strongest people I know, and if this is because she was a chubby little kid that was forced to run ”proppen” or not, I’m gonna leave unsaid.
During her full time studies at university she also worked as a instructor at the gym, worked part time at a school and, during the first year, also coach the handball team. There is such strength in being able to do all of that, and to give so much of yourself while doing it.
So except for her actual strength she is strong in who she is, what she wants, and in always giving everything – no matter what she does. She also spreads a lot of joy, and has a positiv and problem-solving mindset. All of this is what inspires me, and what I want others to see as well.
Elin, this is your song
(she knows why, and I apologise for the inside joke).