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It is 12:30 a.m. and you are in a foreign country. There are twelve to forty-eight hours between any day you left behind and the day you’re having right now. To you, it feels like 10 a.m. on a Saturday morning in childhood. Or, it could be 4:30 p.m. and perhaps time for a drink. You can’t be sure.
You have sensed inappropriateness and not-rightness since your arrival a few days ago—the tiny enclosed room on the sixth floor of a too-tall building, your surprising bathroom-and-shower sharing situation with the Asian doctors, the frozen egg in your sandwich. You are a little wild-eyed but keeping composure. All you want is an Internet connection.
You run around like the co-ed you are again, not dragging books this time but a laptop. You need to plug in! Excuse you! Could anyone help you!? You go to who you think is in charge: the guy at the desk. You exasperate yourself in the most meaningful way you can.
You hear from this taller man with darker eyes in a steady tone, and you quote, “You have too many appliances on.
You should have said earlier.
It’s only been one day.
It’s an old building.
You should be sleeping.”
You want to throw a tantrum right now, right this instant—you have heard that Meg Ryan walks her confident walk naturally, and you want to try it out. You think it might come naturally to you too. You put on your best Meg Ryan:
“DOES IT LOOK LIKE I USE A LOT OF APPLIANCES?” is the only thing that retorts from your mouth.
You know you’re wild-eyed and wild-haired. It could be a holy day. It could be Fourth of July. Maybe it *is* sleeping time.
You give the pursuit of staying in touch with the world one last go: you’ve heard the students here are always very nice and accommodating. You go to the student study lounge. You are a loud American immediately and rightfully quieted by furrowed eyebrows. However, students come to your rescue. They have cords and Wi-Fi connections, little stealings to get by. You have to get a crush on the one who lends you his own cord.
You will call to him over the next few days, you from the dorm steps up to him in the student study room, “Thank you, Pavel!”
Thank you again.