"I'm home!" I shout, opening the apartment door. A long day of high schools, foreign foods, and scooter rides has exhausted me more than I imagine a Monday should. Tossing my bag down and unstrapping the velcro sneaks, I enter cozy apartment 8A8. No response to my greeting.
I suppose I'd rather be disappointed than disturbed. Living alone does not give me the luxury of a warm meal awaiting my return, a buddy to talk baseball over beers, or bedspace to be shared. A salutation to my entrance would either confirm my suspicion of Asian spirits within the walls or would mean the nocturnal being beneath my dresser has finally found his voice and is ready to start demanding bread mold or ask for directions. To explain: I picked up this apartment off a teacher departing from the school I currently teach at. After viewing a number of rival rooms in this 15 floor complex, I settled on this one due to a slight touch of laziness (fully furnished) and one sweet four by two foot drapery. That didn't really explain much.
Moving forward, (temporarily backwards) two weeks ago I collected the two bags of Andy that I travel with and made my way to the double doors of newly found home. Key clicks, door opens, light switches, cockroach scurries. Keep in mind, that was singular. Roach, not roaches (seeing is believing I say). And one bachelor roach I can deal with. I actually have no problem with the guy, figure he's not all that different from me outside of his nuclear resistance and scuttling capabilities. His name is Bertle. I don't know why. But its a pretty unpleasant name and the fact that he could very well enter a bodily orifice while I sleep and lay the eggs of urban legends makes me consider upgrading him to a Jacob or Michael. Regardless, I've yet to see him since our first encounter. I figure like some former roommates I've had, he does his thing and I do mine. And he does not have an obnoxiously annoying Taiwanese girlfriend, nor miss the toilet, nor even mind Vanessa Carlton.
So that's Bertle. Other than that we've got a fully functioning washer, fridge, semi chandilier with dimming capabilities (what what), full-length mirrors, drawers, and a couch worth laying on to write tales such as these. The bed fits me well enough although it is severely lacking any sheets. Towels, clothes, and warm nights have yet to get me out to linen shop. My television currently has an American flag (won in a sticky ball drinking challenge) draped completely over it. Reasoning being, I do not have cable and I'm proud to be an American where at least I know I'm free, says Lee. Above me on the wall is a red button. It has Japanese writing on it. The Japanese writing literally says Push. I've been raised on obedience. Thus I will follow orders one of these late nights or early mornings. The bathroom is bath-less but the shower height nearly fits my desires. The toilet is nothing like the one of my last Taiwanese apartment that was equipped with seated warmth and some bum water jets with power and temperature control. Sadly and strangely, the mirror is the lone heated unit of the bathroom. One pot of plantlife keeps things aeromatically fantastic along with some mysterious oils, altars, and candles the room's former resident left behind. But Ian's greatest blessing was the aforementioned drapery.
Not sure if drapery is the best word to describe, I now possess a pseudo-Lara croft waist up side shot of an Anime goddess hanging above my bedframe. Divine beauty surpasses impure thoughts regarding her finely designed human features. And putting her on the wall behind my head rather than across the wall from it gives her more of a guardian angel type status rather than cartoon vixen. I imagine if a soulmate is to be eventually found and brought home, Daphne my dangerous wallflower is going to be rotated 180 degrees and will be staring upon white walls. I couldn't handle her jealousy and the wrath she could bring upon me with some possible cockroach assistance. Ten foot high windows gaze upon the train station eight floors down across the street. People watching is morning routine. In my makeshift kitchen, I have a portable stove fueled by a butane can which keeps cooking completely unpredictable. Tatami mat rugs keep things Asian while Consortium photos upon the wall keep things nostalgic. Speaking of which, looking upon these names in writing I realize that nearly another ABCD tandem is in order (much love to the three). From travels through Bogota, Valparaiso, and Denver, this is proving to be a hard thing to be escaped. And why shouldn't it be? Maybe the plant will be soon become a Chloe or perhaps Christopher. More christening awaits the nine months I'm contractually obligated to between these walls. I suspect the windows could use white board marker messages for disembarking train passengers, the bed could use a blanket, and the floors could use some dancing. After plenty of hostel living in Argentina and Costa Rica, guest houses in Japan, bungalows in Thailand, a family in Chile, I appreciate the space and solitude I'm finally providing myself with.
So there's the written tour. Welcome one welcome all. Mi casa es su casa. Just keep your eyes open for insect greetings and keep them off my lady.