On the way to my new apartment the cab driver got lost. Due to construction on the building next door he was forced to take a detour from what was programed into his GPS. I am worried that I will miss my move in appointment, although much like my concern about missing flights this is almost entirely unjustified. The worst that will happen is I will arrive at 10:10 a.m. and be there way before the noon close of move in. I also think I am terrified because for the first time I am moving into a place of my own. I have never lived outside of my parents house before, and I don’t know what to expect. I don’t even know what part of town we are in.
The building is sleek and modern. Ten story apartment buildings make up the neighbourhood and the courtyard is filled with bikes.
I drag my suitcases behind me and find the right room. I do not have all the paperwork I should. The gruff man who sits in the maintenance office twice a week shuffles through file folders until he finds what he needs. It shouldn’t be a problem, they have a copy.
I move into the common room and imagine a place where we will party or come to relax. These hopes will be dashed quickly. The common room is always locked, except when someone has booked it (a fee is charged on Fridays and Saturdays).
It will become the place where every week we gather to watch Game of Thrones. Through this I will get to know the people in this isolated and closed-off building. It is organized by a law student from Brazil. He is always behind on his readings and struggling desperately to catch up on them. He usually sits in the back corner eyes fixed on an e-reader. The rest of us gather on the couches. Some of us are die hards and have seen all the episodes already, or even read the books. Others are new experiencing the shocks for the first time. We bring Carlsberg, tea and discount chips. It is here we befriend a set of twins from the States. Later we cook together.
It becomes a ritual I grow fond of. We descend on the exceedingly slow elevator to the common room. We push the couches into position and watch two episodes.
On the tour we are shown our rooms and I am introduced to one of my roommates. He is an Aussie and becomes one of my closest friends. At the time I fail to appreciate how valuable it is to have roommates that you like and get along with.
Our apartment is nicer and much bigger than I had expected. It is modern and open, and filled with Ikea furniture. In our living room posters left by previous tennants hang on the wall. There are two Madonna posters, two Rolling Stone posters and a meerkat poster. I post a photo of the meerkat poster on Facebook and it receives rave reviews. In the end it comes home with me. There are also strings of postcards hanging from the back of the kitchen cupboards. We love the idea and add some of our own. It is nice to show up and find a pre-decorated apartment.
My room is large, once again filled with Ikea furniture. It has large windows over looking the neighbourhood attached to a communal balcony. My blinds are transparent. I hope for the best every time I get changed.
Our apartment is filled with things left by previous tenants. There are clothes, three sleeping bags, a PC monitor, some bins. We have about 40 plates of different shapes and sizes, and after we start washing out empty jars and using them as cups we have a similar number of cups. Unlike many of our friends we have a big kitchen a living room so we become a party house. I fail to appreciate how nice it is to have so many dishes.
The pile of junk grows to annoy me the longer I live there. There is so much stuff, and most anything of use has already been poached. One couch is broken and the other is breaking. I begin to mentally rearrange everything in my head. All the different shapes of dishes drive me crazy. We only have three mugs between four of us.
Our apartment is in Orestad, which was once considered a model suburb. That was before the recession hit and people stopped finding expensive real estate on the edge of town quite as appealing. It is a nice place to live but after a while it begins to feel like the edge of the earth. When biking home at three in the morning I could feel the extra 20 minutes it took to get home because of where we lived. Or the extra 20 minutes on either side of going to class.
One of the best things about our apartment that it is within a five-minute walk of three groceries stores. Popping out to get some milk is easy.
We also live across the street from a mall, which is unfailingly convenient. I know that I can buy anything I need and it will only take 10 minutes.
There are days when I hate this place. The clutter and commute get to me. On these days I remind myself of how much I’ll miss it—and I do miss it immensely now. Others days I am thrilled by how lucky I got, and how at home I feel in this place.