Six weeks after we met, we went on holiday together to stay with his best friend who was studying in Uppsala, a university town just north of Stockholm in Sweden. Less than a year later, we returned to Sweden with the idea of buying a summer house there.
You see, at that time houses in rural parts of southern Sweden were ridiculously cheap, and Zab had always had the idea of owning a little wooden house in the countryside, so for months before returning to Sweden, he had been scouring the internet for potential properties to visit.
On our visit in summer 2006, we flew in to Gothenburg on Sweden’s west coast, then took the train inland to stay with Zab’s best friend again, but this time in his parents home in Småland.
In between lazy afternoons swimming in lakes and outdoor picnics, Zab made sure we spent some time driving out of town to talk to estate agents and visit properties.
One day, we came across a little blue house with some land in a village called Flisby (which I have since learned used to be the name of a sofa cover in IKEA).
Zab was immediately in love.
Calls were made, requests for documents put in and the general bureaucratic dance began.
However, back in 2006, we hadn’t quite figured out how much we were really city boys, so we naively thought we would be able to manage living part time in a village of 200 people. We now know we could never do that. Maybe we could visit for a week, but doubtfully for much longer.
In the end, it turned out that the roof had some serious water damage, and we were advised against buying the property unless we wanted to have to foot a bill for repairs almost as expensive as the house itself.
To this day, Zab still has a yearning to own a little blue wooden summer house in Sweden, but for now, our home in Berlin will have to do.
But who knows? Maybe one day.