Kick off your shoes and enter - Mikeroecosm

Kick off your shoes and enter

December 31st, 2006

before going out to eat, my korean coworker coterie took me to my living quarters. keep in mind, i’m not expecting much here. i’ve prepared for the worst, not wanting to be disappointed or unpleasantly surprised by my arrangements for the next year. and i’m not just paying lip service – i’ve wholly convinced myself that it’s going to be a small, dirty, cramped, smelly, used apartment with grey windows and noisy neighbors and paper thin walls. i took my second year apartment in college and imagined worse by about 2 or 3 degrees. i’m thinking sacrifice. i’m thinking barracks.

and instead i’m greeted by the royal palace. literally, that’s where i live. royal palace housevill*. it’s nice from the outside, but i maintain a solid resignation that i’ll be ushered to a cardboard box in the hall somewhere. my brother had described his apartment as smaller than some hotel rooms he’s stayed at, and i know for a fact that he’s not a regular guest at the four seasons. his frame of reference trends more toward the red roof inns and best westerns we stayed in as kids. in my years after college i was privileged enough to have occasionally been put up in some nice digs on my modest travels. i’d even seen the inside of a ritz-carlton once upon a time. after hearing his account, i’m expecting a year getting over claustrophobia and finding my inner coziness that i’d lost touch with since that room-splitting close quarters i relished in my first and second years at uva.

well, i split the difference. yes, my apartment is smaller than most hotel rooms (and not just the luxury ones – it gives days inn a run for its money). this is a true efficiency studio – but luckily, i’m here to be efficient. i’ve renounced materialism for the simplicity of minimalism, and this apartment makes sure i stick to that.

but i’m struck not with the space, but the cleanliness, modernity, and comfort that this apartment exudes. it’s clean! i take off my shoes awkwardly, and feel the warmth of the floor rising through my feet. there’s fresh fruit out, and nice appliances. and.. what’s this smell? can it be? it smells really good! my false conceptions about squalor dissipate into the fresh clean air as i’m warmed from the floor below.

there’s a kitchen area. a washing machine. no dryer, as i had been warned. the dishwasher is my own two hands, something i’m particular about avoiding in america. there’s a fridge and freezer, toaster oven, and kitchen table. i’ve got a tv and a free standing closet. okay, i can deal with this.

i check out my bed and kind of glance at my consort. i’m thinking maybe they’re playing a joke on me. “are these kids’ bed sheets?”
“no, why, do they look like kids’ bedsheets?”
“a little yeah. but it doesn’t matter, i’ve packed my own comforter.”
“they’re nice, feel,” one of the ladies offers.

i reach down and am treated to a soft blend of silk and fleece. i thought t-shirts sheets were the ultimate achievement in linen softness when i was in college. later, i was introduced to satin sheets, which while not an everyday practicality, raised my standards once more. friends, i’ve found the promised land of bedroom plushiness. it’s right here in my studio efficiency, cloaked in the camouflage of pre-teen whimsicalness.

i surveyed my new digs. yes, this i can do. royal palace cannot be confused with the ghetto. i felt my bed again. i think my companions saw my eyes relax and get distant because they interrupted my reverie.

“not bedtime yet – you want to get something to eat, don’t you?”
“yeah” i said, trying to recapture my excitement while fighting the inevitable battle against jet-lag, “let’s do it.”

as we walked out the door i turned to my bed for one last glance. “i’ll be back for you,” i whispered. with a grin on my face, i closed the door to my home for the next year.

*nah, it’s not misspelled. it’s just houseville without the “e” you would expect. just one of those inexplicable things. like on some buildings how “we’ve” is written.. without any further explanation. we’ve what? it’s a mystery.


  1. What a cozy place you have! And those are some cute sheets!

  2. peyton manning and his colts have defeated the bears in the superbowl. commercials were lame… you didn’t miss much. just wanted to keep you updated.

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