Tuesday, 31 July 2012

The Kipps Hostel Lifestyle

'' Say that again, I did not get it? '' I ask my friend

'' On the one hand you've got your profesionnal life and on the other hand , your personal life. 2 very separate things''

No. I still don't get it. But in Kipps we.........

Oh dear.

I desperately want people to understand what my lifestyle is all about but I can't even start explaining what it really is. Only people who live with me understand how professional , serious and committed to our job. we all are over here , it just doesn't seem like it because WE SIMPLY LOVE OUR JOB.. .

What? A job is not that thing you have to go to from Monday to Friday and forget all about  on Saturday/ Sunday?

I glance at the time yesterday on my phone. What day is it? I don't know and I don't care. I only know I work at 4pm today. And I'm not counting days to the next day off ( it's tomorrow btw)

I'm on the train and I'm not only returning back to work, I'm going back HOME too. My family is Romanian , Dutch , German and also from all over the show. People we commonly call guests. Strangers.

We all live under the same roof. BUT I'm not only returning back Home, I'm also returning back to work.

Dress up nicely , put the staff badge on and show people that in Kipps we are homely , but we know what we're doing. Professionalism is a way of Life.

Last Sunday 10 AM , on my day off.

I'm running around the hostel wearing a towel to find a free shower.

'' Who 's in there ? '' I ask the intern , totally irritated because I had to rush.
'' The manager'' she answers
'' Come on hurry up for Christ's sake I've got a train to Brighton to catch'' I say banging on the door.

'' You 're working there again?'' the intern asks


'' No , Annabelle got herself a British Lover '' says a loud voice from the kitchen

I don't know how they know that but I know I REALLY talk too much when I have a few drink. As we all live toghether , we have a few drink together......

The breakfast room is packed.

'' Good morning'' I tell the guests ( professional)

'' He's not a guest of Kipps Brighton I hope, you know you can't sleep with guests Annabelle''

'' Of course he's not. He moved out , I would never do that ! I've got professional principles''  I say very seriously , still wearing my Hello Kitty Beach Towel.

A few hours later in a flat somewhere in Brighton

British Lover : I'm moving back to the hostel next week.
Me : Oh noooo
British Lover : it spoils all the fun innit
Me: bullshit innit.
End of conversation.End of British lover.

Only me , him ( and probably a couple of other people) knew the extend of what I was giving up for the sake of professionalism. The next best thing to getting a '' I love Kipps Tattoo '' on my face.

Yes, working at Kipps is a full commitment. You make vows affecting your personnal life big time.

But it's worth it innit.

Even when you 're of the hostel , you are STILL committed to it.

Me and my manager to staff leaving the hostel to go to the local pub after an exhausting week last Saturday night ( joking) : '' If you have a problem, don't call''

32 minutes later . Phone rings.

Staff : I have a ''walk in'' ( someone with no reservation)
Manager ( under strict order to not accept ANY walk in trying to inquire : '' Where is he from'' ?
Staff to guest : where are you from?
Manager to me : Shit, he 's asking the guest where he's from!!!!
Me, drinking gin and tonic: oh dear.......
Staff to manager : He's from Japan
Manager : ok, let him in
Staff to guest : Japan is ok you can stay.

Next : train staff on dealing with walk ins.

Anyway I'm on the train from Brighton to Canterbury yesterday trying to explain to Stella, my new friend from Brighton ( not my beer, I'm not that bad)  I just met . she's sitting next to me.

'' I work in a backpackers' hostel'' I say
'' Is that that thing for young people isn't it?'' she answers.
'' Dear , look at ME. It's not only for young people, it 's for everyone!'' I tell her.
'' Aaaaah ok....'' She doesn't get the whole picture.
I always get a weird stare when I tell people what my job is ( even when I tell people I work with actually) .
'' Hostel.... Like that horror movie thing?'' some people say
'' it's like Hippie Lifestyle'' other people would tell me.

I usually get pissed off by any description people make of my job ( yes, even people I work with)  I just want them to understand. It's not only a job. It's a lifestyle. It's not only a lifestyle ( forget bloody Hippies) it's a job!

Right. Now the best thing is to experiencing it is to describe it. And I;m a writer afte all. I will now devote my writing to telling the world about my job. And my Lifestyle. And my job.........
Anyway Back to work at 4pm yesterday

Romanian workmate, very serious telling me about important things I should know about my shift :''  So this guy has to pay, that one needs to be given a key to his new room. So you had good sex last night huh? And This guest does not have to pay the full balance but needs to be aware of the cancellation policy.... So was it hot sex then? ''

I became very British in that way. The only time I speak about sex is when I don't have it. I become very shy and reserved about it when I do . ( unless I', drunk which is another story altogether)Here is the thing : Romanians are NEVER shy.

''Mmmm yeah'' I say shyly focusing on the reservation system.

Welcome back to work Annabelle.

Right , so it's better if I just describe my evening right?

4pm I'm asked if I had hot sex last night. I Check toilets, fold some laundry , meet new guests Ive never seen before. It includes 18 teenagers from France. I pretend to NOT be French. ( only french people can believe me)

5pm : guest coming back , unaware he had to change rooms that day and the staff had to drag his million suitcases to a different room. He looks totally off the planet.

'' I lost my toothbrush and my comb'' he tells me.

'' YOU CHANGED ROOM TODAY'' I tell him very slowly in my usual french accent. I always do that with asian looking guests. This one was from AME-RICA. D'oh.

Well done Annabelle.

I show him to his new room , get the key from the last rooma nd the money for the week.  He sees his bag in the room. Everyone happy and relieved and I can go back to checking in other guests.

5.15pm '' I lost my toothbrush and my comb'' he tells me AGAIN.

I will ask the cleaning staff I say politely while checking in an Italian girl from London.

5.20pm I very proudly check in this italian girl to our magnificent looking girls' dorm, You 're always so proud to show your guests to their room in this hostel since the cleaning staff does such a nice work making it look pretty. A bed is not ''just a bed'' in Kipps.

I open the door proudly, the room looks stunning. She's the first guest. And what do I see in the room? 2 pigeons. 2 BLOODY PIGEONS.

So I'm running around the dorm chasing the birds while still sounding very professional

'' So you have a bathroom just here, you are very welcome to join us for a free piece of cake tonight in our lounge''
A french making a fool of herself in front of an italian. The worst you can get.

Get over it Annabelle, hostel work does not wait.

5.35 pm '' Annabelle , people NEVER dry their dishes , what do we do about it?'' the intern asks me , irritated.

That's one of the mystery questions in hostels all around the world. We tried everything.Spot them on CCTV, Charge them , put on funny posters. NOTHING works.

Answer : Annabelle does the bloody dishes and we all get over it.

6pm : I'm on the phone to french people who don't speak english , I'm explaining a million things about policies, rules and prices , someone rings the bell and starts talking to me like I'm NOT on the bloody phone and that other guy was standing there staring at me
'' Where is my toothbrush then''

I go back to reception and look at the other staff who s not even on shift :

'' George give him a f***** toothbrush our so he stops pissing me off'' and I continue my phone booking in French .

So everyone has toothbrush , pigeons are gone , the washing is still piled high, all is well.

7pm time for Tea and cake night. The german intern , very organised, has everything ready on the table so I can concentrate on my reservation system that's no longer working.

7.05pm I decide to spice up the atmosphere with a quiz about the Olympics. There I was throwing candies to anyone with a good answer.

Me '' What amazing European country , probably the best, just won a gold medal in swimming?''
Guests all toghether : ITALY!

Of course , the answer was....... FRANCE.

( why Italy anyway?)

The winner got a free breakfast , the loser got a toast of marmite ( yuk) I took pictures so the world can keep thinking I spend all my shift taking pics of guests and post them on facebook ( I would not want anyone to think I'm actually doing some work here)

7.30pm '' And what do I do about my comb then?'' That same guy was still standing there staring at me.

I thought for a minute that it was all a big joke and he was a hostel inpector testing the staff customer service for a minute.
I gave him directions to tesco.
He leaves

7.35pm German intern '' Annabelle , I found a comb today. Here it is''

OH SH***

9pm he comes back from Tesco ( it s only a 10 minute walk)
'' Tesco does not sell combs I'm hungry now'' he announces .

'' We found yours I tell him'' giving him a piece of cake with tea.
'' Can you order fish and chips for me'' he asks.

Of course I only have that to do ( and go on facebook)

I directed him to the place where the 18 french people had just gone. I had a million things to do.

9.05 pm doing the left over dishes of 100 people. There is no toilet paper in the toilet . Do people EAT toilet paper????

'' Is it true that you're actually French '' asks the leader of the french group

I show him my tattoo as an evidence. It says '' Made in France''

He believes me.

9.15pm ''The fish and chips shop had sold out because of the 18 french people'' the SAME GUY said, still staring.

Get some bloody noodles.....

9.30pm I had to fold 3 baskets of laundry , I'm knackered from the night before but it s self inflicted there is NO WAY you can complain about that sort of things here .

Get on with it Annabelle.

10.30pm the event is finished ,people are happily watching TV or on their lap top, I put my laundry away. Easy half hour left.

10.35pm '' Annabelle, it s awful'' the dutch intern is panicking.


the worst thing that can happen in this hostel



All the eyes are now on me . No pressure but WE RE NOT GOING TO HAVE TO TALK TO EACH OTHER TO PASS THE TIME ARE WE???????''

11pm I manage to get it working again

11.05pm the next shift arrives. Actually , he was already there the whole time HE LIVES HERE TOO ...

11.08pm I crash on the sofa with the German intern and tell her naturally

'' Now I can do exactly the same as I did 5 minutes ago but with no pressure of being paid for it''

I chatted to guests until I said good night in 5 languages to everyone.

It's good to be Home. At work. And work...... at home.

To be continued.....

No comments:

Post a Comment