So. I told myself I was going to keep it real on this blog to give a completely genuine account of what it's like to do what I'm doing out here, so I'm going to dish out some real honest updates...
At the beginning of October I began working at a smaller hostel due to the fact that I was beyond sleep-deprived and drained from working at *ArtBCN Hostel all summer. I had a bit of a dramatic arrival and ended up having to go to the hospital on my first night due to a sinus infection that settled in my middle ear. I don't know if you've ever had an ear infection, but good GOD that shit is painful (and comes on really suddenly). It became unbearable so I bit the bullet and went the hospital clinic to get an antibiotic and found out my eardrum had ruptured.
The next 2 1/2 weeks I was deaf in my left ear. Let me tell you, partially losing one of your senses throws you off way more than you'd think. Not only is it extremely disorienting, but you have to ask people to repeat things over and over again, and position your body a certain way to hear, and explain why you're acting so awkward, etc. On top of this, I was still super sick... like, I don't know if I've ever been that sick for that long before. The last thing I wanted to do was participate in social activities, which is not really an option when your job is to socialize and entertain hostel guests. I was not on my A-game, and my three new bosses (the hostel owners) didn't actually know what was going on, for two reasons: 1) They were never around during my shifts, and 2) I didn't tell them, which was a big mistake, but hear me out: does it not sound like a totally fake, bullshit excuse to say you suddenly became horribly ill and deaf the day you arrived? So, during my shifts I was physically present, but I'll admit I was mentally absent.
Long story short, I was asked to leave (by one out of three of the owners). I'll take responsibility for the fact that I wasn't putting in my best effort and that I should have mentioned what was wrong with me, but I know this was more of an unrealistic expectations and owner-dynamics problem than a 'me' problem (they got rid of another Workawayer this week). This is the thing about being a Workawayer in a foreign country: you're always replaceable and you don't really have any rights. This is the nature of the beast, so if you're someone interested in Workaway, just know this could potentially happen (have a plan B and emergency cash). I've seen it happen several times to other Workawayers -- some hostel owners can be seriously shady and take advantage of their unpaid workers. Luckily I had a fallback: I packed up and headed back over to ArtBCN to ask for my old job back. Now I'm here, back at ArtBCN, and really happy about it. Didn't realize how much I loved this place until I left. It's low season now, so it's way more chill (and we have a staff room now).
Some other updates:
Paris, man. It was pretty strange around here last Friday... In hostel world, someone always has travel friends in the major European cities and it was distressing to witness the guests frantically calling their loved ones. Scary and heartbreaking. But I must say, it's been incredibly heartening watching travelers from all ends of the earth come together to reassure one another that there is still benevolence in the world. This week we've had several music-making congregations in the common room. At one point, I think we had about fifteen people in there singing "Feeling Good" (in pretty on-point harmony). Fifteen people who had never met each other before improv-ing together. It was incredible.
In light of being back at ArtBCN, I'll end this entry with some of the docu-style photos I've been taking around here (and Barcelona in general) since this summer that I've been meaning to make a photo post about for months. Maybe this week I'll finally finish one of my 10 other half-written entries as well (let's be real tho...).
*Hostel name changed for this blog