When training came to an end and we all headed off to our respective cities and schools I was very excited by the prospect of finally seeing what my new life was going to look like. That first day was interesting; I met my coworkers, saw my apartment, took a mini walking tour of my area as a result of an accident on the train tracks and got very lost. That last one deserves its very own paragraph.
The first time heading to my apartment, I walked out of the train station flanked with two bags that felt like I could have been rolling along an emaciated woman in each suitcase. Thankfully, I took a taxi from the train station to my apartment with a guide to translate and lead the way. Needless to say, I was a bit underwhelmed when I found out that my building had no elevators and I lived on the third floor. On the first flight of stairs I began cursing my excessive packing habits, on the second flight I considered opening things and just chucking out whatever wasn’t really necessary to survival. But those bags made it inside my apartment, but when I was inside my apartment it all started feeling more worthwhile. Of course it is quite petite in the American sense of apartment, but every square inch of this place is lovely. From my sofa, to my balcony, and especially to that part where I have an actual bed frame with drawers in the base, I love my new home.
After a brief time getting to know my apartment, I went to get a cell phone and prepare do other things to solidify my new life. That night my guide let me off at the train to walk back to my apartment by myself.
The landmarks that I had carefully picked at my guide looked different at night then they had in the light of day. So I found myself wheeling my final suitcase around my lowlight, residential neighborhood looking for anything that looked like what I had seen earlier. Of course at this fortuitous time my battery is dying on my phone, I have an unintelligible map, my full address isn’t even written down. I spend close to an hour starting from go and going down every street. Fatigue and frustration are starting to wear heavy, when I finally see a vending machine that looks familiar, that leads to a stop sign that I could have passed at some point in my wandering, which leads me in front of a building that might be somewhere I live. I use my key and nearly burst into tears of joy when it opens, this time my heavy suitcase doesn’t feel so substantial. I am on a high of relief and a full bladder and that pulls me up the stairs with gusto.
But then I am faced with another roadblock of figuring out exactly how to make this magnetic key work. It’s akin to what you find in a hotel, but slightly more complicated and with every failed attempt I sound like I might be trying to break in to the apartment. I burst through the door thinking the only other thing that could go wrong at this point is that I get struck by lightning on my patio, and it wasn’t even raining. But just to be safe, I stayed indoors that first night. All I can say is that after that ordeal I have never confused the way to my home, it’s been burned into crevices of my mind as if someone branded the trail on my forehead.