I’m promising myself that this will not become a blog where I simply complain and take people through every step of my culture shock…but I’m going through it right now. My one-woman pep talks are not working.
Tuesday night my thirty minute nap turned into three hours. I woke up around 10:30 and couldn’t go back to sleep. Usually I can roll over and keep dreaming. Actually getting out of bed in the middle of the night is crazy in my mind. I’ve had one too many days/weeks/months/years of functioning off of four hours of sleep while thinking that six was ideal I suppose. Consequently, when I sleep, I sleep.
I have been known to fall asleep at the drop of a dime. I’ve fallen asleep on a friend’s shoulder at a party (no, I was not drunk if that’s your next thought); on bus tours in Dublin and Philadelphia (I enjoyed the parts I saw!); in NYC Subway cars (more times than I’d like to admit); during movies; during speeches/presentations I was excited to see; and the list goes on.
When I start having trouble sleeping I know it’s a sign of stress. I’m feeling like I’m in a permanent state of irritability. The issue: water (again) and my apartment internet.
Water: the water’s on for (count ‘em) four hours in my building. Four. It comes on at 6:00 AM when I wake up at 5:15 to get ready for work. It’s supposed to be like this for the next two months because they’re working on the water lines. Now, I always thought an urban planning major had to be one of the most boring majors created, but I would elevate an urban planner almost to Jesus status right about now. I mean, I’m washing underwear by hand not because I’m worried about ruining delicates, but because I’m trying to avoid another dirt deposit in my washing machine since the water’s so on and off. I will hedge my bets when it’s time to wash my regular clothes though.
Pipes were laid for a good two or three months all over my Brooklyn neighborhood and not once did my water go out. It didn’t even cross my mind that it would go out. Hurricane Sandy didn’t even knock out my water (thankfully). Here, I’m being told two months. Now, whenever signs get posted about the water schedule a written conversation takes place right on the paper. People have called each other liars about the reasons why the water’s out, posted an article in response, and requested an earlier time for the water to get turned on in the AM.
I’m with the 5:30 AM water time request. A sister has to get to work. Ideally, smelling fresh. But if I ever roll up at work with chicken wings (as my grandma calls armpits) smelling because the bird bath didn’t do the trick, at least I can smile and say I still have a lesson ready for you! It’s weird having to literally build my schedule around water. Let me stop planning and shower because the water’s on. Let me start cooking so that by the time I’m done the water will be on and I can wash the dishes. Let me go to the gym earlier so that I won’t miss the water being on when I get back. Water. Water. Water.
Internet: the mess doesn’t work, plain and simple. It got installed on Friday and has gone out for hours, if not a full day, every day since. The internet is my connection to my family and friends. My mom’s test run of the mail by sending a post card did not seem to be successful. I still need to find where and how people send mail. I haven’t seen what looked like a mailbox or post office since I’ve been here.
In the meantime, I’ll keep journaling, keep posting, and keep trying to keep my head up. At least the people are still beautifully nice and welcoming to me.