Tuesday, May 20, 2008


JoeWe've had a bit of luck this week. Much to our surprise, we've been offered a lease on a student apartment, which today we signed. I know that doesn't seem like such a big thing—I mean after all, we're in a student apartment right now. The difference is that right now we have a second-hand lease, which is only good through August. This new apartment is a lease in our own name, good for as long as one of us is a student here.

We've been applying for likely looking student places since late February when we first learned about Studentstaden, the student apartment company here in Uppsala. Like all the other apartment companies, though, it's based on a queue system: available apartments are posted for a couple of weeks, and all the people who express an interest in them are ordered by how many days they've been waiting in the queue (not waiting for that particular apartment, but waiting for any apartment). We're up to 90+ days now, which seems like a lot until you notice that for the apartments we've been applying for the person in tenth place has typically had about 450 queue days, and the first place person often has more like 1400!

So you understand what I mean when I say we were surprised to get the offer. We started making the top 20 last month, a watermark in that being the 20th person in line or less means you have to confirm your interest in the apartment right then. If you say, "On second though, no, I'll pass," at that point, no harm done. However, if you say, "20th in line, that'll never happen, so I'll just say yes even though I probably don't want it," and then say no when they offer you the apartment, you're blacklisted for the next six months, during which time you cannot accrue any more queue days. Definitely a seller's market. Oh, and you have to agree to all this sight unseen, because the apartment is still occupied through the whole process. We didn't even see a floor plan until we went into the office to sign the lease today.

At the close of the confirmation period for this particular apartment we were listed as being 12th in line out of 13 applicants—hardly a position of strength. But for whatever reason, we wound up getting the offer. Not having seen the place except from afar, it's hard to jude just what we've got, but on paper it looks to be an improvement. The new place is a straight five minute bus ride from Jennifer's office, as opposed to her current 40 minute commute. It's on the first floor and has a south facing balcony off the kitchen, unlike our current second floor location with a north(ish) facing balcony off the bedroom. And it's located on the edge of Stadsskogen, a large and dense pine forest owned (I think) by the city. Quiet, with a nice pine scent on the air, but with a grocery store and bus stop within easy walking distance.

Next we get to figure out how to rent a moving truck in Sweden, so we can haul all of this Ikea furniture across town. I'm already having moving flashbacks. Maybe Jennifer was right, and we should have just gotten an air mattress and a couple of chairs...

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