Thursday, 17 September 2015

The quest for a home: the Lund edition - part 2

Last week I wrote about my epic quest for a home in Lund, Sweden. The objective: to find a place to rent for five months; challenge mode: to find a place where Conrad can live as well. Handicaps due to the difficulty setting are "student city with huge housing shortage" and "chronic illness". Thus far I managed to acquire spot number 1 on the university's housing waiting list during a lottery and had a look at a cellar apartment in Stångby, a small town north of Lund, with positive hosts.

If I don't find a place within 14 days I'll have to get drunk and let Patrick the Policeman pick me up from the streets for a free stay at the police station. Hey, don't say I'm dramatizing things, this is serious business!

And now for the conclusion...

Day 4: Coordinator's day

The "exhausted" debuff is still there, but there's no time to rest, because I have to attend another introduction meeting, this time from our faculty. We learn that we're not allowed to cheat and plagiarize (errr, duh?) and - more fun - we get to see this informative video on "Swedishness":

This video was originally made for the Eurovision Song Festival of 2013

I guess the video is (even) funnier for Swedes to watch, because there are some famous persons in it. I recognized actors of the popular TV series Solsidan (that I've watched with Conrad) at 0:15 in a scene that resembles the one in the series, and it's actually the old prime minister Fredrik Reinfeldt (2006-2014) playing himself at 1:35. No doubt there are more gems for native Swedes out there that I'm missing (let me know if you find any).

Afterwards there's a small lunch for everyone. I meet a Japanese girl and later two Lithuanian girls that will do all their lessons in Swedish (whoa!). I also meet the first other Dutch student, a girl that studies Swedish in the Netherlands. I feel like I suck at Swedish!

There are more things on my to do list: fix a library card, a printing account, a student card... but I feel so awful that I decide to go home instead, where I get surprised with two extra debuffs: "sore throat" and "cold".

I manage to write an e-mail to a girl that wrote a note of an apartment for rent that I saw hanging on a university building, but don't get out of bed for the rest.

Day 5: Bed

The fever has gone, only the "throat pain" and "exhausted" debuffs are left. I spend most of the day in bed, taking care of more things. I read over 50 messages (!) of people interested in renting my apartment in Amsterdam. I pick out 6 and e-mail them to come see my apartment this weekend.

I'm skipping my Swedish class for today. But here's a Swedish word for you, to improve the educational value of this post:

 From: Untranslatables by Ella Frances Sanders

I also e-mail my doctor with a devious plan to make challenge mode. On the housing lottery day, I asked a co-worker if it is allowed to live with two persons in their houses (Conrad is still living in the Netherlands). The answer was no, but when I explained my condition they replied that they would consider it if I'd show a doctor's note stating I need a caretaker.

I have mixed feelings about this. On the one hand, I think calling Conrad a 'caretaker' goes a bit too far; on the other hand, there are days I have so much pain I cannot get out of bed at all and then it is very nice when he is there for me. Also, not having to do all the housework by myself leaves me much more energy to study. So I e-mail my doctor to ask for her advice and opinion.

Day 6: Bed

I'm learning a lot about the aesthetics of the ceiling today.

When I check my Facebook account on my phone, it turns out the Dutch girl sent me a message that a room has become available in her apartment already on day 4 - oops, I should stop living underneath a rock! I can come to look at the room tomorrow morning. I'm starting to feel a bit better, so that should be okay.

I hear that someone is willing to pay double the rent that the people asked for the cellar apartment I visited on day 3. Conrad and I can't pay that much money, and to be honest, the apartment is not worth that price. It's a shame we haven't found a place for us both yet, but I'm feeling a bit relieved as well, because a living in a remotely located cellar isn't all that appealing.

Day 7: Synchronized visitations

The "cold" debuff has reappeared when I get on my bicycle, but it gets ignored. The Dutch girl is nice and we're having a good time. The owner of the apartment, who lives in the third room, is kind of odd. We meet, he asks if I like the room, and when I say yes, he gives me the keys. Well, that was easy... looks like I won't be visiting Patrick the policeman anytime soon after all!

When I return home the "fever" debuff has reappeared, but I nevertheless talk to Conrad about the six people that came to look at my apartment in Amsterdam today - and were all suitable.

I wonder why I keep getting the "cold" and "fever" debuff - it's not like I'm overly busy or anything...

Day 8: Two rooms?

Turns out the Swedish couple I'm staying with like me and wouldn't mind me staying until January. Help, what should I do? Go live at the Dutch girl's place and have an awesome flat mate, but give up on challenge mode? Or go for the boring option and stay with the Swedish couple, gambling that the whole thing with the doctor's note is going to work and a suitable apartment will become available? Making a decision would be so much easier without the "fever" debuff...

The rest of the day is spent studying the ceiling a bit more, alternated with making a contract for the girl that is going to rent my Amsterdam apartment. Some friends call to ask how it's if going and if I've already met lots of fun new people. Uh, well...

Since it's another day of skipping my Swedish lesson, here is your obligatory educational Swedish picture:

Exaggerated for comic relief, but as with all stereotypes there is a hint of truth in there


I knew that studying abroad with my condition was going to be challenging, but I was hoping it was going to be a bit less exhausting. While the other international students used these weeks to get to know each other, meet up with their mentor group (I don't even have an idea who is in it!) and take part in organized fun events, I've been taking care of things while feeling miserable. Hopefully the coming weeks will entail a bit more fun and a bit less struggle for survival.

I guess that's what you get for putting the difficulty on nightmare. Next time I'm putting it on easy, or even better, girlfriend mode (gasp), I swear!

But wait, what is that? (3D version)

Day 22: Challenge mode achieved

I pick up the key of our new apartment, acquired through my first spot on the waiting list and a doctor's note: challenge mode completed! Not entirely within the 14 days, but hey, details... It's a small place, but it has everything we need; on top of that it's positioned perfectly, with a cycling distance of just 15 minutes to the university and to the excavation site in Uppåkra, and a distance of 200 meter to a small shopping center with two supermarkets.

It feels my time in Sweden is only now about to begin.


  1. That was a pretty interesting quest. Thanks for sharing! :)

    Honestly, don't feel bad about your swedish. You are already ahead of most of the population on earth by learning a third language.

    That video about the swedish is awesome. Maybe I should move over there!

    Those swedish words are also pretty interesting. It is always fascinating to see the differences between languages and how much of their culture is built-in on it.

    Lastly, but not least, the picture of that apartment seems like it is a pretty cozy place to live in.

    Ok. That is all my scattered thoughts about this post. I hope things are smooth sailing for you from here on now that this quest is completed. :)

  2. I was waiting for part two of this, and I'm glad to hear that the quest for a place to live was successful, even if it's only the beginning of something larger. All of that would have been quite stressful even without the "nightmare mode"...

    And those insights into Swedish life are funny!

  3. Congrats on the apartment!

    "There are more things on my to do list: fix a library card, a printing account, a student card... "

    A library card first! I knew I liked you for a good reason!

    1. Haha, it was meant as a random order, but I did, in fact, end up getting the library card first. ^^

  4. The video Swedishness reminds me a lot of Portlandia, a show on the Independent Films Channel, that spoofs life in Portland, Oregon.

    It also makes me wonder how Sweden would have developed differently if Gustavus Adolphus had survived the Thirty Years' War.

  5. I'm glad you found a nice apartment close to everything. Nice and light, no basement! Sorry you're still getting those terrible debuffs. Get as much rest as you can and hopefully everything will fall into place.

  6. wow, real life sounding like the MMO quest grind lol. anyways grats on the new place!

    1. I should totally have called it a quest grind in the blog post, that pretty much sums it up perfectly!

  7. All sounds very stressful! Glad you got a place. :)


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