Waking up at 2:30 a.m. in a foreign country is unnerving. I accidentally fell asleep at 2:00 in the afternoon. Here I sit, fully rested. I do not know a single fact about what is in the darkness outside of my apartment’s glass sliding door, or what is to come in the approaching months. I am about to write letters to home, and I am eating a banana that strangely found its way to my desk.
I have a nifty sink and shower room conveniently placed inside my apartment. One item is missing that needs to be addressed. My apartment is lacking a toilet. I entered a hallway outside my door. The hall has the slight odor of a closet, undisturbed. Four doors down was a commode. It had no water in the bowl. Like a curious 3 year-old I decided to do a test flush. The toilet’s tank was not positioned as usual on top of the bowl. It was hanging on the wall behind the toilet at least seven feet in the air. I pulled a string that was connected to the tank, and a mighty waterfall of gravity-powered water flowed, swirled, and then disappeared.
I left the bathroom and took a right through glass doors into my floor’s dining area. This was also the kitchen that I imagined I would be sharing with the other nine apartments located in my hallway. The room contained a stove, two mini dorm fridges, a table with eight chairs, and nine wooden closet boxes that were under the security of lock and key. This would hold my non-refrigerated food. The size of my personal box suggested that it could hold what I estimated would be a week’s worth of food if fully stocked.
The only problem I had now was that I had no clue where a grocery store might be. Also, I could not read or speak a single word of the Dutch language. As I stare into my security box, I begin to wonder about who else is on my floor. Ben’s apartment is right next door to mine, but both mini fridges are packed to the brim with food. I begin to investigate everyone else’s refrigerated items so that I will know what items look like once I find a place to buy my own. After eating a pilfered piece of bread, drinking someone’s orange juice, and nibbling on stolen cheese, I wanted to see my apartment room once again. Opening the door this time, I noticed my bed looking inquisitively at me. I decided to rest a bit more.