A few years ago I sidestepped my own guidelines for this blog and started blogging about Eurovision even though this wasn’t at all connected to any of the initial themes of the blog. Tonight I’ll cross two more bridges I never thought I would within this site – I’ll write in English (as you’ve already noticed… I’ll give you the answer to why in a minute) and I’ll write about my personal life and experiences. Usually I keep my private life to myself, but I just can’t keep the stuff I’m experiencing right now to myself…
You should know by now that I’m a huge Eurovision fan – what you may not know however is that this year, when the event is hosted by my beautiful hometown Stockholm, I’ll be working with the show as a Delegation Host for Australia. As their host I will take care of them during their stay in Stockholm; make sure they arrive on time for their rehearsals, that they’ve got everything they need and generally make sure they have a great time and that everything regarding their performance runs smoothly. I was pretty certain this would keep me busy 24/7 and therefore I decided I wouldn’t do any blogging this year – but here I am, in the middle of the night after my first official day, writing these words even though I should probably get to bed instead… I just have too much going on in my head right now that I want to share with you that I’ve changed my mind.
So, why English? Well, since I’ll be hanging with Australians for two solid weeks, in an international environment doing one of the most international events there is, I’ll be talking, writing, thinking and dreaming in English, so – what better way to drag you into my world and experience it with me?
I want to be able to give you daily updates of what’s going on, trying you get you a unique view of this mega event from the inside for once. And since I’m so tightly involved in one of the participating countries this year, I feel too biased to give you my personal opinions of the contestants as I usually do. Don’t worry, I’ll probably drop some trivia about the songs here from time to time anyway but I beg you not to expect the usual lists and comments because that’s not gonna happen!
So, what happened today on my first official day? Well, obviously everything starts when the delegation arrives at the airport and that’s where I went this morning to meet up with the first members of the Australian group. (Actually the first person to arrive came from London yesterday, but I didn’t meet with her until today.) On today’s first flight were Emma, Head of Press (HoP), Jo’an, Communications Manager, and Camilla, responsible for Social Media. While Jo’an and Camilla took a cab to the hotel Emma and I waited in a café a couple of hours for a second flight carrying the Lead Artist, Dami Im. Upon her arrival she was greeted by some Swedish fans asking for autographs and selfies, which she kindly gave them before we proceeded to the cab waiting outside. Even though it was Labour Day with a lot of demonstrations going on downtown, traffic ran smoothly and the ride to the hotel didn’t take too long.
After some freshing up at the hotel they wanted to take a walk just to make sure they’d stay awake for a few more hours (with a 24 hour flight and 8 hours of jetlag in your body it takes a while to adjust to the new time zone). I offered to take them through the neighborhood, and since I grew up not far from their hotel I know all the special places to go which was most appreciated (at least that’s what I think). We didn’t get more than ten steps on the street outside the lobby before bumping into the Greek delegation who are staying at the same hotel. Some chitchating and picture taking later we had a nice walk in the pleasant sunshine. (I’m so greatful the warmer spring weather arrived so conveniently just yesterday and seems to be staying for a while. I would have been devastated if the horrible weather from the last two weeks had still been here when they arrived.) We had a quick dinner in a nearby restaurant and afterwards I helped some of them do a little convenience shopping in a local grocery store before dropping them of at their hotel for the night.
With them safe and sound in the hotel I got into town to meet with some delegation host colleagues and pick up some bags for me and my fellow Australian Delegation Host, Mia. (She should have been with me today but woke up with a cold this morning and decided to stay at home to not jeopardize our singer’s health. Get well soon, Mia!) And, after a quick chitchat with our team leader and the Swiss Delegation Host Peeter, I went over to another hotel downtown where our Production Designer, Nicoline, checked in last night. I had already dropped by her hotel last night to deliver her accreditation pass but tonight I got to meet with her in person which was great. She’s such a talented woman and has a lot of impressive stuff on her résumé so I’m thrilled she’s involved in our act. She’s also doing the design for the acts from San Marino and Italy so I’ll make sure to keep an extra eye on those as well (you should too).
Later in the evening another Australian touched down on Swedish soil, the Head of Delegation (HoD), Paul Clarke. He made his way to the hotel nicely by himself with a pre-booked taxi and probably went straight to bed exhausted after a long flight from China.
Tomorrow we’re looking forward to more people arriving, and for everybody else a day of rest and getting prepared for our first rehearsal on Wednesday. As for the rest of the Eurovision Factory we go into proper rehearsals tomorrow with the artists of the first half of Semifinal 1 entering the stage in the Globe Arena for the first time, i.e. Finland, Greece, Moldova, Hungary, Croatia, The Netherlands, Armenia, San Marino and Russia.