At a recent meeting of The Swedish Cultural Society of Cleveland, Ohio held at the home of Mr. & Mrs. Fred Monago, we were treated to a program entitled “Fika” by Anna Rietsch who deftly explained its concept, both as noun and verb, its historical evolution and with a visual array of seven tempting småkakor. In short, her excellent performance left all with a longing to "let the kafferep begin!"
And so it was. Well, not quite yet.

Cleveland had, for 40 years, an honorary Swedish Consul, Michael Miller, who had announced his retirement. Who would be named to carry on the job was the subject of much speculation in the Swedish community. Maybe you know exactly what an honorary counsel does. Never thought much about it? Neither had I.

Nordstjernan happens to be publishing information about all the Swedish honorary consuls in America right now, but for the purposes of this article, I'll add that Swedish honorary counsels are officials (both of Sweden and the U.S.) and are provided many of the immunities of standard consular positions. They may serve the economic interests of Swedish-American businesses, aid Swedish citizens who need some sort of assistance, etc. (For a complete presentation of all of the Swedish Honorary Counsuls in the U.S., subscribe to nordstjernan - as a full value print subscriber you can also access all digital file copies.}

Anyway, upon the conclusion of Anna Rietsch’s mouth-watering presentation and before our anticipated seven cookie delight, Mr. Miller spoke kindly of someone present who had been born in Stockholm, held two law degrees — in Sweden and the U.S. — was an officer at the Cleveland Foundation and a vice president at the Fifth-Third Bank. We didn’t have a clue who he was talking about until he told us her current employment was vice president of Institutional Advancement for the Cleveland Institute of Art, and is married to a certain gentleman by the name of Fred Monago. To cheers and applause he happily introduced our hostess, Marie “Malou” Monago, as the newly appointed Swedish Honorary Consul.

Congratulations Malou, let the kafferep begin!