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Svar: Re: Hi

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Hi Maria,

Thank you once more for your kind letter.

I immediately realised the first letter was from you. I recognized the style and tone of your text. Given the small number of people who write in my guestbook, that combined with your given name was enough to make me confident about you being the sender. Only after I had replied did I perform an IP geolocation query that removed the last ounce of doubt.

The email issue is likely related to spam protection (in this case a false positive).

Indeed, I am tremendously grateful that I do have this beautiful place and these amazing people to go to every day.

“My” table is a fairly large circular table for four guests close to the bar, but it is almost always set for only a single person at my usual chair every time I get there after work. At weekends, I typically have lunch at this table at noon, and then I go back to the restaurant for supper at five in the afternoon. Then I usually sit in the bar until they close at eleven or twelve. Rarely am I not the last guest to leave; often I leave with the last of the staff long after all other guests have left.

And often they surprise me with things like free dessert or some new creation from the kitchen, especially if I have had a bad day. But I suppose that the thing I appreciate the most is their accepting me as a friend.

I could go on about this. I’ve received so much love from this place and the people who work here (and those who have previously worked here) that I almost find it hard to put it down in words. I have met a couple of priests and deacons from the Church of Sweden recently. When they’ve asked me about any support I do have, and I’ve mentioned the restaurant, I’ve found it hard to hold back my tears.

I do suffer rather severely from bad thoughts, anxiety, and feelings of hopelessness, and one of my coping strategies is to focus on happy memories from the past few months, replaying them in my head, really trying to re-experience the joyful moments behind these memories. And, perhaps not surprisingly, almost all of these memories are from the restaurant.

In fact, there are only two things I “dislike” about the restaurant. The first thing is that sometimes members of the staff quit, and every time it feels like losing an important friend. The second thing is that I am aware of just how much this place means to me. If I would lose my job (and therefore find myself in a much worse financial situation in which I couldn’t afford eating out every day) or move to a different town, it would be very difficult for me to let go of this second home of mine. Indeed, I’d instantly lose 99% of my daily social interaction outside of work – and my chief source of new happy memories.

Often people do not appreciate things they have until they’ve lost them. This is not one of those things for me.

Regarding the singing lessons, I do enjoy them. The main problem is that I am not (yet) as good as I’d like to be, but taking up singing from scratch at the age of 30 isn’t supposed to be an easy endeavour, now is it? I just hope I do have the neurological, neuromuscular, and anatomical prerequisites required to advance. Fortunately, I suspect that might be the case.

I am sorry to hear about your experiences with social anxiety and the restrictions it has imposed on you. For me, the stage part isn’t an issue, since I have always felt comfortable “on stage” (for instance, giving talks and lectures). Instead, in my case, the quality of the sound is the difficult thing. That might turn out to be a showstopper, but it is too early to tell yet.

I enjoy singing the same kind of songs that enjoy listening to. Hence, I mostly try to sing traditional songs and songs from musicals, in particular works by Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber and Benny Andersson and Björn Ulvaeus. Very little contemporary popular music of the kind you hear in Western TV and radio.

Recently, we have also worked quite a bit with Christmas songs. Just to mention a single piece, I am somewhat content with my ability to sing Jul, jul, strålande jul. That one seems to work rather well with my kind of voice. (Or so I think because I haven’t heard a recording of me singing it yet.)

I don’t play any instruments, but I would like to learn the piano – and music theory in general.

Today I received a new envelope from the court of law. I haven’t opened it. Last time I opened such an envelope, bad things happened. It is interesting that such a small object can be so dangerous. I had really hoped they wouldn’t send me this before Christmas.

(Had this not been a public conversation, I’d asked you how you’re doing.)

Andreas Rejbrand