I hope that was the most difficult thing I’ll have to do all day. Last night, after escorted to my residence, Jan agreed to meet me today at 8:15 AM. He wondered if that would be too early, but I assured him it would be fine. I woke frequently throughout the night, often because I was warm. My bedroom is on the third floor and I can hear a nearby thoroughfare.
I began stirring more frequently at 5 AM this morning—at which point I had begun hearing shuffling and Czech voices in the hallway. Last night I had been told I was the only one here. I had also been told that the kitchen and bathroom were going to be cleaned sometime today. The noise and the implied presence of people caused me to nearly cower in my room, feeling trapped and wondering whether I would get a shower. Then I heard a key at the door. I threw my half eaten banana onto a spare bed. One of the cleaning women began speaking to me in Czech. It was 6:30 AM, and I hardly knew how to respond. I was still concerned with how I would take a shower. She tapped the floor with her foot and was asking Kolik jodin? What time should she clean the floor? I hardly knew. I looked at the clock, thought of when I would leave, and figured that 9 AM would be a good time. I said, “Devet.” Her eyes looked disappointed, and she left.
I then tried to bring some semblance of order to my belongings so that she could clean the floor. I shuffled my bags around, not wanting to unpack because I don’t know if this will be my room or if I will be moved. After plenty of rearranging, I agonized over how to get myself bathed. I could feel my hair sticking up like a junior high boy but I also knew there were cleaning ladies all around and that the showers lacked curtains.
Around 7 AM, I could wait no longer. First I thought I’d scope out the toilets. I walked down the hall and saw a woman cleaning them. I turned around and returned to my room. I dug through my suitcase for my Czech textbook and a pocket dictionary. I then ventured out again and asked a woman stooping over soapy suds “Smim myt se?” She nodded and then in swooped a smiling Czech woman. She instantly won me over, and she showed me to the kitchen, showers, and toilets. Over hand gestures she indicated that I could only plug one appliance in at a time in the kitchen so I wouldn’t blow a fuse. As she showed me the showers, I repeated my question, and she said, “Muzete.” You may.
What glorious words. I scurried to my room, retrieved my shower things, and took a wonderful, warm shower. I was only interrupted while clothing myself afterwards, and that was my own fault for not responding to the Czech woman who called, “Jsi tady?” (or something like) prior to entering the bathroom. I am now bathed, warm, and ready to tour the school.