I’ve said goodbye to my home away from home – my little apartment on Mågevej street, in Copenhagen. It was an extremely unceremonious ending, and entirely unexpected.
It all started on Monday, when my roommate texted me:
“Our building might be on fire.”
My friend, Kimi, was visiting from California, and we were enjoying the sights in the city center when I got my roommate’s message. Cue: immediate panic. We hopped on our bikes and rushed back to the apartment as fast as we could.
And, lo and behold. Our building was absolutely on fire.
Our apartment is on the top two floors, 6 windows to the left of the corner. It was impossible to tell the damage to our specific unit, but it was easy to see that the apartment right to ours was completely gone. Those beams sticking up were all that was left of the room.
We were completely freaked, expecting the worst. The firefighters and police didn’t have too much information for us that first day, just advised us to find somewhere else to stay while they contained the fire.
The next day, after one of the most anxiety-ridden sleeps ever, we biked back to the apartment to scope out the damage. Most pressing question: did our passports survive? Cause if they didn’t, we had a date with the Embassy soon to come.
Our front door had obviously been bashed in by the firefighters, in an attempt to make sure everyone had been evacuated.
But amazingly, almost everything inside was ok.
Our apartment spans two floors. The firemen had carried everything from the second floor down to the first, and covered it all with tarps.
The upstairs was filthy, and the whole place smelled like ash. I’m sure the air quality was pretty horrid.
My room was the closest to the fire.
And you could really see the damage from the smoke next door.
Our bathroom was also a mess.
For some reason the firefighters bashed in the wall.
Directly through to the stairwell behind it.
None of that comes close to the devastation right next door.
The apartments literally right next to ours… Everything, gone.
It was such a shock to the system, seeing it. The firewall was all that had saved us.
We really came out of this so, so lucky. All of our things were intact, reeking of smoke, but otherwise ok. And, most importantly of all, no one was hurt.
But I can’t pretend that this whole ordeal wasn’t traumatic.
I had been mentally preparing to leave Denmark come summer, and while I knew it would be bittersweet, I also knew I was ready. But this was something else entirely. Such an abrupt ending, such an unceremonious goodbye to my little home, to my roommates. It’s hard not to cry at the thought of it.
This was one of the most insane weeks I can remember. One moment I was hosting a good friend from CA, the next we were both homeless and living out of a hotel. One second we think everything is destroyed, the next we learn that our apartment is mostly spared. Talk about roller coaster of emotions. Big, big thank you to Mark and my Mom for helping me handle the crazy stress from all the way across the pond.