There's a dear old cleaning lady who knocks at my door early each morning to fuss around my room & clean up a little. At first, I could barely turn the key and she would push straight passed me into the room, while singing 'Gooood moorrrning', rolling her R's in this surprisingly good Russian-Spanish opera voice. I think it's the only English word she knows.
I politely tried to suggest that she didn't need to come everyday as there isn't so much to do, except maybe wipe up around the cheap kettle I use to cook rice and eggs in. Yet each day she arrived earlier and earlier... until one morning I gently opened the door in the dark, still half-asleep and asked her, in cryptic hand gestures, if she could give me 10 minutes. She sternly waved her finger at me as she walked off down the corridor and never came back. For a few days after this I could tell she was upset with me. What a gem.
I've been in Minsk for over a month now... most of the time alone, but not necessarily lonely... and funnily I look forward to her arriving. Sometimes I even find myself sitting with a tea, waiting for her knock. It was bitterly cold here a week or so ago, and the heater in my room doesn't seem to work.. so I asked her (again combining English & waving my arms around
) about maybe getting an extra blanket. She just shook her head and said something in Russian, which I assumed meant.. 'No'... But she so sweetly just held two fingers up and made a like a gentle hugging motion, while pointing at my sofa bed, & smiling.. I guess saying, its better to have someone else there to keep you warm at night. What a sweetheart. The next day I arrived home from my training at Minsk Arena to find a fresh blanket waiting for me.
And although she rambles funny Russian at me from the second she enters until the moment she leaves.. I'm so grateful for her brief visits, as I realised that some days she's the only person I speak to. Maybe she feels the same.
That's not at all intended to sound sad either, it's just the honest truth about my life on the road and where laser focus on a goal can take you sometimes. (....I guess that's in part my answer to your interesting question about how people end up in a city all alone
). I could write so much more too.. haha.. but will stop there for now
I don't yet know of any groups that meet up in the city.. but am always curious to learn more, see more, enjoy nice conversation, so I will let you know if I find anything!