We had a lot of firsts this week and they all began on 1st of March.
My baby girl, who turned one last Saturday, started nursery on 1st March. It was heartbreaking leaving her there, but she seems to be settling in OK (I’m still recovering from our separation).
On the same day, my son started going to pre-school. Today, he’s having his first French class. It’s all a bit surreal.
While recovering from my anxiety and distress around leaving kids at nursery/pre-school, I was walking briskly home when a thought popped into my head: I wanted to play the violin. Again.
I had played the violin since I was five years old. In my first year, I performed the programme of the third year. I won my first competition at the age of six. By 13, I had completed seven years of music school. At my graduation concert, my teacher and I performed a piece taught at the conservatoire. I still remember the standing ovation in my first and final years of music school. Upon my graduation, I was offered a job in a symphonic orchestra with a salary of 300 rubles per month (an average salary was 80 rubles). I was only 13.
My music career ended with my grandma’s ultimatum: ‘over my dead body.’ The symphonic orchestra was to travel abroad, and my grandma felt anxious that I might get somehow corrupted (translation: loose virginity and get pregnant). I remember the director of the music school coming over to our house and saying he’d wave off my annual fees if they let me to come and play. By then, my family got worried that I might pursue a musical career. Playing a musical instrument was a sort of hobby in the Soviet Union. It was never meant to be a profession, especially for a girl.
When I was 24, I watched Vanessa Mae performing in Moscow on New Year’s Eve. She played ‘Storm’ by Vivaldi. For a while, I became obsessed with wanting to play that piece. I bought a violin and found a music teacher at the conservatoire who was willing to teach me to play that piece in three months. She said if I learn it in that time, they’d accept me to study at the conservatoire without an exam. My salary at the time was $100, and I agreed to pay her $50. The next day, I went to work and my boss called me to his office:
‘We are doing a bit of reorganisation here. From today onwards your salary is $50.’
I felt gobsmacked. It was not meant to be. I gave up on the violin.
But perhaps the violin hadn’t given up on me.
‘I know what I want for my birthday,’ I said to my husband when I got home the other day.
His eyes lit up and a smile, which makes his face look ten years younger, danced on his lips. This was perhaps the first time I’d ever asked for what I want for my birthday.
‘I want to play the violin.’
Within a few minutes he’d identified a potential music teacher (a young Russian woman) and on Thursday (less than 48 hours later), I had my first violin class. Maria, my violin teacher, lent me her instrument for the first class, and today we bought everything I need to start practicing every day.
I feel ecstatic!
Ask and it will be given to you. Seek, and you shall find.
It’s never too late.