Docklands to London Bridge: report of a lost home

Being a student and finding decent and cheap housing has always been and will always be a ridiculous juxtaposition. It seems to be just a thing of impossibility.

Being a student and finding decent and cheap housing has always been and will always be a ridiculous juxtaposition. It seems to be just a thing of impossibility. Even more complicated can this problem be for EU and international students. Not only are they apparently estimated less trustworthy but additionally have to operate from far apart. As such a student, one is infinitely grateful and appreciates it a lot if the university offers student accommodation.

Once moved in, one makes loads of new friends, cooking alliances, dish-mergings and ‘who-hates-the-unfriendly-and-unsufficiently-working-cleaning-lady-most-clubs’. However, as soon as the semester reaches the end of term, you might receive a surprising letter, which friendly tells you that your helpful uni has got rid of you and you will be homeless from the next semester.

Firstly you are shocked. Your inner eye sees horrible home-less scenarios. Skinny and dirty you are sitting next to the Barclay’s ATM at Piccadilly Circus, asking a by-passing party crowd ‘Excuse me please, can you spare some change please?’

Another symptom of this shock-period might be the inevitable obsession of flat search. Everywhere you see lorries of moving companies, suddenly Lady Gaga dances on the balcony of a New Yorker apartment in the ‘Edge of Glory’, handymen are carrying furniture everywhere and everyone seems to carry boxes. It just seems to be very bad karma that exactly the moment when you turn on the radio the song ‘A house in the middle of a street’ just has started….

After overcoming this immediate reaction, you probably will make up an action-plan. They say Rome wasn’t built in one day, don’t they? Talking of which, did Rome have a high home-less rate…?

Having searched the internet, your social network, asked friends and current flatmates you might have not found a place to live but probably at least one fellow home-less friend, thus a future flat-mate with the same contemporary problem. Having increased the rate of ‘hobos’ by constant housing rate you start doubting the success-ability of your action plan.

It is two weeks to go now and you are getting desperate. After awaking from a nightmare on 2.30 a.m. – it is the familiar picture of Piccadilly Circus – you email a real estate agent, who offers rooms to rent. The object of your inspection is priced cheap, although it reminds you of the fantasy, Oscar Wilde’s description of a drug den in ‘The Picture of Dorian Gray’ created in your mind. Still it is more spacious then the ATM niche on Piccadilly.  – Your email was sent –

The response which comes the next morning is embarrassing. Obviously you applied for an office-space. Questions like who wants to have an office there come to your mind. Yet the agent offers a house viewing, which you confirm happy like a child on its birthday. The house looks very nice although your friend isn’t really convinced about the location.

As soon as the agent talks about the rent not only your friends becomes very pale. After a short but intense bargain talk everyone leaves the place and you doubt that you will dare to contact this particular agent ever again.
Totally exhausted, still homeless and doubting that you will ever find an affordable place, you turn on the radio. ‘A house in the middle of the street’ was replaced by ‘I need a Dollar, Dollar, Dollar is what I need’…

Suddenly, it seems your karma would restore. A friend’s friend heard something about student storing. Apparently it seems to be possible to get rid of your stuff if you would leave the country during summer. Half an hour later, the contract is signed, a flight back home is booked and all the stuff is packed into suitcases, boxed and paper bags and put to the next tube station.

Although people are giving you the ‘you are crazy eye’, you carry about the double of your own weight on until the paper bag explodes and books, cosmetic articles, rolls of toilet-paper are spread in the whole train. While collecting hair-gel and a tomato-tin (Why didn’t I just throw it away?) you miss the right station. Two station late you get off and hire a taxi (65 Pound). After putting all stuff into storage you depart to the airport and postpone the flat hunt until next semester. Why else, you ask yourself, do we have three fabulous months break. After handling the usual hurdles of a typical RyanHair* flight, you land in the middle of nowhere, where you are getting the culture shock of your life. But that’s another story…

*name of airline freely invented