Last night we went to check out an apartment in a kollectivhus, or collective house. Since I’ve spent most of the last 10 years living in co-ops/collectives or working for them, it’s right up my alley. This collective house is a former senior citizens’ home which was bought by a group of people who wanted the community-within-a-community feeling. There are separate apartments, but also a big common dining room, kitchen, sitting room, soon-to-be TV/music room, and a weaving room.

I sat through an entire 2-hour house meeting in Swedish. John, the founder and board member who was showing me around, wanted to translate, but he was also chairing the meeting and it seemed really disruptive for him to have to translate as well, so I said that he didn’t have to. It was good for me to hear lots of Swedish spoken, anyway. My courses here are in English, most everything at the dorm is done in English, even lots of the stuff on TV is in English, so it was nice to be in a Swedish environment even if I didn’t understand much. At least I understood what most of the topics of discussion were. Kostia joined us halfway through and he understands a lot more Swedish than I do, since a) he’s been studying Swedish longer, b) he knows German, and a lot of the root words are the same, and c) he’s linguistically gifted. In fact, John introduced him at the meeting as a “språk man” – language man.

Kostia and I were about 30 years younger than everyone else at the meeting. Apparently there are some other students renting there, but I only saw one. So we could go from being the old people in the dorm to being the young people in the former old folks’ home.

It probably won’t work out with this particular apartment, though. We liked it a lot, but the guy subletting it wants to rent it right away, and we can’t get out of our dorm contracts until the end of October. And we definitely can’t afford to pay double rent. But who knows, maybe another spot will open up there. I hope so. Those house meetings will be good for my Swedish.

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