Take my house. It has about the interior space of a trailer, just more square-like. Oh, and there are a lot of doors. Every concievable subdivision you could conjure is divided by a door. To go from my room to the washroom, I need to open and close the door between my room (formerly the nice living room) and the computer / dining room, the door between that and the TV room, the door between that and the "hall," the door between the "hall" and a little room with the old washing machine, and the door between that and, finally, the washroom - wait a second, I made a mistake. That's the place where I wash my hands or take a shower. The actual toilet is in another room. So from the hall, I go to the porch, and from the porch to the washroom.
So that's five doors to the toilet, four to the sink, and five back to the bedroom. Fourteen doors. And they all must be kept shut, for some mysterious "heat" reason.
So imagine doing this at night when you're not allowed to turn the lights on, going through these rooms which don't have windows. Better yet, imagine doing this coming home with a few beers in you:
Click. Creeeeak. Shut. Click. Shut. CrrrrEEEEEEak. Shut. step stumble step CLUNK ("Guess that's the wall."), feel stumble feel click CREEEEEEAK step shut, feel feel feel click creak step stumble shut, walk tiptoe stumble tiptoe... "Wait, I should go get some water." > minutes later > SMACK "OWWW!" (foiled by the low doorframe on my trip to wash my hands after using the other washroom) > feel feel stumble step SLAM, etc...
(I've had to deal with the fourteen doors in this manner somewhat more than fourteen times, and I'm not getting much better at it with time.)
In other news, I've decided to grow a beard again. My host father literally accosted me about it this morning, but my host mother smiled when she said, "You no want girl?" Even Yulia, back in Grande Prairie, said to me, "Oh, Vill! Your beard! In Ookraine, you scare all the girls!" My theory is this, though:
1) I want a beard for credibility.
2) I've met nearly a hundred girls now who know very well what I look like without one, and therefore my new appearance won't leave a scary first impression.
3) I'll shave it off just before (or just after?) the NetCorps team arrives.
4) I have short hair now, and I think the short hair and short beard look good together.
Good news! we have a washing machine now, still in the factory wrap, sitting next to the good ol' kalunker machine that occaisionally heats hot water. Among the shipping instructions is, "Do not expose to moisture or rain."
It's common for host families to purchase a big ticket item while they've got CWY participants supplementing their income. It'll be nice to have a real, programmable washing machine - even a tiny one. I guess I won't get the exercise and exertion that comes with hand-washing, but let's just say that socks aren't the easiest things to get squeaky clean when washing by hand. I did a great job with my coat, and for a few days it was fresh and a few shades brighter (it still is), but of course I had to go to a bar a few days later, and now it smells like smoke again. #&$@(&% smoke. =)
Today I'm attending a poli-sci lecture on the Québec separation movement, and I'll probably be asked some questions, so it's time to read. See you later!