Lost in translation, or perhaps just lost.

After snoozing my alarm for over two hours this morning (I wanted to be productive in the early hours), I finally forced myself out of bed for a quick shower and breakfast and scurried down the three flights of stairs as fast as my three-inch wedges would take me.  I then began the trot up the 100-meter hallway.  I approached the first automatic door which would lead me to the lobby, and nothing.  It didn't budge.  Remembering how they hadn't functioned during a power outage, I tried prying them open.  I then heard the soft clicks of the motion detector and realized that the doors were locked.

I looked toward the front desk, but saw no one present.  I glanced around the automatic door for some sort of doorbell and similarly saw nothing.  I could see the seconds ticking on at the clock above the front desk, and realized I would be missing my tram for church.  I then thought of the grocery run I was planning for after church, and wondered how well I would fare on four plums, a grapefruit, an egg, and a half cup of cooked millet.  I then remembered my canned beans and pineapple and felt I would survive this (hopefully) brief lock-down.  Surely it would be unlocked by the time I had to leave to teach tomorrow.  Maybe, the workers didn't know the door was locked.  Maybe they'll come man the desk later in the day and I could just come down later.  Maybe it's a sign from God that I need to stay home and lesson plan.  Possibilities--both rational and not--rushed through my head as my feet plodded back to the stairs.  A sign in Czech--which I can't understand--which has been posted for weeks, taunted me during my walk of shame. 

I determined that a cup of tea was in order.  I went to the kitchen, and felt the glaring stare of the empty table where the hot plate typically sits.  I noticed its absence yesterday morning, and hoped its absence would be temporary.  Perhaps it was in the living quarters of the hall maids.  Perhaps it had some malfunction and was being replaced.  Whatever the case, I felt I'd wasted money on my shiny black and silver pans--which have thus yielded me two instances of millet and steamed vegetables and two instances of scrambled eggs.  I decided last night to check the kitchen at the opposite end of the hall, only to find it locked.  And so I sit with my tea, which tastes unsavory, in my newly-imposed prison, the silence and emptiness weighing in heavily, compounded by a stomach which can't decide if it's full after my rushed breakfast.


  1. So did you ever end up finding out what the sign said?? I've been curious ever since.

  2. This time I snapped a photo and took it back to my room to translate it. From what I can tell, it is telling students that are moving out after the fall semester ends (end of January) that they should clean out everything and return all keys. However, there was some weird phrasing that makes me think it may mean something different.


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