This is probably the weirdest week ever. I worked a half day Monday, was off Tuesday and Wednesday, came back for two days, get two days off, work a half day Monday, get Tuesday off, then get to come back Wednesday for three days before the next weekend. My schedule's all sorts of confused.
To add to the confusion, I'm not even busy today. I actually have nothing to do right now. Not a ding dong thing. It's like a blast from three weeks ago, except that instead of that being the norm, this is the un-norm and I'm not sure if I'm going to get in trouble or not. I mean, I'm not going to get in trouble because I'm not doing anything wrong, but I feel kind of naughty because it's not usually slow. I'm just so low on the totem pole that I have to work through the holiday season and man the HR department even though my phone has never once rung and my inbox is very dead.
So I guess I blog, eh?
Because my brain is full of happy conversations had over lunch time coffee with a friend and all I can think about is how I'm going to go exchange knitting needles, buy yarn, and brave Forever 21 after work today, I'm going to regale you with the tale of my most memorable New Years ever. Because it's that time of year and I haven't humiliated myself for a while.
It's my late Christmas gift to you:
2006. I had just graduated high school six months earlier and was off doing my world traveler thing. You know, the thing you're supposed to do some time between finishing high school and starting your grown up career. A lot of people do it after university, which confuses me because every university grad is generally dirt poor, but I did it after high school. I didn't know what I wanted to do with my life and needed to do a little soul searching. Or something. Mostly I just needed a break and some time to clear my head from the cobwebs of 13 years in a classroom. I wasn't ready for university and had no idea what I wanted to take. Clearly I didn't think too hard about it as I eventually settled for a double major in Political Science and History.
I joined up with the Gap Program. (I think it had a fancier name than that but I seem to have blocked it out.) Essentially, I went to an upper class British school and paid to provide cheap labour. Jolly good.
During that time, one of my good friends from home, Jenn, was in Sweden at Capernwray Bible school. (She did, in fact, meet her husband there, since I know you're wondering. It wasn't quite spring when she got her ring, but I don't think they gave her any money back.) We had both decided to make the most of our year away from home and stay overseas for Christmas. I'm not sure what her reasoning was, but I knew that if I left there was no power in Heaven or on Earth that would be able to force me back onto a return flight to the UK. Besides, flights like that aren't cheap.
We spent some time in Austria at Christmas with Jenn's roommate's family and a few other Canadians. It was one of the most fun Christmases I've ever had, even though it was my first (and, to date, only) without any family.
After Christmas Jenn and I hopped a middle of the night train to Prague to meet up with some more of her Bible school friends for New Years. I was pretty much along for the ride.
Prague is a gorgeous city. (I have no photos for you because I'm at work and didn't get Facebook until a couple months after the trip so I can't copy them off the internets. Sorry. This story isn't about photos, anyway.) I can't remember how long we were there for, maybe three or four days, but we walked all over the city. All over. Apparently a lot of movies get filmed there because it wasn't bombed during WWI or WWII so it makes a good German or Austrian city. Fun fact.
One thing we found in our European travels is that water is expensive. In a restaurant at home, water is always free and kind of par for the meal course. Like a napkin. In Europe, not so much. For some reason beer was cheaper than water and most water was sparkling. Who drinks sparking water? Rich people with messed up taste buds, that's who. And apparently Europeans when they're feeling too rich for beer.
I'm a big water drinker. Huge. All the time. I don't go anywhere without my water bottle, but Europe was a big adjustment for me. In England where I was living the water was disgusting. I hate hard water, and even when we go to the prairies I have a hard time staying hydrated. I just love me some West Coast water. In Europe there's none of that free water stuff. You have to pay for it if you want it. Apparently tap water isn't a thing. Well, in Prague I basically had to stop drinking as much water as I was used to because it would eventually cost an arm and a leg. I am also morally opposed to paying for water.
The food in Prague was also different. It was delicious, but different. On the night before New Years Eve (December 30th, for the record) we went out for dinner. I had rabbit. When in Rome, try the food you'll never get at home. I remember that meal well. It had a lot of garlic, which I love, and some steamed spinach. All in all, I really enjoyed it.
That night we went back to our hostel. Jenn and I were sharing a group room with some randoms. The difference between us and them was that they stayed out all night partying and came back to the room totally drunk, while we went to bed at a reasonable hour and tried to sleep through their banging around. Ah, hostels.
While in their drunken state, our genius roommates decided to crank up the heat to max that night when they came to bed. Because five people in a bedroom won't eventually warm up.
I woke up early the next morning, dying from the heat in our tiny room, and totally dehydrated from my unwillingness to pay for water. I got up, stumbled out of our room and, in my early morning genius, puked in the kitchenette sink. Not the toilet, two meters away. The sink. Up came my rabbit and spinach like I had just eaten it ten minutes before, not ten hours. I then had to scoop my dinner out of the sink, with my hands, and throw it in the garbage.
Eventually Jenn and I went down to breakfast where I didn't eat anything. On the way up to our room to get our things for another day out on the Czech town I puked again. Going up stairs. Right on my own feet. That was the first time my feet ever got wet in those shoes. They could handle traipsing through snow in the Alps, but not the force of nature that was me. As I stood there heaving out all my newly consumed liquids someone walked by and commented on how much I had partied the night before. Yep, in bed by 11.
It wasn't a great start to the day, and I was certainly off garlic for a while, but we did some more exploring around the city and eventually my innards settled down enough for me to feel human again.
That night we went down to the main square to check out the New Years festivities. It was insane. There were, we could only assume, Czech rock stars, video screens, thousands of people, and a huge party atmosphere in the air. It was a lot of fun. Fireworks went off at midnight and people sprayed cheap champagne bottles all over us. And by us I mean mostly me.
After midnight, though, things got third world. We ended up having to run back to our hostel because the late night partiers were letting of fireworks and shooting them towards people. Bottles were being thrown. It was chaos. For the locals it was probably just another fun time, but for us unseasoned young adults it was kind of terrifying. Call me crazy, there's just something about have a wine bottle thrown your way that makes you want to peace out. Okay, it was totally exhilarating, too.
When we got back to the hostel I decided that a shower was in order after my champagne shower from earlier. I was tired of smelling like smoke and cheap wine. There were a couple showers on our floor, one in a bathroom and another standalone shower in a closet type room. I opted for the standalone one, in case anyone needed the toilet. Because I'm generous of spirit like that.
The hostel we were in was huge. It was probably at least four floors (I think we were on the third) and was old. In Prague, things are old. Now, a lot of really old buildings in Europe, I found, use skeleton keys in their doors. You go in, you turn the key, and bam, you're locked in. The shower was one of those rooms. Easy peasy.
Once I was showered and once again smelling like a girl instead of a bar floor, I turned the key and made to leave. Except the door didn't open. So I turned the key again. The door still didn't open. The key just kept spinning in the lock. Because the key part had snapped off and all that was left was the long part of it. Spinning. Turning. Not unlocking.
So I knocked on the door and called Jenn's name. The door to our room was about 25 or 30 feet away from the shower. I really hoped she could hear me. It took a minute, but eventually she came out. The floor, of course, was deserted. It was only about 1 or 1:30 in the morning on New Years day. Everyone was still out partying.
Jenn came out, complaining that she was just about to put her headphones on. Praise the Lord she didn't. I explained to her what had happened. She started laughing.
Once she'd stopped laughing we established that there was a window on her side of the door and a window on my side. They were side by side and maybe I could Spider man myself across them. When I looked outside at the three story drop with nothing to hold onto I killed that idea.
There was a gap in the ceiling between the room that I was in and the cleaning supply room next door, about seven or eight feet up. Since the room next door was locked, too, that didn't do much good either.
Then I heard voices. Slightly drunk American voices. They asked Jenn what she was doing. Jenn told them. I heard a knock on the door. I knocked back. They thought that was hysterical. After a while, the Americans, Jenn, and I decided that the best course of action would be to seek help. I would wait there.
A while later, I heard another voice then another knock on the door. I knocked back. An accented man's voice, the bartender from downstairs, asked me if I was naked. I informed him that, no, sorry, I wasn't. He told me he was going to get me out of there.
Ideas were thrown around. Could they find a key to the cleaning supply room? No, they didn't know where it was. Could they unhinge the door? No, the hinges were too old. Were they going to have to break down the door?
Eventually the Americans got bored and wandered off. Other people came and went, too.
After half an hour of ruminating on the appropriate escape plan while I patiently waited in my fleecy pajamas, they finally decided to try the door handle. I'm not sure if they broke it off or just unscrewed it, but eventually I was free and more than a little embarrassed.
Jenn was still laughing.
The next morning at breakfast we told the boys what had happened. A lady at the table next to us had been listening to the whole story and commented when we were finished.
Lady: "That was you in the shower?"
Me: "Yep." (Bright red)
Lady: "My friend's boyfriend is a bartender and he disappeared last night with a bogus story about rescuing someone from a locked shower. We thought he was lying!"
Me: "Nope, that was me."
Please tell me I'm not the only person this has happened to.