Apartment Hunting In Pristina VS Stockholm

Coming back to Kosovo a week ago was a real mess. Starting off with flying in from Luton Airport in the middle of the night, Luton Airport btw is UK’s version of Skavsta Airport outside Stockholm, which is the only airport in the world with no seats at the gates.

Normally you should wait until the very end to go to the gate, some people stress to get there at boarding time. But at Skavsta it’s almost better not to go at all, because you will just have to stand there in a draft squashed between the old and sick who’s dying to sit for a rest and you’re all just standing there waiting and waiting shit early in the morning until they start collecting your PAPER TICKETS people printed out ON A PRINTER. 2020. Yes.

I don’t like Skavsta Airport – no one does. On the other hand, most people in Kosovo would sell their left eye to be able to travel freely to shitty airports such as Skavsta. We Swedes a have very limited understanding of the value of our passport and we love to complain about the hassles of traveling. Mostly we complain at SJ, the trains, when it’s 10-20 min late and destroys our lives. That there are Europeans that are basically prisoners in their own country, unable to travel without an expensive visa most people can’t afford, 99% of the people in Sweden have no idea about.

So ok, flying was fine, but you could say that things really became a mess when I got to Kosovo. Because I got crazy sick. Started puking and shitting 6 in the morning. I will have to blame the luxurious Shangri La oysters I had two days before. It was some of the best oysters I’ve had and with the loveliest view over London from The Shard, but ironically, they made both me and my ex extremely food poisoned. He even had to go to the hospital.

Anyway, I was really sick and the apartment was really cold so I got even more sick. Everything just got worse and worse and then, after locking myself out, crying while puking and shitting myself, going out on the street trying to look for help, I decided that I needed to move to a place with heating.

Luckily my friend Fitore picked me up. She brought me home to her apartment where I have stayed the whole week together with her and her husband who’s an American soldier working at the Bondsteel base. They gave me food, a warm bubble bath in their jacuzzi, warm whiskey with honey, medicine and lots of love and laughter. I got better in one day. Then her son showed up and it turned out he’s a classical composer studying in Paris.

We talked for hours and I learned that I need to read the Albanian writer Kadare, who was actually a friend of Enver Hoxha – the Albanian dictator most people in Europe have never heard of even if he was the longest ruling dictator in Europe in like, all times? 40 years. What competition does he get?! Castro 49 years, Kim Il-Sung 46 years, Gaddafi 42 years and then of course, the only guy in Europe less famous than Hoxa, Paul Biya. He is currently President of Cameroon since 1982 – which makes him the longest serving dictator still going strong. 44 years.

Cameroon is a country on Africa’s west coast between Nigeria and Gabon. It has 26 million inhabitants and is known for its football team who won the Olympics 2000. Paul Biya on the other hand is known as being one of the worst living dictators in the world.

He’s known for setting up his elections, changing the constitution so he can continue to rule, private luxury trips in Europe, imprisoning, torturing and shooting protestors, cutting out telephone and internet in the country, unfair trials, death penalty and killing people.

2018 Amnesty reported about security forces burning villages and indiscriminately killing people, and just a few months ago nearly 60 opposition politicians were abducted from the capital Yaoundé and tortured by security forces. Biya’s regime is supported by its former colonizer France who is the biggest investor in the country (timber, oil, minerals, banking, construction etc). So I guess the only people in Europe that really knows Biya is the French diplomats working on their silent diplomacy and “special relationship” with Cameroon.

I have stayed with my friends for almost a week now and I feel so much better. I’ve even gotten a lot of work done. The Equal Work Event I’m arranging at Sirius Hotel is in just two weeks so there’s so much to do. I have two TV interviews too.

So due to all this, I have started apartment hunting. I’m looking for an apartment with city heating, central location and around 250€/month. It’s actually possible to find a decent two room apartment in the city for 250€/month. I’ve seen one I really like so far.

City heating btw means it got heating from the city. Central heating. But not all apartments have it. Many have no heating at all, which means you will have to use multiple portable heaters to warm up a whole place which becomes really expensive. My latest electricity bill was 80€ and my apartment is pretty small with only two rooms.

I remember my “apartment” (more like a room) in South Korea. It also got really cold during winter. Eventually I learned to put huge plastic papers on the windows to isolate. Gave me like 2-3 degrees. A lot of people use the portable heaters in South Korea too. In Sweden I’ve never seen one, not even in the oldest apartments. The houses and apartments in Sweden are just so extremely isolated. You kind of need that when it gets -30.  

I just want to add here that the situation in Pristina has developed a lot lately. It wasn’t until a couple of years ago that people had warm water during the evenings/nights. Imagining coming home from the gym in the evenings and never being able to take a shower. My friend told me how much it affected people’s mood and mentality not being able to clean themselves when they needed. Now things are drastically better.

And then I come and think it’s hard to not have an infinite flood of warm water. Most places have boilers that only lasts for 10-20 min. Forget about 1-2 hours showers and being able to fill up a bath. If you do have the luxury being able to fill up a bath don’t expect to being able to shower warm when you’re done. And going to the gym here in Pristina the armband makes sure that you don’t get a second over 3 minutes of warm water.

So, to compare apartment hunting in Pristina and Stockholm briefly, for the double of the price of a two-room apartment in the city center (250€) you can get a room of few square meters in Stockholm. Even outside the city center the price is gonna be crazy.

I paid 500€ for a room that was so small the only bed that fitted was a 90 cm bed. I lived with a man who was so special. We had so much fun together. He was a 50 year old entrepreneur with his own company. And he was so much fun for his age. Super interested to explore the world, Stockholm and everything around him. And he had such a stamina.

He always took off at 6 am on the bicycle to bike to his office over 10 km away and on the other side of Stockholm. Then he went to the gym. Then finally he started his work day around 8 am. Then after the day was done he went with the bicycle 10 km home again. And every day coming back home from work around 7 pm he ran like a maniac in the stairs 4 floors to get his pulse up as a daily routine. That’s how I’m planning to be when I’m 50.   

We also had the best view over the harbor and every day when we got home we sat in the kitchen talking shit drinking wine. Sometimes we took a taxi down to Grand Hotel to sit in the piano bar having tropical cocktails talking.

Grand Hotel is the finest hotels in Stockholm. It’s where all the presidents and movie stars stay at. And a piano bar (maybe everyone knows what a piano bar is, but if not) it is a grand piano with chairs around it so that the guests can sit by the piano with their drinks and listen to the singing pianist playing some cheesy jazz. Kind of fancy.

I remember one time when there was some asshole complaining so much on the female pianist so that she eventually stopped playing and just walked away. I went and talked to her then I sat down by the piano started playing. The show must go on and all that. It was the first time my friend heard me sing. He started crying, a man ordered two huge champagne bottles, people started filming and one woman offered me her panties. Later on, the pianist came back, I told the old fat man to shut up and we all had a great night.

And I’m sure some of you wonder if I slept with this man since it’s a weird setup at least here where I’m living now. But no. Living like that in Sweden is very normal. It’s as normal as Albanians living with their parents even if they are 40, I guess. Apartments in Stockholm is just ridiculous expensive. So yes, strangers move in and live together.

A room (not even in the city center) for 500€ – imagine what a two-room apartment in the city center costs. I remember finding the smallest studio apartment with a bed that was put on poles since the apartment was so small that it wouldn’t fit on the floor. The monthly rent was 1,400€. There are of course cheaper, but a two-room apartment in the city center is at least 1,000€. Studio apartments on the other hand can be a bit cheaper, 700€ maybe.

Add to this that people in Stockholm is extremely stiff and boring, so why live there at all? Most of the time people in Stockholm work, avoid social contact and talk about apartments or other shallow uninteresting things. And when they dance, they just do it with their right arm going up and down in the air. That’s not how you dance in Pristina. Pristina is more fun than Stockholm every day of the week. Strange that not more people emigrate here.

I have lived in many weird and obscure places. And in many of these places some of my Swedish friends wouldn’t even stay if they got paid. I remember dating a really fancy man from the eastern part of Stockholm. He thought that the south part of Stockholm was so much of a slum area so he refused to go there, even with a taxi.

Södermalm is definitely a pretentious place full of shitty old bars with broken chairs, hipsters and people in smelly second hand clothes, but it’s no slum. Go to Manila and you will see slum. And his apartment was all Stockholm white. White candles, white walls, white carpets, white sheets, white curtains, white plates white chairs. Swedes are crazy about white, bright and light apartments. It’s definitely an obsession. This is a “Stockholm White apartment”.

Kosovo houses and apartments are not white, bright and light. At least not the ones I’ve seen so far. Partly because the windows are not as big as in Sweden I guess, but also since the style is different. The colors are more Kandinsky plus extra brown. If Kosovo interior design is Kandinsky, Sweden is Matisse, but only the clean bright Matisse. Did you know by the way that Matisse developed his styles with paper and collage due to his illness an inability to paint. He was almost paralyzed sitting working in his wheelchair.

I guess I’m also a bit obsessed with white, bright and light apartments and a bit sensitive to the extra brown. However, I know now how to shower for only 10 min. You live and learn. And this is the “slum area” Södermalm:   

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