The time spent being a student is arguably one of the strangest ones we’ll ever get to experience in our lifetimes. Our living standards drastically drop as we try our best to cut every corner in order to save every cent to make it to the next month. Let’s face it, university life is a constant struggle. Sometimes, it feels like we’re stuck in a three or four-year-long episode of Survivor (with less sleep but more deadlines.)
As an undergrad, living in a flat-share is the norm, although we hate it. Sharing is obviously caring, but many of us would agree that this statement shouldn’t apply to sharing small narrow spaces. Some species, that claim to be human beings, carry some dubious habits, grim standards of hygiene, and horrendous ways of living that would even put the most easygoing of us off.
To celebrate the back-to-school season, we asked four young Arabs to take us on a trip down memory lane and reminisce on some of their weirdest stories from living in a flat-share.
Leena, 27, Tunisia
I remember having a flat-mate who would put her cigarette butts in the sink to hide them from her parents who would visit a lot. Her parents were apparently very strict and she didn’t want to leave any evidence of her being a smoker. They’d come every weekend, which meant that every Monday, the kitchen’s sink would be full of water, splashing all over the place because of her Marlboro reds stuck in the pipes. I remember telling her to just throw them in the bin, but she was paranoid that her parents would be able to smell them out. Take the bin out before they come around? Walking down the five sets of stairs was too much, so the sink it was. She drove me absolutely crazy, I couldn’t speak any sense into her, which led me to eventually moving out after a handful of months.
Ahmed, 25, Egypt
Don’t ask me how, but I somehow ended up living with a 65-year-old Spanish woman and a 32-year-old Italian man at the same time. And to make it funnier, you need to bear in mind that none of them could speak English, let alone Arabic. I remember this one time I just couldn’t take the Spanish lady’s mess, so I just started venting out loud in Arabic. She couldn’t tell that I was talking about her and ended up asking me who was shouting. Can’t lie, I pinned it on the third flat-mate and they beefed for a hot second. They both drove me so crazy that to this day, I hold no regrets.
Youssef, 28, Egypt
A couple of years back, I used to share a place with a super mustaqeem dude. We’re talking super religious, like sheikh levels, when all I could care about was getting with Jenny from the block.
I remember bringing a girl back home from a messy night out, and loud as we were, my flat-mate wasn’t happy and made sure that we could also hear how annoyed he was too. To pass his message on, he just went into the living room and starting praying endlessly super loud. Like Taraweeh-long prayers all while screaming Al Fatiha every three minutes. The girl must’ve thought that she was sleeping at the Muslim Brotherhood HQ because she didn’t wait around for too long before she left. I haven’t heard from her since, and as for my flat-mate, don’t ask me how, but he’s about this life too and is also a “Ramadan Muslim” now.
Adel, 32, Jordan
I live in Amman, a city-wide rehab center as putting your hands on any kind of substance is almost impossible, and if you get caught, you’re basically done for life. Yes, even the devil’s lettuce.
One night, I remember being woken up by a police raid because my expat flat-mate thought he was above the rules and could get away with it. He was spotted getting waved in a park and they had trailed him by tapping into his phone. He disappeared for about three weeks before the French embassy bailed him out and sent him back to Paris.