Although I have yet to update about my trip to Barcelona, I am currently in The Hague, Netherlands. Yesterday prior to leaving I was running around like a madwoman in Heathrow Airport (or technically, I was sitting at a computer typing and clicking wildly while Alexander ran around for me) because out of nowhere this possible 1-year opportunity has presented itself and I needed to get my materials in (a cover letter, resume, writing sample, current law school transcripts, undergrad transcripts, and a list of references) off to Atlanta ASAP (ASAP as in the guy told me in the next 5 minutes would be preferable when I hadn’t even finished the cover letter… AH!). Anyway, long story short… I got everything out just in time to basically run to my terminal to catch my flight to Amsterdam.
Now, although the rest of my group is out exploring more courts in the Hague, I am sitting at a computer in the hostel where we stayed last night because it is now the start of the work day on the east coast and I need to be available by email. So I took a cab back from the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia and here I am.
While I anxiously await any possible emails… I just want to take a moment to recap my first Hostel experience. The only reason I chose to stay here was because our leaders claimed it was “clean for a hostel.” For those completely unaware, hostels are kind of communal living/college dorm like places where you basically just pay for a bed for the night, and popular with young people who are looking to sleep cheaply.
So, last night when we arrived at the hostel, there were police everywhere and red tape all around the street where our hostel is. As it turns out (as I was informed by my taxi driver), last night right in the canal behind our hostel a woman was shot and killed in her boat. (By a “friend” so it was a passion killing and not a random act of violence, but STILL.) Then the taxi driver was like “yeah… not the best area of the Hague.”
But that was just the beginning. So when I got to my room in this “clean” hostel which I was sharing with 3 other girls, my sheets/duvet cover were wrapped in plastic which gave a false sense of cleanliness. I opened the package to discover urine (and other) stains and a few pubic hairs! Excellent!
So I ended up sleeping in all my clothes with my hat on, but it was soo freezing in our room (since the heat is broken) that I had to ultimately use the blankets. I don’t think I actually slept at all. I can’t remember ever actually falling asleep. All I could think was that I wish I had taken Alexander up on his offer when he suggested we go find a hotel in a nicer area of town. Then when it was time to get up, I realized there were no towels, and I was scared of catching a disease from the shower because I had no flipflops… but I hadn’t showered the day before either and had been wearing a hat the whole day so I had to shower to look (and smell) professional. So, I did the unthinkable–I took a shower in that scary shower with no flipflops and I dried myself off with the cleaner portions of the nasty sheets.
A few of the girls kept insisting that this was “really nice” for a hostel, but all that assures me of is that if this is “nice” then I will never voluntarily stay in a hostel again. Gross! Some of the girls kind of had an attitude like I was being too pretentious. Are you kidding me? Urine and pubic hairs on my blanket, no heat in freezing temperatures and a murder just occured outside our back window??
I mean.. if I were on the mission field I might have a little more grace for the circumstances (I still wouldn’t be ok with dirty sheets though), but this is a trip with my professional school to visit international criminal courts and I’m supposed to get up in the morning and put a suit on and try to stay awake through a bunch of presentations. Ah!
The one saving grace of the morning was that when I came downstairs it turned out Alexander had woken up early and went out to find food for me knowing I would be hungry. He bought me food for breakfast and for lunch because he knows how I get when I’m tired and/or hungry and he thought it would make me feel better knowing that my night was probably as miserable as his.
More power to those who can handle hostels, because I most certainly can’t.