I hate coming back to Sweden.
Contrarily to what you might think it has nothing (or little) to do with the loneliness I sometimes (often…) suffer from here, as I do feel I’m slowly starting up bonds, connections, … some of which I hope will grow into friendships. It is a challenge for me, but one I feel I’m up to (at the moment, at least).
No, what I hate about arriving in Sweden is the unpacking.
This is my 3rd arrival in about a month, so you’d think I’d have it all together by now. Turns out there is so much more to be brought back here every time I board that plane. Chocolates, I had to bring this time, and my calculator. A multi plug, my kitchen herbs, and some more t-shirts. A sowing kit, and my winter duvet. My winter coat. Some Tupperware, my oil-and-vinegar flasks, my perfume. More kitchen towels. And my accordion.
I haven’t played in over a year – ever since I quit music school (there was no way in combining the tough third year with finishing my PhD) my dear instrument has been sitting in its case, gathering dust. Which is a pity, because I genuinely liked to play – although I’m not particularly good at it – I love music and being a musician has been a long lived dream. I distinctively remember the frustration of not being able to convince my parents to let me learn to play the clarinet – I still hold it against them at times.
So when I finally had the time (and the money… and the courage…) to get myself together and inscribe for music school, I had only one problem left. Which instrument to pick?
The clarinet was quickly ruled out – not only does it take ages before anyone can get a decent note out of that straw (and contrarily to wide-held beliefs I am not the most patient person…), you can also not sing along. (NOTE: I cannot distinguish a re from a fa#. I cannot keep tune. In short: I cannot sing.) The violin was discarded for similar reasons, and in one go I decided to dismiss with all string instruments – given that I simply do not hear whether a sound is in or out of tune, I thought it unwise to start any instrument which needed to be tuned: so long guitar. I considered piano (it doesn’t need to be tuned every time you want to play… and you can pay people to do it for you), but then I wanted to be able to take the instrument with me. And thus the only viable option turned out to be… accordion. I haven’t regretted it for a moment (although a diatonic accordion might have been a better choice, since my chromatic may be portable, but only just).
I hesitated for long whether or not to bring it here – not in the least because I was very weary whether it would survive transport (I’m pretty sure I well exceeded the 8kgs hand luggage quote but there was no way in giving it into cargo), but also because the apartment walls aren’t exactly made of rocks – and I fully realize how annoying it is for neighbors having to listen to someone just learning to play… but I’ll play quietly, I promise. If necessary, I can offer Belgian chocolates as compensation.