Making a Dorm a Home

Friday night and I'm blogging.  The dorm is vacated of its regular residents--teenage and young 20-somethings have fled home to do their laundry or are out to enjoy Friday night get-togethers.  This means a (semi-) quiet dormitory and uninhibited internet access.  Right now, I am serenaded by Josh Ritter accompanied by the deliberate hum of my tiny dorm fridge and  occasional auxiliary accompaniment by passing trams and ambulances.  I'm sure it's a comfort to my family that I live so near a hospital, but it does add a bit of noise pollution.

I returned from orientation in Prague resolute to settle into my dormitory.  My aspirations have amounted to a few minor actions which are improving my quality of life.

Step 1: Buy a pansy at your local floral shop for 12 crowns

This may seem insignificant, but I had a wonderful geranium that kept me company for three of my college years.  He was quite dear to me, and I sunk into a minor depression after a brief bout with Minnesota cold choked the life out of him.  The pansy seems to be happy with it's/his new home and has added a second bloom with two more promising ones on their way.  (I haven't yet christened it/him . . . suggestions are welcome.)

Step 2: Find a local egg supplier

The eggs require a little more exposition.  You'll recall that the communal kitchen only has a microwave and a two-eye electric stove.  As such, I've been cooking significantly less than in the past.  Eggs are a staple in my life, but cooking them to order every morning seemed a bit unlikely.  Yet I convinced myself to buy some from a window on main street.  During the business transaction, I instantly made the mistake of asking for dvanáct (12), forgetting that ordering things in twelves is an American habit.  She quickly corrected me (in Czech), and I was struck dumb for a few long seconds gaping at the brown eggs, and I struggled to communicate which size of eggs I wanted.  Struggle over, I determined to make that window-in-the-wall my staple egg place--just think, ten delicious, fresh, brown eggs for 20 crowns (about $1.20).  I've been bringing the eggs home, boiling a few at a time and eating them with salt or curry powder.  I went egg-free last week, having determined I wouldn't by eggs anywhere else.

Step 3: Find a way to maintain regular exercise patterns

Somewhere in my preparations for the Czech Republic I was encouraged to maintain regular exercise patterns after arrival.  With this in mind, I packed my favorite circuit-training workout video . . . and it sat in a dark wardrobe for three weeks before I acknowledged it.  Around a week ago, I found myself in a shopping complex with a couple sports stores.  I began comparing prices and free weights and I am now the proud owner of two 2 kg orange hand weights.  This leaves me without excuse, and I have taken to doing my workout video to the music of Kryštof in order to conceal the workout sessions happening in my dorm room from my Czech neighbors.

Step 4: Find a bath towel proportional to your body

My first day here, I was grateful to find two towels waiting in my room; I hadn't been willing to sacrifice luggage space to a towel.  Unfortunately, these towels are about the same size as the average tea towel.  Having enjoyed the use of a proportionally sized body towel during my stay in Prague, I determined to make such an extravagance a daily part of my life.  Even as I write this, I glance fondly at my glorious robin's egg blue body towel.

Step 5: Find a natural setting to go walking/running near home

Before I arrived in this city, I stalked it courtesy of google and hunted for green areas in which to escape the city.  My favorite walking place in Iowa I have to drive to, but such an extravagance is not possible in a nation where I have no drivers license nor car.  This week I tried a few different routes to school and found a route which provides a little more greenery and fewer people.

Moreover, in the past week, I have ventured three times into a nearby lesopark (literally forestpark) which is basically a wood furnished with dirt paths.  The paths dodge here and there, and it's easy to diversify ones walking habits just within those woods.  Moreover, as a colleague pointed out, "there's a nice pub in the forest."


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