Home "Sweet" Home
After a week of nights spent elsewhere, I entered my dormitory with some relief and with some back pain (due to an accompanying backpack, purse, and shoulder bag). I walked down the long corridor and into the elevator--it's walls particularly canary yellow after my long absence-- grateful for its assistance. After the jolting stop at the third floor, I exited the elevator and went to open the door to the hallway: locked.
Each weekend, they lock this door, forcing an awkward new route. When I leave my room, I must to go down a central staircase to a male floor, down the male hall to another staircase and then down two more flights of stairs. I don't mind the extra walking time so much as the possibility of running into partially dressed males--which has definitely happened. So, I begrudgingly turned back to the elevator, pushed "2," and after another jolt, I entered the male hallway. A middle-aged, bearded fellow made instant eye-contact, signalling something was askew. He told me to use the elevator (in Czech), and I told him I couldn't because the door was locked upstairs (in broken Czech). He sighed with a "To nevadí" ("it doesn't matter") and I proceeded on my way. Perhaps he didn't want to suffer through my Czech, but I was a bit discouraged by the interaction.
Facing my door with the newness of a long absence, I had difficulty unlocking it. My first (irrational) thought was that they'd changed the locks. Really I had just tried the kitchen key on my door. After relieving my back of its burden, I put this key to proper use by going to the kitchen to boil some eggs and make some tea--thus signalling Czech interaction number 2. My favorite lady who works on the floor entered, and told me--in very verbose Czech--that the door to the hallway is locked until 10 PM Sunday nights. I told her I already knew it was locked on weekends (in Czech), she said more, but I don't know what. Considering I already knew about this locked door, I think there was some key information that I missed; I am guessing she had chatted with the man downstairs. If I leave the dorm at any point Friday on, I have no other option than to take a walk down the male hall upon return. ( Perhaps I shouldn't leave my dorm at all on the weekend, or should leave for the entire weekend like all of the other girls in the hall.)
I told her I understood a little, and then she told me I didn't have to bother locking the kitchen tonight--but I will have to do it tomorrow again. I then asked her about the lovely skeleton key I'd been given. You see, last week a different woman brought me this key and told me (in Czech) that my hall would be invaded by pubescent boys for an Olympiad of sorts. She then gave me a key and took me upstairs to a different bathroom which I could use for the week. Fortunately, I left for Zlín and then for a Fulbright conference in Olomouc before the Olympiad started. Upon my return Wednesday, I was greeted by the loud noises of a television, followed by noises which indicated a certain licentious program was on. Feeling nothing but discomfort upon my return "home" I called upon some friends here which quickly allowed to let me stay with them. So, Wednesday and Thursday nights I flat-hopped before taking a train to Budapest.
All-in-all, this has made for a long eight days here, there, and everywhere (but mostly there). Now, sitting at home, the absence of pubescent and teenage boys is tangible. As I type, I am accompanied by the dull weaving of my humming dorm fridge and florescent light. The cold in my room makes its own harmony felt, and I am blessed by the silence and the florescent white noise.