You would think that a concrete building would sufficiently insulate for heat and noise.  Well, I think we have proven that we have virtually NO heat insulation (see all the winter blog entries), and we now realize we also have NO noise insulation.

As I mentioned before, we moved our mattress out to the living room and that is where we sleep.  It is approximately 4 paces from the tip of my head to the door of the apartment.  This means I can hear every single thing my neighbors are doing out there.  EVERY.SINGLE.THING.  They jiggle their keys all loud late at night and they gather in the area in front of the elevator at about 7:00 in the morning.  They talk and laugh and talk and laugh and it sounds LIKE THEY ARE YELLING.  Maybe they are yelling or maybe they are not, but is sure sounds like it.

While I get slightly irritated at all this noise, noise, noise, noise, I do realize this is just part of city living and being in close quarters.  I was disturbed, however, when I realized that if I can hear them, then they must be able to hear us!  That means they can hear the ape sounds emanating from the constant drone of Animal Planet on our T.V., they can hear us arguing discussing things, they can hear us rocking out, and most disturbing of all….they can hear us going to the bathroom!  Due to the bizarre layout of our flat, it turns out that our toilet room (here, the bath and the toilet are in separate rooms) is right next to the front door. Ewwwwwwwwwwwww! GROSS! I am hoping that closing the door extra tight and running water alleviates this issue.  Also, I carefully plan my toilet trips around the times I hear the neighbor party out in the hall.

All this does not bode well when you are the only foreigners in a building full of old timers who have known each other since….well….deep in the Communist times.  Already we figured out that they must talk about us because after about a month here, people kept trying to speak to us in English and smile all gratuitously.  Or they would mention the word “America” in conversation.  Which was nice….until I realized they can hear us. And now I just can’t stop thinking if while they are standing out in the hall chit-chatting, if one of them is whispering “Pssssst.  Are those Amerikanskis in the bathroom AGAIN???”