Hostel living can give you so many memories
It’s January, 2010. I have been evicted from of my Shepherds Bush, London flat because the owner wants to move back in. I’m broke and can’t afford bond for a new place. There is only one option. A hostel.
When I first moved to London, I lived in two very different hostels. The first was one of the best in the world. The second was one of the worst! So after enjoying living in a flat for nearly six months, I was forced to live in a hostel once again.
Luckily, two friends were between homes as well and were staying at a hostel in Hammersmith. They had a spare bed in their room and offered it to me. The price was £80/week and had average reviews. So it looked like I was going to stay at a place in-between the other two hostels I had lived in.
I bring my backpack and a few shopping bags of overflow to my new temporary home. Then the reality hits. This is going to be tough. Tougher than anything I have ever done before.
It all starts out okay. We have another Australian girl in our room, who works at a local cafe which meant every day we would get all the food that would have been thrown out. So that helped with saving money to move out as quick as possible. But thats where the good story ends.
We were on the 4th floor and depending on the day of the week, the hot water for the showers could have been on the 2nd floor or normally the 3rd floor but ONLY the 2nd last stall. A handy system was formed where the first person to shower in our room would inform the others where the hot water was located for today. It was better than winning the lottery when you scald your skin with hot water on the first guess.
Then the complications of being so broke that the only food you can afford to purchase to alleviate the scurvy from the cafe’s greek salad are the ingredients for carbonara, or a week’s supply of 9p two minute noodles and stock cubes for flavour.
Passing the room next door to see the four girls have various uncovered pots of cooked food that they serve onto plates and go to the kitchen for the microwave is vomit inducing.
We all have a detailed life history of a 38 year old guy from Sydney who drives London buses and is so depressed that it creates its own gravitational pull where you can orbit to whinge about your own problems coming away feeling much better as he can always trump your bad day.
Or when the entire hostel is evacuated by the fire brigade due to large amounts of smoke filling the top two floors, turns out to be somebody’s burnt/fossilised pita bread in the 3rd floor kitchen’s oven. To which the Polish woman still wants to eat it as if nothing has happened.
The cafe girl in our room develops a crush so big on yours truly, that out shear fear of the unknown ritualistic ceremonies she would perform while I sleep, that I have to sleep with one eye open so I can react quickly and retreat or wake the others.
But the icing on the preverbal cake that I cannot afford, is the condensation on the mouldy ceiling above my top bunk bed which is dripping onto my face and bed more frequently than the shower on the 3rd floor. The maintenance man’s solution is to hand me a wash cloth and bucket to wipe the droplets from the ceiling.
At the time, it is something that you have to deal with as there are no other options. Now, with hindsight. It is worthy of it’s very own television sitcom.
Living in a hostel will be tough, but give so many great memories. Taken by James Miller in January, 2010.
Have you lived medium to long term in a hostel? Do regret it or think it changed you for the better? Let me know in the comments.