Who is Madeleine Hunter?
I am an international cocktail born in Olskroken in Sweden 1958 of Hungarian parents. Grew up as one of few immigrants in the area, got on well and had a normal working class childhood (or as normal it now may had been with parents who barely managed the swedish language and the Strong man in the circus as godfather).
I had a lot of friends in the area. At the age of seven I had to take on the role as Olskrokens Mata Hari when I ended up in Redberg school while the other kids were allowed to go to Ånäs school. The gangs were arranged after residential areas back in those days as much as they are today.
I have a lot of very nice, funny and odd childhood memories. Having spent most of my childhood in Olskroken with all the little shops like milk shop, candy store, etc. I moved with my family to Bergsjön. Mom had gotten a new job and the whole block in Olskroken would be demolished. It was a traumatic experience to move from the city to a concrete suburb, but as a child I got used to it quickly. I moved away from home by the age of 14, I wanted to decide for myself over my life and in that way it has continued. I was living with my boyfriend who is the father of my beautiful daughter. And I went to school to become a licensed nurse.
Yes, the story of my life is long so we will talk about that another time …
I decided early on to move abroad, to a country which is not too far away from Sweden, but a country that offers plenty of sun, warmth, nature and nice people. It took time because I did not feel quite at home in any of the “regular” tourist countries, they were simply too “touristy” for me.
One day, in spring 2004, I was watching BBC world and there was a program on the divided island of Cyprus. I knew that it was shared but I did not really know anything about north Cyprus, it was never anything in the media at the time.
I decided to take a trip for two weeks to southern Cyprus and drive over to the north side. There, I was greeted by wonderful Margaretha who I through twisted routes received email contact with. She met me at the border and showed me the beautiful island. In one week, we were all over the place, met interesting people and saw views that almost took your breath away. The most amazing thing was that I immediately felt at home here and basically decided that here, I wanted to start the next phase of my life.
I spent the rest of the trip on the south side where I did not like it at all. Crowded, noisy and Swedish meatballs on each and every other restaurant. Nah, not for me, I already missed the peace and quite of the north side.
Three weeks after I returned home to Sweden, I packed my suitcase and came back to north Cyprus and here I still am.
I rented a house in Ötöken, north of Famagusta. The house was on a field without close neighbors and 150m to a long beautiful sandy beach. Margaretha helped me a lot to get my beautiful dogs from resque center, choose appliances, etc.. I had no car at the time.
I had heard that EVERYONE speaks English here, but what I discovered was that no one spoke English and I did not speak Turkish so I was thrown into a fantastic fun and educational time.
When I went into the big supermarket in Famagusta the retail staff waited for me to help me find items I could not figure out the name of. We had crazy fun for all of us, it was like playing charades for real.
Madde explains for us what it could look like.
It was really Tarzan language. When she wanted milk she made a gesture “where she pretended to milk the cow with a MUU sound”, eggs became a cackling and so on. She got lot of help from the locals.
Madde is laughing the whole time when she talks about her time and experience from when she first moved here.
I later moved to the north coast of Cyprus where I rented a big room for 150-pound a month. She met a gardener who she fell for. The first year together, we could not talk to each other, but it has its advantages; never any fights says Madde, laughing.
Madde speaks fluent Turkish, is happily married to the same guy who is considerably younger. “It does not have to do with age but attitude to life,” says Madde.
She lives on a large plot with stunning sea views and scenery as only neighbor.
Their resident have the couple built themselves out of natural materials/recyclables. They have water from their own well and electricity from solar panels. They have taken the drum from a broken washing machine and turned it into a barbecue, Madde is a lot into recycling, which of course is reflected in the accommodation.
Madde works at an eye clinic and in the summers she leads training session in Waterrobics, an exercise she created yourself where you train your whole body in the crystal clear sea.
She also helps with medical/health issues for the foreign population.
Maddes tip to Swedes who move here;
Leave your Swedish mindset in Sweden and adapt yourself, invite yourself. Do not get angry when things are not done straight away, it’s a different rhythm of life in the sun. Enjoy it!