Closing the circle

As it is widely known, my life right is not a dance on roses, as the Swede says, or a pony farm, as the German expresses it. Sometime in the last days, I completely gave up on the apartment hunt and accepted my fate: I won’t be living in a nice apartment in two weeks. But who knows what this plot twist might bring? Firstly, it brought me to put up all these slightly crazy notes in town – and guess what, please ARE calling. If you consider that I have only put up four notes so far and had four calls I would say that is pretty amazing. I guess you are not surprised – who would not want to have DJane Ingrid at their party or get a lifetime of kanelbulle-baking from me? (Three of the four proved to be too big, too far away or too small, but still one to go! And I have many more notes I can hang up…)

plot twist

Yesterday I put up a note at the Swedish church. That’s where Ingrid and I went for choir rehearsal. Choir has always been a source of inspiration and peace of mind for me, but nowadays where there is so many unpleasant things in my life, it is even more important. I find it difficult to explain but German church music differes from the Swedish one and I have more often agreed to the sometimes very poetic works from the North that a good many times capture what I have come to know as the Swedish soul. “Vara ingenting”, a song by Elisabeth Hermodson that we sang yesterday, for example suceeded to take my mind back to A Thousand Islands. And yes, it also made me a little homesick.


After rehearsal, I went to the pastor and asked if I could up a note and he said that I was most certainly allowed to and that if I would really become homeless I could live in the church for a few weeks. I thought the offer was so awesome, I almost want to become homeless now. I mean, the church is extremely central, I would never be late for rehearsal, and I would love giving people my adress “c/o The Church”. It feels like the last step I have to climb on my Christian ladder after my Theology degree. Also, everyone would finally believe me that I am poor as a church mouse. On the other hand, the church will be renovated from May onwards, there is limited laundry possiblities and the bathrooms are three stories from the attic where homeless Helens may find refuge.

After rehearsal, we went to a Portuguese bar. The Nordic churches in Hamburg are all in one street, the Norwegian, Danish and Finnish churches are neighbours to the Swedish church. Originally located close to the Landungsbrücken where the boats come in, the churches provided a central place for the travelling Nordic seamen that traded with the continent. Curiously enough, the churches are now surrounded by Portuguese restaurants and the quarter is known as “Portuguese quarter”. Talk about European integration?


As we were sitting there with Bananenweizen (beer with bananas, I never quite understood that), we introduced ourselves a little further and I exhibited my Eurovision competence to then start asking the pastor where he came from before he moved to Hamburg. And what does he answer? Of all the 1426 parishes in Sweden, “my” new pastor came from Uppsala! And not only from Uppsala, a town forever enshrined in my heart, no, he even worked in the church that I frequently visited because my former choir belonged there. What are the odds? I am closing the circle.

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