A borrowed living
One thing I particularly like about germans, and especially berliners, is how unattached they are to their belongings. If they aren't using their car, they rent it. Can't imagine an spaniard renting his beloved car to a stranger. Also, related to cars, if they're driving from one city to another, they offer the seats available to share expenses. And what do they do with their flat if they go on holidays? Of course, they rent it. And they do it with all their personal belongings!
I've spent most of these last months in Berlin. In this period I've lived in six different full-equipped flats. I like this system because it gives me the freedom to travel as often I want. If I had a flat of my own, I would have to buy furniture and other household items. I would be attached, somehow, to a place. Something I don't like at all. Freedom of movement is a key part of my life at this very moment. I have all my stuff in one case. And when I say all, I mean ALL. But the point is I need something I can call a home. Somewhere I feel comfortable.
By renting flats this way, I always feel I live in a "home". They have all the commodities you might need, plus many personal items; books, CDs, clothing, pictures... The thing is I see myself living someone else's life. I listen to their music, read their magazines and greet every morning, while having breakfast, an unknown kid whose picture hangs in a wall of the kitchen.
Before entering the flat, I've only had a nice chat with their owners, so I don't really know them. But during my stay at their places, and by having contact with their things, I get to know them pretty well. I can say if they are optimistic, if they spend a lot of their time at home, if they have a couple, if they are organized, if they come from Western or Eastern Germany...
Up until now, I still have contact with them all. I have started nice friendships this way. And know what? In most of the cases I was pretty right in my guesses by looking at their belongings.