After about seven weeks of living in student-housing at the Philipps-Universität Marburg, I am ecstatic to have my first apartment. Needless to say, living conditions were less than ideal, as is to be expected from most dorms. All I can say is that I’m glad the experience lasted only seven weeks, and not the entirety of my Fulbright year!
On Sunday, August 2, 2015, Alex and I lugged our suitcases from the Hotel Marburger Hof back to Basic Coffee one last time as honeymooners to enjoy our Vanille Lattes auf Eis with a clear view of the Bahnhof. Around noon, we walked over to the train station to meet the small group of Fulbrighters already assembled, waiting for transport to the Studentenwohnheim where we would live for the next seven weeks.
Our “shuttle” from the Bahnhof to the Studentenwohnheim was a seemingly-small hatchback that could comfortably fit four of us at a time with all of our luggage. From Marburg Hauptbahnhof, we snaked our way up a mountain to the Max Kade Zentrum, which rests amidst the various dorm buildings of the Studentendorf. There, we were greeted with German beverages (beer included, of course) and various chips and cookies. After some quick housing paper work, we were escorted to our homes for the next one-and-a-half months.
Each room in Marburg Studentenwohnheim consists of two sections. The first of these sections has a rather large Kleiderschrank and a Handwaschbecken (die Toilette is across the hall). The second room is simple with a long, narrow bed, a wide shelf-like desk under die Fenster (the awesome European kind that you can either vent at the top or swing open from the side), a heavy chair that makes a horrible screeching sound anytime it is dragged across the floor, and a tall shelving unit. There is plenty of storage for the two of us to share (but the cramped quarters quickly made us very eager to move to Köln!).
On each floor, there are twenty of these rooms split among two wings. In the middle of the two wings is a shared kitchen. The kitchen has plenty of counter space both around the sink (when the Nachbarn have done their dishes, that is) and between the six stovetop burners. While there is plenty of preparation space, the storage situation leaves much to be desired; there is very little Kühlschrank space. The floor shares drei Kühlshränke—one “American-sized”, one “European-sized”, and a mini-fridge. Each shelf is labeled with two room numbers, giving each resident half a shelf to store their cold Speise und Getränke. Our Nachbarn, however, had decided to ignore these labels, spreading their food items along the front of the shelves and not the back, hence taking up more shelving space than is allotted to them. That left Alex and I—10% of the floor’s population—a third of a shelf to share (less than what even one person should have), surrounded by rotting carrots and opened packages of meat. (Again, we were increasingly eager to move to Köln where we have our own refrigerator!)
Despite the short-comings of the small bedroom space and the often-disgusting kitchen (no stranger to students leaving grease-filled Töpfe und Pfannen or open, moldy cans of Ananas on the counters), the location of the Studentindorf was pretty swell. Served by Buslinie 7 with two stops just 5-minutes away zu fuß, we could get to the Stadtmitte in about 15 minutes. Hiking up or down to die Bushaltestelle was often a welcome source of refreshing exercise, less the cold rainy days that made the pine-needle-covered path treacherously slippery!
(I'd also like to note that I am extremely thankful to the Fulbright Kommission for providing housing accommodations in addition to the Deutschkurs itself!)
On Thursday, September 17, I said „Tschuss!‟ (endlich!) to the Studentendorf and „Hallo!‟ to meiner Wohnung in Köln, meinem neuen Hause.