To catch up on things that I want to write about that I haven’t gotten to write about yet, I’m going to take you for a ride in a textual time machine where my posts are in reverse chronological order. I’m onto my second illness now, so I have all the time in the world to backtrack.
I’ll begin with my dorm, because that is where I am at this very moment.
Kolej Komenskeho is a residence hall in Praha 6, a short walk away from Prague Castle and other marvelous things, like Tibetan food. Like Purchase, it appears to be under indefinite construction. I was told that the dormitory is a repurposed hospital, and I suspect that our bathroom is haunted by a kidney stone patient from the nineteen sixties.
Our hallway consists of suits with two dorm rooms and a common kitchen. The kitchen has a hotplate that I’m a little afraid to use and a small refrigerator.
I have two suitemates, but I have no roommate. Consequently, I began using the empty side of the room for storage. My suitemates stripped the bedding and all that is left is a sheet, which I have covered in pamphlets because I have no idea what to do with all of them. The empty bed seemed as good as any other place. The desk has a stack of unused towels, a bar of soap, and some Jehovah Witness literature that I’ve been meaning to dispose of.
Until today my side of the room was even more of a disaster. I’d kick off my shoes into the middle of the room rather than returning them to the wardrobe. My desk became covered in used tissues and chocolate wrappers. I had unwashed dishes caked with yogurt strewn about. I have a friend who also has a double room to himself, and he warned me that a Czech student would probably move in soon. I planned to clean the room this weekend, before classes start.
After class today, I saw that there was a crowd standing in the lobby, looking very similar to my ECES group when we were first moving in. I quite nearly had a heart attack. I imagined my roommate, unlocking the door just minutes before, discovering that all she has for bedding is a blanket of brochures and a used towel. She cringes looking at my crusty dishes and my piles of clothes. As she goes to set her bag down she stumbles over a renegade sandal and imagines what a monstrous roommate cruel fate must have dealt her. Just then, my roommate would glance over at the pamphlets on the desk in horror and think, “She going to try to convert me!”
Perhaps I had a roommate after all, and she already came and left. I supposed she promptly marched to the lobby and demanded a single room.
Just in case I’m assigned another roommate, I have cleaned off the bed and desk and tidied my own side up as well. Part of me hopes that I do scare away any potential roommates. I know it would be a good experience to live with a Czech student and have ample chances to mluvim cesky, but I do so love living alone.
There were a few things that shocked me when I first moved in. First of all, the bathroom. I was alarmed to find that there was merely a sink and a shower and immediately thought it might be some error in the dorm’s construction. For a moment I considered going to the repairs book and recording paint chips and a lack of toilet. I discovered that there was a separate room for the toilet behind the door to the suite. The second stage of shock came when I realized that it was clearly a Victorian toilet, the likes of which I have only seen in museums. One flushes it by pulling a long string, much like one raises one’s Venetian blinds.
I should add that the Czechs have a passion for trying to reinvent the toilet. I have seen toilets that you flush by pulling a knob and toilets that you flush by pushing a button. They no longer surprise me. Also, Czech toilet paper is the equivalent of our brown paper towels.
Another thing that shocked me was the lack drawers. Whereas in Purchase we would have a dresser and a closet or wardrobe, at Komenskeho we have a wardrobe and a lot of shelving. I have all of my clothes neatly folded on the shelves, and I keep my socks and underwear in my desk drawers with my writing utensils.
My favorite part of my room, besides the fact that I’m the only one in it, is the windowsill. It stretches from one end of the room to the other. I climb up on it and read in the window by sunlight. It makes me feel like a literate feline, basking in the sunlight and enjoying contemporary Czech fiction.