I was barely 19 when I substituted the small village where I was born for busy and lively Leiden (sarcasm intended). For most of these years I lived in shared housing (or a WG, as the Germans like to call it). Almost 28, I have come at a crossroads. For the first time in my life I have a contract for an almost unlimited period at work instead of merely 6 months, and a salary that allows me to look beyond the WG. Which is absolutely wonderful, I feel so very, very grown up these days.
In my 9 years of WG life I have seen the best and the worst of people. I have very fond memories of Tatiana, of which quite a few are not suitable for publication. She was the flat mate who made me chicken nuggets when I felt bad, despite her abhorrence of that kind of food, being a restaurant manager. I bonded quickly with Lara, my favourite German in the world, when we were on our own in Egypt, and we continue to see each other until today. With Esther I shared great moments during my exchange in Dundee, going on trips and taking Scottish dance classes together – which we both sucked big time at. Selen was my hero during my first weeks in Istanbul, being my guide, translator and cook in one.
Other flat mates I wasn’t particularly fond of. I vividly remember a certain girl in Leiden, who had the habit of playing loud music all through the night and doing her laundry at 7 in the morning, habitually waking me up on my days off. And if that doesn’t sound bad, imagine this: she took a dog without ever informing any of her 4 house mates. Obviously, we weren’t very happy with her, and the day she left is still one of my favourite moments of Leiden WG life. Such a nasty, scary bitch! Almost as bad was my direct neighbour in Scotland, who had a few issues of her own. One day I would be her best friend, the next day she would be screaming at me in the kitchen, begging me to slap her since I hated her so much. She is the only flat mate to date who ever succeeded in making me cry. No good record, that is.
In my WG career I have made notable progress as a flat mate and learned many things. When I first moved to Leiden Merel had to teach me how to clean the kitchen and bathroom, coming fresh from my parents’ place. Tatiana introduced me to the wonders a mob can do as well as Balkan hospitality. She also tried to teach me to be a bit more sponteanous and less strict with my schedule, although I’m not sure whether that really worked out.
Moving to Germany, I thought it would be nice to have German flatmates for integration purposes. In practice however we don’t really speak German at home, which kinda defeats the purpose. And as I am almost 28 and tired of WG life, I have made up my mind. Next month I’m going to move into my very own apartment, for the first time in my life. I’ve done it before, after Selen left Istanbul, and I didn’t like it that much back then. The apartment was big and lonely, and if I didn’t make an effort I wouldn’t see any humans all day long. This time however it is going to be different, as I see humans all day long at work. And no matter how much I like human beings, after having been them for some 9 hours at work, I wouldn’t mind a bit of peace at night. So it is decided: no more WGs for me. Let the adult life begin!
Photo credits: David Young/Flickr/CC BY-ND 2.0