Living with Strangers

Last Saturday I had my last exam, and that same day we emptied my now ex-room. Which felt somewhat weird. First, I should explain the system of living here: most people don’t live very close to the university of their choice, so the common thing to do is to rent a room in a house together with other students. You often have your own wash basin, but the kitchen, toilet and shower are shared. Of course you can go for the more expensive room with your own kitchen and stuff, but the normal rooms already costs enough for what they are. In the weekends though, everyone returns home. So these houses are full of life during the weeks, and dead during the weekends.
Last year I found someone to take over my room for a year, since I planned on being gone for an entire year. Things didn’t work out, you know that, and I had to find myself a room very last-minute. My brother helped me out, and I ended up in a room I got to adore, in the end. It was close to every place I had to be, it was cosy, I could watch the people on the streets and I got the sunlight. Next to that I lived together with some very kind people.

You see, we don’t often live together with friends. Instead, you end up living with strangers. Which can be weird, but is sometimes really cool. I’ve made very good friends, often people I would have never met otherwise. The advantage is that you have this ‘living together bond’, which means you agree upon being friendly to each other without feeling you should become best friends and cook together every day.

Next to that, you can learn from it. A lot. Let me present you some of the things I learned during these years of living together with strangers:

* People can shower an any moment of the day.

* There are those who cook and those who don’t. Ever.

* There are those who live by day and those who live by night.

* There are those who like hygiene extremely much and there are those who honestly don’t seem to care.

* The fastest way of knowing who’s home, is to have the electricity shut down. Instant get together at the fuse box!

To be honest, leaving this room felt unexpectedly weird. Last year I was ready to go, but these past months I’ve fallen back into some kind of routine that worked its way into my system enough to make me comfortable with it. Now I’ve spent the week home, running around to make sure I’m fully prepared for Poland, and I feel I’m looking forward to it more and more. While I loved on my own in that room, I was more afraid than excited. Now I’m equally afraid and excited! Improvement.

I like this way of living together though. It’s got its charms for sure. You’re never really alone, but you also don’t have the obligation to go talk with everyone. You’re not the only one responsible for everything, so if there’s a problem, you can discuss it with others. And though you are living together, you do have your own little space that’s just for you. Which I truly like.

Have you ever lived together with strangers? Would you mind sharing the kitchen and bathroom with strangers?

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11 Comments

  1. You are so lucky to have found the magic combination of a room you really liked and people you are now thinking of as friends. That is so rare. I can understand your mixed feelings as you prepare to leave.

    Reply
  2. NotAPunkRocker

     /  February 2, 2015

    I haven’t, but my first roommate after I left M’s father was someone I barely knew from work. I knew who she was, what her job was and that was about it. In that situation I took what I could that I still felt was safe for me and a kid.

    Reply
  3. I did it one Summer and it was great craic, It was also when I started writing bad poetry. I made some great friends and did some mad partying and it was all very sad when it was over. Now though, I am not sure that old and grumpy me could cope with it lol

    Reply
    • Haha, I wonder what the connection is between living there and writing bad poetry! 😉
      It gives you certain opportunities that you don’t often get! So I understand why you were sad when it was over. But I also think that there’s a time and place for everything, and maybe it’s not the right time anymore now 😉

      Reply
  4. I don’t know how you manage to do this, it sounds like it can become a sad thing when you have to move and do this all over again. It’s great that you have had pleasant experiences with the strangers (hehe) that you have lived with.
    The only experience I’ve had with living with strangers…is more like vacationing with strangers aka staying in a few hostels across Europe and sharing the same rooms, and washrooms. I didn’t mind, and made a few friendships along the way. Definitely not as long term as yours, but it does sound like it could be fun, and also stressful if you ever had a messy roommate.

    Reply
    • Hostels are something I wouldn’t like for too long, because you even share a bedroom… I definitely need a space for myself when it’s for a longer time! But of course for traveling it can be very good. And not all friendships should last forever I think – as long as they are good for the moment, it’s good. Not all people I met there are friends forever, but they were good at that moment and in that context, and that is fine! 🙂

      Reply
  5. Also people take your toothpaste. Think I don’t notice!
    Edita
    http://www.pret-a-reporter.co.uk

    Reply

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