Check! The travel documents are ready, I’ve decided on what classes to take, bags are almost packed – but oops, where am I going to stay? This is a summary of my situation shortly before I started my new adventure in Budapest. To be honest, I was perfectly prepared, except when it came to the accommodation.
In Germany I still live with my family since my University is close to our home and during my past travels I have had extremely positive, but also very negative experiences with sharing a home with strangers which is why I was hoping to be able to find the perfect flatmates on location to meet them in person first. Nevertheless, I started to get a little nervous because I realized that people were already eagerly looking for shared flats in the facebook groups so I decided to give it a try. After I commented on a random post, a girl from Finland sent me a message and told me that she, together with a girl from Italy and a girl from Belgium, were looking for a fourth flatmate. We started talking and since the girls seemed really nice I decided to forget about my previous plan and dive right into this mix of cultures.
Fortunately, it turned out to be the perfect match. We do almost everything together and I could not think of better flatmates to share this great experience with. Of course, every one of us has her own habits that are linked to our nationality which the others still have to get used to, I don’t even know where to start. When it comes to food it is not only almost impossible to cook a dinner together as one of us is gluten-free, one lactose-free and one vegetarian. But it is also getting harder and harder to open the freezer as it is completely stuffed with frozen meat (directly imported from Italy by the way) and also the fridge that is full of shrink-wrapped Belgian cheese (the smell is just delightful). I also never thought that I would ever find myself on a 3-hour hunt for cardamom with a Finn who just cannot believe that her beloved spice seems to not be as popular here as in Scandinavia.
Another thing that we do not all share is the joy of getting up early in the morning. While my Finnish friend has already been up and awake for a while, the three of us can sleep until noon. But one thing that is for sure is when the Italian wakes up, everybody else wakes up as well – you simply can‘t escape her temperament. Only sometimes she will put it aside when she makes us listen to the soft sounds of Laura Pausini songs for 5 hours straight; even though all of the girls recently had to admit that they would never trade them again for my ‚Deutschrap‘ songs that we now listen to all day long.
At this point, I think I am able to say that I have learned all the necessary facts about 3 different countries and already have the feeling that this ‚cultural exchange‘ is working out for me the way it should. Even though we are all so different, we have enough things in common to happily share this flat, and I don’t even know yet what I will do without the twisted Italian humor and the cheesy smell of our temporary home.