Friday, July 6, 2007

Futile efforts to stop two floods.

I take a taxi back from the university to my apartment because I am exhausted. As I am coming in, I run into another student in the hallway. I ask her about the stove because I desperately need tea and don't care if I light myself on fire by this time.

Turns out that it needs to be lit with matches. I have no matches. The student is on her way out the door, but gives me one match from her box. Instead of being a "strike anywhere" match, it is a safety match that will only strike on the box. I need tea like a heroin addict needs a hit so I go out in search of matches. It is after 9:00 p.m. and the little shops around my apartment are closed. I walk to a cafe - no matches. I walk to a meditearanean fast-food joint and am standing in line when I ask the man behind me where I can get matches at this hour. A second kind soul takes pity on me that day and he gives me his lighter, which has enough fluid to light maybe twice.

I came back to apartment, make much needed tea, eat a snack and continue reading my course materials. True to form, they make me sleepy. At 11:10 p.m., I am falling asleep face-first into my book so I climb in bed. At 11:15 p.m., American students (who apparently have been sleeping all day and are refreshed) congregate outside my window in the couryard.

All over the apartment complex there are signs in English warning to be quiet after 11:00 p.m. The signs set forth the protocol to follow if there is a noise disturbance. First, we are to ask the perpetrators to be quiet. If that fails, we are to call the Resident Assistant, but are to refrain from calling the police. However, I don't need to do anything at this point because I hear them talking loudly about "hooking up at 11:45." The students disburse and I assume they are going to meet somewhere else at 11:45. I go to sleep.

At 11:45 p.m., said students again congregate loudly in the courtyard below my window (which is closed, by the way). I open window and politely ask them to be quiet. They apologize and continue talking as loudly as before.

At 12:00 a.m., I again open the window and ask for quiet. They apologize and continue talking as loudly as before. I cannot call the Resident Assistant because I have no telephone and I don't feel up to finding a pay phone at that hour. Shortly after 1:00 a.m. the students leave the courtyard. I go back to sleep.

At 2:00 a.m., I awaken to a rainstorm. Ahhh, a rainstorm in Amsterdam, how nice...

Except the rain is POURING inside my closed window.

Said leak mentioned previously is a present-tense leak, not past-tense leak.

It is leaking at an alarming rate.

I take pictures of the event and email the professor. I then put down paper towels to help sop up some of the water and place various cups, glasses and pots on the window sill. I go back to sleep at around 3:20 p.m..

At 3:30, drunken students return (I assume the bars have closed). This time, I skip politely asking them to be quiet and hang out my window yelling, "Shut up!!!!!" It does no good.

Sleep deprivation has set in.

4 comments:

Anjali said...

Hi sweetheart,

It is great to hear your story. Thanks for keeping us informed. No phone, elevator, funtional stove, leaky windows, four flights of stairs, noisy neighbors...............all in your first day!
..You must not be in Kansas anymore!
Love ya, Anjali

awayfrmitall said...

We want MORE!!!... Post something for us to read!!!

Love ya,
Jamie

awayfrmitall said...

We want MORE!!!... Post something for us to read!!!

Love ya,
Jamie

awayfrmitall said...

We want MORE!!!... Post something for us to read!!!

Love ya,
Jamie