This morning I need downtime. A day in would be great, especially when on vacation. If I were back home, this is one of those days that I would stay inside cooking, doing laundry, and likely listening to podcasts in the background. I was hoping to spend my early afternoon the same way out here in the apartment. There was a slight hitch though. The binder instructions for using the washing machine are in English, but the machine itself is not.
After a slight struggle figuring it out using an inventive google app that scans foreign text on a smart phone and translates it for you, it was easier to approach the housekeeper to help out, but even with her “magic touch,” the machine got stuck after she left. About an hour later she was back with her partner armed with buckets of water ready for the morning cleanup and was surprised to see me still in the room with the machine blinking an indecipherable warning code.
I felt it best to leave them to it, both to the cleaning and to the trouble shooting. I realized, looking at the two women with their sturdy forearms and scarves tied purposefully around their heads, that distractions to their routine are not welcomed (even though they awkwardly smiled when I communicated that I’d just be at the desk while they worked – hmmm… guess not). So here I am sitting in another cafe, not unsimilar to what I’d be doing anyway if I were in San Francisco, since our cleaning service politely shoos me away from the apartment when it’s cleaning time out there too. Same sh!t different continent.
When exiled, it’s fun to people watch while absorbing the energy of a buzzing neighborhood, seeing servers interact with patrons, seeing patrons interact with each other, seeing what is ordered, listening to what is being said, noticing what is being worn. I just wish it didn’t smell so darn good in here. I wish I couldn’t hear the crunch of thick bread slices being chewed. It’s like all of the cafes in Kiev smell like freshly grilled bread and cheese. This green smoothie and red lentil soup in front of me might not be enough. I might want to eat one of the assortments of toasted cheese melts or an order of pan fried housemade halloumi cheese. I’m now nervous I will be both hungry and naked if the washing machine is not fixed by the time I get back.
Since hunger and clothing/ shelter are basic necessities, my concerns today can’t be brushed aside as first world problems, can they?