Get a move on!

After 7 months in the dorms, I accepted a previously-standing offer to move in with an American girl who has lived in the Czech Republic for a few years (I traveled with her on my Mallorca trip).  She had offered back in December, and though I felt the pull and the desire for a roommate, I hesitated.

The word "penance" came to mind as I trucked my largest suitcase and a bag stuffed with shoes down the bumpy pavement.  After about 300 meters, I mounted a bus (which is less of a hike than getting on a tram), rode it for all of 800 meters, and then drug the luggage and bag the remaining 600 meters under the clouded sky and uphill to my new flat.  I was given some general information about the flat before my to-be roomie left for the night, and then I began to walk back.  I sprinted the last 200 meters in my knee-high wedge-heeled boots to the bus stop and--with a leap--squeezed through the grip of the door.  I sighed inside the bus, and my stomach lurched with the bus as it headed the wrong direction.  My 1.7 km (~1 mile) walk was extended to about 2.5 km back to the dorm.  I shrugged off the warmed jacket and boots in favor of canvas tennies and a fleece.

Round 2.   The variation this time was my new friend the bike.  Seeing as it needed to be transported, I shoved my backpack full of the contents of my fridge, donned a trendy purple helmet and entered the drizzle and wind.  The ride was a bit brisker and faster than the first trip, and I tried not to harm any new neighbors as I struggled awkwardly to get the bike into the lift.  Emptying the bag's contents into the fridge, the bag sat lightly on my back as I walked the mile back to the dorm.

The drizzle had progressed into a rain, and I regretted that I'd left my hat in the office. The rain began to squeeze through the broken rubber soles of my shoes--canvas tops transforming from navy to black.  Back inside, I laced up my running shoes for round three.  Things had escalated, yet I was determined not to care how suspicious I looked as a pack mule. Instead, I loaded the backpack with laundry, grabbed a wheeled carry-on sans extended handle, threw a canvas shopping bag loaded with pans over my left shoulder, and my left hand gripped a plastic bag full of coffee, tea, and spices.

The first 300 meters I carried the carry-on, it's lower edge bumping against my right shin.  I caught my breath in the cool of the rain until mounting the bus.  On the bus, I struggled to maintain my balance, and tried to find a focal point through the drops of rain on my glasses.  Off the bus and across the street with the bag carried by a handle which oriented it horizontally.  The uneven weight distribution of the bag caused the gritty wheels to slide against my right calf, and I congratulated myself on wearing black jeans.  However, being dissatisfied with this variation of carrying, with one great heave, the bag mounted my right shoulder.  Thoughts of 90s characters and boomboxes plagued me as I realized that the weight on my left arm meant that I was walking with my shoulders at a 30 degree angle.  Another heave, and I now cradled my bag while the plastic sack kept time against my left knee.  Penance.  I continued on, recalling cross country practices training hills under a (literal) drill Sargent.  Step by step I watched the gaps widen between me and the people walking ahead.  I sputtered on through the rain, happily released the bag to unluck the front door, only to lift it again to stumble in and out of the lift.  Bags down, keys out, back downstairs.

As I got to the front door, I realized I hadn't gotten out my umbrella.  Too weak to retrieve it, I repeated the walk home in the rain.  Back in the dorm, I sighted the umbrella in my backpack as I removed it to load it again. Surveying the strange remaining collection of items, the first inhabitants of my backpack for round four were two 2-kg weights.  My bag 9 lbs heavier, I continued to pack it to the brim, grabbed a wheeling suitcase (with a functioning handle), and slung a bag full of papers over my shoulder, successfully draining any sort of circulation.  Thinking of the rain, I threw some plastic over it for protection.  Down the dorm lift, through the 200-meter long hallway, the weight of my load seeming to push my heals through the floor of the corridor.  And again: back strain, rain, bus, rain, hill, flat. 

I made sure I got out the umbrella for the walk home.  The rain had become more insistent this time, asking me why I hadn't asked for help from some car-owning friend.  About 400 m into the walk, and annoyed with my disregard and to make a point, it turned to hail.  Soon my shoes went from damp to soaked, and I figured even a Czech would have to insist that my shoe said "squish" with every step.  About half a mile, and the hail eased itself, having soaked my shoes, socks, and my pants up to my knee.  Conveniently, all of my clothing was now at the new flat, with the exception of some tights and a skirt left for the next day.

Exhausted, I threw myself down at the dorm, and drank some water from a jar before proceeding to clean my dorm fridge, dust my shelves, and sweep the floor on hands-and-knees.  Just as I was about to console myself with the perfectly ripe pear near the fridge, my phone went off.  A friend.  I accepted the belated help/company, and as I waited for her, my arms gained new vigor as the garbage was emptied and the recycling gathered.

The fifth and final round was a breath of fresh air (and drizzle).  My backpack was again loaded, and my work bag thrown over my shoulder.  My companion, Chelsea, carried my other plastic bag, and with her at my side, I found the energy to unpack and appreciated her assistance in that endeavor as well.  Having started my journeys around 1:40 PM, 8:40 PM found me walking with Chelsea through the aisles of Albert, picking out things for dinner.  7 hours and approximately 17 km (>10 mi), and I've got a new place to call home.


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