Friday, June 21, 2013

Where I Live


I feel like Eloise.

Do you know Eloise? She's from a series of children's' books by Kay Thompson and Hilary Knight.

"I am Eloise. I am six. I am a city child. I live at the Plaza [Hotel]."
She spends her days running around, terrorizing the occupants and amusing herself.

"I am Mägi. I am twenty-two. I am a happy woman. I live at the Guest House."

I live in a hotel.
(which is more than just a hotel/hostel/guest-house/motel - it's a hotel, Montessori school, conference center, day camp, restaurant, cafe, English and German language school)


I feel like Eloise as I run around barefoot down the halls and up and down the stairs, exchanging smiles with the maids who work all day keeping things clean. Even though we don't speak the same language, we're starting to find connections over smiles and nods and waves.

There's always someone to say "hi" and "bye" to at the reception desk as I hand them my key.

It feels foreign and bizarre that when I want a clean bathroom, I am to ask someone else to clean it. Clean floors? Just a polite "please" away.


They make my food here, too. Each morning I pull on a skirt and a shirt before skittering over to the cafe where they make me two eggs and a salad. "Would you like something to drink?" "зелений чай" is what I normally ask for - green tea.

Lunch is ordered by my roommate and they bring it over - a soup, salad, and main dish. For dinner, I normally just get a salad and sometimes a soup.

It feels odd and lazy to sit and wait for someone else to make my food - to ask someone else to bring me a knife. I'm afraid they'll think I don't know how to cook.

The Georgian cook is good at making me laugh. He's quite the character. Because he was so difficult to have in the kitchen (he yells a lot), they have built him his own kitchen outside. The waiting staff are all young women that I've enjoyed getting to know. I like it when I get to join them for a meal.


I am currently living on the third floor in Room 17. It's an apartment with three bedrooms (although one is really a living room), a kitchen, and a bathroom. To get to my room you get to climb up these tall windy-sort of stairs that creak no matter how lightly you tread.

I've been blessed with my own room - which is great because that means I get in a lot of time where I don't have to wear clothes in this heat and I can also dance like a maniac.

It's the smallest of rooms and half of it is under a sort of slant that you'll hit your head on if you're not careful. I've cleared out half of the room and consider that to be my dancing space.

This apartment is shared between an English woman who normally lives in Germany, two Ukrainians, and I. 75% of us are fluent in German and conversations frequently switch over languages without warning and no one thinks anything of it (well, I must think something of it considering I'm writing about it here). Carrie, Anya, Oxanna, and I.


It's interesting always having people come through my house. I meet beautiful characters who walk in and out of my life without warning. Quite a few Dutch people have come through. They ask where I live and I get to say, "Room 17!" I like it when the groups of guests invite me to join them for a meal. Yesterday, one guest did something incredibly sweet. I was waiting for breakfast and she said, "Stand up! I want to give you a hug." And I got a hug. Ukrainians don't give me quite as many hugs as I'm used to getting so I was delighted.


There's also a kids camp going on here which adds a few degrees of joyous hectic to everything as small Ukrainians scramble around and scream and yell. There's a Montessori school on the second floor that I help out with. I teach English three times a week and every day I am the Queen of Naps in the garage.

My life right now is like no other living situation I've ever been in. I've slept in libraries, above alcohol shops in closets, in the Manse, with families of eleven, house-sat for leagues of animals and now... now a hotel. Relish. Relish. Relish.

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