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?