Wednesday, 13 August 2008

A room of one's own

During my childhood and youth I only had a room of my own in short periods. We lived four generations in a four-room flat. I shared a room with my great-grandmother, my granny had a tiny one of her own, adjacent to ours; grandpa had a bedroom-cum-study, with a grand piano in the middle; my parents slept in a sofa in the room that when needed became a sitting or dining room. The maid-of-all-trades, including nanny, slept in a folding bed in the kitchen.

When great-granny died, I had the room for myself for a while, until my parents realized that they could move into the two small adjacent rooms and exile granny and me to the sitting room. I had a desk and a sofa as my private area, and the room still served as the family’s sitting room. Besides, granny, who was a piano teacher, gave private lessons at home, in our room. If I had guests, kitchen was the only place to be. When I got married the first time, my husband and I shared a tiny room with his mother. When I got divorced…

To make a long story short, the notion of a bedroom was alien to me until I came to Sweden. But I soon realized that, more than a study, a bedroom was a woman’s sanctuary. I believe that Virginia Woolf could not in her wildest dream imagine not having a bedroom.

All this to explain why the bedroom is the first topos of my new life that I must get in order. As long as I have a bedroom, everything else is just a temporary mess that I will deal with by and by. So after breakfast I pick up a set of tools and attack the bits and pieces that only a week ago were my bed. The same procedure, but in reverse. And see, all the bits fit together, all screws are there, and after a few hours of panting I have my bedroom, smaller than the one back home – I mean, back in the old country - but essentially the same: the bed, bedside tables, the wardrobe, my dressing table, the favourite picture on the wall. A room of my own, resurrected.

In the meantime, Staffan has been changing plugs on electrical appliances. Tonight I will even be able to read in bed.

English plug

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