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Michelle Greene was a service area manager for regional IS/IT at Sony Ericsson in North Carolina’s Research Triangle Park when it was recommended that she consider a two-year assignment in Sweden as global project leader. Greene accepted the position almost immediately. “I just knew it [would be] a good opportunity and good for my career,” she recalls. In January 2005, the Valdosta, Georgia, native settled into her condo in the Western Harbour area of MalmÃ¶–formerly an industrial city, now the commercial center of southern Sweden with growing industry sectors such as telecommunications and technology. MalmÃ¶ is an international city with 270,000 residents representing 164 nationalities. The most important transit hub in Scandinavia, this port provides easy access to travel.
Promoted twice since her arrival, she is now director of global IT and makes frequent site visits to Munich, Germany; Beijing; Tokyo; Miami, and London, where corporate headquarters is located. Greene, 37, commutes to her office in Lund (the second-oldest city in Sweden) by train. MalmÃ¶ is a perfect base, she says. “I have been treated very well, [and] the language barrier was not much of an issue because so much English is spoken in this area.” Greene describes MalmÃ¶ as a very social city that suffers “a bit of depression in the winter. It gets dark as early as 4 p.m., and the sun doesn’t rise until 9 o’clock in the morning.”
But in the spring and summer months–when the sun is up until nearly midnight–bars, restaurants, and outdoor cafes host throngs of residents and visitors. “There is so much within walking distance, as well as great cycling and running trails. The Swedes are extremely laid-back,” adds Greene, who typically works 12- to 14-hour days because of her travel schedule and business demands across time zones. “They have a low tolerance for stress and truly take it easy.”
AROUND TOWN : MALMO
1. Elite Hotel Savoy (Norra Vallgatan 62) One of Sweden’s oldest and most prestigious hotels, the Elite Hotel Savoy has recently renovated all its rooms. Amenities include conference facilities and 24-hour check-in. It is easy to get to by train.
2. Hotel MÃ¤ster Johan (MÃ¤ster Johansgatan 13) “This hotel is completely modern [and] in the heart of MalmÃ¶–close to the train station and a wide variety of shops and restaurants.”
Bistro, bar, and gourmet restaurant 1 r.o.k. (St. Pauli Kyrkogata 11, +46-040-30-20-24) is open only in the evenings and offers scenic outdoor dining, and French and Swedish cuisine.
Arstiderna in Kockska huset, (Frans Suellsgatan 3, +46-040-23-09-10, www.arstiderna.se) One of MalmÃ¶’s most exclusive restaurants, it is located in an atmospheric vaulted cellar that dates back to the early 16th century. “The menu marries traditional Swedish ingredients with French influences.”
3. Mello Yello (Lilla torg 1, +46-040-30-45-25) “provides a very American flavor. The menu is basic bar food. The music is old-school R&B and hip-hop.”
4. Torso Twisted (VÃ¤stra Varvsgatan 44, +46-040-12-68-50) is a social environment for informal meetings or retreating with a good book. The bar offers more than 40 top wines.
Kit of Elsinore (Rodergatan 2, +46-040-601-12-50) Located