Alexander Fufaev
My name is Alexander FufaeV and here I write about:

Moving Into the New Flat Share and the Daily Flood of Information

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May 14, 2023. In the morning, before heading to the café, the soap dish was picked up. While having breakfast in the kitchen, I had the idea to turn off the kitchen radio that I always had on during breakfast. This way, I wanted to further reduce my constant input and not overload my mind with unnecessary information first thing in the morning. I didn't want to be entertained but rather consciously choose which information I wanted to consume.

After a productive time at the café, I had lunch at McDonald's because I didn't feel like cooking. After a short walk in the Welfengarten after lunch, I pondered why I wanted to live vegan, zero-waste, and minimalist.

For veganism, the why was obvious: I dreamed of a nonviolent society that includes all species in nonviolence, and veganism was an important building block for that.

For minimalism, I thought of many personal benefits I experienced: more money, more time, better concentration and creativity, a more relaxed life, a tidy home, more independence from material and immaterial things, more space, easier moving, sustainable living, more courage to let go, and better mental well-being.

For zero-waste, the why also came relatively easily because all I had to do was look around to see the chaos people caused with their trash. The entire Welfengarten was full of empty packaging, crumpled paper, dog feces, empty alcohol bottles, and broken glass scattered everywhere on the lawn. The trash cans were overflowing. It often looked like this - after a weekend behind my university. Whenever the sun was shining and people didn't have to work, they crawled out of their holes and polluted nature. I was so angry when I saw these mountains of garbage in that moment. I definitely didn't want to be a part of this throwaway society, so I aimed for zero-waste.

The Key Handover

May 15, 2023. I had submitted the termination notice for my lease for my previous apartment and picked up the key for my new shared room in the afternoon. On the way to the bus, I was speechless. The garbage collectors had been on strike for five days, and their absence was clearly noticeable. The entire Hinüberstraße resembled a huge garbage dump - the street was visually disfigured. Paper shreds and plastic packaging were scattered everywhere by the wind. The city's strong dependence on garbage collection and the resulting chaos shocked me deeply in that moment. As I waited for the bus, I imagined what would happen if the garbage collection were to strike for a month or longer. "The streets would fill up more and more with garbage, the wind would spread it even further. The stairwells would overflow with garbage. Traffic would come to a standstill because the garbage piles would now reach the streets. Rats, mice, and other animals would be attracted by the garbage piles. There would be more conflicts between neighbors because no one wants this garbage in front of their door. Gradually, the situation would escalate to the point where it could take on civil war-like proportions..."

The arriving bus brought me back to the present. I got on and became aware again: That's exactly why I wanted to gradually transform my life towards zero-waste. I wanted to contribute as little as possible to this garbage chaos.

When I arrived at Jahnplatz and stood in front of the apartment door, Viola and Vanessa opened the door for me. Viola was the one moving out, and Vanessa, the one staying in the apartment.

"Hello Alexander," Vanessa greeted me.

"Hey Alex, I'm Viola."

"Hello Viola, nice to meet you."

"I'll give you the keys already, I'm in a call right now," Vanessa handed me the keys and disappeared into her room. I chatted with Viola for a bit.

"And when are you moving in?" she asked me.

"This Friday. And you're moving out?"

"Yes, exactly. I wasn't satisfied with my current job and am moving back in with my parents for the time being until I find something better."

"I think it's brave of you to have the courage to change your life. What would be your dream job?"

"Thanks! Good question. I'm not exactly sure myself yet. I need time to think about it more precisely. But definitely something related to sustainability. Maybe sustainable urban planning."

"Uh, sustainability sounds exciting. I'm trying to make my life as sustainable as possible myself. Are you perhaps even a vegetarian?"

"I live vegan. And you?"

"I'm a vegetarian and working on transitioning to vegan as well. I heard Vanessa also lives vegan. You're probably on the same wavelength?"

"Well, not really. Vanessa is more involved with Lina. They are friends with each other. I didn't like it that much when they were sometimes quite loud in the apartment," Viola explained, and I noticed that she didn't feel so comfortable here in the apartment.

"That wouldn't bother me, I think. Do you know anything about the other person who is moving in here?"

"No, I just know that she's a doctoral student."

"Oh, okay. Well, I'll get to know her soon enough then."

"When do you plan to bring your things here?" she asked me.

"Next Thursday or Friday, and then I'll stay over the weekend."

"Then we'll see each other again on Saturday. I still need to pack all my stuff and transport it to my parents' place."

"Okay, great! See you on Saturday! Oh, and one more thing! Do you know if we can store the bike here in the basement?"

"In the basement, yes, but there's hardly any space. We all leave our bikes outside."

"Oh, okay, got it. Well then, see you on Saturday, bye!"

"Yeah, see you on Saturday!"

As I was already turning around to leave, Viola called me back.

"Oh, and Alex. If you're in the basement in the dark, don't be startled by the fishing suit hanging there."

"Thanks for the heads-up," I grinned, waved to Viola, and took the bus home.

When I got home, I took out my black bow tie that I had left behind during the last cleanup of my bow tie collection in my wardrobe. It remained as a reserve for special occasions when I wanted to look fancy.

I had become so committed to minimalism that I even considered the smallest details to make my life even more minimalist. One such detail was removing labels from my clothes and covering logos attached to sweaters and T-shirts at the back of the neck or on the back of pants.

After that, I dedicated myself to my website and decided to delete even more modules to save server resources. Modules that I couldn't even imagine removing before. Apparently, I had also become an advanced minimalist in web development.

While I was working on the website, my eyes fell on the coaster on the table, leading my thoughts to my tea. If I didn't drink tea at home, I probably wouldn't need a coaster. If I only drank water, directly into my thermos, then I could place it directly on the table without worrying about colored marks. This would not only save me from washing the cups, but also eliminate the need for a kettle for tea. No tea purchases, no storage space for tea, and no packaging or tea bags to dispose of. Simply by the habit of drinking only water at home, I would become independent of so many small things.

This idea fascinated me, and I decided to only drink water at home from today onwards. I put away my French press and coasters in the corner to give away later. I gave the loose fruit tea along with the black container to Hanna.

Packing Up

May 18, 2023. It was Ascension Day, and the move was scheduled for tomorrow. So, I started packing my things today. As I folded the clothes, I reflected on the past and realized that I had become more open to strangers. I was less reserved, smiled at strangers more often, and showed more interest in them. I couldn't exactly say which life upgrades had led to this, but I was happy about it.

The Move

May 19, 2023. Around noon, Dasha and Tobi arrived at my place with their car. I had almost everything prepared. When they entered my room, they were somewhat surprised.

"Wow. There's nothing here," Dasha reacted astonished.

"Did you sell everything?" Tobi asked me with an open mouth.

"Sold or given away," I replied with a grin.

Dasha and I started carrying the stuff downstairs and loading the car. Meanwhile, Tobi dismantled the clothes rack with the tools he brought.

"Okay, we're done," Dasha said to Tobi.

"Unfortunately, I don't have the right tool for the table. Could it still fit in the car?" Tobi asked while trying to dismantle the remaining desk with a knife.

"Hmm, it might fit, but it's going to be tight," I replied skeptically.

We carried the table downstairs and tried to fit it into the car.

"Let's just leave it here for now and bring the loaded items to the new apartment first. It's not far from here," I suggested.

They agreed, so we first went to the new apartment to unload the items. Then we returned to pick up the table. They also helped me set up the clothes rack. When we finished assembling it, we all stood in my new small room.

Tobi looked out the window into the garden. "That was the fastest move of my life," he said.

"We only took an hour," I replied, looking at my phone.

"For the next move, you could sell the table, then we'd be done in half an hour," Dasha joked.

"No, Dasha, where would I work then?! That would be too much for me," I replied with a grin. "Thanks for your help! Let me know when you're in Hanover next time. I'll treat you to ice cream or coffee," I continued.

"Sure! We're actually in Hanover tomorrow. We want to shop for some things for our vacation in Greece," Dasha replied.

"Perfect, then message me tomorrow as soon as you're here, and I'll show you a nice café."

I said goodbye to Dasha and Tobi and turned to my room. I unfolded my bed in one corner, laid the bedsheet, pillow, and blanket on it, hung the clothes on the clothes rack, and placed the table and chair by the window. Then I was done.

"So, now I just need to get my bike," I whispered, looking out the window into a green communal garden with a clothesline.

"I'll try that out right away," I thought, looking at the clothesline.

I took the small basket of my dirty laundry in one hand and the detergent container in the other, walked through the hallway, somewhat hesitantly, into the kitchen. It was quiet. Probably no one was here today. In the kitchen, I put the laundry in the washing machine and started a quick 40-degree wash cycle. While the washing machine took care of my laundry for 30 minutes, I looked around the apartment a bit.

The kitchen already had everything my non-minimalist heart desired: from various kitchen utensils to a dishwasher to a cozy mini-conservatory decorated with plants, where there was a small table and a chair.

Compared to my previous shared apartment, the bathroom didn't have a shower, but it had a window for ventilation. I didn't really care whether I washed myself in a shower or a bathtub.

When the laundry was done, I wanted to go to the garden to hang it up. Suddenly, I heard someone unlocking the door from the kitchen. I looked into the hallway.

"Hello, Vanessa," I waved to my new roommate.

"Hi, Alexander. I see you've already settled in," she replied, looking from the entrance door directly into my room, which was directly opposite with its door open. She wasn't surprised at all by my minimalist lifestyle because I had told her about it during the roommate casting back then.

"Yes, exactly. I'm already trying out the washing machine here," I replied.

"Perfect, go ahead. I'm off to an event at my new workplace now. We'll surely see each other later," she replied, took something out of a small basket, and was about to leave.

"Yes, for sure! Have fun, see you later!" I waved to Vanessa and then took the laundry out of the washing machine into the basket. In the hallway, I took my house key from the chest of drawers, and with the laundry basket in hand, I made my way to the basement, through which I had to pass to get to the garden.

As I unlocked the cellar door, darkness enveloped me. A steep staircase led downwards. On the wall was a light switch, which I immediately pressed. But the light stayed off.

"Great," I thought frustrated, "now I have to descend into this dark abyss." I took out my phone from my pocket and used its flashlight as a torch. The cold light illuminated the stairs in front of me as I cautiously made my way down.

When I reached the basement, I excitedly shone the light in all directions. The corridors seemed to spread out like an impenetrable labyrinth. I decided on the right corridor, as there was a faint light at the end. Presumably, this path led to the garden. Step by step, I followed the long corridor. To my left and right were small, locked cellar rooms. When I finally reached the end of the corridor and turned left, I was almost shocked.

"Oh, damn. How could I forget that," I thought as my beam of light fell on the shabby dark fishing suit hanging on a line. The sunlight shone through a narrow window above the door behind the suit, giving it a creepy aura.

I took a deep breath and carefully maneuvered past the eerie suit to the door. I briefly placed the basket on the floor and took out my key from my pocket. The phone illuminated the door lock as I first tried the cellar key. It didn't fit. A slight nervousness came over me, and I glanced back at the fishing suit hanging directly behind me. Then I tried the house key. But it didn't work either.

"What do I do now?" I asked myself as I pushed the door handle down. The door opened.

"I'm so dumb," I murmured softly to myself, grinning.

As I climbed the stairs behind it, the warming embrace of the sun finally greeted me.

"Such beautiful weather. I'll go to the café right away," I thought, hanging up my bedding, underwear, socks, and T-shirts. Then I quickly returned the laundry basket, grabbed my backpack, and set off for the old apartment to pick up my bike.

When I arrived at the old apartment, I realized that I had forgotten to take my bike key, which I kept in a small cup. Perplexed, I stood there for a moment and then decided to go upstairs to the third floor to my room one last time. It was now completely empty. I closed the door behind me. Slowly, I walked to the center of the room, sat cross-legged on the floor, and looked around the room. I closed my eyes. Thoughts whirled through my head: "Minimalism as the key to emptiness. Outside, I was bombarded by various impressions, whether it was the noise of vehicles, the murmur of voices, the chirping of birds, the movements, the different sources of light, the rustling of trees. It was bustling outside. This minimalist room, on the other hand, represents emptiness - without constant stimuli, without unnecessary things. And yet somehow overwhelming, this perfect emptiness."

I took my laptop out of my backpack and listened to the wealth affirmation in this emptiness.

When I finished and packed my things again, I looked at my room by the door one last time.

"Goodbye, you were a good room," I said goodbye in my mind and then went to the bus, which took me back home. As I sat on the bus, I looked out the window and noticed a kebab shop with a long line, and on the shop window it said "As seen on TV." That made me curious, so I got off at the next stop to eat there. I then joined the line in front of the shop. While I waited, the waitress came out with a tray and small cups, serving apple tea with cinnamon. It tasted really good.

When it was my turn, I ordered a falafel wrap with fries for eleven euros and sat outside to eat and enjoy the sun. The wrap tasted good, but not better than in all the other kebab shops I had visited so far. Across the street was another kebab shop and hardly anyone was waiting there. "Marketing is so important. I really need to learn it," I thought as I bit into the falafel wrap.

After eating, I continued on to my new home. When I unlocked the front door and went into my room, I put the backpack against the wall and threw myself onto the bed.

"Ouch," I exclaimed, holding my aching hip. I had forgotten the hardness of the bed...

With my arms crossed behind my head, I looked out the window at the treetops and the blue sky.

Again, that uncomfortable feeling overwhelmed me, as it always did when I found myself in a new situation. A new apartment, a new environment, new people - all of it still needed processing. Especially in the evenings, those feelings of uncertainty intensified. I thought of Jule and couldn't hold back my tears. In that moment, I longed for the emotional security she provided me. In those moments, when everything was still so new, I wished I could be back in her arms, hearing her reassuring words: "Everything will be okay, Sashi. I'm here with you." I missed her warmth as she ran her fingers through my hair while I lay on her lap. Even during the move to Hinüberstraße, she made me feel like my whole world hadn't collapsed and that everything would be okay. She was always my anchor in the midst of the storm.

Despite this melancholy, I knew that this feeling would disappear after a few weeks. The move had definitely been worth it because the smaller room now suited my new minimalist lifestyle better.

The next day, a Saturday, I woke up at six in the morning. My alarm was set to ring at seven, so I stayed in bed and dozed off until it rang. I felt well-rested, and the thoughts of Jule from the previous evening no longer weighed on me. My first night in the new apartment was better than I had thought.

In the bathroom, I went through my typical morning routine: I brushed my teeth with baking soda and washed my armpits. Then I moistened the fingers of one hand, sprinkled some baking soda on them, and massaged the granular, moist consistency into one armpit. Then I did the same with the other armpit.

In the kitchen, I had two slices of bread and set out on foot towards the Conti-Campus library. I could have taken the bus, but I wanted to take a closer look at the way and the surroundings. As I strolled towards the library, I was fascinated by the street names. Apparently, I had moved to a district where all the streets were named after scientists: from Keplerstraße to Voltastraße and Helmholtzstraße to Kopernikusstraße. "Now if only a street were named after me," I joked to myself with a smile.

Sitting on the second floor of the library, I already felt hungry in the morning. I stopped working and decided to look for food. Unfortunately, the cafeteria was closed on this public holiday. So I headed to HanoMacke to get myself a coffee. But there was no one there either. As I left HanoMacke, I spotted Luisa, who was passing by. I watched her for a moment, to see if she was going into the library or if she wanted to sit outside. She sat down on a bench. I decided to go over to her and say hello.

"Hey Luisa! What are you doing here on a Saturday?"

"Hey! I have a colloquium today. And what about you?" she said as she ate a roll.

"I've been working on my website here at the library. Your roll looks delicious. Where did you get it?"

"I bought it at the bakery in Bothfeld."

"Oh, Bothfeld is too far for me. I'll try the cafeteria at the main building first," I replied.

"Do that."

"Have fun at the colloquium. Maybe we'll see each other again. Ciao!"

"I see you here often. We'll definitely see each other again. Bye!"

Then I walked to the Welfengarten to the cafeteria and hoped it was open because my stomach was already growling. Fortunately, the cafeteria was open. I wanted to get myself a vegan roll, but unfortunately, there were only vegetarian ones available. So I took a bagel with cream cheese, tomatoes, and mozzarella, and a chocolate bun on the side.

I sat down on a bench behind the university and looked out at the huge green lawn while I was lost in thought and eating my bagel: "Somehow it's harder than I thought to live vegan. I'm hardly making any progress towards veganism." But I didn't feel bad. For me, living vegan didn't mean completely avoiding animal products, but rather minimizing the suffering of other species, and I was already contributing a lot to that. As I sat there, an idea came to me of how I could quantitatively define my degree of veganism. I would count the number of days in the year that I had eaten something non-vegan. This percentage would then determine how consistently I had lived vegan this year. The higher the percentage, the less suffering I had caused to animals.

My phone rang. It was Tobi.

"Hey Sasha. We can meet at Kröpcke in half an hour."

"Good day, Mr. Gellmann! Yes, gladly, I'll make my way there right away! Let's meet at the Kröpcke clock," I joked.

Since I still had enough time and didn't want to wait at Kröpcke, I strolled slowly through the Georgengarten and thought about Luisa. Maybe we would fit together after all? But her two cats held me back from taking the step and seeing her as more than just an acquaintance. And she wasn't a vegetarian. Somehow, after my relationship with Jule, I couldn't imagine being with a meat-eater. But apart from that, she was an interesting, unique, and above all extremely intelligent girl, from whom I could learn a lot.

Out of curiosity, I passed by the Conti-Campus, hoping to meet Luisa again. Indeed, she was sitting in front of the HanoMacke, chatting with a fellow student.

"Hey Luisa, here we meet again. Could you give me your number again? I got a new phone and unfortunately didn't save my contacts," I asked.

She entered her number into my phone. After that, I drove to Kröpcke, where I met Dasha and Tobi. Together, we enjoyed delicious coffee at Kreipes Coffee Time. They told me that they were inspired by my lifestyle. They now wanted to sell their two wardrobes, declutter their clothes, and switch to clothes racks. In that moment, I was very proud that my lifestyle had influenced them so strongly on moving day.

After coffee, I drove back to the shared flat, met Vanessa there, and got to know her a little better. I was planning to shop at a weekly market soon and completely avoid packaging. Vanessa recommended the Klagesmarkt to me.

As I wanted to retreat to recharge after this intense social contact, Viola came into the kitchen, accompanied by her Italian boyfriend Alessandro. I greeted them both and left the room, as my social battery was almost depleted.

The next day, I woke up around five o'clock. When I opened the window, I was surprised at how quiet it was in this area. No squeaking of train brakes, no car noise. The only thing I heard was the chirping of birds. I slept until eight o'clock and enjoyed the silence and the fresh air flowing in through the open window.

Then I got ready for the Klagesmarkt, which was located near the Christuskirche. My goal was to shop completely unpackaged and to get to know a weekly market I had never been to before.

The weekly market reminded me of the Asow Bazaar. Traders haggled, calling out their offers, "Fresh tomatoes," "Great price." It smelled of fish, vegetables, and dairy products, just like in Asow. I strolled between the stalls and let myself be inspired. At a stand with an Arab-looking trader, I bought five apples. He tried to sell me two bananas as well, apparently to save me change. At another stand, I bought radishes, peppers, and a loaf of spelt bread - all completely unpackaged, even without labels on the vegetables. I spent over ten euros for everything. Compared to the nearby supermarket, it was more expensive, but for a first experience at a weekly market, it was acceptable.

Learning: It's incredibly easy, fast, and cost-effective to move as a minimalist. It gives me the freedom to move spontaneously.

Life Upgrade:

  1. I reduced my everyday input to give my brain the opportunity to process what I've learned or to generate new ideas from what I've learned. I try to consume information as consciously as possible and not just let myself be entertained by the radio or television.
  2. I cut off all the labels from my clothing. To avoid looking like a walking billboard for other companies, I don't buy clothing with conspicuous logos or slogans. This way, other people can't immediately tell how much my clothes are worth.
  3. I don't own any accessories like watches, rings, ties, bow ties, chains, bracelets, or other similar items. This way, I avoid unnecessary waste and have more money.
  4. I only drink water at home. This way, I avoid tea bags, as well as coffee and tea grounds as organic waste, and the paper packaging of tea. So I don't need a coffee maker, an electric kettle, cups, or coasters for cups.
  5. Due to my minimalist lifestyle, I was able to move into a smaller shared flat and reduce my rent from 459 euros to 254 euros. This means I had to pay 55% less rent.