What do you do if you end up in Lund without housing, reasonable food and knowing how to pass the day? Relax. Like a modern-day Robinson Crusoe the Lundagård reporter explored the city as a homeless person.
This is probably the first spot you discover in your new hometown. And it was also here my train ended up. This is the platform where I was washed ashore. From here it is easy to go to both Denmark and Norrland. Ten minutes by train from Malmö all night long, every day. In the southern part of the station there’s a pedestrian tunnel. Generally, when people say ’I’ll see you at the station, they mean at the tunnel mouth towards the city.
Sun and heat makes you start … sweating. Rumor had it there were showers at some faculties, as here at the Language and Literature Center. After having tricked the receptionist that I had an important assignment in the building, I succeeded in sneaking up to the third floor. And there it was! At the faculties, research and education is conducted. This is in other words your school and where people hang out most of the time. So be careful in the shower, flashing is a criminal offence.
Being homeless can be quite dull. You risk turning into a philistine. Thank God for free leisure activities like museums! As a student you have free admission to the museums of the university. Great if you like history or art. At the Museum of Public Art you can, for instance, experience Picasso’s and Matisse’s original sketches to most of their famous artworks. Absolutely worth a visit.
Screw being homeless in the streets. I wanted to escape from the houses, the cars and the noise to a tranquil oasis. And, I found it. The City Park, Lund’s own Central Park. A place for cozy relaxation, exercise, recreation and a whacked-out megaparty at the end of April. During the warmer months of the year there are wonderful hammocks for rest and sleep.
The first step towards survival is a roof over your head. That is why I built my own most impressive hut! Or, I found one that was abandoned. Sad to say, my hut couldn’t take more than one tenant at a time because of the collapse risk. The housing was enough for me, but because of this constant threat of collapse I could lose my home the same way as the inhabitants of the Maldives could.
Oh, what a “facerape”! Even a homeless person needs to check his/hers Facebook and e-mail. Get hold of a computer at the nearest library, it happens all the time for all kinds of purposes. Even for more explicit googlings. The filter of the university library denied more than 1100 porn searches during a two-week test period last fall. But, if you get hold of your own Internet student subscription it is ridiculously cheap. When you receive the invoice, the paper is more expensive than the 100 Mbit(e) broadband.
I felt like reading. Not the least because I didn’t want to lose my ability to read. There are around 30 university libraries at which you can read, borrow books or order material. Course books can be borrowed for no more than two weeks at a time, but reference literature can always be read on location. Try to be a good citizen and avoid racking up debts.
Necessity knows no law, in which case free of charge and hygienic bathrooms come in handy. Every faculty has their own toilets! But keep in mind that the faculties are closed during evenings and close early during weekends. Answering nature’s call outdoors might turn out to be a costly affair.
At lunchtime my stomach started rumbling. Unfortunately the birds and kids had eaten all the berries and fruit. That’s why I found myself a nation and began to work in the kitchen for free. As a thanks, I was fed and made some new friends! Many nations, like Lund’s in this case, serve cheap lunch and supper. Here you will find the clubs during weekends. There are also other clubs, for instance athletic clubs that will keep me in shape.
I became hungry again and the nations were closed. Constructing a bow and arrow and bagging a bird was out of the question. But you can always find garbage! Stealing food from the supermarket’s containers is illegal, but still common among the Lund student food hunters. To quote the ’The Three Penny Opera’: ”Zuerst kommt das Fressen und dann die Moral”! (ed. ’First food, then morals’).
I felt like finding a decent housing with a comfortable bed. That is why a found myself a mate and lent his couch. Make sure to locate a new mate every day. Long live hospitality! But don’t forget to return the favor in some other way as a token of your gratitude.
Only dorks use maps, but after circulating for hours I was in need of some directions. The inhabitants of Lund are very helpful in regards to pointing you in the right direction. Even if they don’t necessarily know the way there themselves. You often think you know where all the houses and the streets are, but Lund curves around in such a fashion as to render your mental map inaccurate most of the time anyway.
Text: Kenneth Carlsson
Photo: Mette Mjöberg Tegnander
Translation: Lars Jansson
First published in Lundagård nr 6/2012.