Ok, I have not been technically homeless. I’ve managed to stay in Hamburg for a week without having a place to call my own. I’ve stayed overnight in a 0.5-star hotel, friends, and friends of friends. I’ve been lucky so far to sleep with a roof over my head (I hope the main train station won’t count as one soon), and keep warm as temperature drops in the evening.
Now I am staying at a classmate’s flat in Lueneburg, a good one hour train ride from Hamburg main train station. It’s the first time I feel ‘settled’ in a week since I left Freiburg, despite still not having any idea on where to sleep next week. But I am still pretty much hopeful that this has got to end sometime. I have her flat all to myself from today until she gets back from Kiel on Monday morning. It’s the first time I’ve had a home-cooked meal in a week. In the previous days I’ve been subsisting on bread and Asian food, or at least its German version (Markthalle in Speicherstadt, and the Asian place behind my office serving ‘buffet’ for 3.80 Euros or 4.80 Euros depending on whether you get the small or big plate).
Today I went to Hamburg to look at one flat. It lies in a central place in Hamburg, barely fits into my budget, and unadvertised. Advertised room vacancies I heard could attract as much as 80 interested potential homeless individuals- and that’s here in Lueneburg, not even in Hamburg. I heard the average could be 50 people when the first semester is about to start, which is pretty much this time of the year.
In the afternoon I went to the Kleiner Michel where a Mass that was held mostly attended by Filipinos. Luck seems to be starting to side with me. There was a gathering later after the Mass where I had a better opportunity to introduce myself and my plea of finding a room. After a few finger-pointing and number-exchanging, I know I’ve found an untapped and potential source of a room. If you can’t beat the housing market, find or create a new one. While this doesn’t guarantee me anything, it’s a step ahead the usual means of house or room-searching through billboards, online or otherwise.
When there’s a Filipino gathering, there’s most certainly a Filipino feast. In between chit-chats and stuffing my face with adobo, menudo, pancit, I asked around for people who could help me, in one way or another. I introduced myself as someone ‘new’ in Hamburg, and was mistaken as a seaman, which is the common trade of most Filipinos in the port city of Hamburg. According to Wikipedia statistics, Hamburg is the city with the most number of Filipinos, mostly working on the shipping industry.
While gorging on Filipino food, talking in Filipino, and being treated with Filipino warmth and hospitality, I somehow forgot about my sorry situation, even for just a while. I hope to receive a call, hopefully coupled with a good news this week. The homelessness saga continues.