Wednesday, 1 August 2012

A day off ...

Yesterday it was my day off. Day off... what, we can't really tell when we live where we work.

If you really wanted to be off you d wear a '' I'm off today. Please do not talk to me'' Tee shirt.

But we're not like that , or we would not live here.

Me and my manager usually start the day with an early run ( it makes us look so cool to say that). Ok ok we've only been doing this for a week. And off the booze for 2 weeks ( reality : 5 days)

We come back to the hostel , that's when I saw our Taiwanese guest with his bike ready to leave. THANK GOD HE'S HERE.

Flashback last night :

Taiwanese guest : '' Want go London with bike. Go motorway M2 ?''
Me , thinking about a million other things about my shift '' yeah yeah all right''

Me, 1 hour later : WHAT ? He wants to ride his bike on ......the MOTORWAY?

Where the hell is he? I've got to tell him.

I never found him.

There he was this morrning , ready to go.

I rush to tell him '' No M2 , very dangerous A2 better '' ( Why do we always speak like this to foreigners with little English? It used to annoy me when I was one of them)

Taiwanese guest '' ok A2 ok . You come Taiwain'' he says giving me a hug.

That's how I almost killed a Taiwanese at work and saved his life on my day off.

I get back in and there s an email from an American Lady who wants to send us chocolate muffins because I answered her email and translated her balance into american dollars.

Why would I need a day off  this job.

'' Annabelle I kill you'' my other romanian work mate.


'' The guest came to pick up his laundry in a towel and it was not done. He had not even underwear to wear. What the hell did you do last night?''

Here , there is no big brother watching you. Only big sister telling you off straight away.

The bag was labelled ''laundry'' . For me landry means '' CLEAN laundry'' , not dirty laundry.

Bloody positive people . The glass is always half full huh ........

I apologize. I'd better go....

I go through the kitchen to reach my room and there he is. '' The guest with the comb '' ( see yesterday's post) , still staring at me.

'' Don't stare at ME , I'm off'' my tee shirt should say.

'' I want a hot chocolate '' he finally says.

I give him the hot chocolate powder with a smile.


Mmmm This is all a joke.Alternative technique : show him to the hot water in the breakfast room , still with a smile!

I get my stuff for the day and asks reception if they need anything while I'm out.

'' You can still buy new underwear for that poor guy!'' one of them shouts at me.

Time to make myself scarce.

So what does a hostel worker do on her day off? She spends the day ALONE, first and then.... She becomes a traveller again.

I remember the state of my bank account ( don't start me on that) . Plus no wages this week because I asked for 2 last week.
10 quid in my pocket. So much for travelling.

Well travelling is an attitude. To me, It's basically going somewhere you ve never been and explore new ways. Get out of the comfort zone for a bit. You've always been to Tesco? Now go to Morrissons. ( Am I not so British?)

That's how I jumped on the bus to Margate.....

30 minutes later I was on a sandy beach in England crying for Australiaaaaaaa.

Anyway, that's not how I imagined Margate would be like.

'' Margate, 2'' says the sign.

That's probably because I am not in bloody Margate. D'oh. Typical me. Wanna go somewhere and lands somehere else. That reminded me when I had a train booked from Kings Cross station and I went to Charing Cross instead. Bloody crosses. Made me run in the London tube like a proper french tourist.

So where the hell am I this time then?

I know! I go on facebook from my phone and see the location of my post. '' Wesgate on Sea''


Ok. Then I see '' Broadstairs 10'' . That's not that bad. Nice cliff walk looking over the nicest sandy beaches in the South of England ( the only ones too)

Let's go.

I forget the hostel , I forget I even live in this country. I was back travelling and was rediscovering English culture through the eye of ze foreigner that I am.

People wearing jumpers on the beach , reading The Sun at the pub having a pint of Carlsberg, bored Life guards talking about the weather. People rushing to Primark because there's 70% off today . I know this culture so well but I cannot stop being fascinated by it.

I'm a big fan of cultures. So , on my day off I do some ''culture spotting'' and I get lost too.

3 hours later I realized that 10 actually meant 10 MILES, you stupid French person. Who counts in kilometers these days?

I was in the middle of absolutely nowhere, I lost track of the trail, I ve got 2 quid on me , a bus ticket that is maybe valid and no service on my phone.

There I was, travelling again. It reminded me of that time when I got on that 3rd class over night train to Bangkok with only dinner money. I was the only European with a bunch of locals ( and insects of all sorts ) . No one spoke my language and I did not know if the train was REALLY going to Bangkok.

I felt the same today.

'' All right luve?'' a guy asks me.

I'm now on a beach , still looking for that damn path. All around me, British culture. Tattooed people smoking and yelling at their kids. AKA chavs. I'm looking for the toilet but they're closed for '' damage''

'' Sure... Mate'' I answer , not really wanting to play the lost french tourist on that particular beach. Plus my fake cockney accent REALLY sucks.

It reminded me when I was living in the ''worst'' part of Melbourne called Frankston. Over there, chavs are called Bogans. And Frankston was locally called Bogan Town.

I kept a low profile for the first few days but then I ended up having loads of friends , got a job at an ''op shop'' and made french crepes for the whole neighbourhood until the guy I lived with thought I wanted to marry him and I had to go. But that's another story altogether.

Those places you first think are hostiles, are actually the purest form of  culture.

A woman with a deep voice is now shouting at her kid who's only wearing a nappy.
'' oi we re goin' luv oiiiiiiiii' ''

I finally found the trail and off I went.

How far is this Broadstairs place then? I walk and walk with no idea where I was.

I was back in travellers' mode.  I even thought ' Where am I going to sleep tonight , with what money am I gonna eat? ''

Annabelle, get real... YOU LIVE HERE , you silly.

I finally reach a town. Wanted to ask people in polite English :

'' Sorry sir would you really mind telling me WTF I am??????''

But I did not. Bloody proud travellers.

That's when I saw the Broadstairs sign . I made it yay!!!!! It reminded me of everytime I found my comfort zone again when I was travelling to unknown places. Relieved.

I was standing in front of Charles Dickens house. For a writer, it's like the end of a pilgrimage.

Charles and I were only one ( tears)

The good part in this journey was the '' I can go Home to my family now''

When I walked in I felt I had been gone for a whole week Backpacking in India. I catch up with the latest gossip.

Knut , our 60 something year old german regular had checked out. Oh nooooo. It's like a part of me was gone. Ich liebe dich Knut ( we won't miss him in his underwear though)

It was BBQ that night. I happily helped the guys for a free burger and in no time I was back into my world, my comfort zone. Talking to guests about my day 'backpacking in England'' , taking the piss out of British sandy beaches with Australians over a burger INDOORS because it was too freaking cold out there.

I see the other staff looking at me entertaining everyone with my jokes and my now legendary energy and I know they sometimes wonder '' how does she do that?''

I don't pay particular attention to that because I know we can all do it. I'm nothing special. ( although I sometimes like to think it!)

Well , my answer is clear . '' I keep it real'' . I get out there , make mistakes, fail , succeed, get lost, take the piss out of myself,  get dumped , forget about my comfort zone just like them backpackers.

I am one of them. We all are

Like them I sometimes wish I could watch a movie in the arms of a man who makes me feel safe , in the privacy of a house more often than once in a blue moon in a flat somewhere in Brighton but like them I deeply know that we do not need that kind of closed comfort to be happy. We don't need it because we ALL have each other. Always.

My Lifestyle is about remembering all that for myself, and pass it on to others the best I can...

And in this Lifestyle , there is no such thing as a '' day off'' .

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