During this trip to Valencia, I’ve had my first experience with hostels outside of that one disastrous trip to Barcelona that we won’t bother to dredge up where the girl had night terrors screaming in the middle of the night. Yeah.
This time, it was actually alright. The first night, there were two chicks in my room and the first thing that was said to me, “Ingles o Español.” I was happy I finally felt comfortable enough to say, “Both.”
They let me know that they would be leaving at 4:00 in the morning and would try their hardest not to wake me up. In speaking to one another, they spoke in some language I couldn’t place. I’m guessing they were from some Eastern European country or Iceland or somewhere. I don’t know.
But they left early as promises and I pulled the covers over my head and managed to sleep through them and the workers outside making a ruckus and through the other hostelers coming and going and then today, when I arrived at the next hostel, the chick there barely nodded when I walked in.
Maybe she just wasn’t very talkative.
The second woman to show up, I thought an odd candidate for a hostel stay, but since I know very little about hostels and the people who frequent then, maybe I drew the wrong conclusion.
But she was a French woman and we started talking. We spoke in Spanish of all things. Her English is bad, so is mine (hehe), and I know only one unutterable phrase in French. And so I had an intercultural exchange with a French woman in Spanish.
We spoke about the political climate in France, the president, the upcoming elections in the US, why she likes Clinton, why I prefer Obama, and there was no ugliness and we joked about how cold it was in the room and I began to realize why meeting people from other cultures is so important.
It fills in gaps we often miss in the US. It’s a “normal” thing here in Europe because the major cities and even Alcala where I live, are so mixed, so culturally rich.
But then again, so are places like Chicago, but I never felt this sensation in Chicago. Maybe because I wasn’t sitting in a hostel room in Valencia actually paying attention to someone besides the characters in a book.
Anyway, I met a French woman who spoke (kinda) Spanish, I should do this cultural enrichment thing more often. I think it’ good for me.
**** UPDATE: When checking out of the hostel, I ran into said French woman with another woman who was not in our room. The French woman tried to pretend like she didn’t see me (impossible) and so I said loudly and friendly, “Hasta luego,” to which she mumbled out something and scooted past.
Maybe multiculturalism is overrated. lol