Reality Sets In

It’s 12:08PM. I’m sitting in Elias’s second cousin Erik Bruzelius’s apartment in Lund by myself. I have just arrived here after seeing Elias off at the Copenhagen airport, and Erik has just left to go on a family excursion on this overcast September Sunday. Ten minutes ago on my way from the train station to Erik’s was sunshine, but as I write this lightning has struck and set off a torrential downpour. Walking through a foreign city during a thunderstorm lugging two suitcases isn’t exactly my idea of fun, but I escaped in the nick of time. I’ll need a bit more luck the rest of the way through this adventure.

So I stay here tonight at Erik’s, probably on his sofa, and try to plan out my next move. It’s an interesting feeling not knowing where you will sleep the following day. Over the past two weeks I’ve been on the go quite a bit, traveling all across the Swedish countryside and finally back down to Lund. Traveling is one thing; you have the expectation of being a constant guest – you acknowledge that transitory circumstance. But as the non-tourist leg of a trip begins, it becomes difficult to wrap your head around the fact that without an apartment of your own you are still a day-to-day visitor.

It seems I will retain that temporary status at least for the duration of this upcoming week. Erik is still figuring out the situation with his roommate, and while the possibility of me staying at his place for an extended period does exist, he and I have not yet had that discussion. So here I am, watching raindrops streak the windowpanes of his living room, in limbo for the next several hours until his parents drop him off.

Now is the time for me to map out exactly what I’m doing over the next 73 days, but the details are somewhat contingent upon where exactly I live. Lund and Stockholm, possibly Malmö, are the options. In Lund, I would be immersed in a vibrant and substantial student population, folks with whom I share the greatest commonalities in musical interest – not to mention age. Erik’s family members are nearby as well, providing an emergency support network. His aunt has already promised me a “fish dinner” in the next month or so, which I’m highly anticipating! Lund would be like Wesleyan part two – there are certainly worse things.

Malmö has a rapidly growing scene as well, but I would be very much on my own if I could even get housing there. The primary challenge with the Swedish housing market is that there are few places dedicated for renting; most Swedes own their apartments and condos. Apparently in Stockholm, and some neighborhoods in Lund as well, there are two-year-long waiting lists for most accommodations. Long story short, I will be dependent on the generosity of locals.

By such good graces, my friend Ross stumbled into the Stockholm apartment of Pierre, a French computer programmer for Spotify. I’m hoping that when Ross departs in two weeks I can take his place. Throw me a bone, Pierre! I pledge to sing La Marseillaise on command.

Stockholm is the heart and soul of Sweden, a cosmopolitan center of world culture very much removed from the charming but sheltered university atmosphere of Lund. In any of these cities, I know I will be able to make the music I want to make. For the moment, however, I sit and watch the rain. At least I have my iTunes.

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