Sara Sokolowska-Katzer - Authorsara.email@example.com
Sara Sokolowska-Katzer - Illustratorsara.firstname.lastname@example.org
Lost baggage, no accommodation, shattering the expectations of an enjoyable "orientation" period were only the start to my Swedish journey. Does this sound familiar? Here is what that hectic shift really looked like for me. No sunshine and rainbows, but a good story to tell.
Yup, that’s definitely my suitcase. I could recognise the gold star stickers from a mile away. And right now I see that sticker-covered luggage being shoved onto a plane. Not onto the one I am currently sitting in though, but the plane I see out of my small drafty window of the cheap Ryanair aircraft. “Hm, interesting start to my Stockholm journey”, I think. “But maybe I should give the benefit of the doubt and hope that somebody also has questionable taste in suitcase bedazzlement and the suitcase I am seeing being packed away to a neighbouring flight is, in fact, NOT mine.” I doubt that, however, in the current circumstances, it seems like lying to myself is the best option. I decide on the storyline that this orange plane next to ours is also going to Stockholm and will simply act as luggage transport.
After a short one hour flight, and a somewhat aggressive landing that I have grown accustomed to having been a loyal Ryanair customer, I land in Stockholm Arlanda. Aah finally. I look out the window to spot the familiar orange airplane touching down on a runway on the horizon. Huh, maybe my very wishful thinking actually came true. I wait out the extremely impatient passengers. They push and shove to be the first to leave, because GOD FORBID being the last person to disembark!
I eventually get to baggage claim utterly hopeful that maybe SOMEHOW my luggage did in fact land in the big orange plane.The belt jolts into motion and I stare lifelessly at the never-ending parade of black suitcases. Do people not like expressing their personality anymore? Dreadful.
Distracted, I reach for my phone and shift my backpack that I had placed on the floor. Good thing the flight attendants didn’t pick me for their “random” baggage selection to check the weight and size of this thing, because believe me, it would not have passed the test. And right as I had come to terms that it’s time to go to the “lost baggage” desk, there it appears in its full star-stickered glory. I yank my suitcase off the conveyor belt clumsily and we pass customs happily united.
Full of gratitude about the fact that I would actually have clothes to wear during my stay in Sweden, I don't even mind waiting for the KTH bus for another hour...
Some time and events pass before I arrive at the right address of my hotel, but I am here and I am relieved. With the keycode open on my phone, I walk up to the door proudly. I press the numbers into the lock one by one and.. A red LED stares at me as I stare back. No no no this can’t be happening. Not today, not when the sun is setting and I am miles away from the city centre, on a Saturday night surrounded by empty streets of an unknown neighbourhood in a country that I don’t speak the language of. Not in this hotel I booked that turned out to be a no reception, only self-check-in-service extravaganza. And not with the “24h pHoNe cUsToMeR sErViCe” that is inactive during the weekend.
I press the sequence of buttons again. Unbothered red. Still flashing. Great.
“Damn it, stupid technology! What’s the point of the flashy futuristic advertising if you can’t get in in the first place?!”
I take a deep breath whilst silently considering my options for my sleeping locations. Bridge? In a tree? Not sleeping in the first place? I decide to give it another go. This time analysing the keypad first and well,well, well… I notice a little tick icon. Perhaps if i click that button after entering my passcode.. YES! Success! I’m in! Goodbye raccoons!
You might be wondering - Sara, aren’t you studying in Sweden for the next two YEARS? What are you doing checking into a hotel? Ah well, my friends, I actually moved to Stockholm this day without any offer on accommodation whatsoever! Yes, I did check Blocket. Yes, I joined multiple facebook groups that were a jumble of the words “student”, “Stockholm”, “housing”. Yes, I did apply on SSSB (15 times = 45 rooms). I even allow my photo to be plastered on LinkedIn with an extensive description of my dire need for housing by a distant family friend that I have never met before. I tried EVERYTHING. Yet, no luck. So I opt on stressing my parents and myself out by booking a hotel in Stockholm and hoping that my physical presence alters my fate of being homeless for my first year of master’s.
Let’s fast forward to a week later. Still no accommodation offer. Still staying at the hotel and anxiety is knocking at my door.
It takes another 1.5 weeks in the hotel until I desperately apply for a private company’s student accommodation that is wayyyy over my budget. And low and behold I actually get an offer!
Did the transfer go through correctly the first time round? No.
Did I get confirmation that I can move in, only the day my hotel booking finishes? Yes.
Now that I have my accommodation sorted for the foreseeable future, my parents sent me a parcel. Just last week updates on the parcel’s status portal stopped coming. After a few phone calls and emails I found out it’s stuck somewhere in Rosersberg, wherever that is...
But hey, let’s not expect the worst this time! .....Right?