I took a tram to the Teatr Stowackiego stop and followed the directions on my phone. I needed to find a health food store and Mr. Google said there was one in this enormous mall in the center of the city.

I didn’t expect much from a mall health food store, but all I needed was vitamin C. I left mine on the counter of my house. I imagine that my house sitter is snacking on those great quality vitamin C capsules as I write this.

The mall is a confusion of stores. Four levels. And just when I thought I had it all figured out, I remembered that the ground floor is labeled as “0”, not 1 as we count that first floor at home.

I spun around the mall a few times which was far from a waste of time on this ninety degree day: the mall is air conditioned. Another round of the first floor? Sure thing.

I found the store

and the young woman working there spoke English. BONUS.

She looked confused when the conversation shifted from “It’s very hot outside.” To “Do you sell vitamins?”

She answered with a shrug. “Vit mins?”

I told her I needed vitamin C.

She shook her head and suggested I go to the pharmacy.

I tried to go to the pharmacy, but couldn’t remember what floor it was on. I passed it several times in my search for the health food store, but now it hid from me.

I went back to Mr. Google who suggested I try out another health food store that was only 500 meters away – or a half of a kilometer or 1/3 of a mile.

In walking there, I took notice of the area. Cosmopolitan, but relaxed. A park. Trams. Small restaurants. I noted that I would like to find a place to stay close to this area, but didn’t know what the area was called.

This store was just what I needed. Lots of vitamin C brands to choose from. I chose a brand that came in a box and held the capsules in foil—kind of like Benadryl tablets. And then just for double insurance in remaining healthy, I bought a small box of local organic cherries.

I sat in the park across the street and found a bench without a homeless person on it and tried the cherries. Sweet. Juicy. They were the cherriest of cherries. I left half a box of cherries next to a sleeping homeless man.

Rather than wandering around the area some more, which is what I really wanted to do, I headed back home and got on the computer. I needed a new place to stay starting Thursday night.

I tried Air BnB, VRVO and every booking program I could think of. I wanted air conditioning. I wanted to be able to get to volunteering in under 25 minutes. I wanted a reasona

ble price. I wanted to check out the room before I paid for a month. Would it be too much to stay in a cool part of town?

After many hours of searching, I found a place that fit every wish.

The owner said I should come by and check it out any time.

I hopped a tram and found my way there.

She had four apartments open and let me choose my favorite. Street view. Windows open. There is air conditioning and a kitchenette for cooking and baking. It’s in Old Town

on a quiet street. There is a window seat where I can sit and write or spy on people walking by.

The owner of the apartment is a Polish woman. We fell into easy conversation about life, about volunteering, and about eating gluten-free. She asked if I could help her restaurant become gluten-free.

Yes. Yes. Yes.

I told her that I haven’t met many Polish people since I’m working with an international staff at the place where I’m volunteering.

“Well.” Owner said. “You can’t say that anymore. Because now you have the perfect apartment, and you have our restaurant where you’ll meet many, many of my friends.

On the way back to my tram, I passed the health food store. I ended up in the very neighborhood I wanted to be in.






Thanks for reading.



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Holly Winter Huppert stands with a woman in the Mountains of Turkey.

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